The Greg Pak Shop will be open this summer for just 48 hours starting now! Don’t miss out on your big chance to buy signed Greg Pak comics, including the first volume of the MECH CADET YU series that’s being adapted into a Netflix animated show, the first volume of RONIN ISLAND, and tons of STAR WARS and DARTH VADER books!
The folks at the Asian Author Alliance are organizing an auction fundraiser to help two organizations that work against anti-Asian racism — Stop AAPI Hate and Hate is a Virus. I’m donating a bundle of signed #1 comics featuring Asian and Asian American characters, including TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #1, KINGSWAY WEST #1, MECH CADET YU #1, RONIN ISLAND #1, WAR OF THE REALMS: NEW AGENTS OF ATLAS #1 (with the first appearance of Wave), and AGENTS OF ATLAS #1.
If you’re a writer or creator with books or other items to donate, please click here for more info.
If you’re interested in bidding on items, please keep your eyes on https://kaaarfundraiser.wordpress.com/blog/, where the auction will launch this Friday.
If you’re concerned about this ongoing wave of anti-Asian harassment and violence, another thing you can do is sign up for the Bystander Intervention Training sessions this March from Hollaback! and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Click here to find out more and sign up. I did!
Sending big love to everyone. Please do keep watching out for each other and stay safe out there.
A backer asked for an example of an outline that I used to pitch a comic book series to a publisher. So here you go! Read on one of the early outlines I submitted to BOOM! Studios for the series that eventually became MECH CADET YU.
But first, a little background.
I’d done a ten page story called “Los Robos” with artist Takeshi Miyazawa and letterer Simon Bowland about a kid and his giant robot for the SHATTERED Asian American comics anthology back in 2012. And at the time, I also wrote an outline for a 10 issue LOS ROBOS comic book series. Tak and I strongly considered launching a Kickstarter for LOS ROBOS, but instead we partnered with Jonathan Coulton to do the CODE MONKEY SAVE WORLD Kickstarter.
But I always hoped to get LOS ROBOS off the ground as a series, so when BOOM! editor Cameron Chittock approached me at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con and asked if I might have something that might make sense as a BOOM! book, I hooked him up with the 10 page story and that big outline. He loved it and wanted to do it. But he needed a shorter document to send up the chain internally at BOOM! So I hammered out the document below. And and after a little more discussion and back and forth, that’s pretty much what sealed the deal.
A few things worth noting about this document…
1. It’s pretty short! In Microsoft Word, it’s just two pages! If I’m writing a working outline for an approved series, I don’t necessarily think short is a massive virtue — I prefer getting all my beats down so I know what’s happening in detail issue by issue. But for an initial pitch document like this, two pages might be just right. You want to hook folks who don’t know anything about the project very quickly with your high concept, make them feel something emotionally, and give them a sense of the fun plot developments and twists. If you hit them with ten pages of extreme detail at this preliminary stage, they might never get through it.
2. The pitch actually includes three pitches. There’s the one-liner, helpfully labeled “The Hollywood One-Liner,” a paragraph labeled “The Set Up” which lays out the basic premise, and then a longer description of the story. That’s actually similar to the way I’d pitch a story in person. Set the stage with a one liner, then lay things out a bit more with a paragraph, then dive in for more fun detail and emotional story. It’s a step-by-step method that makes it easy for readers to digest — and makes it easy for them to describe the story to others, which is critical, because they need to be able to sell it to others in house and later to distributors and media.
3. The section labeled “The Personal Story” is essentially the bare-bones outline of the first issue of the series. But I labeled it “The Personal Story” here instead of just “Issue One” because I wanted to signal to the reader that here is where I’m going to tell you about our hero and why you should care. This isn’t the only way to do this, of course. Sometimes in other pitch documents I’ve had a “One-Liner” section with the simple description of the plot and then a “What It’s Really About” section where I briefly state the big emotional arc or theme. For PLANET HULK, that “What It’s Really About” section included the words “A monster becoming a hero.” Here, I think words like “Stanford’s the outsider, brand new to the school and its culture, trying to prove he has what it takes to make it” serve a similar purpose in selling the emotional arc. So there are many different ways you can lay out that emotional story. I’ve just learned it can be critical to find someplace to label it and spell it out, because when push comes to shove, that emotional story is often the deciding factor in making people care enough to green light the project.
A pitch for a comic book series written by Greg Pak with art by Takeshi Miyazawa
10.27.2015 – by Greg Pak – @2015 Pak Man Productions
THE HOLLYWOOD ONE-LINER
Harry Potter meets Pacific Rim.
THE SET UP
For reasons known only to themselves, giant robots from outer space descend upon a mountain in Los Robos, Arizona, once a year — and bond forever with the first human children they encounter. The military, suspicious of the robots but keenly aware of their usefulness, has formed the elite Sky Corps Academy to train young cadets to become giant robot pilots, using their Titan Robos to defend the world from any crisis — including a recent influx of mysterious, terrifying monsters from outer space dubbed the Sharg.
But this year, a Titan Robo picks the wrong kid…
THE PERSONAL STORY
A boy named STANFORD YU works with his mother as a janitor at the Sky Corps Academy. He’s just there to clean up and fix things. But he can’t help but be thrilled by the traditions and ceremonies of the school — and dazzled by the dream of bonding with a Titan Robo.
As our story begins, Stanford’s left to clean up while the school’s top three cadets go to meet this year’s incoming Titan Robos in the great bonding ceremony. But one damaged, underdog Titan Robo never makes it to the mountain — and instead crashes in the desert, where Stanford finds it and helps it fix itself. Stanford points the robo toward the mountain, but the robo just extends its giant hand. The robo’s picked Stanford!
A cadet named PARK, the privileged son of a general and one of the three chosen cadets, demands Stanford’s robo. But the robo’s already bonded with Stanford — and now the janitor’s kid becomes a member of the Sky Corps!
Meanwhile, Park’s father equips his son with a man-made Titan Robo — the military’s attempt to reverse-engineer the technology of the robos but ensure the product is completely under human control.
So Stanford and Park enter the Titan Robo training program, each struggling to bond with and control their strange robots and prepare for war with the Sharg. Stanford and Park are both outsiders with something to prove. Park’s the rich kid, overlooked by the “real” robos, trying to prove he still belongs. Stanford’s the outsider, brand new to the school and its culture, trying to prove he has what it takes to make it.
But Stanford and Park drive each other crazy. Can these two misfits make it through the academy and join the Sky Corps? Or will their rivalry destroy them both — along with their giant robot friends?
THE BIGGER PLOT
As training begins, the Sharg strike — and the cadets are thrust into war and intrigue!
Just before the cadets face their first big skills test with their robos, Park sabotages Stanford’s robo in order to get him kicked out of the Corps and down to the robo maintenance crew. But during the test, the Sharg strike the school! The cadets face their first battle — and begin to grasp how high the stakes are. Stanford and Park demonstrate their talents — Stanford’s a whiz at fixing things and adjusting on the fly; Park’s a killer tactician. They take a small step toward mutual respect as they work together to protect the school and survive.
But their trust in each other and the very institution of the Sky Corps is tested when the Sky Corps headmaster forbids any student from direct involvement in future battles — but their instructor, Captain Skip Tanaka, invites them to secret, unauthorized training sessions. Both Stanford and Park are determined to learn everything they can to prepare for war and prove themselves — but Park’s uneasy about training with Skip behind his father’s back and Stanford worries that Park will rat Skip out to his father. Meanwhile, each boy is learning more about his own robo — bonding more fully with it while also realizing there are things about the robos’ origins and motivations that they still don’t understand at all.
Where do the Titan Robos and the Sharg come from? Why do the Titan Robos bond with children in the first place — and what secret motivations might they really have? And as a man-made robo created by the military, how far can Park’s robo be trusted? As Stanford and Park dig into these mysteries about their closest friends, they uncover a plot masterminded by Park’s father to dismantle the Titan Robos and use their power sources to fuel a completely man-made weapon for a final battle with the Sharg!
With everything they know about their world turning on its head and different sides claiming their loyalty, each boy must come of age, weighing all they’ve learned about trust, reason, love and duty as the final crisis looms.
MECH CADET YU, written by yours truly with line art by Takeshi Miyazawa, has made the Young Adult Library Services Association’s “Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers” nomination list!
Check out the full list here.
Kind of inordinately pleased about this — Stanford Yu, the kid janitor hero of MECH CADET YU, clocked in at #5 in CBR’s list of 20 comic book heroes “who are barely making rent.”
I’m thrilled to announce that our MECH CADET YU comic book series won the Mike Wieringo Spirit Award at the Ringo Awards at the Baltimore Comic Con last night!
The award is given to the book the judges believe most lives up to the spirit of fun and joy that Mike Wieringo’s work epitomized. It’s a huge honor and I’m overwhelmed, proud, and very, very grateful.
Massive thanks to the creative team, Takeshi Miyazawa, Triona Farrell, Jessica Kholinne, Simon Bowland, and Raul Angulo. Massive thanks to our amazing editors Cameron Chittock and Eric Harburn. Massive thanks to everyone at BOOM! who have supported the book so much, including Arune, Mel, Filip, Ross, and Stephanie. And massive thanks to Jeff, Parry, Keith and Jerry, the editors of the SHATTERED Asian American comics anthology where the earliest version of the story first appeared.
And of course, thanks so much to all the readers and reviewers and retailers who have given the book so much love. Without you, this never, ever could have happened.
MECH CADET YU #12, the last issue of our epic series, hits comic book shops on September 12, 2018!
Check out the gorgeous preview pages below, drawn by Takeshi Miyazawa with colors by Raúl Angulo and letters by Simon Bowland!
This is the big, emotional climax to everything we’ve been building since issue one. Huge thanks to everyone who’s supported the book — we’ve been overwhelmed by the incredible good vibes and it’s all thanks to you that our little four issue miniseries got to become a twelve issue epic!
Ask your local comic shop to hold MECH CADET YU #12 for you today!
MECH CADET YU #8, written by yours truly with art by Takeshi Miyazawa, colors by Triona Farrell, and letters by Simon Bowland, hits comic shops this coming Wednesday! Read on for a lettered preview of the issue and ask your comic shop to hold a copy for you today!
MECH CADET YU #6 hits comic shops this Wednesday! The book’s written by yours truly with art by Takeshi Miyazawa, colors by Triona Farrell, and letters by Simon Bowland and continues the story of a group of young cadets and their giant robots taking on the alien monsters known as the Sharg.
Check out the preview below and ask your local shop to hold a copy for you today!
Hey, I’m doing a kids’ book club event and a signing at the Comix Experience comic book shop in San Francisco this coming Sunday, February 11!
See you soon, Bay Area!