All posts by Greg

2022.05.17 – DUO #1 signing and film camera/comics swap in Brooklyn!

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be signing DUO #1, the first issue of my latest comic book series, at Anyone Comics in Brooklyn (1216 Union Street) on Tuesday, May 17! The signing starts at 6 pm and will be OUTDOORS for maximum safety! Click here for the full details!

As an added bonus, we’re doing something a little wild and different by running a film camera/comics swap at the signing!

Greg Pak self portrait 1985/2022

I’ve gotten back into analog film photography this year, and I’m obsessed with old cameras. So if you have old 35mm cameras, lenses, film, or gear lying around, feel free to bring them to the signing and I might trade you some signed comics for them! Or feel free to trade with other folks who might show up with gear!

Please note that I’m really only looking for analog film cameras – not digital cameras. Also, some old film lenses were made with thorium and are actually slightly radioactive (I KNOW, RIGHT?) and I’m very specifically NOT looking for those, so please feel free to leave your radioactive lenses at home, thanks! 🙂

A thing I’ll almost certainly swap you something for:

  • Unexposed 35mm film – even if it’s expired! I’ll bring a bunch of single issue comics and I’ll swap you one for every roll of film you bring!

Things I’m generally interested in and would love to check out:

  • Canon FD prime lenses.
  • Film cameras with full manual control. Particularly curious about the Canon AT-1 and the Pentax MX right now. Classic all-manual cameras I’d love to try out some day.
  • Rangefinders and TLRs – haven’t gotten into either of these kinds of camera yet, but I’m curious!

And I’m happy to look at any other film cameras or gear or (non-radioactive) lenses you want to bring in! I may or may not want to trade for everything, but I’m always happy to look at stuff and swap film stories!

AND LET’S NOT FORGET: I’m really proud of DUO #1 and thrilled to be working with the creative team of Khoi Pham, Scott Hana, Chris Sotomayor, Janice Chiang, Andrea Shea, Jim Chadwick, and all the amazing cover artists! Check out an interview and preview at AIPT Comics and don’t miss this book!

DUO #1 cover by Dike Ruan and Miquel Muerto

Announcing the I BELONG TO YOU / MOTHERLAND illustrated book and music project! Virtual event tonight; concert and book premiere in Austin on June 25!

I Belong to You / Motherland cover

I’m thrilled to announce I BELONG TO YOU/MOTHERLAND, a new, deeply personal project created in collaboration with the Inversion Ensemble music group of Austin, Texas, and a crew of incredible artists, including Sean Chen, Dustinn Craig, Shing Yin Khor, Ann Smith, and Ethan Young.

Tonight at 8 pm ET, I’ll be discussing the project with artist Ann Smith in a virtual panel accessible to anyone who donates $50 or more to Inversion! Make your donation before 5 pm at https://www.inversionatx.org/donate and they’ll hook you up with the link to the event tonight!

I BELONG TO YOU/MOTHERLAND is an autobiographical epic poem that’s simultaneously being adapted into an illustrated book and a choral piece that will be performed by Inversion on June 25 in Austin.

The story explores growing up as an Asian American kid in Texas in the 1970s and 1980s and grappling with the sense of not quite belonging while simultaneously feeling totally bound to the environment and flora and fauna of the state. The story’s also about my mother, Jane Pak, and how she taught me to observe and participate in the world.

Hope to see you at the virtual event tonight, and if you’re in Austin, I’d be honored if you’d consider coming to the performance on June 25 — please see below for more details about that.

And yes, the illustrated book, which will include brilliant work by the artists mentioned above along with my mother’s luminous black and white photography and other ephemera from the 1970s and 1980s, will eventually be available for purchase — more details on that soon!

_____________________________________________________________________

INVERSION ENSEMBLE presents I BELONG TO YOU
June 25, 2022, at 7:30 pm — Bates Recital Hall
2406 Robert Dedman Dr, Austin, TX 78712

Inversion presents “I Belong to You,” a spectacular multimedia experience featuring the world premiere of Motherland/I Belong to You, an unprecedented oratorio blending poetry, comic book illustration, and choral music. The autobiographical libretto by critically acclaimed comic book author Greg Pak (The Incredible Hulk, Star Wars) explores the history, culture, and natural wonders of Texas from the perspective of a native Texan during the various stages of his life.

The musical adaptation of Pak’s text by Inversion’s three founding members—composers Adrienne Inglis, Robbie LaBanca, and Trevor F. Shaw—will be sung by Inversion’s flagship choral ensemble and accompanied by guest artists Invoke string quartet and Ethan Shaw (Chili Cold Blood), steel guitarist.

I Belong to You / Motherland will also be published as an original comic book by Greg Pak, commissioned by Inversion, with illustrations by renowned artists Ann Smith, Dustinn Craig, Ethan Young, Sean Chen, and Shing Yin Khor. Audience members will enjoy live, on-screen projections of the original artwork during the performance. V.I.P. tickets include a hardback, limited-edition version of the comic book, signed by the author.
Join Inversion Ensemble and Greg Pak on Saturday, June 25, 7:30 pm in Bates Recital Hall at the UT Butler School of Music for “I Belong to You,” sponsored in part by Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy.

Purchase your tickets here.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inversion-ensemble-presents-i-belong-to-you-tickets-270735064867

Emails, 2021

thank you so much for your patience
    pretty bad month
fell behind on correspondence
    rough couple of weeks
little behind on everything
    tough few days
hugely appreciate the kind words
    worst fucking year of my life
appreciate you so much

slowly getting back onto this kind of work over here
finally getting back in the swing of things
finally back at it
at long, long last
please find attached
more soon

so sorry for dropping out there for a bit
huge apologies for the radio silence
still running a little slow over here
absolutely understand if

oh no
I’m so sorry to hear
please accept our deepest

best wishes and
big hearts and
all the best and
stay safe and
thanks so much and

please best hearts safe thanks
please hearts thanks
please

2022.02.02 – STRANGER THINGS: ERICA THE GREAT in comic shops today!

Thrilled to report that STRANGER THINGS: ERICA THE GREAT hits comic shops today! Written by Danny Lore and yours truly with art by Valeria Favoccia, colors by Dan Jackson, letters by Nate Piekos, and cover by Ron Chan!

From the official blurb:

In this middle grade foray into the 80’s-nostalgia hit series from Netflix, when Erica’s frenemy loses track of her mother’s prized parakeet, the two will have to work together to return the bird safe and sound, or deal with the consequences. They learn that even the toughest and smartest people need a little help now and then.

Ask your local comics shop to hold a copy for you today!

Three Good Things: public domain natural history art, the FlipBlade, and a secret new project

Hard week in a hard month, huh? Taking the time to remind myself of good things. Here are three for today:

ONE: The Biodiversity Heritage Library!

This week I did a search for some public domain natural history art and found a mind-boggling collection called the Biodiversity Heritage Library. You can read about the project here and view the collections on Flickr here. Album after album of stunning, gorgeous, historically fascinating images. (NOTE: not every single image in the archive is public domain – be sure to check the details before using ’em!)

Snapping turtle art from North American Herpetology by John Edwards Holbrook, from the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

TWO: The Belkin FlipBlade!

Around ten or twelve years ago, I bought a small, sleek iPad stand called the Belkin FlipBlade, and it’s still one of my favorite accessories of all time. I love the simplicity of the design and the slow, smooth way the spring-powered blade opens out from the base. Quietly and tremendously satisfying. They don’t make ’em any more, but they pop up from time to time on resale sites. Yes, it’s a tiny thing, but that’s what Three Good Things is all about. Feel lucky to have one!

THREE: Secret new project!

I’ve spent a good chunk of the week immersed in book design for a new secret project, and it’s been a huge creative rush. Not to jinx it, but I’m realizing I’ve accumulated enough Photoshop skills and design sense over the years to bring together the disparate elements of this project with the subtlety and detail they deserve. And I’ve got the collaborators asking me the right questions to push it over the top. Hugely grateful. Tiny tease below – more soon!

can you stop being clever

can you stop being clever
stop making connections
cut out every simile and metaphor
no more rhyming
no more rhythm
just let it fall from your mouth
heedless, formless, and true
like rain from the–
aw shit

Three Good Things: Brand New Day, Sagat story, chicken salad

Another hard day with plenty of terrible things to mull over and deal with. But here’s three good things…

  1. Luther Vandross’s “Brand New Day/Everybody Rejoice” always makes me feel better. I first encountered it in THE WIZ. Here’s the original version.
  2. The story about Bob Sagat that begins with this tweet is just beautiful and hilarious and a real tribute to making the most of every moment. I’ve been getting tons of comfort from the Sinatra song “I’m Gonna Live ‘Til I Die” recently, and everyone in that story seems to have really lived with that glorious energy.
  3. Remember that roast chicken I talked about the other day? I made chicken salad out of the leftovers, and it was absolutely glorious. Liked it even more than the original meal. Just some chopped chicken, a little light mayo, diced celery, and some sea salt. But wow. It’s the little things, friends, day after day.

Three Good Things

Many years ago, in the wake of 9/11, I set up a website called Three Good Things where, shockingly enough, I’d periodically post lists of three good things.

This year is off to a harrowing enough start that it feels like a good emotional and spiritual exercise to revive Three Good Things. So here we go!

  1. Homemade chicken broth. Made some tonight from the bones of a roasted chicken that I’d seasoned with garlic, onion, shallots, salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. The broth is absolutely incredible – the smoked paprika put it over the top. Not sure what I’m gonna use it for yet, but it’s already worth it for the five sips I took as it simmered.
  2. The vaccines and boosters. Yes, everything is terrible. But things would be exponentially worse without the vaccines, which decrease the chances of getting infected and, probably even more critically, vastly decrease the severity of the disease if you do get infected. Please get vaxxed, friends. And if you’re vaxxed, get boosted. I want us all to survive and thrive.
  3. The “I fucking love fingerling potatoes!” line in DON’T LOOK UP. Ridiculous and funny and deeply moving in context all at once. My favorite moment in the movie.

2021 Gratitude

My mom died in August, which pretty much makes 2021 the worst year of my life. But here on the first day of 2022, I’m going to focus on some of the things from this last year that I’m deeply grateful for, because, hey, today I’m gonna laugh instead of cry.

ONE

Jane Pak, my beloved mother, knew how much I loved her and I knew how much she loved me. This grief will never disappear, but it’s a tribute to her love. You can read more about her here.

TWO

I got a fucking tumor cut out of my jaw. On my birthday this year I shaved for the first time since 2018, and I discovered a bulge at the edge of my right jaw. After several months, a series of ever more specialized specialists determined it was an inch-long, benign adenoma in my parotid gland, and on December 3, a surgeon finally cut it out. I’m deeply grateful that the tumor was indeed benign. I’m deeply grateful that the procedure went beautifully and the worst possible side effect of facial paralysis did not occur. And I’m deeply grateful we were able to get it done between the Delta and Omicron surges of this unending pandemic.

THREE

My mom’s greatest joy during the pandemic was a book club she ran for the young people in our extended family. I joined early last year to run a writing workshop and a Dungeons & Dragons campaign after their book club sessions. My mom eventually joined the writing workshop herself, which was an incredible experience and delight, and we’ve continued the workshop and D&D sessions after her death. These sessions are very often the very best part of my week.

FOUR

In the wake of the surge of anti-Asian violence in March and April, I went to therapy for the first time this year, and it helped a lot.

FIVE

So many friends and family members reached out in big and small ways over the course of the year. Every kind word meant the world. If you’re one of those people, thank you so much.

SIX

My everyday work of writing comic book scripts was agonizingly hard in the immediate aftermath of my mother’s death. But at a certain point, writing became a kind of balm. Never easy. But it stopped feeling like I was damaging myself by working, and eventually began to feel like I was helping myself by writing. Writing has always been my way of figuring out what the hell is going on in the world and in my own brain and heart. Returning to deeply personal writing, not all of which is for publication, has been a succor.

SEVEN

Speaking of writing, I’m grateful for poetry. When it was hard to write anything else, I wrote poems this year. And I’ve kept going, writing things in poetry that I couldn’t imagine writing any other way. Rediscovering and re-exploring a medium that I loved when I was younger has been gloriously liberating and reinvigorating.

EIGHT

Cooking breaks my heart and puts it back together again. When I’m cooking, I’m not asking myself what I’m doing with my life. I know exactly what I’m doing: preparing food for people I love, which always feels like exactly the right thing to do in the moment.

NINE

I’m grateful for my Dark Horse editors and collaborators for their tremendous support of the STRANGER THINGS: TOMB OF YBWEN book we put out this year. I wrote those scripts before my mother died, but they’re all about grief and loss and they mean so much to me. I’m grateful for my Marvel editors and collaborators for their tremendous support of the DARTH VADER books I wrote this year. Ochi of Bestoon in particular has been a joy to write. His ridiculous, brash cockiness has provided the tonal shift I’ve needed time and time again. I’m grateful for my BOOM editors and collaborators for their tremendous support of the FIREFLY books I wrote this year. I wrapped up my 36 issue run on the book with two issues with no fights, a single explosion, and all heart, and my editors and collaborators pulled out all the stops to make every page sing.

TEN

Cooking Will Break Your Heart

I’m grateful for the readers who bought my comics during this pandemic and for the 1,098 backers of my COOKING WILL BREAK YOUR HEART cookbook memoir Kickstarter campaign. A number of people said impossibly nice things about the importance of my writing to them, and that meant a lot this year in particular. The success of COOKING WILL BREAK YOUR HEART campaign also meant a huge amount because it’s the most personal writing I’ve put out into the world in years, and affirmation for that kind of work is just tremendous. And since we live in a world in which we need money to eat and live, I enormously appreciate the fact that so many people paid real dollars for my books and supported the CWBYH campaign. Thank you so much.

ELEVEN

Speaking of money, I’m so grateful to the folks who supported the various fundraisers I pushed this last year. I gave half of my Greg Pak Shop income to comic book shops in an initiative that ended in October, so if you bought books there, you helped channel hundreds of dollars to the small business people who are the backbone of our industry. I made some pretty nifty VACCINATED pins and mailed them to people who donated to food banks or mutual aid groups, and folks ponied up $3400. I helped organize an online happy hour for the AAAJ Chicago to support their bystander intervention trainings that raised a few thousand bucks. And throughout the year, when I posted about various GoFundMes or charitable groups on Twitter, people stepped up and helped spread the word and donated. I literally teared up multiple times when I saw how fast people jumped on board to help each other. Thank you so much.

TWELVE

I’m so grateful for the vaccines. It’s easy to fall into despair as we face this latest pandemic surge. But the vaccines are vastly decreasing the severity of the virus and the death rate. Please get vaccinated and boosted if you haven’t already. I want us all to thrive.

THIRTEEN

I’m grateful for sheepshead minnows and the aquariums I’ve been keeping throughout the pandemic. They make me happy every time I see ’em swimming around in there.

FOURTEEN

I’m grateful for books like THE MAGIC FISH, THE LEGEND OF AUNTIE PO, LONELINESS OF THE LONG-DISTANCE CARTOONIST, and the upcoming EVERYDAY HERO MACHINE BOY, all of which gave me comfort and joy this year.

FIFTEEN

I’m grateful for Stevie Wonder, Gil Scott-Heron, and Aretha Franklin. Grateful for the SUMMER OF SOUL and GET BACK documentaries. Grateful for the movie AMADEUS, which I rewatched for the first time in decades the other night. Grateful for the Frank Sinatra song “I’m Gonna Live ‘Til I Die,” which seriously makes me feel better every time I listen to it.

I’m gonna live till I die,
I’m gonna laugh ‘stead of cry.
I’m gonna take the town and turn it upside down
I’m gonna live, live, live till I die.