ROGER STERN: THE MAN OF TOMORROWby Craig Byrne
Roger Stern has been an important part of the comic book industry for nearly 20 years. His early days as a comics writer were spent at Marvel Comics, where he wrote the comics AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and THE AVENGERS for many years. Many may agree that his best work, however, was on the Superman comics he has done.
Roger Stern began writing Superman comics in 1988, with ACTION COMICS #600. From there he wrote the book until issue #700 (July 1994). He was there when Clark revealed his true identity to Lois Lane. He was there for Superman's battle with Doomsday. He was there for Superman's funeral. And, most importantly, he was there for Superman's return. In between writing all of those issues of ACTION COMICS, Roger Stern co-created the 1980's "Starman" character for DC Comics, and he wrote the book "The Death and Life of Superman." (a great book for anyone who's interested in the Superman character--it's very descriptive and it reads like a movie). In 1994, he took a much-deserved break, before returning to comics by writing the new quarterly Superman title, SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF TOMORROW. He also wrote the 1995 SUPERMAN ANNUAL and will be writing the upcoming Justice League story in the SUPERMAN/BATMAN MAGAZINE.
Mr. Stern was nice enough to do an interview for the Krypton Club newsletter. He was asked several questions, which he was kind enough to respond to. =^)
CB: Who is your favorite Superman-related character?
RS: Asking me to pick my favorite Superman-related character is a little like asking parents to pick their favorite children. Lois and Lex and Jimmy and Ma and Pa and Inspector Henderson are faves. (I assume that you mean characters besides Clark himself.) And, of course, there's Bibbo...'ey, isn't he ever'body's fav'rit?!
CB: Did you enjoy writing the novelization of "The Death and Life of Superman?" Approximately how many copies did it sell?
RS: Did I enjoy writing the novel? Well, yes...more so once it was done, though. I had an impossible deadline, and there are two months which are a blur to me now. The hardcover sold well over 200,000 copies...I don't yet know the sales on the paperback.
CB: Was it a goal for you to do ACTION COMICS for 100 issues?
RS: I never set out to write 100 issues of ACTION...and I don't think I actually did. There were at least three issues written by people other than myself...and I wrote but only two pages an issue during most of the book's weekly run.
CB: What did you think initially when the plan was made to kill Superman?
RS: What did I think about killing Superman initially? I thought, "We better not screw this up!"
CB: Have you ever been tempted to work with the character "The Eradicator" (from "Reign of the Supermen") ever again?
RS: I really have no feeling for the Eradicator. I wanted him to die at the end of "Reign of the Superman" -- and, in fact, the original Kryptonian Eradicator did die then -- but an "Eradicator" of some sort had already been promised to the Outsiders office, so I cobbled together the David Connor character. I've been asked to write Eradicator stories -- both for SHOWCASE '95 and for a miniseries -- but I just have no interest in him.
CB: Do you watch "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman?"
RS: I watch "Lois & Clark" occasionally, but not often. I'm a big Simpsons fan.
CB: What do you think of it?
RS: As far as television goes, it's not a bad show. The cast is good...the writing could always be better. And, of course, it's hard to employ great special effects on a TV budget....also, the action sequences could be faster paced.
CB: Besides Superman, do you have a "dream project" in comics? Anything really cool coming up?
RS: Yes, I have a number of characters I've created for which I'd like to find a publisher -- a publisher who'd let me keep ownership -- but that will probably have to wait until the market improves.
CB: What is the best part of working on comics, and, more specifically, the Superman character?
RS: The best part about working on Superman is that you tell people what you do, they know what you're talking about.
CB: Do you think Superman should have long hair, like in the comics, or short hair, like in the TV show?
RS: I think Superman should have whatever length of hair he wants.
CB: Is the owner of the "Daily Planet," Franklin W. Stern, named after you, or is it just a coincidence that he has the same last name?
RS: Yes, Franklin Stern was named for me...by the rest of the super-teamsters. I worry that it's too obvious a self-reference.
CB: Did you request that Tom Grummett drew MAN OF TOMORROW, or did things just happen to go that way?
RS: I'd hoped that I'd get a chance to work with Tom Grummett again, and I lucked out.
CB: What can we look forward to in upcoming issues of SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF TOMORROW?
RS: In upcoming issues of MAN OF TOMORROW...the Alpha Centurion, more of the Contessa, more revelations about Lex Luthor, some very nasty demonic types, a Big Red Cheese, and lots of explosions!
CB: Do you have anything in particular you'd like to say to your fans?
RS: I'd just like to say that it's an honor to work on Superman. I feel that it's an opportunity for me to take some small part of the enjoyment that I got from the character and pass it on to another generation of readers. I hope you all enjoy my efforts.
And there you have it. Be sure to pick up SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF TOMORROW, $1.95 from DC Comics! It should still be on your local newsstand, unless it's already sold out!
(this interview was originally published in The Krypton Club Newsletter #15 on June 5, 1995)
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)