Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Exclusive Interview: Greg Pak Talks Code Monkey Save World, Its Kickstarter Kickoff And More

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As you might have heard by now, Greg Pak (Planet Hulk, Batman/Superman, X-Treme X-Men) is working on a new project based on the songs of internet superstar musician Jonathan Coulton.

Code Monkey Save World, a graphic novel, will be written by Pak and drawn by Takeshi Miyazawa (Runaways). Jessica Kholinne (X-Treme X-Men) will color and Simon Bowland (Incredible Hercules) will letter. The book will be distributed digitally by Monkeybrain Comics via comiXology.

The Code Monkey Save World Kickstarter launched April 15 and reached $79,000 on its second day, more than doubling its initial goal of $39,000, and is presently over $100,000.

As a result, Pak and Coulton have increased the page count of the final graphic novel from 60 to 80 pages. All backers who choose rewards that include the book will receive the expanded book at no extra cost. All backers who choose mailed rewards will also receive Code Monkey Save World stickers at no extra charge.

The Kickstarter will run until May 15 and can be reached via www.codemonkeycomix.com.

Always anxious to get in on the ground floor, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer exclusively rushed Pak into the CBN offices for a quick discussion on the musically-oriented comic.

Cosmic Book News: Talk about a very eclectic comic! How did this project come about, Greg?

Greg Pak: I've been a big Jonathan Coulton fan since forever -- we actually went to college together. But just this last November, after listening to his songs dozens of times, I suddenly realized that a bunch of his songs feature these kind of heartbroken monsters and super-villains. And if you put them together, you could have a heck of a super-villain team-up story. So I joked about it on Twitter. And he tweeted back "DO IT." And so we did!

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CBN: How did you go about choosing characters from Jonathan’s songs?

Greg Pak: From the beginning, I knew the lovelorn villain from "Skullcrusher Mountain" and the put-upon coding monkey from "Code Monkey" were going to be key. And pretty early, I realized they needed to team up. What makes it work is that both of these characters are just hopeless when it comes to romance. They long after these amazing women who just aren't that aware of them. But Code Monkey's still pretty much an innocent while Skullcrusher's a full on super-villain. So there's a great tension here -- a big question about just how far each of them will go, and in what direction.

CBN: Talk about bringing the characters like Code Monkey to life for the comic. How involved was Jonathan? Did Takeshi do the designs or work under your and Jonathan's scrutiny and instruction?

Greg Pak: Jonathan and I have been working together every step of the way, so he's been in on all of the conversations and email chains with our artist, the brilliant Takeshi Miyazawa. I sent Tak the outline for the whole book and a few sentences describing Code Monkey and the other characters. And Tak sent back these incredible character designs. And Jonathan and I both pretty much said, "YES, THAT!"

Here and there, I gave Tak some notes and we refined some stuff -- like figuring out just what hair style would make the Creepy Doll the creepiest. But man, Tak just gets it! He knows what makes these characters tick.  Just in his quick character sketches, you can totally feel their whole essence. It's amazing.

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CBN: So what is going on in Code Monkey Save World?

Greg Pak: Code Monkey and Skullcrusher team up to save Code Monkey's unrequited love Matilde from Laura the Robo Queen's slave colonies on Chiron Beta Prime. The twist? Skullcrusher's in love with Laura -- and when push comes to shove, is he going to be more interested in helping Code Monkey or impressing the Robo Queen?

Also, zombies!

Now give us all your money! (laughs)

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CBN: So Monkeybrain (appropriately, I guess) and comiXology are involved? Tell us about all the Kickstarter business.

Greg Pak: It's an 80-page graphic novel that will be released in four chapters digitally via Monkeybrain and comiXology and then in physical trade paperback form via me and Jonathan. Kickstarter backers get the comics first -- the plan is to start to release each chapter on a monthly basis starting in August. Kickstarter backers get exclusive access to each issue for a month, then each issue will become available to the general public. The physical books will first be sent only to Kickstarter backers. Eventually we'll sell them to the general public, too, but only after a nice exclusive window for Kickstarter backers.

CBN: Wow! We don’t know when you have the time, but any other projects now or in the future you are especially excited about?

Greg Pak: The Batman/Superman book I'm writing debuts in June, and it's going to be crazy. Jae Lee's drawing it, and it's so insanely pretty I have to physically restrain myself from sharing the images as they come into my email box.

Cosmic Book News wants to thank Greg Pak for taking time out of his busy schedule for this interview.

Head on over here to read our interview with Grek Pak about "Batman/Superman."

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