“Batman/Superman” writer Greg Pak spoke with CBR TV’s Albert Ching in the world famous CBR Tiki Room at New York Comic Con 2013 about his very busy schedule and branching out from Marvel. The pair discuss his joining DC Comics with “Batman/Superman,” what readers can expect from his “Action Comics”? run, his connection to Clark Kent -- particularly the New 52 version — and the big changes coming to DC’s entire Superman line of books. They also talk about the massive success of his Kickstarter project with musician Jonathan Coulton, “Code Monkey Save World” and the upcoming Gold Key revival at Dynamite where he’ll be writing “Turok: Dinosaur Hunter” and how he’ll be bringing recent scientific research into his approach to the material.
On branching out from Marvel and embarking on new projects with new publishers: I love Marvel. I loved everyone I worked with there. At a certain point last year I got a call from Jim Lee, who I’d been friendly with, but I looked at my phone it’s got Jim Lee’s name on it I was like, “What’s going on?!” And he said, “Batman and Superman” and I said “Yes, please!” There are certain calls that even as they’re happening your head’s spinning and you’re realizing that everything is changing. It was a tremendous opportunity to come over to DC and start working on their characters. I’m working on the “Batman/Superman” book for DC and now also “Action Comics,” which starts in November.
On his approach to tackling “Action Comics” with its rich and storied history: When I first started working in comics I remember vaguely thinking, “Oh wow, it would be kind of crazy to write Superman someday,” and I was like, “Oooh, that’s scary. I’m not gonna think about that.” It wasn’t really a possibility for so many years because I was working on the other side of the stream, so to speak. I think it came along at the right time, you know what I mean? Because I’ve been working in comics long enough that I kinda sorta know what I’m doing. You’re learning something new everyday and all that, but I’ve got a method to how I tackle a project.
I think when I first started it would have been almost… my head would have exploded just trying to think, handling an iconic character like Superman. I’ve been working in comics long enough I think when I sit down to start working with a character I kind of know how to dive in and I’ve done it enough that I kind of give up on the intimidation factor. … Any legacy character you work on in comics was created by giants. We’re all ridiculously presumptuous to do this, so you just kind of get over yourself and you get over your own anxieties and you just dive in.
On how his own life ties into Clark Kent’s in some ways: I think that there are some characters that just feel right. Like the Hulk was like that for me. For whatever reason, Bruce Banner and his struggle and his monster within just all made sense. … With Superman, I’m starting to get that kind of vibe. There’s something about this desire to do the right thing, to figure out what the right thing is and to do it, that’s very appealing to me. This is a little ridiculous but I grew up in the suburbs; it’s a little like growing up in Smallville in certain ways. I moved to New York City, which is a bit like moving to Metropolis. There’s just something about Clark Kent that — we both wear glasses! [Laughs] I’m gonna give him a beard… No. There’s some characters that just sort of resonate and I think Clark Kent and Superman — it feels comfortable to me to be playing with this guy. And to create all kinds of problems for him.
On what he likes most about writing the New 52 Clark Kent: What I love about writing Clark Kent in the New 52 in particular is that he’s young. … Even in sort of current time DC, he’s younger than, say, the Silver Age Superman who kind of knows everything, he’s completely who he is and he knows exactly what to do all the time. What I love about a younger Superman is that he’s still figuring it out. He doesn’t know the full extent of his powers. He doesn’t understand exactly how everything in the world works. He doesn’t have all the experiences — he doesn’t have 70 years of continuity. He’s still figuring out what the right thing to do is. His heart is always in the right place, he’s always trying to do it but he may make mistakes. And if you have somebody as powerful as Superman making mistakes, there’s a huge amount of responsibility and growth that he’s going through. That’s just really rich stuff to play with.