SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers lie ahead for DC’s “Superman Earth One” graphic novel.
Last week, a new kind of Superman arrived on the American pop cultural spectrum in more ways than one.
While comic fans had been anticipating the release of DC Comics’ “Superman: Earth One” since its announcement late last year, the original graphic novel by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis hit the mainstream media with the force of a Kryptonian rocket thanks to a New York Post article that compared the young Clark Kent at the heart of the Superman reinvention to emo-rocking hipsters and the vampires of “Twilight.” Over the week, the PR boost brought scads of national attention in newspapers, on blogs and on television including a “why mess with our heroes” themed editorial from CBS anchor Katie Couric.
As the buzz and debate played out, comic fans in both direct market shops and book stores gained their first look at “Earth One” in full, from its younger, stylish take on the Man of Steel to a twist on his planet-ending origins that included the new alien foe Tyrell. To look in on the creative process behind the heavily promoted OGN as well as the media flurry that accompanied it, CBR News spoke with artist Davis about his own reasons for revisiting the origin of the world’s first superhero, his process for redesigning the world of Krypton and their new nemesis and the secret of Dan Didio’s baseball cap. Read on for the full story, but know that major spoilers for the story of “Earth One” lie ahead.
CBR News: Shane, it feels like the press and buzz surrounding the book kind of crept up on everyone last week, just before the release. I know you had a signing to coincide with it coming out and you seemed to be following the stories as they hit the web somewhat. Did this all take you a little by surprise?
Shane Davis: I had set up a signing with Jason Blanchard from A Comic Shop. They do some pretty cool stuff and run a club where you can get your books at midnight, so I did it there so I could do a signing Tuesday night and then do it into Wednesday, too. Somehow, they lined up some spot for me on “The Daily Buzz,” which I thought was just the local station, but I learned afterwards that I went out on national TV, live, which was kind of a joke on me. [Laughs] I was on the plane traveling when Katie Couric said what she did, so I was kind of in my own Bermuda Triangle when this was going on, and I never knew what was happening until after. It was kind of weird.
Toward the end of the book, we get a page showcasing some of the news reports in Metropolis after the fight, and one of the people reacting to Superman’s debut looks an awful lot like DC Co-Publisher Dan Didio…
[Laughs] Yeah, that was Dan. I had to come up with different people for that spread. One is Dan and one is my dentist. Only a couple of them were people I knew. It’s funny. I snuck Dan in there with a Superman baseball cap, and then everybody was talking about it like, “I don’t know. Would someone have a Superman ballcap already?” And I said, “Yeah, you can make them at the mall in five minutes.” [Laughs] But they said, “Nah, let’s not make it a Superman cap just yet.” So I had to take two seconds to erase that.
To wrap, I think people who have read “Earth One” will finish the story and have their curiosity piqued for what comes next. From this new character of Major Sandra Lee and her investigation into Kryptonian tech to Tyrell’s ominous words at the end, there are threads here setting us up for another volume. What can you tell us at this point about plans for another installment?
I’ve heard the rumor of a second one. Doing that would be great for the comic industry and great for the fans that pick up the book. I’ve read Dan talk about how there are talks for a second book going on now, so fingers crossed, and let’s see. I think it’d be a smart thing to continue “Earth One.” I don’t know if this is official yet, but we may be headed towards a sellout. When you see that and people liking the story so much, I think it’s the industry’s job to keep supplying folks with great comic book stories.
“Superman Earth One” is on sale now from DC Comics.