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Author Topic: New details on the relaunched Superman  (Read 15016 times)
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BMK!
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2011, 11:40:06 PM »

DIDIO, LEE Say DCnU SUPERMAN Changes Make Him "Accessible"

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dcnu-didio-lee-explain-superman-changes-110718.html

DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee are calling the reboot of Superman "more accessible," as the hero starts over his story in the comics universe in September.

"We've made Superman such an iconic figure over the years that we've lost some of the character and the ability to tell stories with that character," said Dan DiDio, co-publisher at DC. "There's so much continuity that's been built on this character. We really wanted to get a Superman that is more accessible to the audience."

DiDio said Action Comics by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales will take place five years in the past at the "dawn of the age of superheroes," with Superman introduced as more of a young, isolated alien who's trying to find his place in the world, without his parents to help him. The comic will show him developing his costume, starting out in a pair of jeans, and discovering his powers, since he cannot fly but only leaps over tall buildings.

"We wanted to get back to some of the grass roots of the character," DiDio said.

"And the best way to do that is to really go back to the early days of the character, where you see him in his formative years, learning his powers, and learning how people react to him, as we'll be examining in Action Comics. But also, we want to re-examine his relationships, because we think there's a lot of fertile ground about him and the people he deals with."

The "relationships" part of Superman's story will be examined in Superman by George Pérez, which will take place in the present day of the DC Universe. Clark Kent will have a new status quo at the Daily Planet and will be a bachelor.

Lois Lane will have a new boyfriend, which is quite a change from the current situation, where Clark and Lois are married in the DC Universe.

"Marriage brings about a certain degree of comfort and security in one's life," Lee said. "If you have a life partner, you always have someone to rely on. So from a story conflict point of view, it makes for a less dramatic story. I think a lot of writers can agree that one of the most dynamic periods of Superman's history was that period where there was a love triangle between Clark Kent, Superman and Lois Lane. There's a lot of tension and interest you create in the characters by having that kind of dynamic."

But Lee said the new Superman will not be just revisiting the same old love triangle. "We're introducing other elements into it," he said. "Through that, we're really updating who the character is and making Superman a character that you think you know, but maybe not. We have some surprises up our sleeves. And I think Grant has some incredible ideas about not only what he wants to do with Superman but Clark Kent, and really updating the whole mythology so that people can relate to it on a more personal level."

The marriage choice — along with the decision to have Jonathan and Martha Kent be deceased in the Action Comics — was also related to Superman being isolated in these stories.

"We wanted to have that sense of isolation that might come with being an alien among men," DiDio said. "The two choices that were made, with both his parents being dead and not being married, isolated Clark a little bit more, so that he really had to do more exploration about mankind. There wasn't that one strong human tether that he was bonding with and learning through.

"He's had so much learning and understanding from the days with his parents, but the rest of the discovery is on his own," DiDio said, confirming the Clark will have been guided as a youth by the Kents, before their death. "If we had him married to Lois right now, he would always have a strong base to work from. We wanted to explore much bigger and wider stories with him. It's really the learning and growing of this character that is going to be the basis for so much of what Grant and George are going to be doing with their series and with Superman."

The theme of isolation will be further emphasized as Clark Kent has a sense of being an "alien." That sense of alien separation is not only being heightened in Superman and Action Comics, but also in Supergirl, where Clark's cousin will arrive on Earth for the first time.

"That's one of the things we're trying to explore much more," DiDio said. "We've told so many great stories over the years where Superman has embraced his human side and built stories around that side of the characterization. Now we're flipping it around a little bit and really embracing his alien side, so we can understand what it's like to be a man from another world, living amongst men, but not feeling like you're a part of it, but belonging to them all."

"I think the issue of self-identity and knowing who you are is something that's universal, and obviously, it's a very powerful theme," Lee said. "I think characters, not just Superman but other superhero characters, have a very public face and also a private, personal identity. I think it's that exploration between the two that's going to make part of the September relaunch very interesting on a story level."

DiDio said there was very little dissent among ranks at DC about changing the status of Clark Kent from married to unmarried.

"We actually had, last year, a very large writers meeting about the general direction and tone of the DC Universe, and one of the conversations that was the biggest conversation in the room was about the marriage of Lois and Clark, and it was a much discussed topic," DiDio said. "Most people saw the benefits of making this change, because they saw what the story potential was and how much they could open up their ability to examine the character in a bigger way, once we decided to move in this direction."

And when the Superman writing team got together, DiDio said everyone agreed that the marriage should go. "It gave us more potential for the stories at the starting point. We needed a really strong starting point here, and we felt this was a great way to do it," he said.

Part of Superman's introduction to the DCU will also be told in Justice League, the new comic that Lee is drawing for writer Geoff Johns. In the comic, which also takes place five years in the past (like Action Comics), the Justice League team members will come together for the first time. This new Superman will be among those heroes that discover each other in Justice League during the "dawning of the age of superheroes."

"It's really about re-introducing the concept of superheroes in the DC Universe, and doing it in a more contemporary, timely way," Lee said. "We wanted a situation in Action and in Justice League where we show the first public emergence of these so-called super-beings and how they impact society, politics, the world.

"In many ways, it starts out in a way that one would imagine in today's day and age with fear and caution, and people literally freaking out about this," he said. "It's through the introduction of a character like Superman and the Justice League that the public starts understanding and accepting these characters for who they are and sees them as heroes for the very first time, coining the word 'superhero.'"

DiDio admitted that one of the motivations for rebooting Superman was the fact that the last time it was done — by John Byrne in the mid-1980's after Crisis on Infinite Earths — the Superman comic was a huge success.

"It was done once before, and very successfully," he said. "We're hoping for the same luck here."

"[John Byrne] took the origin that we knew and updated it and added new subtleties and nuances," Lee said. "For me, that was my heyday of collecting Superman comic books. It really felt like this was my version of Superman. I know it really created a lot of excitement for that character, not just among die-hard DC fans, but across all comic book readers in general."

When asked if the upcoming Man of Steel movie, which is filming now, had any influence on the decision to reboot Superman in the comics universe, DiDio said: "Not at all."

"That said," he added, "I doubt they would ever start a series or anything where Superman was married at the beginning."

But Lee said the goal of creating DC Entertainment to work more cohesively with Warner Bros. was not to make all the stories in the different media line up perfectly. "This is really about making sure that the source material, which is the comics, remains as contemporary and fresh and exciting as possible," Lee said. "Comics are the drivers and the creative content. Comics is where we can take the creative risks and creative chances with the characters. It's our responsibility to keep them exciting and fresh. The overall mission of DC Entertainment is to allow filmmakers or people who work in games or animation the opportunity to go through and find things that interest them and that they think has potential in other media. That's part of the ecosystem we're trying to build.

"It's not about one lining up with the other," he said. "It's about keeping what we're doing on the publishing side as relevant and exciting as possible."

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Great Rao
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 02:08:45 AM »

BMK, thanks for posting all this.

I really like a lot of what DC is saying.  Ever since the Byrne reboot in '86, I felt that having the Kents be alive was a mistake - as far as I'm concerned, Clark Kent didn't become Superman until the day his parents died, which was the main reason that all the Byrne/Helfer/Jurgens etc tales didn't feel like Superman: Clark kept running home to his parents to ask advice. Nice to have DC finally realize this was a mistake.

I also like the fact that the magical aura that Byrne gave to Superman is gone as well.  It's clear from the Action Comics artwork that Superman's T-Shirt and jeans don't hold up - so wearing an indestructible outfit from Krypton only makes sense.  And at least this indestructible outfit looks indestructible.  If legal concerns are behind DC's elimination of the leotard, this is the way to go - and could possibly even be an improvement.

As far as people not liking the Jeans & T-Shirt outfit, I do think that it harkens back to some of the very early Clark/Superman drawings by Shuster (check out Superman's tank-top in the link).

And this picture from the Lowther novel:



I've always liked the alien-culture and alien-identity aspect of Superman, I'm glad that angle will be played up.  I enjoy characters like Star Trek's Spock and Heinlein's Valentine Michael Smith, and I think they're a great way to comment on human culture - the stranger in a strange land approach.

I'll definitely be following this one.  And I've already got an idea for the name of this new "Age" - which I'll be posting after next week.

My only concern is that in the last five years, Superman has had five different origins.  Will this be just another reboot in an ever-continuing sequence, or will they stick with it for the long haul?
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 12:44:12 PM by Great Rao » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2011, 03:34:38 AM »

I can only take DiDio's rhetoric in small doses, so I didn't read the whole thing. I just think the guy is saying whatever packaged thing he needs to sell whatever idea he wants to sell on a particular. He speaks like he's an authority on Superman or comics, but he isn't. He's just a lot of hot air.

I really need to stay away from threads like these.
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2011, 11:11:51 PM »

Grant Morrison is All-Out "Action Comics"

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=33386

CBR News: You spoke about your rediscovery of the original "Action Comics" #1 in the process of preparing "Supergods." It seems that even with the career you've already had, someone coming up to you and saying, "Would you like to write 'Action Comics' #1?" would seem like a daunting task. Did the work for the book help ground you while you figured out how to reintroduce Superman again?

Grant Morrison: Yeah, it totally gave me the idea for how to do it. Basically, when I started the first "Action Comics," I started thinking about how I had to live up to that. It was the first time I have been quite daunted by the project. I was really looking at different techniques to find a way to do the series for a modern audience and also to take the core values of Superman and represent them in a way I hope we haven't seen before. And it's all there in that original story: what Superman is all about as a champion of the oppressed basically. I thought it'd be good to get back to that. It's a much more blue collar Superman, a Bruce Springsteen Superman. [Laughs] He's in a t-shirt and jeans, and he's fighting for poor people and people on the breadline who have been messed over by big businesses. It's back to that original Depression-era hero but updated to our current Depression era.

You already had great success with "All-Star Superman" which was viewed as your "everything I want in a Superman comic" story. How is this different? Obviously, it plays into the bigger universe, but did that change how you approached things?

"All-Star" was about Superman at the end of his life, and it was very ordered and majestic. I really wanted to do an earlier Superman because I hadn't touched on that in "All-Star." I liked the idea of a much younger Superman who's a bit more brash and more wild. He's willing to take the law into his own hands. At the end of "All-Star," I had all these ideas to go back to those early days, and I took some of them and used them to turn it into this new version of "Action Comics."

The storytelling style is quite different. It's a lot faster because I think if you have a comic called "Action" it should have a lot of action in it. [Laughs] The idea is to keep Superman constantly moving in every single scene. You open the first page, and he starts running and doesn't stop until the end. That's a different style from "All-Star" which was a kind of static, 1950s style, Wayne Boring colossal Superman.

Rags Morales is an artist who has a style that sets his characters in a real, physical world. Did you write the scripts for him from the start, and what kinds of strengths did you see in his work that you could play to in the scripts?

Oh yeah, I knew he was going to be drawing it, and obviously that meant I could put a lot of texture into the world, and he'd be able to do it. So it's quite phenomenal and amazing. It looks very real, even though Superman is a lot more... almost traditional. He's like an American folk hero again. The work Rags is doing is quite fantastic, and I can put in a lot of detail because he can actually do that. There's a chance to overload him with descriptions of machines and alien landscapes.

Superman has been reintroduced so many times and that original story has been "played" by so many other people hitting its grace notes in a different way like John Byrne's redesign of Krypton. A lot of people will be taking cues from you here as the character moves forward. How have you thought of that, and are you placing elements in to be intentionally picked up by other creative teams at DC?

We're trying to tie in to everything. I'm telling stories set five years prior to the stories, say, George Perez is telling in his "Superman" book. So we're kind of doing different parts of Superman's life, but there's definitely things that will tie in. I'll be setting up things in my book that will peel off into other books. The plan, of course, is quite big and always changing. We're introducing a lot of new characters and villains for Superman -- new environments and new takes on some familiar stuff as well.

There must be a level at which you can't entirely look to Siegel and Shuster because Lex Luthor hadn't become the villain he becomes and other changes...

And we're playing a very different take on the Lex Luthor/Superman relationship. It's quite flipped on its head. Luthor is almost the good guy to a certain extent. All of the relationships are going to be different. Superman's relationship with Jimmy Olsen is completely different, but it makes sense in a way that I'm surprised nobody has thought of before now. The same goes for Lois Lane. Things won't be quite the same for Superman and Lois, and we'll see how truly different their lives will be. I think it'll add some new tension and a new dynamic to it. It won't be predictable at all.

So we know that the book starts out running as fast as it can. Does it end with a wink?

Huh. I don't know how it's going to end. Not necessarily. And I think we've done the wink so often it may not be the best thing to end on. [Laughs] I'd like to do something at the end that's as different as the way we're starting it.

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BMK!
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2011, 11:44:33 PM »

Page from Action Comics #1, art by Rags Morales...



Sketch of Superman by Jesus Marino (artist on Superman #1)...

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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2011, 12:55:47 AM »

Still not sold on the outfit, but that's a good-looking headshot.
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2011, 03:44:29 PM »

The NY Daily News breaks the story on Lois Lane's new beau...

Lois Lane's new boyfriend revealed: Superman loses out to Jonathan Carroll in 'Superman #1' comic

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/2011/07/21/2011-07-21_lois_lanes_new_boyfriend_revealed_superman_loses_out_to_jonathan_carroll_in_supe.html





« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 10:02:06 AM by BMK! » Logged
countryboylife
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2011, 05:15:16 PM »

The cape does look a little silly with the T-shirt and the jeans, but I suspect it serves some in-story purpose. Maybe it gives him his power.

I'd hope Morrison picks up on the Siegel/Shuster justification that the cape acted like a sail allowing him to alter his course mid jump

Equally it does appear not to be ripped in the #2 cover which suggests ( Jor-El's ? ) cape was his blanket
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