SDCC: Superman’s Rebirth Panel

Superman
Superman

 

What’s old is new again, as fans were re-introduced to the pre-New 52
Superman as the one true Man of Steel in the post-Rebirth DC Universe. But
adding a new dimension to his never-ending battle is his Clark’s young son Jon
Kent, who is now growing into his powers. Oh, and Lex Luthor is now a super man
in his own right. DC Comics has brought together Gene Yang, Pat Gleason, Dan
Jurgens, Tyler Kirkham, Peter Tomasi, and moderator Hank Kanalz at Comic-Con
International in San Diego to discuss the goings-on around Metropolis and what’s
coming next.

The panel kicked off by Gene Yang talking about "New Super-Man."
Jim Lee and Dan DiDio came up with the concept, "and when they brought it
to me I said, hell no, I don’t want to do that," Yang said, noting he did
not have first-hand experience of living in China. But the character
"started speaking to me" and he accepted the gig.

The book was originally called "The Super-Man," but Yang noted that
the Chinese language does not have "the."

Kenan Kong’s name comes from Chinese words for "overcome" and
"south," Yang said. "Even though Shanghai is not in southern
China, people in Beijing refer to folks who live in Shanghai as
‘southerners.’"

Dr. Omen is "a Chinese version of Amanda Waller," who works for the
Ministry of Self Reliance that gives Kenan his powers, Yang said.

Super-Man China
Super-Man China

"Superman is supposed to be about Truth, Justice, and the American Way
— what does that mean in China?" Yang said. "That’s a cultural
landmine." But Yang will be searching for ways to have Kenan experience an
arc, like Clark Kent or the monkey king epic (which inspired "Dragon Ball
Z"), to embody Chinese-ness in the way Superman does for America.

Yang compared the Chinese versions of American superheroes to the country’s
"state approved religions" in real life — "they found they
couldn’t suppress religion, so they made state-sponsored versions." For
superheroes, "they were really into American superheroes, and since they
couldn’t suppress them, they created state-approved versions."

"New Super-Man" #4 will see Kenan fighting an analog to the Freedom
Fighters, "a pro-democracy group of supervillains — yeah, we just went for
it."

Since Yang will have to leave the panel early, Kanalz took fan questions for
him briefly. A woman said she enjoyed the first issue of "New
Super-Man," but "my only criticism is the size of the dumplings, they
were a little too big."

Asked about the Great Ten characters, Yang said, "August gGeneral in
Iron shows up in #3."

As Yang departed the stage, attention turned to Kirkham and Jurgens’
"Action Comics." Kirkham noted that, though his design for Doomsday is
based on Jurgens’ original, the character evolves, leading to a changing visual
presence.

Jurgens compared the dual artists/double shipping situation to movies not
being shot in order. "That means that, yes, sometimes you have to go back
and make corrections" if certain elements don’t line up, as Kirkham
confessed he had to do for the plaid on Clark Kent’s shirt.

Doomsday’s ability to hone in on Kryptonians will cause trouble for
Super-family. "He’s located another Kryptonian on Earth," Jurgens
said, "and that is actually Jon." The fight comes to the farm, placing
Superman’s wife and son in danger.

Tomasi said he looked to "what everybody loves about Superman" to
write the eponymous ongoing.

"Having Jon in the story is a great way to view Superman," Gleason
said. "It’s a way to have Superman come back and appear trustworthy."

"We both really love writing the character based stuff," Tomasi
said of himself and Jurgens, who set up the family dynamic in the "Lois and
Clark" miniseries that preceded "Rebirth."

"One of the great things about having a book coming out twice a month,
you can explore corners you might not be able to in a monthly book,"
Jurgens said, as having "forty pages a month to play with" allows for
more detours.

A fan asked what the Time Masters have been up to since
"Convergence." "It’s on my list of things to get to," he
said. "The good thing about two books a month is you can get through a lot
of material really quick."

Using Doomsday in Superman’s new circumstances "allows us to say new
things" about who Superman is today, Jurgens said, since everyone knows the
original story.

"There’s a lot of cool stuff coming up for Lois," Tomasi said,
particularly something in "Superman" #5.

Action Comics 958
Action Comics 958

"Without ‘Action Comics’ #1. we wouldn’t have the industry we have
industry today," Jurgens said, "and we know that because that’s where
Superman debuted. But that’s also where Lois debuted, and I take that very
seriously." Both "Action" and "Superman" will examine
what it means for a character in her unique situation to be a mother.

Kirkham noted that, as Jon watches Superman fight Doomsday on TV, "Lois
knows how this could end."

Tomasi said there are no plans at present to have Jon join the Teen Titans.

A fan’s perceptive questioning led the panelists to reveal that
"Superwoman" #1 addresses the fates of the multiple Lois Lanes as well
as Lana Lang.

Asked about Lex’s future as a hero or villain, Jurgens noted there’s a wealth
of material to work with. "What’s fun about Lex is he is so complex, and I
think there are many more angles to be explored," Jurgens said. "He
wants to do the right thing, but when the chips are down, will he follow
through. We also know he’s a murderer, and I really feel you can’t atone for
that until you stand up and say, I am a murderer."

Asked about the complications inherent in the old-new Superman from a new
reader standpoint. "You just have to let go sometimes and go along with it
as a reader, get immersed in the story and trust the creators," Tomasi
said. "You can’t let it feed your reading all the time. … I’ve never been
one to get too bogged down in continuity, I just let the current creative teams
tell their story."

On the topic of the restored Lois and Clark marriage, Jurgens noted that Lois
and Superman had been connected since "Action" #1, but with the New
52, "not only were they not married, but they didn’t even have that
connection." When he wrote several issues early in the New 52 run, Jurgens
said "I felt that absence, I think we all felt it."

Will the Legion be showing up? Tomasi: "No comment." Kanalz added
that there have been hints in recent issues. by Shaun Manning