Phillip Kennedy Johnson on Writing Two Superman “Future State” Titles

Future State

Newsarama caught up with writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson to talk to him about his work on two “DC Future State” comic book titles, both involving Superman, and what the Man of Steel means to him.

Q: Superman is always that character we have to ask – why Superman? Arguably the most iconic fictional character in any medium … also arguably difficult to write for. First of all, do you buy into the notion that his omnipotent power makes him hard to create conflict for?

Johnson: No, I’ve never understood that perspective about Superman. Superman is defined as much by his compassion for all living things as he is by his physical strength. There are tons of stories in which Superman is challenged physically, but that aside, anyone who cares as much as Superman does about people, about life, about justice, has plenty of potential conflict. And it’s even better these days because he has a family, a son. Superman is supposedly “invulnerable,” but I’m here to tell you: he is not invulnerable. Having a child is the ultimate vulnerability.

Q: The flipside to that question is what is the appeal of the character for you?

Johnson: In simplistic terms: he just feels so good to write! Superman inspires people. Certainly, he inspires me. He shows us who we’re supposed to be. He cares about everyone, even his enemies. He’s a man of almost absolute power, but also absolute compassion, kindness, humility. Having a character like that in my head just makes me want to be more than I am.

On top of all that, the addition of his son to his mythology makes him a dream character to write. Superman’s love for all life can be expressed on the page through his love for his only son, and it makes him so relatable. I think most readers know what it’s like to care about someone that way, that willingness and desire to do anything for someone.

You’ll be able to read Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s work on Superman in the “DC Future State” title “Superman: Worlds of War” (2-parts coming out in January and February) and the one-shot “Superman: House of El” (scheduled to be released on February 23, 2021).

Read more about Johnson’s thoughts on these stories at

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November 23, 2020 8:37 pm

I like what Johnson says about Superman here. He seems to “get” the character. Hopefully he really does have a good perspective which translates into some good stories. I’m definitely more intrigued than I was.