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Interview: Greg Pak on Writing New BATMAN/SUPERMAN Series

What exactly can we expect from this new series?

Last week DC Comics announced a new series starring two of their biggest characters, BATMAN/SUPERMAN. Over the years, we've seen their friendship grow but we've only begun to see how it's defined in the New 52. The news of this announcement was made even better when the creative team was revealed to be Greg Pak and Jae Lee.

The previous SUPERMAN/BATMAN series started out telling new stories and then later shifted to ones where continuity wasn't essential. With this new BATMAN/SUPERMAN story, it will begin with the beginning for their relationship but appears to catch up to current times as well.

With talk of exploring the early days of the New 52 Universe, you know we had to find out more from Pak.

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Comic Vine: You're known for all your amazing Marvel Comics runs, how did you snag BATMAN/SUPERMAN as your first DC Comics assignment?

Greg Pak: Kind of wild, huh? Jim Lee and I met a few years back when we were both on a panel at the San Diego Asian Film Festival. We hit it off and kept in touch. And a few months ago he called with an offer I couldn't refuse. I'm still pinching myself a little.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1

CV: We saw Batman and Superman's first meeting in JUSTICE LEAGUE #1. Will your story (or first arc) take place after that and before ACTION COMICS #11 (where they casually talk as 'friends')?

GP: Oh, there's definitely more to the story! Our book starts earlier -- around the time of Grant Morrison's ACTION COMICS #1, when Bruce and Clark are young, raw, and extremely dangerous. And yes, in the fullness of time, how this all jibes with what you've already seen will be explored and explained.

CV: Do plan to mainly stick in the New 52 past (totally fine with me!) or will you jump around to whatever time fits the story?

GP: Our first story starts in the past, but we'll get up to present day in due time. We'll also explore how that initial story reverberates through the present day in small and big ways.

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CV: Will there be an overall tone to the book - light-hearted, serious, dark, etc or will it be a mix depending on the story and threat?

GP: Good question! I've done some very serious, dark books -- X-MEN: MAGNETO TESTAMENT and RED SKULL come to mind. And I've done some very light-hearted books -- X-TREME X-MEN is a pretty good example of that. I think BATMAN/SUPERMAN will probably feel more like the heroic adventure books I've done like Planet Hulk.

One of the glories of BATMAN/SUPERMAN is that we have the mandate to explore these characters deeply, really get under their skin and challenge them as men and heroes. At the same time, there's a huge amount of fun to have with Batman and Superman cutting loose on the same page. So the aim is to delve deep with high stakes character development and drama -- while delivering high-octane, mind-bending adventure.

CV: How many issues will your first arc be?

GP: I'm planning on five right now.

CV: Do you plan on approaching the stories in arcs rather than single issues or will you mix it up?

GP: It'll be a mix. Some stories will want a little more space; others will work best as tighter episodes. For most of my comics career, I've worked with four to six issue arcs (or longer). But I'm a big fan of done-in-ones and two or three issue stories as well. I'm hoping to keep it lively. There will also be bigger themes, mysteries, and plotlines that extend over multiple arcs.

ACTION COMICS #11
ACTION COMICS #11

CV: You mentioned that you had some leeway in the story telling. Will you have a list of characters and villains you can and can't use in the New 52 past?

GP: There are always some characters you love but might want to avoid for a while when you start a new book -- they might have just played a huge role in another story or there might be some imminent plans for them elsewhere. Or maybe you want to save them for later. But I haven't been given a master list of characters that can or can't be used. We're just seeing who and what works best for each new story. We're also creating new characters, both heroes and villains. It's been a blast so far!

CV: Can you give us a hint what or who we can expect in the first arc?

GP: Can't reveal the big baddie(s) just yet. But I can say that it'll be a shocker and a surprise and should open the story up in pretty mind-bending ways for the DC Universe. Stay tuned!

BATMAN/SUPERMAN #1 is set for a June 2013 release.