SDCC: Superman's New Journey

Lois Lane has exposed Superman's secret to the world, and DC Comics' Friday afternoon panel at San Diego's Comic-Con International shed further light on how the revelation will affect "Action Comics," "Superman," "Batman/Superman," and "Superman/Wonder Woman" moving forward. DC's Vice President of Marketing John Cunningham moderated the discussion with panelists Gene Luen Yang, Greg Pak, Heath Courson, and Max Landis.

Neal Adams' "The Coming of the Supermen" launches in December. But Adams said, "I want to know about the Max Landis thing - do you know who his father is?" Adams began.

"That's how I always want to be introduced," Landis said. "Imagine your father, as you knew him as a kid, and random strangers coming up to you and said 'I love your dad.!'"

Adams said his six-issue miniseries will feature "all of Jack Kirby's characters fighting Superman; beginning with Kalibak." He concluded saying that "someone's stolen Superman's blood," to nefarious purpose.

Pak and Kuder's "Action Comics" will deal with Superman's new physical vulnerability with the loss of some of his powers, as well as the emotional impact. "For Clark, everything's falling down around his ears." Pak also clarified that Yang's four-issue "Truth" storyline takes place before the "Action" issues; each of Superman's titles take place at a different time.

"He could do a million things back in the day, but now he's just a dude - but he's still Superman," Pak said. "He's still going to try to do the right thing and stick up for the people who need sticking up for." The writer noted, however, that he won't always get it right.

For "Batman/Superman," which Pak is also writing, Scott Snyder's shake-up in the Batman titles also leads to a new dynamic, with Jim Gordon taking over as the Dark Knight.

Heath Corson talked about "Bizarro," which has Jimmy Olsen taking Superman's imperfect double on a road trip to Canada. "Jimmy agrees to it because he thinks he'll get a coffee table book out of it; Bizarro just wants friends." In an upcoming issue, Jimmy and Bizarro will see Zatanna perform, "and Bizarro realizes he can understand what she's saying. So he becomes a very powerful backwards-speaking magician."Next up, Landis talked about three Ryan Sook images on the screen, one of a young brooding boy, then a teenager's mugshot, then a young playboy surrounded by women - all Clark Kent. The book is called "Superman: American Alien."

"For those who are not aware of me, my father is Stephen Spielberg," Landis said, before talking about his previous Superman comics, including an "Superman Adventures" story involving the Joker.

"I've wanted to write a Superman comic my entire life, and I'm surprised that DC is letting me write the one I wanted to write."

He described "American Alien" as "the anti-'All Star Superman.'" "That connected with everything that was mythic, and bright ... and I couldn't compete with that."

The seven stories are "stories Clark might tell you if you were having a beer with him," and only three of them involve Superman. "Clark Kent is a guy from Kansas that you might know, and no one knows that he's Superman."

The artists are Nick Dragotta, Jock, Francis Manapul, Jae Lee, Joëlle Jones, cover artist Ryan Sook, and more.

Landis said he also tried to write the most violent Superman fight. "You know in Game of Thrones, Hound vs. Brienne? I have a scene like that, Superman vs. Lobo - somebody tried to eye gauge and gets his thumbs blown off," Landis said.

Asked about the Joker, Landis said, "the thing I find interesting about him is he's putting himself in a ridiculous amount of danger," and the Joker's disregard for this is "kind of sexy." He spoke about a story he'd like to do where Joker tries to kill Harley "but isn't really into it," so they go on a road trip "and have a great time." But returning to Gotham, it's back to business as usual.

Talking about Superman films, Adams said, "I'm sick of Zod; I want Braniac, I want Darkseid."

"Do the movie guys read the comics? No! They're doing a new Superman movie, they need a bad guy... they watch an old Superman movie," he said. "No! Read Jack Kirby!"

The quipping led eventually to Landis pitching a "gay Zod" story. "What if Zod was in love with Jor-El on Krypton?" he said, and was angry that Jor-El "had a kid with some random chick." "Have you ever loved someone so much you wanted to END THE WORLD?"

Asked whether Netflix-like "binge" schedules would work for comics, Corson pointed out that "when I binge 'Orange is the New Black,' I have to wait a year for more."

Speaking of the appeal of writing the character, Pak., who is half Korean-American, spoke about "passing," which he said is also "something Superman had done all his life."

When he got the "Bizarro" gig, Corson said he remembered dressing as Superman as a kid, but when he found the picture, "I'd put the S on in the mirror... so it was backwards," he said. "Me am Bizarro!"

Landis said there was an appeal "in the hyper vulnerability of an invulnerable character," saying he doesn't think Superman "has any scale" of his amazing abilities. "When he looks in the mirror, he doesn't hear [the 'Superman' theme song] ... he hears nothing, except the things you hear when you look in the mirror."

"I think everyone has a Kryptonite; that's why it's become a metaphor for human weakness."

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