SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Action Comics" #957, on sale June 8.
Perhaps more than most comic book creators, Dan Jurgens knows Superman. After all, the fan-favorite writer killed the Man of Steel in 1992, before resurrecting him in 1993. And, to top those milestones, Jurgens also co-wrote "Superman: The Wedding Album" in 1996, which featured the marriage of Lois Lane and Clark Kent. That's death, resurrection and marriage for Superman, and now Jurgens adds "rebirth" to the major Man of Steel events on his resume, as the new writer of "Action Comics."
And with "Action Comics" #1000 on the horizon, Jurgens may be able to add one more accomplishment to his growing Superman list. Thanks to the new re-numbering of "Action Comics", the longest running series in North America restarts on June 8 with #957. The series, illustrated by Patrick Zircher, Tyler Kirkham and Stephen Segovia, is also shipping twice-monthly, so with only 43 issues to 1000, Jurgens need only stay on the title for two years to reach the milestone.
Calling "Action Comics" #1000 the "Super Bowl" of comics, Jurgens made no promises about the length of his run in his discussion of the series with CBR News, though he did promise that the title will be true to its name with lots of super-powered action.
Jurgens also discussed the impact of Lex Luthor flying around Metropolis with the Superman logo emblazoned on his chest, runs down the character's Donald Trump-ian traits, and shared why Superman's upcoming confrontation with Doomsday has to go differently than the first time around.
CBR News: You're no stranger to Superman. You killed him in 1992, and resurrected him in 1993. Does it ever get old, writing the Man of Steel?
Dan Jurgens: There was a time when it did. Now, however, I can look back on those days and appreciate it for the fun times we had. You won't ever see anything like that replicated in comics again, and I'm glad I got to experience it. It's really cool to look back on the time I put into Superman and see that we were able to add to his overall legend.
It's a bit tough to swallow seeing Lex repping the Superman shield. If there were no superheroes, and specifically no Superman, would Earth have a different level of appreciation of Lex Luthor, do you think, or would he be even scarier?
When it comes to Lex Luthor wearing Superman's symbol, you have to take into account what the current DCU knows about him as opposed to what we know about him. They know him to be a member of the Justice League. We, of course, know him to be an evil murderer. The world at large does not, and that extends to the newest residents of the world, Superman and Lois.
In an issue of "Superman: Lois and Clark," I made it fairly clear that they don't trust him, and Superman even mentioned the idea that he went through Luthor's computer and files. He wasn't able to find anything incriminating, but nevertheless, they don't trust him. They just suspect that Luthor is accomplished at hiding his nefarious activities.
All of that, of course, sets up conflict between Superman and Luthor.
Though I'm Canadian, I follow American politics quite closely. Maybe it's due to the extreme media exposure that he generates, but does it make sense that I am getting a Donald Trump-like vibe from Lex Luthor in this issue?
Well, if you're picking up on that because Luthor appears to follow his own dictates, listens to no one and seems bent on trying to convince the world he's deserving of a loftier stance than anything ever truly earned, who am I to argue? [Laughs]
Lois and Clark don't want their son using his superpowers unless it's absolutely necessary, but Jon doesn't understand why dear old dad won't use his super strength and super speed to finish the unpacking from the move to Metropolis, even though Supes does cheat by shaving with his beard with his heat vision in "Action Comics" #957. Let's be honest -- if you had super strength and super speed, you wouldn't just save them for do-gooding. Am I right?
Actually, no! Well, maybe just a little bit. Think of it this way: there are people out there that have enough money to hire others to mow their lawn, sand down a door and refinish it, or change the oil in their car. Yet they do it themselves. Some do it because they want to save money, others because they get a sense of satisfaction out of doing it that way.
More than anything, they're trying to set an example for Jon. After all, Lois and Clark now realize that Jon has the ability to cheat on virtually any test he'll take as he goes through school. They are now in full "set a good example" mode. And as for Clark shaving that way -- that isn't cheating. It's the only way he can do it!
As mentioned, you also have a great familiarity with this Superman as you have been writing pre-Flashpoint Superman in "Superman: Lois and Clark." In this issue, Lex says this "imposter" seems older, more confident. What else distinguishes this current take on Superman from past interpretations? I mean, obviously, being a husband and a father has changed him.
This Superman is a bit more measured. He's more inclined to know what does and what doesn't work. He's more self-assured. As I've explained it to others, he doesn't wait for anyone to suggest an idea or take orders. He's experienced. He knows what to do. He doesn't ask to lead or ask for authority, but he naturally exudes it, which compels others to follow.
Let's go back to when you killed Superman at the hands of Doomsday. The Kryptonian creature is back for a rematch in this first arc. What makes him the ultimate physical test for Superman? And, if we believe the solicitations, what role will Lex have in the fight that might shift the balance in Superman's favor?
To a certain extent, you'll have to wait to see how the story unfolds. But a big part of it is that this time around, Superman knows he has to find a different solution.
He's married. He's a father. He knows Lois and Jon are watching the fight on TV. He has no intention of dying this time around. Those are the things, along with Luthor's presence, that make this story different.
I spoke with Peter [Tomasi] and Patrick [Gleason] about their run on "Superman," and they shared that the aspect of family will be vital to their overarching story. Do you have big plans for Lois and Jon as well? And how will your series tie-in with "Superman."
What we've talked about is making sure the two series reflect each other. Superman's characterization should be consistent across the books. Lois and Jon will certainly be a part of this series. At the same time, the title is "Action," and I fully intend to live up to that.
I believe we may have seen a panel or two of the mysterious Mr. Oz watching events unfold in this issue, even offering a glimpse into the Kent household. As "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 revealed that the Watchmen, Ozymandias specifically, are watching the DCU, what can you share about his role and the other Watchmen in this series?
I'd say that makes for some very interesting speculation. [Laughs] I'll be interested to see how it all plays out!
Patrick Zircher will be joined by other artists on this title, as "Action Comics " arrives in stores twice a month. Does that immediacy lend itself to a different brand of storytelling?
In some ways, yes. But I've certainly worked with that aspect of telling a story before, whether it was on the Superman titles during the "triangle days," or "The New 52: Futures End." We're really fortunate to have Patrick, along with Tyler Kirkham and Stephen Segovia as part of this. They're all great and bring a great deal of enthusiasm to Superman. When you see their work, you can tell they're loving what they get to do.
"Action Comics" #957. That's a big number. Do you have this series planned out for at least two years so you are around for "Action Comics" #1000?
Ha! Well, we certainly know it's out there, looming in the distance. I continue to say that "Action Comics" #1 is why we're all here. That's what kicked everything off, not just for Superman, but well beyond.
As far as I'm concerned, "Action Comics" #1000 is our Super Bowl, and we have to live up to that and make it great.
"Action Comics" #957 by Dan Jurgens and featuring art by Patrick Zircher goes on sale June 8.