Baltimore: The Superman Panel

Moderated by editor Matt Idelson, DC Comics' Superman panel at Baltimore Comic-Con included writers Sterling Gates, James Robinson and Geoff Johns as well as artist Jamal Igle. Gates and Igle will be the creative team working on Supergirl starting with issue #34, released October 1. Robinson declared that Gates is, going to give Supergirl a really great personality. His writing is fantastic, we're really excited to have him on board. Robinson then went on to continue to praise Igle's artwork.

The week following Supergirl's new lease on life finds a Jimmy Olsen special penned by James Robinson that is, in his words, Our attempt to turn Jimmy into a vibrant young man of about 22. The beginning of him as an investigative reporter. He's going to go out in search of answers, in all sorts of different places. You're gooing see Cadmus, you're going to see the Guardian. I think it's a really great piece of work. Jesus Merino is providing the artwork.

When his turn came along, Johns said his “Action Comics” storyline Braniac” concludes three weeks from now. “‘Braniac’ ends, ‘New Krypton’ begins, Gary Frank starts the next big chapter, he said. All pieces get weaved together in the New Krypton Special and carry on throughout the storyline. Johns assured fans that each book would tell part of a larger story, and carry their own threads.

Igle offered, I can tell you about the part of the story I actually know,” saying Supergirl would be catching up to her parents who were revealed to be in the city of Kandor in Action Comics #869.

November will feature a New Guardian special. Robinson provided a recollection of Guardian's history. A new Nightwing and Flamebird were also promised. Gates offered up that Superwoman would be present and play a role in the Supergirl title going forward.

Robinson answered a fan's question regarding the Guardian introduced in the Morrison's Seven Soldiers by stating that his special will focus on the original Guardian, and that his relationship with Red Arrow will not be an area of focus.

Johns pointed to Supergirl #35 to clarify the inconsistencies that seem to exist with the Supergirl character currently, saying the issue will explain everything.

A fan asked about the previous Supergirl, Linda Danvers, and was pointed towards DC’s Reign in Hell miniseries.

A fan asked how the “New Krypton” storyline come about. The panelists said It was a result of the “Braniac’ story. The concern was then raised that Superman wouldn't be special with 100,000 Kryptonians present. Johns explained, This [‘New Krypton’] story will show just how special Superman is.

Robinson took the chance to write Superman because it was a chance to work with Johns. The idea of stepping into the world [of Superman], Geoff painted such a rosy picture of us frolicking through the tulips that I figured we'd give it a go.

The Supergirl/Superman interaction with the Legion of Super-Heroes was asked about, given that Superman now had spent time with the original Legion and Supergirl logged some hours alongside Waid and Kitson's “threeboot” Legion. Geoff Johns assured the fans that the overlap would be made clear.

Asked how his knack for revamping villains would translate into his future work in the Superverse, Geoff Johns said that Parasite and Metallo will be prevalent in Action Comics in 2009. Johns also mentioned that there are plans for Chris Kent.

When a fan asked about Steel, Robinson said, There are plans. We're waiting for the right time to reintroduce him. One of the other things we have to do is get into the city. I'm always bothering these guys to describe how the city grew. John Henry Irons will play into that very much. Robinson went on to indicate that there are plans to present John Henry Irons as the antithesis to the science utilized by Lex Luthor.

When a fan asked if there were plans for Bibbo, the response was almost non-existent. There are no plans for Bibbo, unfortunately. Robinson said. Just because you bring him up in that way, one of us might step up and take that challenge.

It won't be me, Johns remarked.

You know what, I'm going to do it, Robinson said, indicating that there will be an appearance of Bibbo at some point in the future of his Superman run.

A fan asked what the panel would do if they went to Metropolis. I'd go to Centennial Park, and see the Sueprman and Superboy statues and get all weepy,” Johns answered. “Then I'd have a hot dog. Then I'd find Clark Kent and try to expose his secret identity. Johns added that he would also check out LexCorp, call all his friends and tell them he was in Metropolis. Then he'd go into the sewers and try to find Cadmus.

Gates said he'd, go to Ace of Clubs and get wasted.

Igle claimed no trip to Metropolis would be complete without a stop in Hobbs Bay.

A younger fan dressed as Supergirl asked when the readership could expect to see Comet the Super-Horse. Cosmic Adventures of Supergirl in 8th Grade was the recommendation from the panel.

A fan asked if there’s any chance that we'll see Kon-El (Superboy) again? Johns indicated that he is very fond of Kon-El, and quietly whispered, Black Lantern.

The current reintroduction of the Science Police was brought up and it was asked if they were tied to the Legion Science Police. Robinson promised an upcoming arc featuring the secret behind the Science Police.

A fan asked if the Cyborg Superman could be woven into the Superman books. Johns said, he plays a big part in the Green Lantern stories next year.

“Why is there not a bigger deal being made of the the 70th anniversary of Superman?” asked a fan. Idelson mentioned that Superman is ingrained in the lexicon, and saw no reason to make an event unless there were strong stories to tell. The panel believe that the “New Krypton” story is strong enough to celebrate the experience rather than a dog and pony show.

Will Lana Lang return to be a feature anywhere? She will take kind of a mentor role and play a huge part in the 'Supergirl' book, Gates said. Lana will be serving as a guide through Supergirl's tumultuous teenage years.

Keep reading, was the reply given to an inquiry of who is running LexCorp in Lang’s absence.

Johns said the panel intends to show what makes Superman Superman. If he's tough, you just throw more at him. Johns went on to add, I think he's one of the most relatable characters in comics: brought up normal, but discovering his powers and being more readily accepted because of them, he's trying to return the favor to Earth by saving others, since the Earth embraced him.”

Robinson, a British-American immigrant of nineteen years, said that Superman is a big metaphor about coming to America and what America can offer you.

Igle indicated that at the core, Superman is just a good guy and he wants to help people. In his heart he will always be that farm kid. He was always raised that the best thing you can do is to help the least of us, but not look down on the least of us.

Johns then gave away a scene from New Krypton”: Two Kryptonians are walking down the street and see a car crash. When asked for help, they fly away. They don't know what to do, Johns said. The story will investigate what makes Superman more like the humans he lives with than like the Kryptonians he shares genetics with. New Krypton will also feature the Justice League, Creature Commandos, Ultaa the Multi-Alien, Green Lantern, Agent Liberty, Mr. Terrific, and the Teen Titans. A lot of the heroes get involved in the story, trying to get Kal-El to help them with the Kryptonians.

When asked about how Superman measures up to other Kryptonians, Johns answered, He's more experienced with his powers. The Kryptonians will just be gaining their powers when they arrive on Earth. Johns cautioned, You've got to remember, when Kandor was taken, there were about 600 soldiers that served under Zod, too.

'Supergirl' #35 is the secret origin of Supergirl. “Anyone who wants to know who Supergirl is, just look at this issue,” the panel said. “We're not going to mention Linda Danvers. That was a separate story. Gates added his thoughts by saying, It's very simple. She's Superman's cousin from Krypton. Boom. Done.

After reading the scripts Gates has sent his way, Igle believes that Supergirl is not only a likable character, but a sympathetic character. Igle said he felt that he should step up his game to meet the writing on the title. He then went on to credit the rest of creative staff on the book including Keith Champagne on inks.

In other miscellaneous Superman notes, Luthor will be around. The Superman team does have plans for Mon-El. Following the Batman R.I.P. story, the relationship between Superman and Batman will be markedly different.

When asked about Superman and the darkness that might exist on the fringe of the universe Kal inhabits, Johns declared, I want Superman to step up and be like, 'Enough!' and the villain is going to be like, 'Oh man!' At this point, Johns noticed a familiar face in the convention room. Hiss uncle Roger, the man responsible for inspiring Johns’ interest in comics, happened to be in the crowd and received a round of applause.

Clearly integral to the Superman universe, Geoff Johns declared as the panel’s final thought, We're not trying to re-invent the wheel, we're just trying to tell really good Superman stories.

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