Greg Pak’s writing can be seen every month in DC Comics’ Action Comics and Batman/Superman. And in December, he will be heading up The Totally Awesome Hulk for Marvel, starring a character he created named Amadeus Cho.
In addition to working for “the big two” comic book companies, Cho also writes a number of original projects, like The Princess Who Saved Herself, Code Monkey Save World and the soon-to-be-released Kingsway West.
We briefly caught up with Pak at Baltimore Comic-Con to talk about meeting his fans and how he balances passion projects with his corporate work.
First of all, what’s it like coming out to events like this and getting to interact with fans?
Well, it’s a blast, you know what I mean? We write these things for people to read them, and it’s exciting when folks who’ve read them come and are excited about it. Just sharing that excitement is a huge amount of fun. These are also a blast for me because I’ve got my own creator-owned book, this Princess Who Saved Herself book. It’s a way to get that out into the world. That’s particularly fun when little kids walk by and they see it. It’s a children’s book, and they see the book, and they’re like, “I want it!” Their parents buy it for them and they’re excited. That’s the best when a kid wants this thing you’ve done.
Do you find that people know you from more of the DC and Marvel stuff or is it a mix of people knowing you from that and your creator-owned work?
Well, it’s a mix. Mostly it is the Marvel and DC stuff that people know me from, but there are definitely times when folks come because they’ve heard of the Princess book or they were backers of the Princess book on Kickstarter and they’re specifically coming because of that. It’s nice. As a creator, as a writer, you want to have a broad audience. Having folks from different areas and come see your stuff is exciting.
How do you balance everything? It seems like you’re constantly doing your own stuff and doing mainstream stuff.
Well, the lucky thing is that I’m a writer. Writers can work on multiple things at the same time in the comics world. It’s much harder I think for artists, because if you’re going to do a comic book series, usually you can only work on one thing at a time. Unless you’re one of those very rare creatures who can draw more than one book.
Do you literally work on multiple things at one time? Can you set one down in the middle of a story and start writing something else?
Oh yeah, definitely. That’s a requirement of the job. I’m not working on things like two seconds here, three seconds there, but I’m working like two hours here, two hours there during the course of the day. Because in any given day, I might have to be working on the outline for one story, doing dialogue tweaks of a nearly finished comic book for another one, doing a conference call about a completely new storyline and then writing an actual script for a fourth project. You know what I mean? My day breaks up different ways during the course of the day depending on what the deadlines are that need to be done.
Does it take a different discipline to do your own stuff versus if you’re working for corporate stuff?
Yes. It took me years. Because I knew I wanted to creator-owned stuff. I had stores that I desperately wanted to tell, but it took me like four or five years to finally make the time. Because I have work-for-higher work that I’ve got to get done and that tends to take most of the time. What you have to do is, or what I have do, is create deadlines for myself that I can’t miss.
Yeah, exactly. It’s got to be easier to push off your own stuff.
Exactly, and then you’re sad because you want to do your own stuff.
What else is on the horizon for you?
I’ve got a new book called Kingsway West, which is coming out from Dark Horse, and if you go to KingswayWest.com you can preorder it. It is a western with a Chinese gunslinger in the old west searching for his wife. The twist is that it’s an old west overrun with magic. It’s going to be awesome. Mirko Colak is drawing it. He did the Red Skull book I did a few years back, and hope you check it out. Then also The Princess Who Saved Herself is an awesome children’s book about a kick-ass girl princess who plays rock and roll guitar and drives the witch down the street crazy because the witch down the street plays classical guitar. They have to work it out, and you can buy that at GregPakShop.com.
You can follow Greg Pak on Twitter at @GregPak. Photo and interview by Joel Murphy. Find more interviews here.