Greg Pak really likes the Silver Surfer.He's made it no secret, and has used the iconic character, created by Jack Kirby and first introduced back in 1966's Fantastic Four #48, wherever he could — in Planet Hulk as the Silver Savage (which has since been immortalized in the form of a Super Hero Squad toy), and most recently in the currently unfolding Chaos War. So once the news came Monday evening that Pak would be writing a new five-issue miniseries starring the character, starting in February 2011 and illustrated by Stephen Segovia (Dark Wolverine), the Incredible Hulks and Vision Machine scribe was eager to talk to Newsarama via e-mail about his favorite Surfer stories, working with Segovia, and what's in the near future of Galactus's most-famous herald. Newsarama: You've written Silver Surfer before, in Planet Hulk and currently in Chaos War — I know you're excited about this series, and this is an opportunity you've been waiting for for a while. What does this assignment mean to you?
Greg Pak: It's a dream come true. Any time anyone asked over the last few years, I've always listed the Surfer as one of the Marvel characters I'd most like to write in a solo book. Introducing him in Planet Hulk as the Silver Savage was one of the most fun things I'd done in comics up to that point and I've loved every chance I've had to write him since. But I've been dreaming about more in-depth stories about him for years. It's a thrill to finally have a chance to bring this one to life.
Nrama: Obviously you're a fan of the character — what is it about him and his place in the Marvel Universe (and comics history in general) that you find appealing?
Pak: The Silver Surfer may be the most original character in superhero comics. No one had ever seen anything like him when he first appeared, and he remains an internationally recognized icon to this day. My earliest memories of the Surfer come from reading a battered trade paperback of "Son of Origins" over and over again. I think what compelled me was that intense combination of sacrifice, heroism, tragedy, romance, and mind-blowing cosmic adventure. And there was the sheer audacity of putting a silver dude on a surfboard — and making it AWESOME.
Nrama: The Surfer has been around for more than 40 years now — what are some of your favorite stories with the characters, ones that are inspiring you in the crafting of this series?
Pak: Giant question! Okay, here's just a few...
I love his origin story. It's easy to forget how itchy-scratchy Norrin Radd was back in the day, disgusted with the complacent culture of idyllic Zenn-La and filled with a longing for adventure and conflict. A great set up for someone who ends up with more adventure and responsibility than any mortal should ever have to bear.
I love Silver Surfer #5 (1969), with physicist Al B. Harper, one of my favorite done-in-one characters of all time. Pairing the Surfer with an everyday, non-powered human being was genius -- a great way to bring out the character's strangeness and humanity at the same time.
The Hulk/Surfer encounter in Tales To Astonish #92 and #93 draws the parallels between the two characters as misunderstood outsiders — and beautifully plays the pathos that dogs both characters.
More recently, I loved Abnett and Lanning's Nova #13 to #15, which showed the Surfer as an incredibly powerful and chillingly committed Herald of Galactus. A great reminder of the character's terrifying strength and the insanely high-stakes nature of his day job.
By the way, here's a shameless plug — to whet everyone's appetite, I'm posting a series of my favorite Surfer comic book panels on my website on the theme "The Surfer Is Awesome." Check it out.
Nrama: And while I'm sure there's a degree of honoring the rich past of the character, it says right in the official announcement that this is also a "Surfer you've never seen before." In what way is this series different than other ones starring the character?
Pak: We're doing something that I don't think has ever been done with the character. It's a total shocker, but it fits right into the history and continuity and sets up this next big emotional story in a way that makes perfect sense. Dontcha dare miss Silver Surfer #1!
Nrama: On that note, given that Surfer on his own has been somewhat of a niche/cult favorite character in the past, are you maybe trying to attract a broader audience than past Surfer comics?
Pak: Sure. If you're been reading the Surfer for years, you absolutely don't want to miss this story — it's going to take the next big step with Norrin Radd and you want to be right there with him.
But the book is also a perfect starting point for anyone who's ever thought, "Wow, the Surfer's cool," but didn't know where to begin. BEGIN RIGHT HERE, THAT'S WHERE!
Nrama: The Silver Surfer hasn't had his own title firmly set in present continuity since the Annihilation miniseries in 2006, and that was a tie-in to a bigger event, making this his first "proper" solo book since 2003. What makes now the right time to bring the Surfer back to the limelight?
Pak: Surfer fans have gotten great stories in recent years with the Silver Surfer: In Thy Name and Silver Surfer Requiem books. But the new series does play out closer to the heart of the Marvel Universe, which I think many fans have been hungry for. Now felt like the moment to strike because the Surfer plays a big role in the "Chaos War" event, which provided a pretty great hook to launch this new story close to home.
Nrama: At this point, what can you say about the plot of the series? Based on the announcement, it looks like the main conflict is between the Surfer and the High Evolutionary, and Galactus isn't far behind.
Pak: Actually, we'll start with Galactus — but the High Evolutionary isn't far behind. And in between are some unexpected encounters and conflicts that will get under Norrin Radd's skin like nothing has in ages.
Nrama: The Surfer is currently playing a role in Chaos War, and this series picks up after Chaos War ends — if the answer isn't too spoiler-y, does it spin-off from the end of Chaos War at all?
Pak: The answer is YES. So anyone following Chaos War should buy multiple copies of every issue of this series. But if you haven't been following Chaos War, have no fear — you don't have to have read anything before picking up Silver Surfer #1.
Nrama: The inevitable question for a project like this is that even though this is just a five-issue miniseries, is the approach that, if this does well, there might perhaps be more from this creative team and the Surfer beyond five issues?
Pak: Preorder it today from your local shop and let's see! (And here's a handy link: http://comicshoplocator.com)
Nrama: Finally, I know it's still early, but what can you say about working with artist Stephen Segovia thus far?
Pak: Stephen's a dream. He's unleashing the cosmic like you won't believe. But he's totally got the grace and quiet reserve that the Surfer so often displays. He's doing particularly amazing work with some of the seemingly mundane but emotionally powerful moments in the book. There's a panel of two people kissing in issue one that's just gorgeous — completely naturalistic and all the more beautiful and romantic because of it.Is the time right for a new SILVER SURFER mini?