[It’s Wednesday so it muct be Dynomite spotlight time. Today Victor Gischler talks to Greg Pak about the debut of Turok Dinosaur Hunter #1 on sale today. AS you can see, the art by Bart Sears is outstanding.]
Gischler: So, Greg, Turok is … wait what is he doing? Hunting dinosaurs? Is this a game sport or are the dinosaurs fugitives from the law? WTF is going on ?!
Pak: Young Native American exiled from his tribe struggles to survive the persecutions of the Chief’s privileged nephew — and then…. DINOSAURS! I’ll say no more. Other than it’s awesome and the art by Mirko Colak is mindblowing and the last few pages of the first issue blow everything up in a crazy way that sets up a huge alternate history adventure that you don’t wanna miss.
Gischler: Seriously, this is way cool. How much did you draw from the classic comic? Where did you draw the line and say “The brain of Pak takes over now”?
Pak: I read a bunch of the very early Gold Key issues and a few of the later issues for inspiration and then started from scratch, asking myself what kind of world would need to exist for a Native American to end up fighting dinosaurs. Editor Nate Cosby gave me free rein to come up with whatever felt like the best story, so I went hog wild. I can’t say too much for fear of spoilers, but when you get to the end of issue #1, you’ll see why we went the route we did and get a sense of how much fun we’re going to be able to have in the world we’re creating.
Gischler: Picking up any old thread or is this a clean slate? Tell us the best little tidbit you picked up from the old comic (or video game). Another way to ask this is what is the single most interesting thing that stuck out from the old material?
Pak: Clean slate! My favorite thing about the old Gold Key books was the single-minded focus on hunting and eating prehistoric animals. There’s a huge emphasis on sheer survival that’s actually really dramatically compelling. I also loved the way Turok and his friend Andar would name the dinosaurs by what they did. I think it’s a huge gift to be able to show characters encountering something for the very first time, and I’m hoping we’re doing justice to just how mind-blowing it must be to see a live dinosaur for the first time.
Gischler: Resolved: Huntting dinosaurs is better and cooler that fighting robots … DEBATE!
Pak: ABSOLUTELY. Robots are our friends and overlords — why would you want to fight them? Also, you can’t eat robots, so why bother?
Gischler: What can we expect from the first issue / arc ?
Pak: Life-and-death outdoor adventure; mind-bending alternate history worldbuilding; incredible, scientifically accurate dinosaurs with feathers; big emotion and character development, and maybe even a little romance.
Gischler: What dino would be best on the grill? Recipe please.
Pak: The best current scientific thinking is that dinosaurs were basically birds, or birds are basically dinosaurs. Birds evolved out of dinosaurs. This is relevant because it tells us that dinosaurs all taste like chicken. Except T-Rex, which tastes like turkey.
Best dino for grilling is the Compsognathus, about the size of a turkey. I recommend marinating for 24 hours Korean-style, with two parts soy sauce, one part sesame oil, and one part sugar.
Gischler: Greg, you’re an awesome writer. What are you bringing to the modern incarnation of Turok?
Pak: Turok is an exile from his own tribe, someone who knows what it is to be persecuted and hunted. And therefore someone who’s ready to rise to the occasion when new persecutors and hunters arrive. But because of the way his tribe treated him, he may or may not be the exact kind of leader they expect. There’s big, emotional, human drama and conflict at the core of this story as our hero comes of age. AND DINOSAURS. DID I MENTION THE DINOSAURS?
Gischler: Greg Pak is dropped into the world of a zillion B.C. What are your preferred dinosaur hunting weapons and strategies?
Pak: I’m inclined to choose an assault rifle and body armor. But once you run out of ammo, you’re screwed. So I keep the body armor, but I go for a samurai sword, a titanium spear and shield, and a compound bow with several dozen steel arrows. Stuff I can use again and again. Also, really good boots, and multiple pairs of good wool socks. Once you jack up your feet, you’re dead.
Gischler: What else is going on with the Pak?
“Action Comics” and “Batman/Superman” for DC and “Eternal Warrior” for Valiant. Also just finished my graphic novel “Code Monkey Save World,” based on the songs of Jonathan Coulton, which you can grab at Comixology!
I’ve also been shooting a new short film, which I hope I’ll be able to start talking about in public in the next couple of months.
And I’m doing a quick three-town tour to sign TUROK books this week! Catch me in NYC on Feb. 5 at JHU Comic Books, in Wilmington, DE on February 6 at the Comic Book Shop, and in Washington, DC on February 7 at Fantom Comics. All the deets can be found at http://gregpak.com/category/calendar/.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.