Contrary to popular belief, the Dos Equis spokesperson is not the most interesting man in the world. That title now belongs to Greg Pak, author of the very popular Marvel comic: Totally Awesome Hulk that just happened to feature current Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin. It’s not everyday you come across someone as educated, diverse, or interesting as he is.
Pak’s origins story started in Texas and took him all the way to the halls of Yale, where he studied Political Science as an undergrad before attending the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar to study history with the intention of getting into politics. He was particularly inspired after working on Ann Richards‘ first gubernatorial campaign. Despite serious political ambitions, Pak always kept his passion for writing alive.
“I grew up drawing and writing short stories; I’ve basically wanted to be a writer since I was nine” Pak told Brook-Lin.com.“But for whatever reason, I stopped thinking about that as a career goal somewhere along the way and studied political science as an undergrad at Yale. I also took creative writing classes and did improv comedy with the Purple Crayon and drew cartoons for the Yale Daily News Magazine and the Yale Record.”
While at Oxford, he did not let his passion die. He continued to write and draw as he studied to become a politician, but it wasn’t long until he found himself in front of a new medium: film. After getting involved with a student film group, he decided to attend NYU’s prestigious graduate film program.
At NYU, Pak would unknowingly take his first steps down the path that would eventually lead him to work on such projects like World War Hulk, Teen Titans, and Batman/Superman. Following some short films that were largely well-received by his peers, he made arguably his best film to date, Robot Stories.
“Robot Stories is an independent Sci-Fi movie made up of four Twilight-Zone-length stories,” Pak said. “But each one of those stories tells an intimate, emotional story about families and couples struggling with some question of love and death. None of those stories are autobiographical, but they’re all personal in the sense that they’re emotionally raw and honest. I’ve tried to carry that approach into all my storytelling, combining fun genre hijinks with genuine emotional storytelling.”
His raw and honest storytelling sprinkled with humor and hijinks got the attention of a wide audience, including Marvel, who asked for a meeting with Pak after editors got their hands on the script of Robot Stories. A meeting with Marvel is probably something every kid that read comics growing up dreamed about. For Pak, comics played a large part in how he grew up.
“I grew up biking to the local 7-11 and later to the local comic shop every week to buy comics. My favorites back in the day were Micronauts and Moon Knight“ Pak said. “That wild, epic storytelling in the original Mantlo/Golden Micronauts run and those gritty, trippy stories and art of the Moench/Sienkiewicz Moon Knight issues had a huge impact on me.” Pak continued, “But even before that, my first love in comics was probably Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. I still reread those collections. The irony and emotion and wryness and fortitude of those strips have probably shaped me in ways I don’t even know.”