"Ask Matt" Fan Forum Archives
Here are Matt Idelson's answers to questions fans put to him in April-May 2008:
Carey Lester (Email address withheld by request) asks:
It has been stated that the fans are what drives the superheroes and comics in general. Without the fans their wouldn't be any comics. With that said, why when fans are screaming for something that doesn't sit well with them as a whole, do the creators continue to push the angle. An example is the loss of Superman having a birthing matrix, this in itself caused major continuity problems, which can't be retcon'd to New Earth. In stories produced since "Infinite Crisis", the birthing matrix has been shown, as in the origin of the Cyborg-Superman in "Tales of the Sinestor Corps". I know you have stated you like to take inconsistencies and turn them into stories, so will we ever see how the birthing matrix is involved in the origin now, or is all we get is the story from "Action Comics Annual #10"?
Matt: Carey, Carey, Carey... where are your detective skills? Geoff has obviously had a big hand in modifying Superman's origin so that it doesn't include the birthing matrix, right? And I think he may have had a hand in that "Sinestro Corps" business. And if there's one thing I can say about Geoff, it's that he doesn't make continuity mistakes! And believe you me, that story from last year's Annual was merely the tiniest tip of the iceberg, especially compared to what's coming in 2009!
Darren Wakely (email@example.com) asks:
Hi Matt, is there any chance that Superboy (Conner Kent) will ever come back?
Matt: Generally, Darren, I'm a pretty pragmatic guy, but my hope springs eternal on this one.
AJ Bhowmik (firstname.lastname@example.org) asks:
You have mentioned trying to clear up Superman's history in 2009. As a reader going back to the 1990s and collector of back issues, I have to say I am less concerned with the status of Superman's particular origin, than the status of the stories I have spent hundreds of dollars collecting. The relevance of many of these stories, unfortunately, seem to have been crushed by the recent stories. My question is whether his continuity, not merely his origin, will be cleared up? Also, Superman is fighting Zod now. He fought a red suited zod in Joe Kelly's book, a black suited Zod in Azzarello's book. How can he be fighting another Zod, and not even acknowledge these prior fights? This is completely unbelievable.
Matt: I so totally understand where you're coming from, AJ. I think you can hit that reset button only so many times before not just the past stories, but the present ones lose some of their effectiveness. Having said that, part of everyone here's marching orders were to use the effects of "Infinite Crisis" and the jump ahead in time provided by "52" to clean up and simplify things for the characters we're charged with editing. In the case of Superman, one of my primary goals is to ensure that when the day comes where someone else is editing the character, we'll leave them with stories so strong that they'll have no choice but to work off what's been done and treat it as canon. But like I said, I do understand your feelings on this, AJ.
Zac Adkins (email@example.com) asks:
Dear Matt, First off, I would like to say, Thank you. I love it when creators/editors sit down and talk and answer questions from the readers and don't talk down to us like children like a certain CiE at a certain comic company that I refuse to mention does. My first question is in regards to the state of the economy and how it may effect future Superman storylines. Many times in the past, particularly during the 70's and early 80's, comics dealt heavily with real world problems facing the nation and planet. In an age in which the world seems to be collapsing under the weight of polution, population and war, do you think these (no pun intended) issues will be reflected in the writtings of the Super-Scribes? Also, are there anymore planned Elseworlds starring Superman in the forseeable future?
Matt: Good questions, Zac! I'll tackle the second one first since it's easier. There aren't any Superman Elseworlds stories in the works at this time.
As far as your tougher question, I'm guessing the answer is no. There's two reasons for this. One is that when you tackle an issue, any issue, you inevitably end up preaching whether you mean to or not. There are those that believe global warming is a very real and serious dillema. There are those that utterly dispute the notion. Who's right? There's no way to be certain. I have my opinion on the matter, but if we were to do a story about global warming, we'd be taking the viewpoint of one side over another: either it is a problem or it isn't. And because we have Superman (or any other character) taking their position, we're basically saying this is the truth, end of story. I'll use a somewhat recent example. In the whole "Amazons Attack" story, we were asked to include a thread about suspected female sympathizers in America being rounded up and put into internment camps, a la Guantanamo Bay in the real world. Some people (in the real world) feel that this has been a significant deterrent against terrorist strikes on the US. Others see it as a major violation of basic human rights, and that it has done nothing to stop the larger threat. Who's right? Dang if I know for certain, but by mirroring this so closely in "AA," we were essentially saying that it is wrong, when I'm personally not remotely sure whether it is or not. See where I'm coming from, man?
The other reason to shy away from such topics, at least in my opinion, is 'cause these books should be about escaping from the pressures and drudgery of real life. They're supposed to be fun, exciting, causing your pulse to race while you finish one issue and wait for the next. The last thing I want to read about is the stuff that brings me down. There's definitely a forum for discussing the important issues that the world faces, but I'm not sure comics is that place. But maybe that's just me? Let the onslaught of conflicting opinions begin!
Zera (firstname.lastname@example.org) asks:
Hi, Matt thanks for taking the time to answer questions from the fans. Mine is continuity related. In ACTION COMICS #862-864 "3-2-1 Action" story it happens alongside the COUNTDOWN issues that ran alongside it. My confusion starts when in the Legion arc, Clark mentions that he had seen the Legion came back to our time a month ago but the Lightning Saga happened in the first month of COUNTDOWN. Can you shed light into the timeline of the "Bizarro World" and "Legion" arcs? Are the super books far behind what happens in COUNTDOWN, and, when it comes, FINAL CRISIS? And another question stems from the fact that Clark all the way back to SUPERMAN #654 says it had been twelve years since his first flight with Lois but, while not directly, he answer Perry in ACTION COMICS #868 that he had worked for the Daily Planet for ten years. What is the correct time of Superman/CK debut in the DCU?
Matt: Oh, I was afraid someone would ask me something like this, Zera. The truth of the matter is, it's hard to totally reconcile where all the stories fall, since frankly, not a lot of them came out in the sequence or schedule we had originally planned. Using ACTION #877 as a reference point, you can figure that all the prior issues occur before ACTION COMICS ANNUAL #11. As far as ACTION itself, "Bizarro World" and "Supes & The Legion" take place concurrent to COUNTDOWN, and after the ACTION ANNUAL. And in fact, the "Legion" story took place in the "here and now," with ACTION #864 tying all that stuff together. Then we continue rolling forward with the very, very cool #865, which also begins the reintroduction of a supporting character. And honestly, that's as good as I can give you. The timing with COUNTDOWN is a bit nebulous, really for all the books in the DCU, I've found. As for the "how long has Superman/Clark Kent been on the Metropolis scene?" question, the basic answer is that ACTION #858 is correct, but that's based purely on Geoff continuing to write the book while Kurt has abandoned me for Mike Carlin and TRINITY. If Kurt were still on SUPES, we'd all determine a set answer and go forward from there.
Harvey J. (Email address withheld by request) asks:
What is Richard Donner's status on ACTION COMICS now with Geoff Johns? Will he be returning? It sounded like the Geoff Johns & Richard Donner teaming was supposed to be more long term, but so far they've only done the "Last Son" and "Escape From Bizarro World" arcs and now Johns is going solo. In the hype for the teaming, it sounded like they had more stories planned including a Brainiac one that was based on Donner's ideas for "Superman III". Is the upcoming Brainiac story Geoff is doing solo based those original plans he had with Donner?
Matt: At the risk of sounding like I'm making a dark joke, their collaboration kind of was long term, Harvey. Unfortunately, Richard's schedule was such that he had to move on to other stuff at a certain point, though he was nice enough to stick with us through the finale of "Last Son." Happily, Geoff has more than enough mind-blowing things planned so that in a month or so, you'll be asking "Richard who?"! As for if the upcoming "Brainiac" arc extends from something he and Richard had planned, well, I really don't know.
Wayne C. Brooks (email@example.com) asks:
Will we ever see a story showcasing Perry White's journalistic skills? I would love to see a story where Perry scoops Jimmy, Lois, and Clark and reminds them, "I taught you everything you know. I didn't teach you everything I KNOW".
Matt: Funny you should say that, Wayne... and that's all I'll say on the matter!
Richard Scott (Alexocks@aol.com) asks:
Matt, first, thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions. My question involves where on Earth are all the Superman stories taking place? Or more correctly, on what Earth? Back when the multiverse came back it was stated that the 52 Earths were New Earth AND Earth's 1-51. New Earth (where all the regular DCU books take place) wasn't one of the numbered Earths. In the new "Tangent: Superman's Reign" series they've referred to New Earth as Earth-1. Has something changed or is this just an editorial faux pas? Are the Superman books (and the rest of the DCU) taking place on Earth-1?
Matt: Wow, it seems like admitting goofs is the theme of this month's question & answer session, Richard. I guess it was a faux pas, but I can assure you that Earth-1 is the correct terminology.
Ryan Frank (Email address withheld by request) asks:
I just read ACTION ANNUAL #11, and I'm very, very confused. Short version: currently in the DCU, are Clark & Lois raising Chris or not? I see 3 possible in-storyline explanations, but please let me know if I missed the right one: 1) "Last Son" takes place when it was originally slated for release, and all of Chris' subsequent appearances in the Busiek run are now retconned, so Clark & Lois never raised Chris long-term; maybe that's part of the current Time Trapper storyline. 2) "Last Son" takes place when it was originally slated for release and all of Chris' appearances in the Busiek run happened, so there's an "untold tale" to explain how Chris returned from the Phantom Zone and Lois & Clark are still raising him. 3) The entire Busiek run takes place somewhere during "Last Son," the ending happens "now," Lois & Clark raised Chris for a considerable amount of time and then lost him. This would explain Chris' statement to Clark about having met Robin, but there doesn't seem to be anywhere in "Last Son" where such a long gap could have happened, since it looks like Chris is introduced to the Daily Planet staff seconds before Zod attacks, which is at odds with the staff knowing about Chris during the Busiek run. For that matter, Perry's comments to Lois & Clark at the end asking when they'll get around to having children are very strange if they've been raising a child for a considerable amount of time. Any clarification at all???
Matt: Ugh. Clearly, Ryan, the theme of today's column is "Mea Culpa." Yeah, if you read "Last Son" in one sitting, there's no time for all of Chris' adventures in Kurt's SUPERMAN run to have occurred. Then again, we couldn't have not had Chris show up in SUPES while "Last Son" was not coming out and just dance around Chris' fate. Plus, we didn't want people to forget about the "Last Son" story. Soooooooo... after the last panel of Issue #846, Page 9, Clark, Lois and Chris stepped out for lunch. Several weeks passed by, during which Clark and Lois struggled with raising Chris, Chris went to school, met Robin, helped the 3rd Kryptonian, etc., and then, on an off-day from school, Chris, Clark and Lois happened to all wear the same outfits they were wearing on Page 9 of #846 (they're extremely organized, methodical people, and Chris imitated his "parents") and took another trip to mom and dad's office, wherein Zod attacked.
You're not buying this, are you?
Matt, we keep hearing that Geoff Johns and James Robinson are going to be making SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS more closely aligned. Can you give us more of an example of how this will happen? Is it something like the "Triangle Numbering" from the 1990s or something totally different?
Matt: We're thinking along the lines of the former, Steve. The level of collaboration between Geoff and James is really something. We definitely want to go with some sort of numbering device between the two books (and when appropriate, SUPERGIRL), and you'll be experiencing a much stronger sense that the three books share one city, no question.
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