If you haven’t been reading Superman’s comic books for some time, you might not be aware that Jon Kent, the son of Superman and Lois Lane, went from being a young boy to a young man in a very short amount of time.
Jon went off on a space adventure with his grandfather Jor-El (long story) to broaden his horizons and increase his knowledge of the universe. Unfortunately Jon was sucked in to a black hole and ended up on Earth-3, the home of the Crime Syndicate. He was captured and imprisoned by Ultraman, with his imprisonment lasting for quite a few years before he was finally rescued by Jor-El and sent back to Earth. While seven years had passed for Jon, for his parents, only three weeks had passed since he left. The young 10 year old son they knew three weeks ago was now 17.
Fans were disappointed at the turn of events, feeling like they’d been robbed of stories of a young Jon Kent, and began calling for DC to “de-age” Superman’s son. While that story took place in 2018, the complaints have continued unabated.
During our live interview with “Action Comics” writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson on Monday night, a fan called in to ask him about the possibility of taking Jon Kent back to an earlier age.
“People just love talking about this and it’s been going on for so long,” Phillip Kennedy Johnson responded. “But the thing with Jon Kent is that, as soon as I came on the whole thing, Jon’s future had already been settled. [Writer] Tom [Taylor] already had his plans for what he was going to do with the character, everything he was going to do.”
“There was all the stuff he’d been through with the Legion, things he was going to do in the ‘Superman: Son of Kal-El’ title. One of those things of course was him coming out as bisexual, but there were lots of other stories as well. He’s been through a lot of stuff and if we were to ‘One More Day’ Jon – referring to the Spider-Man thing where they just kind ‘poofed’ it away – if we were to do that, we would be undoing all those stories that happened since then. We’d be screwing over not just Tom Taylor but everyone who’d read any of his books and all that time like none of that happened, like nothing happened in “Legion” would have happened, it would literally be by erasure taking a bisexual character and making them vanish. To take him back to an age before those things happened it just would have been wrong.”
“I acknowledged that it was not a popular decision, however to undo it would have been a bigger mistake.”
“So there were lots and lots of reasons why it would not happen with or without my help. Even if I pitched them the idea like, ‘Hey you know we should make Jon 10 again,’ whether that be through some kind of you know magic stuff or discovery of another Jon someplace else or you know some Multiversal whatever, no matter what happened, it would have meant all the other stuff that happened was gone. So there were lots of reasons why we kind of can’t go back.”
“But one thing I did want, that I did really miss, was seeing the relationship between Superman and Lois and Jon as a young boy, making all the kind of dumb mistakes kids make when he’s like frying cats and trying to figure out how to do stuff on the farm. All those things that were just really fun, seeing them on roller coasters, and you know I wanted to get back to all that. It’s not so much about Jon, it’s about the stories, it’s about the feelings that those stories gave us. I’m going to make another analogy, and I’m sorry to go on about this so long, but I feel like it’s a big deal and I’m hoping that everyone on Twitter is watching so we can just kind of put this to bed. On on my first “Alien” arc… (All of my stuff I do for “Alien” goes through not just Marvel but also 20th Century. Everyone at 20th Century looks over that stuff too to make sure it all fits the Alien brand). I discovered that anything that has not already happened in an “Alien” film they don’t want to see it in the comic either. All they want is like the original dinner scene with Jon Hurt over and over and over and over again. That’s all they want. They want to see chess burster, just like they did in the first movie because everyone loved the first movie. But what those kinds of notes don’t understand or don’t take into account is that they’re not trying to just see the one cool thing happen over and over, you’re trying to recapture that same feeling of horror and mystery, and you’re trying to recapture that feeling in the reader or the viewer. So I’m trying to recapture the magic of the Superman/Jon Kent/Lois Lane relationships without undoing a big important piece of canon.”
“Also, side note, the thing that happened with Jon kind of added a more complex layer to Superman that we didn’t have before. Superman now has a deep regret that makes him kind of sad, it kind of haunts him, and Lois Lane too, and now it’s going to make things a little more complicated with Jon and the super twins, and you know Clark is all up in the middle of that and it makes it, it kind of makes for drama. You know sometimes we see bad things or unfortunate things happen to characters that we love and it allows for these really powerful stories, and I think that the aging up of Jon is a prime example of that where something unfortunate happened to somebody that we care about, and you know what are our favorite characters going to do now after suffering this loss?”
“So that would be my answer about why we’re going to leave Jon alone as far as his age.”
Hopefully that put that to bed for fans who keep demanding DC “de-age” Jon Kent.