Thursday, June 27, 2013

Greg Pak And Aaron Kuder On Action

With my review of Batman/Superman #1 right around the corner and needing to catch up on some old news,  I thought I would cover the announcement that Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder are taking over Action Comics starting with Action Comics #25. That announcement was made on USA Today here:

After the Scott Lobdell monopoly on the character, I think Pak is going to be a welcome change. And I have gushed about Kuder's art on this blog before. So I am excited for this team to come on board, hopefully for a long run with some creative consistency.

As always, I recommend reading the entire article. But a couple of sections stuck out.

"Basically, I've fallen in love with this character all over again," Pak says. "In fact, the first comic book I ever drew as a kid was a Superman thing. I was doing Superman fan fiction when I was 6 years old.

"For young children, Superman is your first introduction to superheroes and you love him. But as I've gotten older, I realized how resonant the whole story of Superman is and how his struggles actually reverberate with people at every age."

So the first part here strikes me as so important. I love that Pak was a fan of Superman when he was a kid. It means there is some child-like wonder that is associated with the character.

But I also like how Pak talks about using Superman as a medium to tell human stories on a super-human level. How Superman's problems can be like our problems just writ huge.

One of the themes Pak wants to explore with Superman is that even with all the drama and heroism, he's just regular-dude Clark Kent at his core, a Kryptonian-born guy who grew up in Kansas with regular people, still trying to make sense of the power he has.

"It's not like he grew up among people like him from day one and all his power was just totally natural and supported by everyone around him and everything was cool," Pak says. "He grew up as a normal kid who discovered he had these powers and it was terrifying and it set him apart from everybody else and it gave him incredible responsibilities.

"In a weird way, that replicates everybody's experience. Just as regular people, as we grow up we learn that we actually have real power. The things that we do can hurt people terribly, can break hearts, can break stuff, or they can be a real help to people. And it's up to each of us to figure out what we're going to do with our own abilities."

Small decisions people make every day — determining whether to speak up when one sees a bully — are the same kind of huge decisions that Superman has to make, Pak figures.

"The character becomes the way for all of us to explore — in a safe way — these things we actually grapple with ourselves just by being human." 

One thing that I think has been missing in the Superman comics since the New 52 took over is Clark. Sure we get snippets of him here and there. But I am one of those folks who thinks Clark is the real identity and Superman is the mask. I am one of those fans who thinks that it is the man in Superman that makes him great. I believe that it is his early life, the lessons he learned and the values he was taught, that makes him such a great person. 

So I am glad that Pak is talking about bringing Clark back into the book, back in Superman as his core. And again, I like how Superman might be used as a metaphor for human struggles. I hope he remains an inspiring figure in this run. 

There is so much I think has been sort of pushed to the side in Superman in the New 52. So I hope we also get some more of the supporting cast, some Supergirl interactions that aren't contentious, and some big action with big plots.

After the Andy Diggle debacle, I hope Pak stays on the book, isn't bogged down by cross-overs, and isn't overly interfered with by editorial. 


Count Drunkula said...

I'm really excited to see Greg Pak on a regular Superman book. I really enjoyed (most of) his work with the Hulk and Hercules over at Marvel, and based on the first issue of BATMAN/SUPERMAN I think he's got a solid handle on who Clark is and what makes him tick.

Between Pak's contributions, Nelson's SUPERGIRL, and Snyder's "pretty good" SUPERMAN UNCHAINED, the Man of Steel is in good hands (plural) for the first time since the New 52 began.

Kandou Erik said...

I'm going to check out the first arch of Superman Batman, to hold me over until Greg Pak on Action Comics. I hope, though, that Earth 2 isn't a regular event.

LJ-90 said...

Finally someone who wants to write Superman stories that have meaning, and not just some "Here's Kal, he punches stuff, also, H'el bad"

Guess I'll be picking Action again soon.

Anj said...

Thanks for the comments.

It does feel like the Super books are kind of turning the corner towards quality and relevance.

I would throw Justin Jordan's Superboy in the mix too.

Martin Gray said...

This all sounds very hopeful