24 , 2011
Greg Pak Interview
Alas, all good things must come to an end and one
of those being Greg Pak as the writer on the Incredible Hulk comic
book. Greg was cool enough to answer some questions as his time
on the book winds down and Marvel was nice enough to share some
exclusive pages from the upcoming last issue. Even though Greg is
leaving the book, be sure to follow him at www.gregpak.com , on
twitter at twitter.com/gregpak or at gplus.to/gregpak
1. I'm sure you've been asked this question a lot but what led
you to decide to leave the Hulk comic book?
All things must pass. And the timing made sense. The giant cycle
of stories I’ve been working on for five and a half years
is reaching its climax and it just seemed right to let it come to
a genuine conclusion. I love the Hulk and will hugely miss writing
him every month, but this felt like the best way to be true to the
story I’ve been telling since day one.
2. Just to recap and take you back to the beginning, what first
drew you to the Hulk character.
I’ve loved the Hulk since I was a kid growing up in North
Texas – the Bixby/Ferrigno television show was the only show
I made a point of watching week after week. Thursdays at 7 pm Central!
I’ve often said that show introduced me to the literary concept
of tragedy, and it’s true. That was the first place I saw
a good person, a hero, consistently lose out time after time even
though he almost always did the right thing and saved the day. That’s
had a huge impact on me – I think, in retrospect, because
that’s a very honest and true way to tell this kind of story,
and it’s a pretty big deal as a kid when you come across that
kind of storytelling.
3. Your first storyline dealt with basically just the Hulk, then
after WWH, you dealt with Banner without the Hulk. Now you are having
the Hulk come to terms with who he is and who his family is. Was
that the plan all along?
I had no idea how long I’d be on the book when I first started
writing “Planet Hulk,” so I didn’t have a concrete
plan from the beginning for where I’d be five years down the
line. But as my tenure extended, I realized my stories were pointing
in a certain direction. They were about a person who always insisted
he wanted to be left alone, but who progressively surrounded himself
and bonded with an ever-expanded group of friends and family members.
But of course, anyone who spends much time around the strongest
one there is runs tremendous risks. So there was always this question
of danger and tragedy in the air.
4. What basic theme are you going to end your time on the book
The price of anger, natch.
5. You've already mentioned some of the classic villains the Hulk
will face in the last storyline, such as Bi-Beast and Wendigo. How
did you decide which villains to use and how fun it is going to
be to use them?
Some were characters I’d been hungry to get my hands on for
ages – like Armageddon and Umar, who both have compelling
backstories with the Hulk. Fin Fang Foom had to happen partly because
fairly late in the game, I realized there had been, surprisingly
enough, precious few Hulk/Fin Fang Foom encounters. And my “Herc”
and “Alpha Flight” co-writer Fred Van Lente has long
extolled the glories of the Bi-Beast.
I’ve had an absolute blast writing all of these villains.
The story features a wishing well – I guess I granted a few
of my own wishes along the way.
6. You've worked with some great artists on all your storylines,
how has that been.
I feel ridiculously lucky. Every artist who’s worked on the
book has gone above and beyond and delivered incredible pages. I
think it’s the strength of the character – Hulk’s
probably as fun to draw as he is to write. There’s a huge
vicarious thrill in the way he cuts loose. And then there can be
these great, emotional character moments throughout as he and his
cast struggle with the emotional ramifications of all that smashing.
I just love all of the artists forever for putting their hearts
and souls into these stories.
7. Did you ever think your work on the Hulk book would be met with
I loved writing the Hulk from the beginning and certainly hoped
readers would feel the same way about the material. But you never
quite know what’s going to happen with any new comics project.
I’m just grateful to my editors for pulling me on board at
a time when folks were really ready to see the Hulk cut loose. And
I’m hugely grateful to all my creative collaborators for their
gorgeous work, month after month.
8. Some readers weren't too happy with the Hulk getting beaten
up by Zeus. Any comments about that battle?
I think it’s important for every character to have a limit.
That was a story about the Hulk going too far. No matter how strong
you are, even if you’re the strongest mortal on the planet,
you can’t force the hand of God. On another level, that story
was all about the Hulk going for a shortcut. He wanted
That being said, no one on Earth could have done as well as the
Hulk did in that fight.
And it’s also questionable whether Zeus kept his word in
the end. It was supposed to be a purely mano-a-mano battle, right?
But isn’t Zeus throwing a lightning bolt at the end?
9. So what do you think you added to the Hulk mythos during your
stint on the book?
Wow. That’s a big question. I think I built on the emotional
storylines set up by folks like Bill Mantlo and Peter David, with
a special emphasis on Banner’s relationship with his father
and how that affects his relationship with his sons. I think we’ve
taken Betty Banner, aka Red She-Hulk to some new and interesting
places with these last few story arcs. But probably most importantly,
we built up the Hulk as a hero during “Planet Hulk,”
and I think the imagery and emotional power of that storyline has
had a pretty substantial impact in showing a possible direction
for the character.
10. Is there any storyline you wished you could have done but just
not going to have a chance to?
I have a Korg story I’d love to do some day. And I have a
Hulk story for kids I’d love to write eventually.
11. The good news is that you will still be writing books at Marvel
so there are always chances you will meet the Hulk again! What books
will you be working on?
Fred Van Lente and I are co-writing “Herc” and “Alpha
Flight,” I’m writing the current “Red Skull: Incarnate”
miniseries, and Marvel just announced that I’ll be the new
writer of “Astonishing X-Men” starting with issue #44
in November. Add it to your pull lists today, friends!
I’m also writing a book for Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla
and Aspen Comics called “Dead Man’s Run,” which
I’m ridiculously excited about. It’s an insane action
story about a prison break from Hell – literally. The #0 issue
hits stores in November.
For more about all my stuff, please feel free to follow me on Twitter
or Google+ -- twitter.com/gregpak and gplus.to/gregpak.
12. What are your current projects in the film industry?
Joe Dante has optioned my feature screenplay “Monster Love.”
Wow. Did I just type that? I still can’t quite believe it,
honestly! I also have a possible new short film project that I’m
hoping will get off the ground next year. Cross your fingers for