Interviews

Exclusive Jeph Loeb Interview

[Date: February 17, 2006]

Superman/Batman #26 Advert

Jeph Loeb on Sam and “Superman/Batman #26”

Q: What can you tell us about the story for "Superman/Batman #26"?

Jeph: There are two stories about "Superman/Batman #26". One is what it is about and the other is what happened afterwards in the real world. I'll deal with the first one here and the rest will follow.

"Superman/Batman #26" is a stand alone issue about Superboy and Robin. In the middle of Infinite Crisis, these two have a story that is told about their lives and their friendship. It is, in only a small way, a sequel to "Superman/Batman #7" which also starred Superboy and Robin. It's a great big, very fun action adventure story with a very emotional core. I'm quite proud of what my son accomplished.

Q: How did this story come about?

Jeph: Again, two versions. Eddie Berganza (Superman/Batman's Editor) had asked Sam, largely on the strength of Sam's first published work in "Tales of the Vampire #5" from Dark Horse, to write Issue 26. Since the story was about two teenage superheroes, Eddie thought Sam, being 17, would have his own unique spin. When you read the story you will see how right Eddie was/is.

The second version is the aftermath of Sam's death which saddens me to no end, but how the comic book community rallied around -- all of whom are Sam's friends -- to finish the issue. It began at the funeral where many of The 26 asked what they could do for Sam.

We all knew about "Superman/Batman #26" and it was there that Dan Didio and Eddie Berganza approved us moving forward with the crew that was quickly being assembled.

These were all Sam's friends. He had his own relationship that was separate from mine with each of these astonishingly talented folks. Who are The 26?

  • Arthur Adams
  • Joe Casey
  • John Cassaday
  • Joyce Chin
  • Ian Churchill
  • Allan Heinberg
  • Geoff Johns
  • Joe Kelly
  • Mike Kunkel
  • Jim Lee
  • Pat Lee
  • Rob Liefeld
  • Paul Levitz
  • Jeph Loeb ;)
  • Joe Madureira
  • Jeff Matsuda
  • Ed McGuinness
  • Brad Meltzer
  • Carlos Pacheco
  • Duncan Rouleau
  • Tim Sale
  • Richard Starkings
  • Mike Turner
  • Brian K. Vaughan
  • Mark Verheiden
  • Joss Whedon
Every artist and writer have agreed to donate their fees and royalties directly to The Sam Loeb College Scholarship Fund. In addition, all of the artwork will be auctioned off next summer -- in either the convention Chicago or San Diego. All those proceeds will go to the Fund as well.

The Sam Loeb College Scholarship Fund was set up in September 2005. It awards one student each year who attend Sam's High School, North Hollywood High Gifted Magnet Program. The student best exemplifies Sam's qualities both as a student and as a person -- in other words, brilliant with a sense of humor.

Q: What is Sam's contribution to the story?

Jeph: Sam wrote the story. That is to say, he wrote the plot for the entire issue.

There are some smatterings of dialogue all of which we will keep.He worked long and hard with Eddie to get it approved and then Pat Lee was going to draw it when Sam died. In an effort to make the issue something that was worthy of his memory, Pat graciously became one of The 26.

Eddie, Geoff Johns and I have taken Sam's plot and divided it up into sections for the various artists. Since Sam's story was episodic in nature, it's actually easier than it sounds. But don't get me wrong. This could turn out to be a gigantic mess and Sam would find that hilarious.

Q: What are the other writers and artists contributing to the story?

Jeph: The 26 have been given the assignments of completing the book.

The artists for the most part each have one page to do, while the writers will have 1-3 depending on schedule. With a group this large we know the final product will be both exciting and somewhat disjointed and we all believe that Sam would find that very funny.

Q: Now that you've signed an exclusive with Marvel Comics, were they amenable to your contribution to this story?

Jeph: For me, this was an exclusion from the beginning. What was truly remarkable, however, was that both Dan Buckley and Joe Quesada didn't even BLINK when I asked if I could get exclusions for Joe Madureira and John Cassaday (maybe their two biggest guns) to help out. They just said, "Go and do it." But, that's what Marvel is all about.

Marvel is also doing a very special something that I can't talk about right now but it will be quite huge for The Fund. Sam had an amazing impact on everyone he met.

Q: Is this your final work for DC?

Jeph: It wasn't intended so, but it turns out to be. And final is such a finality! I'm not retiring. My deal with Marvel is two years. Maybe I'll be back!

Q: The "Smallville" team dedicated an episode to Sam, and now DC has this tribute to your son -- why do you think your son clearly touched the lives of your peers so deeply?

Jeph: And an Episode of Robot Chicken on the Cartoon network and... and... and...

You're asking me what made my son special, I don't know if that's something I can put into words. Anyone who met him just felt it. He was meant to change the world and taken WAY WAY WAY too soon -- so the ripple is what is changing the world. That, and I think everyone was astonished at how he could "find the funny" in any situation -- even if HE was the funny.

I miss him so terribly...

Q: Will the "Superman for all Seasons" back-up tie into the original "Superman for all Seasons" miniseries?

Jeph: Yes. Like Prom Night that was in Tim Sale's SOLO book and the two page When Clark Met Bruce that's in Public Enemies, these are all stories from that era and done in that style. The color is brilliant.

This is a very personal story that I wrote about Clark's friendship with a boy named Sam who gets cancer in the Junior Year at Smallville High. Paul Levitz wrote me the most amazing note after Sam died and suggested that I try to use what had happened to create something -- anything.

Ten days after Sam died, I wrote "Sam's Story." Tim Sale illustrated it perfectly. Richard Starkings lettered it perfectly. We're going to have the entire story online at www.newsarama.com very soon. I'm very proud of the work.

Q: Is there a thematic connection between Sam's story and the "Superman for all Seasons" back-up?

Jeph: Yes. Although it won't be apparent at first. That's all I can say about it now.

Q: Again, sorry for your loss. I'm happy to see the great number of creators rallying around you on this issue.

Jeph: THANK YOU. If you want to know more about The Sam Loeb College Scholarship Fund or if you want to make a donation, please send an email to SamLoeb4@aol.com. Someone will contact you asap.

Thanks again,
Jeph



This interview is Copyright © 2006 by Steven Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.


Interviews

Introduction

The Superman Homepage has had the pleasure of interviewing various Superman Comic Book creative people about their work.

Question and Answer Interviews:

Interviews/Articles:

Krypton Club Interviews:

Lois 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.

Check the Television section of this website for some “Lois & Clark” Interviews conducted by The Krypton Club.