To some "Battlestar Galactica" is a campy '70s TV show that lasted only one season. To others, it's a fantastic and highly successful re-imagining of the same show for today's more demanding audience, now airing weekly on the Sci-Fi channel. And to others still, it's a highly successful comic book from Dynamite Entertainment, written by Greg Pak, author of, among other comics, "The Hulk" and "X-Men: Phoenix Warsong." With the latest issue #2 of "Battlestar Galactica" flying off the shelves, CBR news spoke to Pak about his involvement with the comic book to see if he, like the Cylons, has a plan.
Greg Pak is something of an enigma in the comic book world due to his unusual background. He didn't start out writing comics but instead, started as a film director. The story of how he got into comics sounds rather simple when he tells it, but his story is far from simple and one that many other struggling comics writers must surely envy, if only just a little. "I'm a filmmaker by training - probably best known for my feature 'Robot Stories.' At the time my film was hitting theaters, my agent sent the screenplay to Marvel. The editors there apparently liked it, and a year or so later I was writing comics," Pak told CBR news.
Because of his background as a filmmaker, Pak approaches writing his comic book creations in a very visual way. This ability allows him to communicate in a great deal of detail with the artists working on the "Battlestar Galactica" comic book with him. "I tend to put a ridiculous amount of detail into the scripts about the panels and blocking and layouts. And then the artists make it their own. Sometimes they'll draw things pretty much the way I've described them; usually, they'll get inspired and make it much, much better," said Pak. These skills learned as a filmmaker also serve him well when writing the book. "On a purely aesthetic level, writing comics and writing films are very similar undertakings. Anyone who's good at one has mastered skills which will be helpful in tackling the other," said Pak.
So does Pak have any advice for filmmakers or other aspiring comic book writers on how to get into the comic book writing business? "I think all writers have a little man inside. We want to ignore him, because he's telling us what's wrong with our work, and that's never pleasant. But we have to listen to him and work as hard as we can to take his advice, because that's the only way to get better," said Pak.
As for his involvement with Dynamite Entertainment and the "Battlestar Galactica" comic book in particular, like many other things in his career, Pak came to the project in an indirect way. "Nick from Dynamite actually called me about a different property. But once he let slip that he had the comic book license for the new 'Battlestar Galactica' series, I couldn't stop thinking about it," said Pak.
Pak's vision for his "Battlestar Galactica" story contains all of the usual characters made so popular by the current TV series and will take place in the same universe and timeline as the show. Apollo, Adama, Starbuck, Col. Tigh, President Roslyn and most of the other characters all appear in the comic but here will be one or two surprises for readers as they turn the pages each month. "We're staying absolutely true to the BSG world. The comic book series fits right into the continuity of the show, telling an untold epic story that provides new angles on the characters and themes we all love. Our biggest 'new' character is actually a character who died before the events of the series ever began -- Adama's son Zak," said Pak.
How much did Pak know about the original "Battlestar Galactica" or the new series before he came aboard the comic book? Was he a fan or was it another case of happenstance? The answer is simple and will surely please hardcore fans of the show - Pak is one of you and a huge fan. "I loved the original series when I was a kid and totally got hooked on the new series from the first five minutes of the first hour of the miniseries." And because Pak is such a fan and knows how important things like continuity and staying "true" to the "Battlestar Galactica" world is to the legion of his fellow fans, he will take a great deal of care to stay within the rules established by the show and Executive Producer Ron Moore.
How will he make sure this happens? By talking to the people at Universal and Sci-Fi Channel in charge of the show and even going to the man himself and getting his blessing. "When I first came on board, we had no idea what kind of story Universal would approve. So I just watched and re-watched all the episodes that were out at the time and created a story that followed up on the elements I found the most moving and compelling. And, amazingly, when it came time to talk with Universal, they approved everything. I had the chance to have one great conference call with Ron Moore - he asked us some key questions and made some key suggestions and we were off to the races," said Pak.
Pak summed up his experience so far working on the "Battlestar Galactica" comic book and dealing with Universal, Sci-Fi Channel and Ron Moore this way: "I'm loving it. Working on the 'Battlestar Galactica' comic has been a total dream - every one of my crazy ideas has been approved."
Much like the Cylons, it looks like Greg pak does have a plan for the comic book version of the hit TV series "Battlestar Galactica." And even though there are many copies of the Cylons, there's only one Greg Pak. The good news is that's all we need.