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Author Topic: Who can save Superman now? KURT BUSIEK!  (Read 147520 times)
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2005, 04:54:35 AM »

Quote from: "Super Monkey"
Welcome to the site Kurt Busiek, as you can see you have a lot of fans here, so I hope you will return and post when you are able.


I've been poking around -- it looks like a fun site.

kdb
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dto
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2005, 08:24:55 AM »

Greetings, Mr. Busiek.  As a longtime fan of Superboy-Prime, I immensely enjoyed your "Superman: Secret Identity", and I found your introduction to the TPB edition a fascinating "behind the scenes" look at how an original concept is developed and transformed along the arduous road to publication.  

Thank you very much for a thoroughly uplifting and satisfying tale.  Even with the necessary compromises to gain DC's approval of a "Superboy-Prime" story, I was very pleased with "Superman: Secret Identity".  And I certainly hope if Superboy-Prime ever leaves that "Paradise Dimension" that you will finally have a chance to work with this character.  I know he will be in the right hands.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2005, 10:44:55 AM »

Hmmm, my fault for taking hearsay at face value. Although when I heard the heckling story, it brought a smile to my face not just because of the funny mental image, but also because of the idea that Kurt Busiek's easygoing airs are a pose for a rarely seen inner strength and conviction.

Here's a couple questions I've wondered about, Mr. Busiek:

1) If you were given an opportunity, All-Star Style, to write Superman, what sort of Superman story would you tell?

2) And since you're a big Englehart fan, by all accounts, what sort of Superman stories would you speculate that Stainless Steve would have told, or what insights into the character and his world would he have had?

I suspect Englehart would have really, really reached back and brought out some Golden Age concepts, like for example, he would possibly answer a question no one has answered, like why Earth-2 Superman could only jump at first but switched to flying, or provide a sequel to a story or plot thread that everyone else has forgotten (remember the escaped Earth-Eating Mole loose end I brought up from the Brainiac story? Steve did whole stories about little things like that). Remember, Stainless Steve was the guy that brought out in DETECTIVE COMICS Hugo Strange, Deadshot (who only appeared once before), and had references to Julie Madison. Would he possibly have created an Earth-1 version of the Ultra-Humanite, still an evil paraplegic? Steve - who is never afraid of a new status quo (he married the Vision and Scarlet Witch, and didn't come up with cockeyed ways to get Johnny and Alicia back together like a lesser writer would have) and has an admiration for strong women (Wanda, Silver St. Cloud) would probably have totally redefined the Lois/Superman dynamic in a very shocking yet satisfying way, like marrying them off, or having Lois learn Superman's secret identity, or even falling "out of love" with him.

Steve also would have brought out a Superman villain known for only a few appearances, ask what happened to them, and brought them back in a phenomenally effective way, a villain such as (for instance) someone like Diana Savage or the Galactic Golem.

Steve also would probably define and cement certain relationships that were fairly nebulous; what is the nature of the bond between Superman and his cousin, Supergirl? He probably would have had some interesting insights about the fatherly Superman/Jimmy Olsen friendship.

One thing's for sure, though: if Steve had written Superman, we'd still be talking about it now.  :wink:
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2005, 02:29:07 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Hmmm, my fault for taking hearsay at face value. Although when I heard the heckling story, it brought a smile to my face not just because of the funny mental image, but also because of the idea that Kurt Busiek's easygoing airs are a pose for a rarely seen inner strength and conviction.

Golly, Julian!  I wouldn't confuse being a jerk to someone on a con panel or stage for "rarely seen inner strength and conviction".  If you don't like what a person is saying, speak your peace and|or leave.  No need to spoil it for who else is there who may want to hear what the headline guy may have to say.  

And besides, Kurt contributed to making the demise of the probable alien race in question (the D'Bari) a more-meaningless death.  As everyone knows, a paradise dimension is where characters that died a good death or rode a good ride into the sunset will stay dead forever, unmolested by editors and writers and fanboys who want to resurrect Jean Grey as an intellectual exercise so their names can be misspelled in the credits.  Smiley

A couple questions for Kurt if he feels like it:

- Did Louise Simonson consult you before using Kaleb in the modern-day Post-Crisis?  The issue of what happened to Kaleb and Hydros is a dangling plot element, AFAICT.  

- Why would Superman be generally unworthy to lift Mjolnir?  Is this a function of some particular Post-Crisis characterization.  Would, say, Pre-Crisis or Kingdom Come Superman have such a constraint?
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2005, 05:27:00 PM »

Quote from: "dto"
Thank you very much for a thoroughly uplifting and satisfying tale.  Even with the necessary compromises to gain DC's approval of a "Superboy-Prime" story, I was very pleased with "Superman: Secret Identity".  And I certainly hope if Superboy-Prime ever leaves that "Paradise Dimension" that you will finally have a chance to work with this character.  I know he will be in the right hands.


Thanks.  I didn't view the changes as compromises, though -- just a different way to approach the concept, and one that I found richer, in the long run, than a series of straight adventures, fun though it would have been to write those.

And Superboy-Prime really doesn't make much sense (at least, to me) without Earth-Prime as a setting.  Without that context, he's another Superboy variant, but not distinctive in the way I liked, because what you've saved is the name, powers and appearance, but not the setting of a "normal" world.

kdb
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2005, 05:37:03 PM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
Hmmm, my fault for taking hearsay at face value. Although when I heard the heckling story, it brought a smile to my face not just because of the funny mental image, but also because of the idea that Kurt Busiek's easygoing airs are a pose for a rarely seen inner strength and conviction.


Like the next guy on the list, I don't really think heckling someone at a con is really a display of inner strength and conviction.  It's quite possible to disagree with someone without going out of your way to disrupt an event people paid money to attend.

Quote
Here's a couple questions I've wondered about, Mr. Busiek:
1) If you were given an opportunity, All-Star Style, to write Superman, what sort of Superman story would you tell?


I've thought about that on occasion and come up with what I think is some good stuff, but I'd rather not outline unwritten stories in public, on the grounds that hey, I might get to use them someday.

I will say that, since I'm a big Schwartz/Bates Superman fan, it was something of a surprise to come up with an idea for what I think could be a very stirring and memorable story -- and then realize it was far, far more Weisinger-esque than Schwartzian...

Quote
2) And since you're a big Englehart fan, by all accounts, what sort of Superman stories would you speculate that Stainless Steve would have told, or what insights into the character and his world would he have had?


I don't know.  One of the things I like about Englehart was that he's not predictable -- and beyond that, I spend so much time creating stories that I don't really have the spare energy to create stories I imagine someone else would write.

But I've always been struck by that moment in Steve's JLA where Superman stands at the satellite window and watches the Earth spin by below (incorrect though it was, if I'm remembering it accurately, since the satelite was in geosynchronous orbit).  That sense of Superman as distanced from his adoptive home, full of love for it but not fully immersed in it, still able to step back and see it from outside, is a very nice touch, and one that was influential on SECRET IDENTITY.

kdb
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Kurt Busiek
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« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2005, 05:51:00 PM »

Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
A couple questions for Kurt if he feels like it:
- Did Louise Simonson consult you before using Kaleb in the modern-day Post-Crisis?


Was that Louise?  I had it in my head, somehow, that it was Michelinie.  And I don't think I read those apparances.

In any case, Paul Ryan, Kaleb's co-creator, checked in with me first about using Kaleb -- he wanted us to do a Kaleb mini, but I had no time and DC wasn't that interested, so he asked if it would be okay if Kaleb was brought into the book he was doing at the time.

I was fine with it -- but we didn't really talk about what Kaleb would do, just whether it was okay to use him.

Quote
Why would Superman be generally unworthy to lift Mjolnir?  Is this a function of some particular Post-Crisis characterization.  Would, say, Pre-Crisis or Kingdom Come Superman have such a constraint?


I don't think we ever said either way whether he'd be generally worthy or generally unworthy -- just that he was worthy once, and not worthy shortly thereafter -- and admittedly, picking up the hammer to return it to Thor isn't an inherently worthy purpose, not when there's no danger and he's standing right there.

The reason we did that bit was because neither Tom Brevoort nor I liked the long, long list of people who'd lifted the hammer over the years, so we wanted to introduce the idea that "worthiness" is not steady-state, it varies according to circumstances and purpose, as well as the character's worth, by whatever Asgardian standards the hammer's spell recognizes as worth.  Just because someone picked it up once -- or twice, or a dozen times -- does not mean they'll always be able to do it.

As for what exact parameters factor into things, I don't think it should ever be fully spelled out -- the hammer is godly and mythic, and there should be an air of mystery about it to some degree.  It's not a science-fiction weapon whose workings are mathematically transparent to human minds, so you could say, "Well, so-and-so saved a busload of children in 1968, so therefore he can lift it."

The only way to know is to try it and see.  And then the only way to know if you can do it again is to try it and see again.  That would go for everyone, not just Superman (including pre-Crisis Supes, Earth-2 Supes, Kingdom Come Supes, Twinkie-ad Supes or any other).  I think the only guy who the reader should expect can always lift Mjolnir is Thor, and I'm not opposed to surprising them there, either.

kdb
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2005, 09:34:12 PM »

Quote from: "Kurt Busiek"
Quote from: "Uncle Mxy"
- Did Louise Simonson consult you before using Kaleb in the modern-day Post-Crisis?

Was that Louise?  I had it in my head, somehow, that it was Michelinie.  And I don't think I read those apparances.

There were just a couple appearances I'm aware of:

- Superman: Man Of Tomorrow #11 (L. Simonson) where most of the action happened.  
http://www.supermanhomepage.com/other/kryptonian-cybernet/kc54.txt

then the Elseworlds One Million epic happens, and then:

- Action Comics #751 (S. Immonen), in which there's a brief reference to Mot #11
http://www.supermanhomepage.com/other/kryptonian-cybernet/kc58.txt

The executive summary is that Kaleb's unconcious body in now in Luthor's basement to test synthetic K, and the plot dangles from there.  

Quote
In any case, Paul Ryan, Kaleb's co-creator, checked in with me first about using Kaleb -- he wanted us to do a Kaleb mini, but I had no time and DC wasn't that interested, so he asked if it would be okay if Kaleb was brought into the book he was doing at the time.

I was fine with it -- but we didn't really talk about what Kaleb would do, just whether it was okay to use him.

Cool.  Recently, I was reading some chatter on some board somewhere (narrows it down a lot Smiley ) hypothesizing that Power Girl and|or the latest Supergirl incarnation are from Kaleb's world of Hydros, which is why it's fresh in mind.  I got the sense that the One Million thing flooded the books with new characters and whatever Kaleb arc was planned went into la-la land, but that's just speculation.
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