05/09/14 @ 10:35 am EST
Tim Seeley Interviews Greg Pak About TUROK
Writer Greg Pak discusses Turok and writing diverse characters.
Writer Greg Pak has been redefining Turok for a whole new generation over at Dynamite. Tim Seeley interviewed Pak about his work on TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER and writing different types of characters.
TIM SEELEY: Hey Greg! I think we've met a few times, including once when I drunkenly, and from a distance I mistook you for Joe Hill. Yeah...I know. Sigh.
GREG PAK: I remember that! I kept walking, just to be on the safe side. Also, I am a coward.
TS: Anyway, let's talk TUROK!
GP: Woo hoo!
TS: Having the European arrival involve using dinosaurs as means of eradicating the native population...that seems like an ingenious parallel to Europeans arriving with smallpox infected blankets. Is it tough to manage the very serious aspects of what happened historically in a book that has to be about a bad ass dude fighting dinosaurs?
GP: My favorite genre stories all work on multiple levels. On one level, MARTIAN CHRONICLES is about genocide. On one level, JAWS is about government corruption. I think science fiction and fantasy provide great areas to play with multiple themes like this. The trick is always to keep everything rooted in the characters and to never squish them around in weird ways to accommodate whatever theme you think you're working on. Once you let a preconceived theme take over at the expense of emotional truth, the story becomes a tedious "message" piece that no one really wants to read.
TS: Turok has been "rebooted" a number of times, and has transitioned from comics to video games and back. What makes Turok such a fluid and adaptable character and concept?
GP: I think the best genre characters like this are incredibly simple at first blush, which allows you to explore them in all kinds of different, more complex ways. Turok's a Native American who fights dinosaurs. That simple statement implies all kinds of crazy things about the world in which Native Americans and dinosaurs live at the same time and can lead to a multitude of very different, rich stories. It's like the Hulk -- guy gets angry and turns into a supremely strong monster. Again, very simple idea that a hundred different writers can take in a hundred different directions.
TS: You're kind of known as a guy who is able to really pull the essence of a character to the forefront, especially after your work on Hercules, and most recently Superman. What's your approach when you get a new assignment? Is there a lot of research to find that "soul?" Or do you come into a project knowing that and that's what guides you?
GP: Hey, thanks for the kind words!
And it's a combination of both. I'll often take on a project because the instant I heard about it, I felt it in my gut -- I just instinctively knew the character and what the story would become. Sure, the project will develop organically and collaboratively and my ideas will change and grow. But often from the beginning I can feel that click. The Hulk and Superman and Turok are a bit like that for me -- from the minute I first started talking with editors about these characters, I felt at home. And then other times, I have to work at it longer to get under the characters' skins and figure out what's going on and what they really want and who the heck they really are. The toughest for me was probably Johann Schmidt, the orphan who eventually becomes the Red Skull, whose origin story we told in RED SKULL INCARNATE. I had to kind of work my way into that one, taking more time to read about habitual killers and psychopaths in order to figure out how he might have become who he is.
TS: With Storm coming up for you, and Turok under your belt, you're one of the writers breaking the ol' WHITE HETEREO MALE mold that has dominated superhero comics since the 60s. What's the importance of giving minority characters the proper starring spotlight in the modern era?
GP: Ha! Yeah, diversity in storytelling has always been hugely important to me. I grew up as a half-Korean kid reading Spider-man and Superman and loving them, and I still do. But I remember being hugely affected by characters like Storm and Robbie Robertson. When you grow up looking different from everyone around you, fictional stories can remind you that you still belong, that there's a place for you, that your dreams should never be limited by other people's racism. So yes, I think it's hugely important and worthwhile to diversify comics. The fact that Turok is Native American and Storm is black is a huge reason why I jumped on the chance to write those books.
TS: And why do you think there's a small but very vocal pushback against it?
GP: I've personally gotten no pushback from anyone about the non-white characters I've been writing. I love my readers -- they are FANTASTIC and I literally owe my entire career to them.
But of course, we've all seen racist rants online from people distressed about characters like Miles Morales and non-white actors being cast in THOR and FANTASTIC FOUR.
All I can say about that is... bless their hearts, but I don't care. The world is changing -- for the better -- when it comes to diversity in storytelling. That's good for everyone -- white people, too, because it opens all our hearts up to other people. And that's something to celebrate.
Make sure to check out TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER from Dynamite Comics!
07/18/14 @ 11:41 pm EST
Review: Vampirella #1 (Collins)
Writer: Nancy Collins,
Pencils: Patrick Berkenkotter,
Inks: Dennis Chrisotomo,
Colors: Jorge Sutil,
Letterer: Rob Steen,
Cover: Terry Dodson,
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: June 4, 2014
Vampirella gets a new start and a new #1 as this veteran character shows she can still star in one hell of a yarn.
With horror writer Nancy Collins at the helm, this is a particularly strong issue for everyone’s favorite dark mistress. There has been a kidnapping and Vampirella has been called in by the Vatican itself to investigate. All she has to hear is that Ethan Shroud is someone connected and off we go!
I was expecting a bit more of a horror vent in this one, but what Collins spins out instead is a bone-chilling detective novelette, complete with mysteries, victims and red herrings. And while we do get a bit of the mystic here, Vampirella’s strong suit as a dark detective really comes through.
And a cliffhanger that makes NOT wanting to read issue #2 impossible!
All in all, one of the strongest beginnings for Vampirella in her long, long history.
07/18/14 @ 5:51 pm EST
Writer: Brian Buccellato,
Art: Ronan Cliquet,
Colors: Viviane Souza,
Letterer: Rob Steen,
Cover: Jae Lee,
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: June 4, 2014
Coming up fast on its conclusion (and sadly this book’s final issue), this most excellent and noir chronicling of the adventures of the Black Bat hits its stride with #11. Full of answers to questions posed since issue #1 and nefarious reveals, writer Brian Buccellato begins to put a bow onto one of his most brilliant pieces of pulp writing.
Our boy Tony now knows Cameron Tell, not Oliver Snade, is the true mastermind behind pulling the strings, and as he battles for redemption there is a possibility the hero may have to violate one of his most sacred vows. Will the vigilante turn to murder, even as the cops and press had feared?
For such a character-driven yarn, #11 is also very action-packed. Artist Ronan Cliquet has already proven his mastery of cinematic tenseness with the fabled “truck issue” of Black Bat, and here too we see that same sense of urgency that carries this tale through to its final page.
Anyone who is not utterly shocked by the conclusion of #11 has not been following this series, and if you missed it you really missed it.
07/16/14 @ 3:17 pm EST
Questions for Joseph Michael Linsner @ Dawn/Vampirella #1
Congratulations are in order on the occasion of Dawn's 25th anniversary, and those are congrats to you as creator. How does it feel to have created a character with such a legacy?
Thanks. It feels fantastic -- like a rebirth! I'm at the beginning of another 25 years and can't wait to get started. My epitaph is going to be "Joe Linsner -- The Dawn Guy", which I can deal with if that's my legacy. I'm very proud of the work I've done with Dawn on her 3 graphic novels. I'll be honest though, in 1989 when she first appeared in Cry For Dawn #1, I had no idea I'd still be drawing her 25 years later.
To my mind, I believe this is Dawn's first crossover with ANY character. But crossing over with a Dynamite signature character like Vampirella ... was there any added pressure there?
I have nothing but the greatest love and admiration for Vampi. She was designed by my favorite artist, Frank Frazetta! So that was an extra kick in the rear to make sure that I give this project my all. I'd be lying if I tried to say that Vampirella wasn't an influence on Dawn. I grew up loving Vampirella. Having the two of them meet for Dawn's 25th is bringing things full circle.
Instead of just handling the writing and covers, I now hear ...
06/12/14 @ 3:27 pm EST
Steve Grant Talks Jennifer Blood - From Bleeding Cool
Steven Grant is probably best known for his run on The Punisher as well as his recent story-turned-film, 2 Guns. Now he is tackling the Jennifer Blood character created by Garth Ennis. Byron Brewer caught up with the writer to talk about how the new series came about and why he likes working for different companies. BYRON BREWER:
Steve, how does it feel to be working with Dynamite Comics for the very first time? And on such a special project! STEVEN GRANT:
It’s interesting. I like working with different comics companies, to get an idea of how they’re similar & different & get a view of how different approaches work creatively. Being published by Dynamite was something I felt was worth doing. So far so good. BB:
Can you tell us a little bit about how this mini-series came about and how you became a part of it? SG:
In the wake of the 2 Guns film last summer, when things momentarily appeared nice and relaxed, I ran into Nick at the San Diego con. We’d loosely chatted about doing something for years, we’ve know each other for decades now. I told him to throw anything at me for a limited series, his choice. He took it under advisement. A couple months later he dropped me an email saying he’d really like me to resurrect Garth’s Jennifer Blood. All he had to do was say Garth Ennis, one of the most consistently interesting comics writers working today. I was pretty relieved, really. I realized after I’d said “anything” that John Carter was potentially on the table. Edgar Rice Burroughs is not my thing. But Jen made ...
06/09/14 @ 2:11 pm EST
Dynamite's Vampirella sale ends today on Monday, June 11th at 11 PM EST! All periodicals are priced at only 99 cents and collections are also incredibly discounted with prices ranging from $3.99 to $8.99!http://tinyurl.com/kfpm22s
Make sure to take advantage of this incredible sale!