Our friend writer Greg Pak is collaborating once again with artist Takeshi Miyazawa on a new four-issue miniseries titled MECH CADET YU, scheduled to come out in August from BOOM! Studios.
Pak and Miyazawa have worked together a number of times in the past, most notably on THE TOTALLY AWESOME HULK where they co-created the character of Amadeus Cho, and other titles including the Kickstarter-funded CODE MONKEY SAVE WORLD.
MECH CADET YU follows Stanford Yu, a janitor’s son, who fights to defend the world from evil aliens with the help of giant robots from outer space.
CBR.com spoke to both Pak and Miyazawa about their upcoming project where they discussed everything from the tone of their story to the importance of Asian American representation in pop culture:
What’s the tone of the series? Just from what I’ve heard of it so far, it feels all-ages in that Pixar way, but invoking Pacific Rim in the synopsis certainly suggests plenty of action.
Pak: I’m really not writing it any differently than I write anything else, meaning it’s got all the emotional nuance and action and fun dialogue I can come up with. But it’s got kid heroes and almost everything is seen from their POV. It’s absolutely all ages, meaning it’s totally appropriate for kids but entirely enjoyable and emotionally compelling for adults as well.
And yes, it’s got plenty of action and a big, high-stakes threat that will ramp up as the series goes on.
Greg, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of representation of Asian-American characters in pop culture. Specifically, how important do you find writing a young male Asian-American character in this series?
Pak: It’s hugely important to me. I’ve thought a lot about it in terms of this particular genre, as well. We’ve seen tons of robot stories from Asia and a bunch of robot stories from America. It’s a genre that’s hugely important to a lot of Asian Americans, but I’m hard-pressed to think of many stories like this that actually star Asian Americans. So, I started thinking about the interesting ways this could play out with specifically Asian-American characters and got very excited.
I’m also excited about writing a story that specifically features kids who are Asian-American heroes. Studies of children’s literature have shown a really astounding lack of diversity among lead characters. I’ve had Asian-American kids come up to me at cons with big stacks of Amadeus Cho comics for me to sign and it honestly makes me choke up. Kids need and deserve to see faces like theirs in the stories they read so they can be affirmed that they do indeed belong, that they have all the value of everyone else in this world. And just as importantly, kids need and deserve to see heroes with faces different from theirs in the stories they read so they can learn empathy and expand their view of who belongs and has value. I want as many kids as possible to read this book for both of those reasons.
And it’s just the way I always saw the story in my head. It’s how these characters looked to me when I first conceived it, and I’m thrilled they’ve resonated with folks and are coming to life that way.
How special is the creative partnership between the two of you? What kinds of stories are you able to create together you’re not with other creative partners?
Pak: Tak and I co-created Amadeus Cho back in the day for Marvel, and I remember seeing his very first character designs and thinking, “Oh, man, he gets it.” Somehow, Tak just lives in my head. He gets the kind of characters I write, the kinds of emotional scenes that resonate with me, the kinds of subtle humor and goofy slapstick and big action that I love. I can practically see how he’s gonna draw these characters and scenes as I’m writing. It’s just a tremendous thing to be able to work with an artist, and I just love it. Thank you, Tak!
Miyazawa: I feel the same way, Greg! Greg’s scripts are written in a very visual way, and, I dunno, things just immediately click for me when I read them. Also, his stories and characters are never too serious and there is always a sense of adventure and fun. I’m just glad he likes my drawings enough to keep working with me! Thank you, Greg!
To read the full interview, click here.