Greg Pak Focuses ACTION COMICS on Clark's Human Side
Clark Kent by Aaron Kuder, Superman #20
CREDIT: DC Comics
Now that readers have gotten their hands on Batman/Superman #1 this week, it's easy to envision what a Greg Pak Action Comics might be, as he takes over the comic in November with artist Aaron Kuder (whose art, from Superman #20, you'll see throughout the article.
In Batman/Superman #1, Pak established that he's combining the very cosmic, taking the lead characters all the way to Earth 2, with the very personal, as the final page of the first issue showed a younger, jeans-clad Clark Kent in a tender moment on the Kent farm.
As Pak starts to explore Clark's different facets in Action Comics, the writer said he's still concentrating on the "human side" of Superman. But he's short on spoilers this far in advance — after all, it will be a couple months before the first issue is even solicited.
Nonetheless, after Part One of our interview allowed us to talk with Pak about his upcoming Villains Month issues — all of which involve Superman-connected villains (and one even features Superman himself) — Newsarama asked the writer a few questions about Action.
Newsarama: Greg, have you always been a fan of Superman, and who are your influences on how you're depicting the character now?
Greg Pak: At the age of five or so, I drew a series of pictures of Superman announcing different words that begin with the letter "S" and got my mom to write out the captions. I'm pretty sure I was riffing on that old Sesame Street Superman clip. So the character had enough of an impact on me to inspire my first shot at fan fiction.
One of the first comics I ever owned was a Superman comic — an oversized "Limited Collectors' Edition" reprint book from 1975. I loved it. I remember being particularly intrigued by a story called "Superman's Day of Doom," in which an alien "predicting machine" tells him he'll be saved by someone with the initials "L.L." I won't spoil the ending. But there's a great twist there that really brings out all those themes of humanity that make the character work for me. Seriously, dig it up -- it's awesome!
Nrama: How would you describe your overall approach to the comic?
Pak: I love the fact that in the New 52, Superman is still very young. He's not quite as raw and wild as he was in those early Morrison Action issues, but he's still learning more about his powers and responsibilities every day, still testing his limits and boundaries in every way.
I love that very human take on Superman — deep down, he's just Clark Kent, that kid from Kansas, still figuring out every day just how to handle the insane challenges that come his way. The very interesting corollary to that is that the world is still coming to grips with the idea of Superman. No matter how many people he saves — and in fact, probably the more spectacularly he helps people — the more many people see him as disruptive, scary, and dangerous. All of that is a great set up for conflict, drama, and action.
Nrama: How would you describe Superman as you write him?
Pak: He's Clark Kent, a young man who learned as a kid that he was almost unfathomably different from everyone around him. He learned to always use his powers to help others and, especially, to stick up for the underdog — but he also learned the necessity of hiding who he truly is. He's there for everybody, but he's forever separated from everybody.
There are tremendous conflicts and ironies in all of that that are a huge part of the character's heroism to me.
Nrama: We've seen how you've made Batman/Superman unique. How are you planning to set Action Comics apart? What distinguishes it from other Superman comics?
Pak: I don't want to say too much for fear of spoilers. But I will say that one fun difference between the books is how they use Superman's supporting cast. I'm thrilled about a certain character who's going to play a very big role in Action. We're setting this character loose in some really exciting ways that will provide some big challenges for Clark and Superman on every level.