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Kreisberg On “World of New Krypton”

by  in Comic News Comment
Kreisberg On “World of New Krypton”
“Superman: World of New Krypton” #1 on sale in March

Rising star writer Andrew Kreisberg and veteran artist Pete Woods have been handed the heavy task of re-inventing Kal-El’s home planet in the upcoming 12-part DC Comics miniseries, “Superman: World of New Krypton.” The ambitious project promises to fully explore the Kryptonian society that emerged from the pages of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s hugely acclaimed “Brainiac” storyline in “Action Comics,” and that has been the backdrop of the “New Krypton” storyline that’s currently running through “Action” as well as “Superman” and “Supergirl.”

Currently enjoying critical acclaim for his run on “Green Arrow/Black Canary,” the 37-year old Kreisberg has just this week joined the writing team of FOX’s smash genre hit “Fringe.” His similarly well-reviewed four-part “Do You Understand These Rights?” arc in “Batman Confidential” will come to an end in next week’s issue #25.

In this, Kreisberg’s first interview about “Superman: World of New Krypton,” the former staff writer on Marc Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti’s “Eli Stone” reveals plenty of what’s to come over the next twelve months, and just how big of a bad Supergirl’s mom can really be.

CBR: Andrew, you’ve been doing well-received work on “Green Arrow/Black Canary,” but you must be pretty excited to be writing Superman, easily the biggest name in superhero comics.

Andrew Kreisberg: I’m very excited about the project. I think they probably just couldn’t find anyone else to write it. I was happily writing “Green Arrow/Black Canary” and my TV stuff, and I got an email from [DC Executive Editor] Dan DiDio saying, “Interested in Superman?” Which is an email you dream about getting.

Truth be told, I’d been so busy I hadn’t entirely been following what’s been going on, so when I signed on I was like, great, I am writing Superman. Lex Luthor, Metallo, uh… I’m like, “What? There’s 100,000 Kryptonians?” So in some ways, it’s obviously very daunting writing Superman and taking on these characters that mean so much to other people and so much to me, but at the same time it’s so exciting because it’s not Lex Luthor and Metallo. It’s not just [Superman] protecting Metropolis and him doing his thing. It’s really giving him something new and interesting to do, which with Superman is always difficult, be it the attempts in movies and TV shows and comics to give him new storylines and challenges. So it’s exciting to make this one work out, as well as it can. And I think it will.

The “New Krypton” storyline concludes in “Action Comics” #873, on sale next week

What is your touchstone for Superman? Obviously, with Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, when you are reading their books, they’ve got Christopher Reeve in mind. Do you think of Superman from movies, comic books or even “Challenge of the Super Friends?”

My Superman reference point is definitely Christopher Reeve. And I will also take this opportunity to give a shout out to Brandon Routh, who I think really did a fantastic job [in “Superman Returns”]. The movie didn’t always serve him as well as it could have but I think he made a fantastic Superman.

In some ways, the thing that has always got me about Superman is that people always assume that he is bright and happy and Batman is sad and brooding. And I think there is a real sadness to Superman – a real loneliness. And this story really exploits that in a great way. In fact, my first issue is called “Dream Come True” because in a way, this is his dream come true. He gets to live among Kryptonians. He gets to be with his people. And it’s sort of, be careful what you wish for.

There are definitely touchstones to Christopher Reeve in my first issue – little nods to the Superman movies. I specifically put in the script that the bed he sleeps in on New Krypton look just like the big silver bed from “Superman II.”

Those references are definitely in there visually and thematically.

While the “New Krypton” crossover that Geoff Johns, James Robinson and Sterling Gates are writing isn’t over just yet, what can you tease us about “World of New Krypton?” Is it set on Earth or is there actually a new home planet for the Kryptonians?

The book will follow Superman and 100,000 new Kryptonians led by Allura as he tries to figure out his place in Kryptonian society. Where that society resides is yours to know for $2.99 on March 4.

It will include a lot of the same characters from the “New Krypton” arc. Superman will continue his struggle with Allura and he will continue his struggle with himself as he tries to find a place for himself among these people. In a lot of ways, he’s always felt separated from humanity, and now he’s surrounded by 100,000 of his people and feels just as separated from them.

The entire series will follow the rise of a New Krypton and Superman finding his place on it. It will all be in service of trying to create this new world that we’ve only ever glimpsed in flashbacks and dreams.

“Action Comics” #873 variant cover

Does Superman have any allies on New Krypton?

That’s sort of the journey of the book. It’s finding his allies. Because when he starts this, he actually starts it a bit lonely and trying to find his place. He’s a little bit lost. Through the journey of the book, one of the things that we’ve talked about is that he doesn’t feel like Superman amongst his people because he’s just one of 100,000. One of things that we learn that’s different about Superman is it’s not about being Kryptonian. It’s about being Kal-El. It’s about being Clark Kent. And he becomes Superman, he becomes a hero, no matter where he is, which is something I feel is really special.

He’s Superman to the people of Earth. The arc of the book is really about him becoming Superman to his own people.

Does Supergirl have a role in “World of New Krypton?”

I am not sure how much Kara is going to be playing in my book. I think she has her own journey. And it’s certainly being incredibly well told without any help from me. I love her dearly. I think every man who is a fan of comics loves her dearly.

Obviously, Allura is a major part of my book. You can’t talk about Allura without talking about the fact that she is a mother; that she is Superman’s aunt. So if Kara is not always there in form, she will certainly be there in spirit.

That’s one of the great things about the book. Superman’s life is getting incredibly complicated in a good way. It used to be just him and his parents. And then it was him and Lois. And now it’s him and 100,000 people and enemies and his cousin. In some ways, it’s almost like getting married. All of sudden, you have all this new family and in-laws and crazy people you have to deal with.

Would you categorize Allura as the villain in this book?

Yeah… but I think what’s really interesting about the premise of “New Krypton” is well, I always say everyone is the hero of their own story. And as far as Allura is concerned, she is only trying to do right by her people. And where that crosses the line into villainy is always very complicated. And that’s part of what’s interesting about the Kryptonians’ attitude towards Superman, because in a lot of ways, they see him as a traitor. And from their perspective, they’re not entirely wrong. So I think that’s what makes the book rich. The people who are the immigrants, the people who are the minority, who are aggrieved and afraid, are these super-beings.

“Superman: New Krypton” Vol. 1 collected edition on sale in May

And that’s what makes Clark having to deal with Allura so fascinating. She’s not a megalomaniac. In some ways, her treatment of Kara breaks her heart but she has to put her people first, which is what Superman does in his own way, protecting Earth. Being Superman comes before Lois, it comes before friends, it comes before family, so it all makes for interesting discussions and interesting problems. The trick will be to get you to boo and hiss at Allura for being the villain while she twirls her mustache while trying to understand her point of view. And I think, feeling a little sorry for her.

What you have to remember, the Kryptonians have really gone through hell. For everything that Superman lost, they lost that too.

Just sitting here talking to you about it gets me excited. It’s really great stuff.

This isn’t a contained miniseries with no ramifications. “World of New Krypton” is a major part of establishing a new status quo for Superman and something that will be explored by other writers for years to come. That’s got to be exciting, giving the DCU back its Krypton.

Sure. Or the guy who screwed up DCU by bringing back New Krypton. It’s really exciting. In a lot of ways, it’s one of the things that my editor Mike Carlin and I have discussed about “Green Arrow/Black Canary” – doing the kinds of things that will last because that’s exciting. You’re not just doing things, taking these wonderful characters that have been around forever and putting them through the motions because we’ve got to sell a comic or you’re don’t really care or to make a buck. It’s really about adding something worthwhile to the lore. And when you can do that, it’s incredibly exciting. As someone who used to be just a comic book fan and not a writer, that’s something that you always remember. Stuff that really game-changed.

Like for me, when I was younger, it was “Killing Joke.” Think about everything that came out of that one book. So when you can add a character or add a villain or bring something new into things that everybody else is able to riff off of, that’s pretty cool.

And that’s the other thing that’s really exciting. It’s seeing what other people do with your riff. We’re very excited about a new character in “Green Arrow/Black Canary” – a new villain. And I have all these great paces to put her through. I am excited about the thought of her having enough of an impact that other writers want to write her and do the amazing things that they want to do with her.

Also by Andrew Kreisberg, “Batman Confidential” #25, on sale next week

It sounds like you have long-term plans to be writing both titles?

As long as they’ll have me.

Another great part about developing New Krypton must be simply establishing what day-to-day life is like in that society. What’s a Starbucks look like on New Krypton? You and artist Pete Woods must be having a lot of fun with that.

Pete and I haven’t actually talked face to face, but in writing the initial script, I’ve been toying with that. One thing I can tell you is that Superman’s tunic is shredded in a fight with some Kryptonians and he needs to have a new tunic made. So we need the tailor on New Krypton. It’s one of those things that it’s a fully-functioning society at all levels. We generally only get to meet the scientists and military leaders but there are the people who prepare the food, and the shopkeepers, the men of the people, who they themselves are now endowed with Superman’s strengths and abilities. And that’s fun to play with. We’ll be seeing all facets of it.

For all of Krypton’s technological achievements, there is a coldness about that them culturally that I think will make Superman miss some of the wonderful diversity of Earth, like food and art and music.

Why, after 70 years, do you think people still read Superman stories?

Wow, that’s a heavy question. Superman can’t be hurt physically, but he can be hurt emotionally. And I think the best versions of Superman are the ones that show that. Like Geoff Johns’ arc “Last Son” with Chris Kent. At the end of the day, he was hurt emotionally. And he grew from that. And that’s what exciting. Hopefully in this book, you’ll watch his emotional struggles. Because the physical struggles are certainly exciting and there are certainly some amazing feats, but I think the thing that will really last and will really move you and will make this special is his personal growth.

Have you been working with Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates and James Robinson? And what about Greg Rucka, who is taking over “Action Comics” while Johns writes “Secret Origin?”

All of the titles will be tying-in to one another. We’re going to have a conference call later today to discuss things. Hopefully, if we do this right, you can read any one of the books and enjoy them but if you’re reading them all, you’re going to get this incredibly rich story, because you’ll be seeing the story from so many different angles and so many different characters’ points of view. It’s not like the TV show “Boomtown” where you’re seeing the exact same thing from different points of view, but you’re getting a rich tapestry by reading all the books.

Also by Andrew Kreisberg, “Green Arrow/Black Canary” #16, on sale next week

It’s great talking to all of those guys. Those guys are smart. Between them they’ve probably forgotten more about Superman than I’ll ever know. Or I should say, they’ve forgotten more about writing Superman than I’ll ever know. One of the fun things about writing comics in general has been getting to shoot the breeze about these characters with people who are so knowledgeable. Talking about Green Arrow with Mike Carlin. And talking to James and Sterling about Superman and just riffing and talking about different incarnations and what we can pull from and what things from the past to reference. It’s much more fun than sitting alone trying to push this thing forward.

Do you have an endpoint that you’re working towards with an established beginning, middle and end? Or will it be more organic?

There is **for sure** an end because the ramifications of the next year are going to live on in the DC Universe for many years to come. In many ways, that’s kind of exciting too. I know what page 22 of “World of New Krypton” #12 is. It’s just a question of filling in the 11 issues and 21 pages before that.

Have you seen any of Pete Woods’ art yet?

No. The first script is just in. It will be exciting to see. The only Superman I have written before this book was an issue of “JLA Classified.” So I am very excited to start see “my version” of a Superman story. But I am a huge fan of Pete’s work. I’ve been really blessed. For my work at DC, I’ve got to work with Scott McDaniel and Mike Norton and now Pete Woods. So I have been really blessed with the artists I’ve got to collaborate with. It’s pretty rare that I open a .PDF from an editor and go, “Oh, darn. That’s it?”

So I am excited to get to know Pete because I’ve got a great relationship with Mike Norton. At the end of the day, everyone who writes a book writes it because we are fans. And when you get a book that you wrote and your ideas come to life in color, it’s so exciting.

With the cancellation of “Eli Stone,” do you know what your next TV writing gig will be?

Yeah, I just finished two years on “Eli Stone.” I have nothing but wonderful, wonderful things to say about Marc Guggenheim. I guess a few bad things, if you really want to know [laughs].

Andrew Kreisberg has just this week joined the staff of “Fringe”

But I actually just joined “Fringe” on Monday [January 5]. So that’s cool because on day one they told me everything. I am on for the rest of this season and I also have a pilot at Touchstone that I am developing.

Were you a fan of “Fringe” coming in?

Yeah, I was. It was one of those crazy things. Ironically, most of my TV work — I wrote for “Boston Legal” and had a drama pilot called “Haley’s Comet” about a 23-year-old cancer survivor and she becomes a medical student, and “Eli,” and I also wrote for “Lipstick Jungle” — so most of my drama work has not been the kind of thing that would get me on “Fringe.” But what did it really was all of my comic book work, especially “Helen Killer,” which [“Fringe” production company] Bad Robot really responded well to. That was the thing that showed that I could handle the action and the car chases and drilling into people’s heads.

You must have been sad to see “Eli Stone” come to an end. What else can you tell us about that show?

“Eli” will always be one of the highlights of my career in terms of both the unbelievable creativity we enjoyed and the amazing friendships that were built – from the cast to the crew to the other writers, to Marc and Greg [Berlanti], who have changed my life for the better in so many ways, not only in my writing. Marc and Greg really created the type of work environment that I want to be a part of. I will always be very grateful for those two years. And very proud of the work

“Superman: World of New Krypton” #1 is scheduled to be released March 4 from DC Comics.

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