Warlock Stories: Greg Pak talks "Warlock"

Last week, CBR News brought you a preview of the first issue of the new Marvel Comics series "Warlock." Not content to just have pretty pictures, today CBR News presents a conversation with "Warlock" writer Greg Pak to learn a bit more about the September debuting title.

"We're going back to the original inspiration for the character," Pak told CBR News last week. "In 'Fantastic Four' #66, a group of mad scientists known as the Enclave created a 'perfect' human being as the first step in their plan to conquer the human race and usher in a utopian dictatorship. The entity they created destroyed their facilities and escaped, ultimately becoming the hero we all know and love as Adam Warlock. In the new Warlock series, the Enclave is trying again, deep in the jungles of the war-torn South American country Costa Perdita -- and this time they don't plan to lose control of their creation.

"New characters include the mysterious Mr. Smith, who appears to be directing the Enclave in their efforts, and Janie Chin, an art student who thinks she's coming to Costa Perdita to do character design for a superhero movie."

If you're thinking this version of Warlock seems a bit different than what's been on the printed page in the recent past, you're right. It's the same character, but the publisher is looking to focus on the original concepts of the character for now.

"The idea is to explore the rich premise of the character's origin, which is very much involved with life and death right here on Planet Earth," said Pak. "Our hero is born before our eyes in the Enclave's laboratory. Exactly how he relates to the character of old will be revealed a bit later down the line. I can say no more, but it'll be good!"

Pak is joined on "Warlock" by artist Charlie Adlard. With Pak living in New York City and Adlard in England, the two spend a lot of time communicating via e-mail, with Pak sending Adlard visual reference material for various aspects of character design and background settings.

"I'm very excited about Charlie's work," said Pak. "In particular, I love what he's doing with our heroine Janie. I wanted her to look like a real teenager rather than a boring, generic hottie. And Charlie's created an actual living and breathing kid whom you can believe as this sharp, funny, smart tomboy design student from New York."

Pak's name is a new one for comic fans what with "Warlock" being his first published work at Marvel. For the moment, the writer makes most of his time in film.

"I grew up in Dallas, Texas, and studied political science at Yale, history at Oxford, and film production at NYU. I've made about a dozen short films over the years, including the infamous 'All Amateur Ecstasy,' viewable now at AtomFilms.com (not recommended for workplace consumption...). 'Robot Stories,' my first feature film, has played in over sixty film festivals, won over thirty awards, and is now screening in limited theatrical release around the country.

"I am indeed a lifelong comics fan. As a kid, I particularly loved 'Moon Knight' and 'Micronauts.' In college, Frank Miller's 'Batman: Year One' and 'Dark Knight Returns' blew my little mind. I'm a big fan of indie comic artists as well, including Stan Sakai and Jeff Smith and Lynda Barry, among many, many others. Many moons ago, I drew a comic strip called 'How I Learned Stuff' for a couple of Yale publications and another strip called 'American Seoul' for the Korea Times New York. Great stuff I've read recently include Windsor-Smith's 'Weapon X,' Miyazki's 'Nausicaa,' Busiek's 'Astro City,' and some ancient back issues of 'Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth.'"

While "Warlock" may be Pak's first bit of published work for Marvel, it's been a long process getting to this point. For one reason or another a number of projects he was working on for the publisher were put on hold or just never got off the ground.

"At some point my agent learned that Marvel was looking for new writers and pushed hard to get them to consider me," Pak said when asked about how he got hooked up with Marvel. "They read the screenplay of my feature film 'Robot Stories' and thought I might be a good fit. I was thrilled -- fanboy dream come true and all. But it took a while for things to come together. Over the course of a year, I worked on a bunch of pitches for Marvel based on ideas they had and characters they were reviving. I even wrote a few full scripts. But for various reasons, which the editors assured me had nothing to do with the quality of my work, nothing came through. Finally, in February of this year, Marvel editors Cory Sedlmeier and Stephanie Moore came to see 'Robot Stories' when it played theatrically in New York. Cory dug the humanistic science fiction of 'Robot Stories' and thought my sensibilities might work well with the new 'Warlock' series he was planning. And now here we are!

Don't miss CBR's preview of "Warlock" #1 right here.

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