Stephanie Carmichael of Impulse Creations has interviewed writer Greg Pak about his Marvel Comics miniseries “X-Men: Magneto Testament,” which follows a boy and his family as they struggle to survive against the Nazi onslaught from 1935 to 1945. Here’s an excerpt:
Impulse: We get a really interesting family dynamic going on here, too. What made you decide to portray Max’s family in this way? I mean, what were some of the things you thought were important and that you wanted to clearly portray when showing his home life?
Greg: The key was always to make Max’s family completely understandable as the kind of everyday, decent, funny, brave, and sometimes goofy folks any of us might know and love. They’re not faceless, helpless victims; instead, we wanted to depict them as everyday heroes struggling to make sense of their suddenly insane world in ways with which readers could completely identify. Most importantly, I wanted to find ways to show the tremendous love Max’s father has for his family—especially his son. My favorite moments in the series have been little interactions between Max and his father—the tiny gestures, the little jokes, and the awkward embraces. I love Max’s father as much as any character I’ve ever created.
Impulse: You handle the oppression and rise of the Nazis with such finesse in the comic. It’s subtle at some points (even though the reader is certainly aware, from knowing about what Magneto went through growing up and also the historical context), and dramatically strong at others. Why did you feel this route would work, and how does it play into the overall story, especially regarding Max as a character? Was there anything that influenced you in the way you chose to tell it?
Greg: I wanted to begin the story relatively early so that we could get to know Max and his family as human beings before the full gravity of their situation sank in. And I knew we should see almost everything from Max’s point of view. That would let us discover things bit by bit at the same time he does and help us understand how the Nazi rise and the Final Solution crept up around and then swept away their victims.