The Rebirth of Superman (Part 1)Superman is reborn... again.
Author: Edward Gross
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know it's old news. Superman is being recreated by John Byrne; he makes the headlines. Superman dies; he makes the headlines. Superman returns; he makes the headlines. Superman gets a dopey blue suit and even dopier powers; he makes the headlines. In other words, we've been down the path of "new and improved" many times before, and in most cases things haven't been that new, and more often than not they have not been improved.
This time, however, things are a little different. Beginning back in SUPERMAN #151, new creative teams took over the four monthly titles devoted to the man from Krypton (SUPERMAN, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN; SUPERMAN, MAN OF STEEL; SUPERMAN IN ACTION COMICS). Additionally, the the line is now being guided by editor Eddie Berganza. They're obviously doing something right, because sales are up and there is genuine buzz being circulated about the Man of Steel.
"In the past," explains Berganza, "way back from when the Death of Superman and the Return of Superman happened, there had been a status quo established on the books, where, basically, it had become a weekly."
What he's referring to is the fact that each of the four Superman titles would have a small triangle on their cover with a number written within it. Readers would have to use the triangles to follow the scenario chronologically. "You could follow them weekly," he says, "with each title connected to the other. Basically you had a serial, where every issue ended on a cliffhanger and you had to pick up the next issue week after week. Mike Carlin, the editor at the time, established that; then he had two other editors follow who tried to keep up with what he had done. That's when you had the blue suit come in and where some other things had been done. A lot of things were done to try and recapture the Death and Return of Superman.
"But as that kept happening," he continues, "they kept getting farther away from Superman. The cast around Superman kept growing and growing, until it came to the point that he became almost a guest star in his own book. There were people from the bottled city of Kandor, Lois Lane's sister had her own plotline going. You had guys on the books who had been there for ten years. They had done everything they could with the main character, so they began branching out. Unfortunately, in doing that, again, you were getting farther away from the basics of Superman. You got to the point where you had the Blue Superman and the Red Superman, and the Daily Planet had been closed down. Nothing against the creators of those stories, but if you're on a gig for ten years, you're going to try and spin it as many possible ways that you can just to keep it interesting. When I came on board, I was new to the book. The strange thing is that I wasn't the biggest Superman fan. I liked the character, but mostly from TV and the movies. I didn't feel like I had to do the umpteenth Krypto story or something like that. My attitude was that he was a cool character, and I also didn't have the marching orders to follow what these guys had done."
The first thing that Berganza asked himself was what makes Superman Superman? "I wanted to get back to the basics of that," he explains, "because it had been a long time since that had been explored. The first issue was, 'reopen the Daily Planet.' Then it was the idea of getting Luthor back to being a bad guy. Not that he had become a good guy, but he became more of a businessman bad guy. While we can't go back to the old continuity where he used to wear a purple suit and fight Superman hand to hand, we figured he could start throwing more stuff at Superman and become a little more active. And for my thinking, he had also become overweight, so I've got him on a diet. He also gained two female bodyguards, whose origins are kind of a mystery. They may be Amazons; they may not be. They've got him working out. My role model for Luthor is John Malkovitch. Malkovitch with a shaved head is really scary, yet the power of the guy makes him really attractive. Again, going back to what Superman was about. I also really wanted to separate the four books and give them four distinct identities."
Helping to accomplish this was a shakeup of the books' creative teams. SUPERMAN is currently being written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Ed McGuinness and Cam Smith; ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN is written by J.M. Dematteis with art by Mike Miller and Jose Marazan; MAN OF STEEL is written by Mark Schultz (the only holdover from a previous regime) and drawn by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen; and ACTION COMICS is written by Joe Kelly and drawn by Kano and Marlo Alquiza.
"There are still continuing stories as we planned our first year," Berganza says, "and we ended up connecting them a lot more than we thought we would, but I tried to give each book a different identity. For instance, SUPERMAN would be the book where if you just wanted to pick up a Superman book, it would have all the classic elements. There would be Perry White at the Daily Planet, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen; Lex Luthor would do something nasty; we'd see the classic villains like Metallo, Brainiac and people like that. With ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, I wanted more of a human angle through the whole thing, with a focus on the people of Metropolis. MAN OF STEEL would try to go into Superman's Kryptonian roots and the dangers that brings with it. And in ACTION he would pretty much be teaming up with the rest of the heroes from the DC universe, and it would pretty much be just that: action."
IntroductionThe Superman Homepage has had the pleasure of interviewing various Superman Comic Book creative people about their work.
Question and Answer Interviews:
- Interview with Christopher Priest about the Superman vs. Deathstroke story in Deathstroke #8 (November 2016)
- Interview with Sterling Gates about the 'Adventures of Supergirl' digital-first comic book series (January 2016)
- Interview with J. Michael Straczynski about Superman: Earth One - Vol. 3 - Writer J. Michael Straczynski talks to us about the third volume in the Superman: Earth One graphic novel series (February 2015)
- Interview with Jim Krueger - Writer Jim Krueger talks to us about his The Dark Lantern story in the Adventures of Superman comic book title (November 2013)
- Smallville: Season 11 Interview with Bryan Q. Miller - Writer Bryan Q. Miller talks to us about his work on the Smallville: Season 11 comic book title (October 2012)
- Supergirl Interview with Mahmud Asrar - Artist Mahmud Asrar talks to us about his work on the monthly Supergirl comic book title (July 2012)
- Superman/Batman Interview with Joshua Hale Fialkov - Joshua Hale Fialkov answers our questions about The Secret 3-part story in Superman/Batman #85-87 (July 2011)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates - Sterling Gates answers our questions about where Supergirl is headed post War of the Supermen (June 2010)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates & Jamal Igle - Adam Dechanel chats with the Supergirl comic book team about the Maid of Might (March 2010)
- Behind the Scenes of the Super Friends - Four part indepth look at the Super Friends comic book title with artists J. Bone and Stewart McKenny (February 2010)
- Interview with Landry Q Walker and Eric Jones - The writer and artist discuss Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade (May 2009)
- Interview with Elliot S! Maggin - Legendary Superman writer and novelist discusses his career (January 2009)
- Interview with J. Bone - Artist discusses Super Friends comic book (November 2008)
- Interview with Mark Bagley (September 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #18 (September 2008)
- Interview with Jake Black (May 2008)
- Interview with Cary Bates (June 2008)
- Interview with Jack Briglio - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #14 (May 2008)
- Interview with Ken Pontac - Writer discusses Justice League Unlimited #44 (May 2008)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #13 (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #11 (February 2008)
- Interview with Fabian Nicieza - Writer on Superman comic books (June 2007)
- Interview with Danny Fingeroth - Writer of the book Superman on the Couch (May 2007)
- Interview with Jesse McCann - Writer on the Krypto The Superdog comic books (December 2006)
- Interview with Matt Haley - Artist on the Superman Returns comic book movie adaptation (November 2006)
- Interview with Ethan Van Sciver - Artist on Superman/Batman (September 2006)
- Interview with Mark Verheiden on taking over the writing duties on Superman/Batman (April 2006)
- Interview with Matt Idelson on taking over as Superman group editor (March 2006)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb on Sam and Superman/Batman #26 (February 2006)
- Interview with Roger Stern (December 2005)
- Interview with Marv Wolfman (November 2005)
- Interview with Gail Simone (May 2005)
- Interview with Greg Rucka (April 2005)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (January 2005)
- Interview with Glenn Whitmore (November 2004)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (September 2004)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (September 2004)
- Interview with Ron Garney (September 2004)
- Interview with Greg Rucka and Matthew Clark (May 2004)
- Interview with Ed McGuinness (March 2004)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (March 2004)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Superman: Red Son] (March 2003)
- Interview with Min S. Ku (September 2001)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (May 2001)
- Interview with Joe Casey (April 2001)
- Interview with Mike S. Miller (September 2000)
- Interview with Denis Rodier (August 2000)
- Interview with Grant Morrison (December 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 2] (November 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 1] (April 1999)
- Superman vs. Terminator - A Chat with Fight Promoter Alan Grant. (January 2000)
- Superman: The Dailies (1939-1940) Graphic Novel Review.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 1) - Superman is reborn... again.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 2) - Eddie Barganza on taking the character in a new direction.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 3) - Jeph Loeb discusses writing the Man of Steel.
- Lex Luthor For President - Forget Superman. An updated Luthor's new enemies are Gore and Bush.
- Superman: Last Son of Earth - Steve Gerbern Interview - The writer discusses flip-flopping the Man of Steel's origin. (August 2000)
Krypton Club Interviews:
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.
- Interview with Roger Stern (June 1995)
- Interview with John Byrne (June 1995)
- Interview with Mike Carlin (July 1995)