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DF Interview: Greg Pak makes new Hulk book totally awesome
By Byron Brewer
Since the moment Amadeus Cho, eighth smartest person on the planet, hit the printed page, he has been on the move. From Mastermind Excello to the Prince of Power, everyone’s fave brainboy is these days, in the All-New All-Different Marvel U., the totally awesome but still incredible Hulk.
And he loves it!
Marvel is three issues out with the new book as of today, and so Dynamic Forces thought it was time to set down with writer (and Cho creator) Greg Pak and ask … wassup?
Dynamic Forces: First, Greg, after a storied career of previously writing Hulk, how does it feel returning to the book, albeit a different iteration?
Greg Pak: It's been fantastic. I've been working closely with editors Mark Paniccia and Darren Shan and Marvel EIC Axel Alonso, as well as artists Frank Cho and Michael Choi and colorist Sonia Oback, and everyone working on this book is on the exact same page in terms of the character and vibe of the book. So all the story discussions have been about how we make each moment work better.
DF: I gotta ask: Marvel is famous back to Stan & Jack days for adjectives in their titles (Amazing, Mighty, Uncanny, etc.). When and where did “Totally Awesome” appear in the scheme of things as this book was being created?
Greg Pak: I think I'd responded in an email chain to some totally awesome Frank Cho art with "Totally Awesome!" And editor Mark Paniccia said, “That's it -- that's the name of the book!”
DF: You created Amadeus Cho a decade ago. Ever think he’d actually BE the Jade Giant?
Greg Pak: In his very first appearance, Amadeus had a close encounter with the Hulk, and I drew some pretty big parallels between the two characters, with their shared lack of self control. But no, I never imagined Amadeus actually becoming the Hulk. We did Hulk him out once during the "World War Hulks" storyline, when almost every character in the book got gamma irradiated for a little while. But for him to headline the book, as the Hulk? Never dreamed of it. But Mark called me up last year and said, “Hey, how'd you like to write Amadeus as the Hulk?” And all the lights went on. It made such great sense, given the actual comic book history of the two characters. And it opened up such great new directions -- having a cocky young Hulk who actually loved being the Hulk.
DF: Fred Van Lente and you co-wrote the Prince of Power limited series starring Cho, but it must be noted this is the first real high-profile comic starring a Korean-American. With comics embracing diversity, how does that feel?
Greg Pak: It feels great! There have definitely been other Asian-American and Korean-American leads in comics -- Milestone's Xombi comes to mind -- and a big tip of the hat to all the creators who have done this before. But Asian-Americans have been hugely underrepresented in superhero comics. Ten years ago when artist Takeshi Miyazawa and I created Amadeus, it was very important to me to take that opportunity to introduce a Korean-American kid into the Marvel Universe -- just felt like something that needed to happen. So it's been a huge trip seeing other writers use him in so many books and television shows over the years -- and now this! Huge thanks to all the fans who have supported the character and all the editors and writers at Marvel who have been having fun with him.
DF: There has always been a very tragic side to Bruce Banner’s transformation into the Hulk. What brought about the 180 degree turn with Amadeus and an “it’s fun to be the Hulk” approach?
Greg Pak: It's a great twist, I think, and it makes sense given the characters. It also makes perfect sense given the artists we've had on board -- Frank Cho is known for his incredible action, monsters and human anatomy. But he's an incredible "actor" with the pen -- his mastery of human expression and humor is just tremendous, and he's bringing out all the big, broad humor and the subtle human interaction in the book with equal flair.
DF: Speaking of Banner, what are the plans for the good doctor, if any?
Greg Pak: Over the first four issues of the series, we're revealing what happened to Banner months ago that led to Amadeus becoming the Hulk. So some big revelations are coming in the next two issues. And then keep your eyes out for issue #7 for a big Banner-centric story.
DF: For the valued new reader, the benefits are obvious in the new book. But for us old-time followers of the hero from the days of General Ross, Betty and Rick Jones, are there any connective threads?
Greg Pak: She-Hulk has played a big role in this first story arc. In the fullness of time, I'm sure we'll see some of the other classic supporting cast members. We're doing our best to introduce brand new friends and villains in each storyline, but also make use of classic cast members in fun ways as well.
DF: Any hints at what we can look forward to with Cho and the “totally awesome” Hulk going forward?
Greg Pak: Massive showdown with Fin Fang Foom in issue #3, out today. Climax to the first story arc with Lady Hellbender in issue #4. And then a big two part story with the Enchantress in issues #5 and #6 in which Amadeus may just learn more about himself than he likes. Dontcha dare miss it!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Greg Pak for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Totally Awesome Hulk #3 hits stores today!
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