We love us some Greg Pak. He was one of our first interviewees when he was about to become the first writer for an ongoing solo Storm book, and again when we spoke to him about his project Phantom Limb Ghostpuncher. When we heard another one of our favorite characters, Amadeus Cho, was making the big leap to not only get his own book, but become the Hulk, we had to go straight to Pak to get the lowdown.
Black Nerd Problems: Gaining one of the most popular titles or monikers for a Marvel character is a pretty big achievement for the character. What was your initial reaction to learn that a character you co-created was earning such a coveted distinction?
Greg Pak: I was astounded. Out of the blue, I got a call from editor Mark Paniccia, with whom I worked for years and years on Hulk and Hercules books. And he said they were thinking of making Amadeus Cho the Hulk and would I be interested in writing it. And I said heck, yeah! And then I thought about it some more and I got REALLY excited.
I mean, of course I was thrilled that a character I co-created was getting the tap for the Hulk book. And I was thrilled that that meant another Asian American lead in mainstream comics. But what really got me excited was the story potential. Amadeus’s age, personality, world-view, and history means that he’s coming at being the Hulk from a totally different angle from Banner. All those great Hulk themes of anger and responsibility are absolutely key to the book, but we’re getting a chance to explore them in a whole new way. It’s a huge kick in the pants.
BNP: Having written the Hulk before (with great success I might add), what can we expect with this version? While they are both superior intellectuals, what differences or similarities are there between Amadeus and Bruce?
Greg: Bruce always thought of being the Hulk as a curse and a burden. Amadeus is a cocky nineteen year old who absolutely loves being the Hulk and thinks he’s gonna be the greatest hero on the planet. That’s going to make for some huge fun… and massive problems.
BNP: How did this come about? Was this something you pitched? How did the creative team come together?
Greg: It sounds like something I would have pitched, huh? But as I understand it, it actually came up at a Marvel retreat. Folks in the room were talking about the possibility of a new Hulk and my man Mark Paniccia suggested Amadeus. It makes a lot of sense — from the very beginning, Amadeus’s life has been intertwined with the Hulk’s. He’s a teenager with massive self-control issues who bonded with the Hulk in his origin story. Later he led the heroes who actually sided with the Hulk during World War Hulk. And over the years, he’s always been there for Bruce. It all makes sense — he’s a kid who believed in the Hulk from the get go. Now he’s got a chance to prove the Hulk’s the greatest hero ever — as the Hulk himself!
So I met with Mark and Axel Alonso and Tom Brevoort to talk through the story and character. We were all on the same page in a great way. And when we pulled Frank Cho on board to draw, everything clicked. Frank just got the humor and drama of the book and has delivered in a massive way.
BNP: The Cho name in Marvel has had a sudden increase in popularity with not only this announcement, but with Helen Cho’s appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron. How about the increased focus and implementation of diversity and representation in the comic book world?
Greg: Pretty nifty, huh? I’m thrilled to have contributed in some way to all that. And I’m massively grateful to editors like Mark and Nate Cosby who supported Amadeus ten thousand percent from the very beginning.
BNP: Just how angry is Amadeus? Or are we going to see a Hulk more like Jennifer Walters?
Greg: He’s pretty darn chipper as the story begins — he loves being the Hulk! But there might be some hints of something something going on… keep on reading!