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Exclusive Interview: Pak, Dynamite return to Gold Key Universe with Turok

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Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
created 12/05/2013 - 3:03pm, updated 12/05/2013 - 3:22pm

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Dynamite’s bold move to return characters from the Gold Key Universe begins in February with the premiere of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter!

Written by Greg Pak (Batman/Superman, World War Hulk) and artist Mirko Colak (Red Skull: Incarnate, Conan), the book follows the ongoing adventures of a young Native American named Turok who fights to survive once he is shunned by his tribe.

Oh yeah, and there are lots of dinosaurs!

To get the story behind Turok’s return, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer exclusively caught up with scribe Pak and filed this interview.

Cosmic Book News: From Action Comics forward, all the properties seem to be coming to you these days, Greg. How did you wind up in Dynamite's valley of dinosaurs?

Greg Pak: I got a call from Nate Cosby, a great editor with whom I'd worked at Marvel on dozens of Hulk and Hercules books. I loved working with Nate before and was pretty excited about the prospect of working with him again. And then he told me he was working with Dynamite on a new set of properties, including Turok: Dinosaur Hunter! I couldn't say no.

CBN: Diversity is all the go these days. How do you like the idea of a Native American as your protagonist? Describe Turok as a character.

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Greg Pak: The fact that the book stars a Native American character was a huge part of the attraction for me as a writer. I'm biracial, half Korean and half Caucasian, and I've always had a big interest in telling stories with diverse casts. I'm hard pressed to think of more than a couple of comic book series with Native American lead characters. It's a huge gift to be offered this kind of a project.

As our story begins, Turok is a young man who's been exiled from his tribe. For reasons that will be revealed, he's lived a life of persecution and danger -- and has developed his own dangerous streak in order to survive. So when crisis hits, he'll have some big decisions to make about whose side to stand on. We're building a real hero's story for a young man on the verge with big emotional stakes every step of the way.

CBN: How is this valley different from Marvel's Savage Land, Saturday morning's Land of the Lost, and others?

Greg Pak: There's no secret valley in this story. It's way bigger than that, baby. And yes, this will be wildly distinct from the Savage Land, Land of the Lost, and any other lost world story you might be thinking about. I love all of those worlds, but we're doing something a little huger here. I can't reveal too much for fear of spoilers, but we're tapping into real world history in some crazy ways while combining it with some mind-bending events that lay the groundwork for a really rich but totally grounded world for telling our stories.

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CBN: What kind of adventure can we look forward to?

Greg Pak: High adventure, heroic coming-of-age, clash between worlds, mind-bending alternate history. And dinosaur fighting, yo! DINOSAUR FIGHTING!

CBN: What can you tell us about your first arc? Any continuing characters?

Greg Pak: In addition to Turok, you'll meet Andar, who was there from the beginning in the Gold Key comics as Turok's buddy/sidekick. We've got a different take on Andar that puts him in an interestingly different role as our story starts. We're also introducing a whole new group of antagonists you've never seen before in a Turok book.

CBN: To what are you looking to for your inspiration here? Burroughs? The former Turok comic?

Greg Pak: I grew up as a Boy Scout in suburban Dallas, spending a ton of time outdoors, hiking, fishing and camping. So a big part of the feel of Turok comes from those personal experiences, dealing with the natural world. I've also been a sucker for outdoor adventure stories since forever, so it's a blast working on the book.

CBN: Any best animal relations coming here: Tarzan and Cheetah, Kazar and Zabu?

Greg Pak: I love all that stuff. Rick Jones and the Hulk. Nausicaa and the Ohmu. Amadeus Cho and Kirby. (wink)

And Skullcrusher and Code Monkey, natch, from the Code Monkey Save World book I'm doing with Jonathan Coulton!

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CBN: Turok was once an acclaimed video game. Any hints of that in your tales? What are the differences between this comic and the 1990s version?

Greg Pak: True confession: I've actually never played the game!

We're starting our tale from the beginning, so you'll see a younger Turok than we usually saw in the 1990s. And the whole reason we're revealing for "Why dinosaurs and Native Americans at the same time?" is a mind-blower that I don't think has been done anywhere else. There's some big worldbuilding going on that will open us up for tons of fun.

CBN
: What does Mirko Colak bring to the table? Why is he right for this comic?

Greg Pak: I worked with Mirko on the Red Skull Incarnate mini for Marvel a few years ago, and I just loved the experience. Mirko is a demon for detail -- he's great with texture and historical detail and is a great match for a book like Turok that delves into alternate history.

Mirko's also amazing with the natural world. This is an outdoor adventure book, and Mirko's amazing with the grit and reality and danger of animals and the natural environment. 

But most importantly, Mirko makes his characters live and breathe. He's got an intense, realistic style that's an amazing match for a book like this, which deals with utterly fantastical elements but which at every step is honing in on the real, visceral, emotional experiences of its characters.

CBN: Thanks, Greg. Good luck with the book.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Greg Pak for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Also thanks to Dynamite’s own Nick Barrucci, who helped make this interview possible.

“Turok: Dinosaur Hunter” #1 hits stores February 5th!

 

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