Turok is a young Native American who suddenly finds himself fighting man-eating dinosaurs. What? How could this be? You'll have to buy the comic to find out. Until the February 5 release, we asked Pak a few questions about writing this series.
COMIC VINE: Can we assume this is a relaunch/update on the character?
GREG PAK: You bet! When editor Nate Cosby pulled me on board, he gave me free reign. I love the previous incarnations of the character and we've stayed a hundred percent true to the original idea of a Native American fighting dinosaurs, but we've made some pretty big, fun choices in how we're telling the story that we hope will surprise and resonate with readers.
CV: What do readers need to know before jumping into #1?
GP: This is a story about a Native American fighting dinosaurs. THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.
I'm not even really kidding, here. This is great high adventure, alternate history stuff. We're doing some really fun worldbuilding that should appeal to anyone who gets a kick out of historical fiction in particular. But the core of the story is about a young man grappling with a life-and-death struggle that threatens his entire world. WITH DINOSAURS.
CV: What is it about Turok that appeals to you?
GP: I grew up in suburban North Dallas and spent a huge part of my childhood outdoors, riding around on my bike, exploring the nearby creek bed, and camping with my Boy Scout troop. I live in New York City now, but I remain totally compelled by stories about outdoor adventure and visceral struggles with the natural world. I think that's a big part of why PLANET HULK appealed to me back in the day. So it's a total blast cutting lose in the world we're creating for TUROK.
I'm also thrilled by the chance to write a comic book with a Native American lead character. That's a shockingly rare thing in the world. Yes, there have been a number of great Native American comic book characters over the years. But how many starred in their books? And how many books with any people of color as the lead characters are out there right now? I love diversity in storytelling and am hugely excited to be able to run with this character in this way.
CV: Were you a fan of the Gold Key characters?
GP: TUROK and MAGNUS were the characters I knew back in the day, and I loved 'em. I actually never read that many of the actual books, partly because some of the revivals came about during a time when I just wasn't buying that many monthly comics. But the audacity of the concepts always made me grin. Since I came on board with TUROK, I've gone back and read some of the earliest stories, and they always entertain me. Again, that emphasis on sheer survival in a brutal natural world has a huge appeal for me.
CV: Over the years there have been different retellings of the character. What do you plan to do to put your mark on the character and make this version stand out?
GP: When you say "Native American fighting dinosaurs," you inspire a whole host of intriguing questions. What kind of world are we living in that would have humans and dinosaurs living at the same time? What explanations can make that possible? What time in Native American history are we looking at? And what starts the conflict?
We've come up with answers to all of these questions that I'm pretty sure are different from anything that's ever been done with the character, but allow us to run with this core concept in incredibly exciting directions. There's some huge worldbuilding we're doing that will open the story up in some crazy ways, but I'll hold my tongue on that for now.
In terms of emotional story, we're taking a new route by starting with a younger Turok. He's a very young man and an exile from his tribe, for reasons that will be revealed as the series progresses. So he'll have some big choices to make about whose side he's going to be on when things get hairy. We're building a real hero's journey for a young man on the verge here, and I'm loving it.
With DINOSAURS, by the way.
CV: What time frame will the series take place or is that something we'll have to wait and see?
GP: I should probably tease this out. But you know what? I'm just going to tell you. We're setting this in the 1200s, which opens some incredible doors for us in terms of actual history. I'll say no more!
Did you ever play any of the video game versions of Turok?
GP: Alas, no. I'll probably have to get on that, eventually.
CV: How would you feel if you had to go up against a dinosaur with a bow and arrow?
GP: I would try to make friends, because I'm a lover, not a fighter.
And then I would get eaten.
Mark your calendars and get ready for TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER #1, on sale February 5, 2014. Let your comic shop know you want this added to your pull list.