[Date: November 15, 2005]
If writer Marv Wolfman's sole contribution to the DC Universe had been the ground-breaking 12-issue maxi-series, "Crisis on Infinite Earths", he'd still have solidified his status as a comic book legend. However, the first "Crisis" is far from Wolfman's only lasting pop culture creation. He co-created, along with artist George Perez, the New Teen Titans and wrote their adventures continuously for 16 years. He co-created the revamped cybernetic Brainiac for Superman's 45th anniversary. He also conceived the corrupt businessman persona for Lex Luthor and helped develop that character during his run on "Adventures of Superman." He's created or had a hand in creating Nightwing, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg, Deathstroke, Professor Emil Hamilton, and Cat Grant. And he even had the time to come up with Blade the Vampire Hunter and Bullseye for Marvel Comics.
The prolific Wolfman returns to the DC fold in February 2006 with the lead story in Infinite Crisis Secret Files 2006 #1, as well as two new Teen Titans stories co-written with Geoff Johns.
Q: Tell us what you can about the story in "Infinite Crisis Secret Files 2006".
A: I can't say much, but it is a crucial story in the "Infinite Crisis" storyline, connecting the dots on everything continuity-wise that has gone on in DC continuity for the past 20 years.
Q: How does the Superman family -- or, more appropriately now, the Supermen families of however many Earths -- fit into this new story?
A: That I can't say. Sorry.
Q: DC has said the new story somehow explains all the anomalies that have arisen since the first "Crisis on Infinite Earths" - does that make this story a "Book Three" or "Supplement" to your seminal "History of the DC Universe"?
A: No. Not really. "History" was the History of the DCU through 1985. This explains all the different continuities since then.
Q: Do you agree with Batman's accusation against Superman in the first issue of "Infinite Crisis" that Superman hasn't been inspirational since his death?
A: Batman never thinks Superman is doing the right job. But then can you imagine what Batman would do if he had Supes' powers? I shudder.
A: No. I thought the comic would be relegated to history even though the effects of the books would go on forever. George and I were more concerned with what we were trying to do than worry about if people would be remembering it so many years later. This despite the fact that we both knew we were doing something very special.
Q: Do you think DC was ready for the ending to the first "Crisis"? Within a year or two, there were major reboots on Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman and only Wonder Woman's reboot seemed to have been envisioned by the ending of "Crisis".
A: DC made a mistake back then by not preparing in advance a complete reboot, which Crisis could have allowed them to do. But Dick Giordano, the editor-in-chief at the time also realized he didn't have the staff necessary to pull it off. It was a delayed opportunity because DC appears to be doing it now.
Q: While John Byrne is credited with overhauling Superman for the late 20th Century, arguably one of the most long-lasting changes to the mythos from this era was your idea - the re-imagining of Lex Luthor as a corrupt and power-hungry businessman. The idea seems so natural now but how did you come up with such a sweeping change for Lex's background and modus operandi?
A: I had first proposed the idea several years before when we revamped Luthor and Brainiac [in 1984's Action Comics #544]. Julie [Schwartz] wanted me to only handle one of the revamps and for Cary Bates - the writer of the other Superman title then - to handle the other, so I did Brainiac and I used my corporate honcho idea for Vandal Savage, instead. When we revamped Superman in 1986 I re-proposed the idea - confident that no one would remember what I had done with Vandal, and this time it was accepted. I never believed the original Luthor. Every story would begin with him breaking out of prison, finding some giant robot in an old lab he hid somewhere, and then he'd be defeated. My view was if he could afford all those labs and giant robots he wouldn't need to rob banks. I also thought later that Luthor should not have super powers. Every other villain had super powers. Luthor's power was his mind. He needed to be smarter than Superman. Superman's powers had to be useless against him because they couldn't physically fight each other and Superman was simply not as smart as Luthor. I thought he should be as legal as possible, and his crimes brilliantly conceived so Superman could not pin them on him, and the best way to achieve that was turn him into a businessman/scientist. He was the toast of Metropolis until Superman came to town. He wanted Lois, until she met Superman. All his problems came from his ego and personality, not because he was bald. He was rich. Successful. Admired. But people instantly knew Superman was his better. That made him interesting.
Q: You have three or four books in the February solicitations that you've written and/or co-written including the lead story in "Infinite Crisis Secret Files 2006" - I feel like I went to sleep and woke up in 1985. What do you think woke up DC to the fact that you're still out there "gettin' it done" (as David Letterman would say)?
A: I have 3-4 books? Aside from Infinite Crisis - what? I don't know what else of mine is coming out. [Editor: Teen Titans Annual #1 and Teen Titans #33, solicited for February 2006, are co-written by Geoff Johns and Marv Wolfman.] But none the less, I would love to do more stuff with DC and hope that happens. They are a good company and Dan Didio is as sharp as they come with boundless energy and enthusiasm. He's made a difference and he did it fast. Hopefully, if my Crisis story is well received he'll decide I can fit in. That would be just wonderful.
Q: Is Geoff Johns secretly the Earth-DC Marv Wolfman?
A: Didn't I wipe out all those Earths? [Smiling]
Q: Finally, with the big, pre-Superman Returns marketing push, do you think we'll see the vastly underrated 1988-89 "Superman" cartoon on which you served as Story Editor released to DVD?
A: I'd love to see it come out. I enjoyed the series and think, for the time and what we were allowed to do it was pretty good.
When Lois & Clark started production in 1993, there was an obvious relationship between the comic book people and the Hollywood people.
A trade paperback Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, was published, with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher on the cover. It included reprints of comic book stories that were the inspiration for Lois & Clark, helping to define the characters. Comic's included are: The Story of the Century (Man of Steel miniseries #2), Tears for Titano (Superman Annual #1), Metropolis - 900 mi (in SUP #9), The Name Game (SUP #11), Lois Lane (in ACT #600), Headhunter (AOS #445), Homeless for the Holidays (AOS #462), The Limits of Power (AOS #466), and Survival (ACT #665).
A number of comic book writers and artists had roles as extras in the episode I'm Looking Through You (Season one, episode 4). Their presence was immortilized in the Sky Trading Card #34.
Craig Byrne, president of the online Lois & Clark fanclub The Krypton Club, carried out a series of interviews with comic book writers. The interviews are reprinted with permission of the Krypton Club.