Greg Pak has a long history of writing some of the biggest guns for Marvel Comics, but these days, he’s settling in to envision some of DC’s biggest icons, particularly with last week’s launch of the Batman/Superman ongoing title! Greg was kind enough to take time out of his increasingly busy schedule to share some insight on the new series, what the two heroes have in common now that they haven’t before, and what role Earth 2 may be playing in the series!
Matt Santori-Griffith: Congratulations on the new series, Greg, and for joining the ever-swelling ranks of the New 52 creative teams! After such a long stint at Marvel, what drew you over to DC for Batman/Superman?
Greg Pak: I got a call from Jim Lee, who said “Batman” and “Superman” and “you” in the same sentence.
MSG: The Batman/Superman friendship has roots going all the way back to the 1940s, but has gone through many ups and downs over the years, particularly since the mid-1980s. How would you characterize the relationship between the two in the New 52?
GP: Both men are young and raw and when they meet in “Batman/Superman” #1, neither has ever heard of the other. And each guy immediately pegs the other as the most dangerous person on the planet. And they might not be wrong.
It’s a hugely fun and rich place to start the story. I love characters who are in the middle of figuring themselves out. It makes for great emotional conflict, internal and external, and tons of suspense.
MSG: Tackling a series that is set in the past, particularly in a continuity as unknown as that of the New 52, can be equal parts daunting and exciting territory! What do you feel is the greatest opportunity this series offers you in terms of world-building, and what is the greatest challenge?
GP: We have a huge opportunity to explore Bruce’s and Clark’s backgrounds and how they relate to each other in this new world. One of the very interesting little details of the New 52 is that Ma and Pa Kent are dead. So Clark and Bruce are both orphans. That little detail strikes me as really important — it could be an unspoken but underlying contributor to their initial conflicts, but might also play a role in the trust they may eventually develop.
As we move into the present, we’re also going to have some fun building a supporting cast. Batman and Superman each have separate supporting casts which are fantastic. But we’re looking to develop few characters who are really the supporting crew for Batman and Superman when they team up together. I’ve always loved exploring supporting casts, so I’m having a blast with this.
The biggest challenge might be to come up with stories and adversaries that provide distinct physical and emotional challenges for both Batman and Superman. Of course, grappling with that is a huge part of what makes working on the book so much fun.
MSG: It’s inevitable that fans checking out a Batman/Superman title will want to know if their existing extended families will come to play in the series. Will the series hit key moments like the arrival of Batman’s first Robin, or Superman’s early interactions with Lois Lane or Steel, and the like?
GP: We’re spending the first story arc in the past, and we’re working in some fun moments of early meetings. But we’ll jump forward to the present for later story arcs and will spend most of our time building new moments and relationships. That being said, there’s always room for an evocative flashback or two…
MSG: It was a huge surprise to all of us that with issue #2, Superman and Batman come up against their counterparts on what must be a much earlier set Earth 2! What can fans expect to see with this pairing, and how does the contrast between the two worlds help define “our” world’s heroes?
GP: The Batman and Superman of “our” world are young hotheads who hate each others’ guts. The Batman and Superman of Earth 2 are older, more experienced, and the best of friends. Putting these guys together forces each of them to rethink everything he knows about himself and his friend/enemy. In every issue, we’re taking this deeper — there’s tons of great character stuff to explore. And tons of great action!
GP: Jae’s a mad genius who brings incredible design and atmosphere to everything he touches. But what I’m really loving is his understanding and exploration of character in this book. He’s totally captured young Bruce and Clark. There’s an image on the very first page of Clark looking back over his shoulder while he walks down the streets of Gotham, and it’s just beautiful — reflecting his youth and his discomfort in Gotham and his sharp, readiness despite everything. Just so much in every image with Jae. Love him.
MSG: Any special teases or last words you’d like to share with the Comicosity audience?
GP: First, thanks so much for considering Batman/Superman! Second, if you like what you see, please check out Action Comics in November! Starting with issue #25, I’ll be writing and Aaron Kuder will be drawing, and it’s going to be a blast.
Greg Pak launched Batman/Superman for DC Comics last week, but continues to expand his presence in the New 52 with General Zod #1, Darkseid #1, and Doomsday #1 for September’s Villains Month, as well as with November’s Action Comics #25!