At the DC Comics All Access: Superman panel at New York Comic Con DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan Didio, “Supergirl” artist Mahmud Asrar and “Superman: Earth One” artist Shane Davis gathered on stage to talk about their books and what is coming next for the Man Of Steel.
DC Editor In Chief Bob Harras kicked the panel off by bringing Davis onstage to talk about the second “Superman: Earth One” graphic novel coming out in fall 2012, showing off the cover image of Superman in the traditional costume with fire and blackened skulls around him.
“Real men wear their underwear on the outside,” said Davis to audience applause. Explaining the new J. Michael Straczynski written graphic novel is about Superman finding his new place in the world, Davis continued, “You see the origin story so many times, I was glad to see people took to it so much.” He then thanked the fans for putting the first volume on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Adding that he thought romance and adventure were part and parcel with traditional Superman stories, to differentiate the second “Earth One” Davis told the audience, “Instead of romance and adventure we’re going to try a little sex and violence!”
Showing off penciled pages of Superman trying to save people from a tsunami, Davis then explained that the pages showed the problems Superman will face in the second volume as the people he saved turn out to be rebels and the dictator of their fictional country threatens to kill them if Superman does not stop. “It’s interesting that the world’s most powerful man has his hands tied,” said Davis, adding, “There’s a lot of shoulda, woulda, coulda running through him.”
The artist also said that the book will show a brand new Parasite, “bigger than Doomsday.” Davis also said that the character begins life as a serial killer. “I took everything in Earth One to its lowest common denominator and built it up from there,” said Davis, adding, “Parasite was a glutton, but now it’s more for power.”
He then ended his portion of the panel showed an inked but uncolored page of Superman daydreaming of how he should have reacted to the dictator.
Harras then brought out the Superman family book editor Matt Idelson. Showing the cover for “Action Comics” #5 with art by Andy Kubert, the cover depicted Kal-El’s rocket hurtling to Earth. Comic book artist Gene Ha also did part of the interior art for #3 and Idelson displayed those pages, saying that Ha is in charge of all the sequences on Krypton in the issue. “Not only is that your first look at Jor-El but Krypto, which looks very different then you’re used to,” said Idelson, bringing up an image of Jor-El and Krypto on the screen.
The audience clapped loudly as “Supergirl” writer Mike Johnson joined series artist Asrar to talk about the title. “It was really intimidating at first,” said Johnson, touching on reinventing the character, adding, “Part of the fun of the book is seeing people, places that are familiar but different in very important ways.”
Showing the cover to #5, Johnson revealed that the issue takes place in Argo city. “The first few issues will be, how do you get from Siberia to Argo City? It is a painful process,” said Johnson.
Asrar then brought up onscreen two pages from the second issue showing Supergirl punching out Superman. “She’s strong!” laughed Asrar.
“The first page of the issue takes on place on Krypton,” Johnson added, saying that neither Superman nor Supergirl will trust each other at first.
“My style I have slightly adapted in a different way for this book, and in future issues I will use the marker style I use in my commissions,” Asrar told the audience.
Idelson then touched upon “Superboy,” calling the series, “The ultimate clean slate.”
“He’s not hip, he’s not snarky, he’s not funny, he’s a blank slate learning how to be a human being,” said Idelson.
Harras then asked Idelson if Doomsday will ever appear in the New 52 world. “No comment, said Idelson, adding, “We haven’t forgotten about him.”
Harras then officially announced that Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen will be replacing George Perez on “Superman” and Jurgens came onstage.
“Keith Giffen and I will be co-writing and I’ll be drawing starting with “Superman” #7,” said Jurgens.
The floor opened to audience questions, and the first audience member to the microphone asked Davis about the “Superman: Earth One” costume redesigns.
“There are things in that costume that are flawless, you can’t break…much as I changed, I really stayed the same so it was an interesting process,” said Davis.
The next fan asked that if, after the first New 52 renumbered issues clear, they would go back and clean up continuity and tie the old stories into the new continuity more clearly. Idelson said they would eventually, though not right away.
Another fan wanted to know why there was such a radical change on Superboy, more so than many of the other New 52 characters. “His continuity and story got so complicated over the past five or six years,” said Idelson. “This was a fresh chance to hit the reset button.”
A fan asked Davis whether “Superman: Earth One” should be considered an Elseworlds story and then asked all panelists how they could resist the urge to let “Action Comics” hit #1000. Davis said that he felt he actually approached the novel like a movie rather than thinking of it in terms of Elseworlds and then said that the Earth One Batman and Earth One Superman were in the same universe.
Harras addressed the second part of the question, saying, “There was a faction of people saying we can do this for everyone but ‘Action’ and ‘Detective’…it will have the biggest impact and mean the most if we do it for every book.”
The next fan to the microphone asked if Kara will ever fight Wonder Woman. “I really hope so!” said Johnson.
“I love that! That would be amazing!” added Asrar.
An audience member wanted to know which books were everyone’s favorites of the New 52. Jurgens said he was reading everything that was coming out, as was Asrar. Johnson named “Justice League Dark” as one of his favorite. Idelson agreed with Jurgens and Asrar that he enjoyed all the books while Davis said he really enjoyed “Superboy,” and added that he will be coming on as cover artist around issue #3 or #4. He also named “Demon Knights” as a fun book. Harras said that “I, Vampire” was one of the books he would recommend everyone check out.
Another fan asked if they were going to bring back and update the Eradicator for the Superman books. “We haven’t really discussed him because we wanted to parcel out Krypton,” said Idelson.
“The idea has been to start by going back and retelling the story…what we’re all trying to do is come up with new stories and new characters and new situations,” added Jurgens.
A Flashpoint fan wanted to know if they would ever see any more stories set in the “Flashpoint” timeline, to which Harras told her it was doubtful.
A fan asked Jurgens why he and Giffen were replacing Perez. “There’s another project he’s really, really wanted to do,” said Jurgens, adding that Perez told the story he wanted to tell.
A fan dressed as the “Action Comic” Superman wanted to know how long they planned to have Superman in the jeans and t-shirt. “It’s got a definite endpoint, I don’t want to give away when,” said Idelson, naming the costume and character as a “proto-Superman.”
Another fan wanted to know when the hooded woman in every issue will come back, to which the panel members told him to keep reading the books.
A fan wanted to know how other fans could be sure the New 52 changes would be permanent as they had said Superman’s death would be permanent in the ’90s.
“The amount of time and effort put into it…this is permanent,” said Harras. Jurgens then denied that they said Superman’s death was permanent and Harras said that there is no “backdoor button” to reset everything back to pre-September comics.
A fan of Jurgens asked the writer/artist which version of Superman he preferred–pre on or post September? “A good Superman story is a good superman story where it’s done in 2011, 2000, or 1950,” said Jurgens.
The next audience member to the microphone asked what the biggest obstacle the panelists had to tackle with relaunching the new Superman books.
“The Superboy/Legion stuff,” said Idelson.
Another fan wanted to know if they will see more “Superman/Batman” stories or books, and the panelists told them it was possible, but not right now.
The very last question of the panel came from a fan who wanted to know what would happen with Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane across the Superman books, and what their dynamic would be.
“Well, we have the wedding of Lois and Jimmy special,” joked Jurgens. Johnson then said that they were going to bring Jimmy into “Supergirl” as a friend for Kara.
“Lois in both books is treating Jimmy like a competent co-worker,” said Idelson, naming that as the biggest change in the relationship and bringing the panel to a close.