FLASHPOINT FACTS: Snyder and Francis Build "Project Superman"

Fri, April 29th, 2011 at 7:58am PDT | Updated: April 29th, 2011 at 8:13am

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Josie Campbell, Staff Writer

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"Project Superman" explores whether Kal-El would grow up to be Superman if he wasn't raised by the Kents

DC Comics has been teasing fans for months with tidbits and taglines for "Flashpoint," the summer’s big crossover event. Featuring an alternate timeline where little changes have drastically transformed the face of the DC Universe, the event’s core story will be told through the main "Flashpoint" five-issue comic book series, which sees Barry Allen as the one of the few heroes aware of the timeline changes. Along with the main "Flashpoint" series, DC is releasing sixteen three-issue miniseries as well as a number of one-shots, all designed to expand and enrich the "Flashpoint" alternate timeline.

Among these new titles is "Flashpoint: Project Superman," a three-issue miniseries that asks a simple question: If Superman wasn’t raised by the Kents, would he still be Superman?

Tackling this idea are writers Scott Snyder and Lowell Francis, along with artist Gene Ha. Snyder, who is also the creator of Vertigo’s "American Vampire" and writer for "Detective Comics," is credited with writing the plot of "Project Superman" while Francis worked as the comic’s scripter, though both agree the miniseries is a true collaboration in every sense. Rounding out the creative cast is Ha, who has worked with Francis before on stories for IDW Publishing’s "The Rocketeer" anthology and Archaia's "Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard" anthology.

In a CBR exclusive, Snyder and Francis discuss "Project Superman," tease details about Kal-El’s new "Flashpoint" history, and speculate whether the events of "Flashpoint" will have lasting repercussions for the regular DCU.

Story continues below

CBR News: OK, let’s start with the most obvious question: what is Project Superman?

Lowell Francis: Well, I don’t what I can say, Gene [Ha] is much better about being circumspect! We know that the "Flashpoint" universe is a much darker universe, and so we have a Superman who has gone through a very different upbringing. It may seem obvious what that is going to be, but I don’t think it’s going to come out exactly as people might immediately picture it.

Scott Snyder: The "Flashpoint" universe in a lot of ways is a window into a world where small things have changed the characters drastically. For Superman, one of the original ideas for "Flashpoint" was a story where we examined the idea, would he still be Superman if you change the circumstances so he doesn’t have the rosy background he did with the Kents? We really wanted this to be a story that investigates the nature of Kal-El as the world’s greatest hero, and whether or not he’d be Superman if the circumstances were drastically darker.

Francis: We’ve seen variations on that in a lot of "Elseworlds," but I think we have a new spin on it.

"Flashpoint: Project Superman" examines the alternate timeline from the perspective of the man who would be Superman

Lowell, you’ve said before "Project Superman" is a story that spans many years. Is this because you are exploring the history of this alternate almost-Superman?

Francis: Well, we were given an interesting mandate that set us to work in that particular way, and I think that’s good. I think what you’re going to see is -- and I don’t know much about the other "Flashpoint" books -- some of them are going to be very narrowly working with the characters and showing their context in relation to the main spine of the "Flashpoint" series. And some of them, like ours, have the chance to shine a flashlight across the history. So ours does bounce around in time. There are some pretty big jumps in time between the three issues.

Snyder: I think what Lowell has done in the script, which is impressive to me, is really show more than just a new origin story for Superman. It’s not just Superman totally re-imagined, it’s who Superman would be if something was different across the board. What Lowell’s done is given us a portrait of Superman at different stages so you really get to know this character very intimately the way you do in the best Superman stories in regular continuity. It’s not just a huge plot story where it ties into "Flashpoint," it really is a character piece, and I think Lowell’s done a terrific job with that.

How involved was DC editorial in the writing process and how much were you able to take "Project Superman" in your own direction?

Snyder: The reason I personally became involved in "Flashpoint" when it was first brought up to the writers at DC was because the story is incredible. I really love the "Flashpoint" world that Geoff Johns has created. One of the caveats that Geoff made very clear was that we each get to play in our own ecosystems with the characters. The "Project Superman" storyline does have major ties to the main storyline of "Flashpoint" in some ways, so it’s one of the books that you would think we didn’t have quite as much room as other ones, but at least in concept they gave us a lot of freedom originally to make a story that wasn’t beholden to what is happening in "Flashpoint." So much of the concept of this "Flashpoint" world is that it’s a different look, almost through a trippy lens, at the characters we all know. We created a story that would do that for Kal-El without being too hobbled by what happens in "Flashpoint," at least in concept. I say that with the corollary that Lowell is the one doing the script, so it might be a totally different experience for him! But in terms of coming up with it in the first place there was a lot of freedom.

Francis: It’s been just a few major structural points where they say, "We need to see this at this point, and this at this point." And I was like, "OK, we go back and redo that!" It’s been a really interesting puzzle. But in terms of being able to build these characters and being able to play around with the actual people, we’ve had a tremendous amount of freedom.

Snyder: That’s one thing DC really wants to get across to people about "Flashpoint." I know people look at the number of books coming out and there’s a sense of, "Do I have to buy all of these to have this make sense?" I think the great thing about what Geoff has done is construct a story that if you really just want to read the main story, like "Blackest Night," you can just read those five issues. With each one of these they made a big effort to let us tell our own stories, so if you are interested in seeing what Superman is like in the "Flashpoint" world, or what Kal-El is like or what Project Superman is you can come read our book, but you don’t need to read it to enjoy "Flashpoint" as a series. I really want to hit that note hard. I think people see that there’s like twenty-four books, and they go, "Oh my god, I’m going to run out of money!" But Geoff did a great job. As a follow-up to letting us each make our own world, you can pick up as much or as little as you want and still get the story as long as you read the main "Flashpoint."

Lowell, when you sat down to write "Project Superman" did you take the iconic character of Superman and tweak him until he came out as an alternate version, or did you feel you had to make up a brand new character whose name was Kal-El?

Francis: There are some interesting implications to that. I think we have a version of Kal-El who holds true, I hope, to the mythic nature of Superman and what makes him great. I don’t think it feels like a completely different character to me.

Snyder: It doesn’t, I can say that. That’s one of the strengths of what I’ve seen so far is how true you are to the character even though the circumstances are different.

Francis: It’s hard for me to say, given that there are some twists and turns in what we are presenting.

Will Cyborg fill the role of Superman in "Flashpoint?"

We know that Cyborg in the "Flashpoint" universe is a major hero, and takes the place of a Superman-type figure in a lot of ways. Will Cyborg play an active role in "Project Superman?"

Francis: I can honestly answer that and say Cyborg’s involvement is tangential.

Snyder: For fans of Cyborg, he obviously plays a huge role in a lot of other books, as well as in "Flashpoint" itself. I won’t say anything about what he’s like, but it’s such a cool interpretation of him. I can’t wait. I’m a longtime fan of that character. He’s actually a character that I at one point was like, "I’d love to read something about Cyborg," and they said he was going to be involved in "Flashpoint" so he wasn’t someone they were looking to revamp. But the interpretation in this is so much better than anything I could come up with. If you’re a fan of him, there will be plenty of Cyborg to go around, even if there’s not in "Flashpoint: Project Superman."

Now, this is the first time you two have worked together, correct?

Francis: This is certainly the first project I’ve ever been able to work with Scott on. Working with him has been an absolute pleasure. It has been, honestly, a great learning experience for me; if nothing else it has been terrific to have the opportunity to work with a tremendously generous and skillful eye for the script.

Snyder: Thanks man, I really appreciate that! It’s been a thrill working with Lowell as well. Like I said to Eddie [Berganza] and Bob [Harras] and all the guys we were talking with the other day, Lowell brings not just a level of enthusiasm for the character, but one of the things fans will really respond to is the care with which he handles the character from a totally writer-ly standpoint. The story is crafted around this compassionate but very analytical sense of who Kal-El really is. There’s a level of intelligence to the story from your first idea that left me feeling impressed. The only issue I’ve had is that I wish I could be even more involved than I am because it’s a pleasure to read and see what they’ve come up with. I’m very involved, but I wish I could be more.

Francis: Really he’s been very, very helpful, it’s been a master-class to me. It’s been fun!

How do you guys work? Lowell, are you scripting off the plot outlines that Scott provides you with?

Snyder: From my end, Lowell deserves the lion share of the credit for anything good in the series. I had a blast coming up with the idea for the general shape of it early on when we were first talking with Geoff about the different "Flashpoint" worlds. Lowell and I talked extensively with Eddie and the other editors at C2E2, and we’ve spoken about the script and spoken about ideas on the phone. In terms of the caliber of the script, which is extremely impressive, all the richness of it I will happily pretend to take credit, but it really goes to Lowell! He’s been a real inspiration to watch on this one.

Francis: It’s the first time I’ve had the chance to collaborate with another writer. I’ve bounced around ideas with Gene and with Art Lyon, who is the colorist, over a number of years because we’ve known each other for years. This gave me a chance to talk with somebody who came from the writer-ly side. We met for lunch at C2E2 and we were throwing ideas back and forth over food, and Gene, who is usually the quickest person I know in terms of ideas, walked away and went "I’m completely lost!" [Laughs]

Snyder: And Gene is like a genius! It’s scary! [Laughs] When we were talking about some of the ideas in the series before Lowell was involved, initially I sort of mentioned an idea to Gene about doing a certain character like this, and five emails would come back that were two pages long with picture references and graphs! It’s such a joy to work with somebody who is so enthusiastic even when he is at the top of his game. If he wanted to, Gene could easily phone it in and draw it and it would still be great. Lowell, you know him better than I do, but what’s great about Gene from my involvement with him is his exuberance and enthusiasm and how he lives in the world of the story. The degree to which he invests in it makes me feel very lucky.

Francis: I have ideas and they brew in my head and I like to dwell on them and make some notes. Gene is just ten thousand miles an hour! He has interesting stuff and he says it right away -- he’s the best sounding board I ever had.

The series features art and covers by Gene Ha

Snyder: I feel this is going to be boring that we all like each other so much. We should come out and say something really salacious, like, "Oh yeah, I hate Gene! He doesn’t care! I never want to work with him again!"

Francis: Right! [Laughs]

The truth comes out!

Snyder: Let’s start a feud right now! Say, "I quit, I’m going to Marvel!" [Laughs]

Since we’re talking about Gene and the artwork, there’s been a lot of speculation about what the first two solicitation covers mean for "Project Superman." Are these covers directly tied to what’s happening in the comic?

Francis: Yes, and the covers were done pretty early. Actually, I honestly have to tell you that they’ve gone through several different versions. The cover with Metropolis where it is just Metropolis, I’ve seen four different versions of that. The one with the tube, there are several different versions of that. I’m glad they went with that one, because I do think that is the spookiest one. And they do relate to what’s happening in the comic, but I will say they are a little more impressionistic.

Snyder: In terms of what the stories are, the covers are definitely key elements even if they happen off-panel, in some ways, to the stories. If you look closely at cover #1, it is Metropolis being destroyed by things falling from the sky, which look like greenish meteors. But along with that is a rocket. It does look like the Superman rocket, and it does look like it’s heading for Metropolis instead of Smallville. But that’s just looking at the cover.

Francis: Someone might take that impression away from looking at the cover.

Snyder: One might think that is Superman, as a baby, landing somewhere that isn’t Smallville. But again, that might be my own creative interpretation of the cover.

Since you emphasized this is a character study of "Flashpoint" Kal-El, will the main action of "Flashpoint" -- Flash trying to right the timeline -- happen outside of "Project Superman?"

Francis: There’s some stuff that’s actually going to pretty significantly impinge in terms of their ability to carry out the fixing of the timeline. I would say that sort of comes to the climax of the "Project Superman" series. Whereas the first two issues really kind of set up and provide a look at the history of the world though this particular character, and then we see how this crashes against what’s going on in the main "Flashpoint" story by the time we get to the third issue.

Are there other stories you’d want to tell in this universe? Will you miss it when the event is over?

Snyder: Definitely. With "Flashpoint: Project Superman," when Geoff told us DC writers the idea for "Flashpoint" a while ago, that was the one I wanted more than anything else. But there were so many interesting ones, I’d love to work on any of them. I’d love to do another one with this character. I love the way Lowell has built him and I’d love to do it again.

Francis: Oh yeah! I mean, there’s some great stuff. They are doing the Creature Commandos! How cool is that? I love the idea of Lois Lane in the midst of this resistance, there’s a lot of really cool stuff going on there. Green Arrow and some sort of involvement in the arms industry I think is a great take -- the Queens Industry stuff sometimes gets forgotten, so I think it’s great.

Now, on DC Comic’s The Source blog Lowell mentioned, possibly as a joke, vampire monkeys showing up in the comic. As Scott does work on "American Vampire" I need to ask: Can you officially confirm if there will be vampire monkeys in "Project Superman?"

Francis: [Laughs] I don’t know if we can officially say. I don’t know if I have the permissions on that particular facet.

Snyder: Lowell and I will always fight for vampire monkeys, as I will fight for anything vampiric in any comic!

Francis: It’s a science project, and we have the classic -- what’s the name of the giant gorilla from "Superman?"

Snyder: Grodd?

Francis: No, the one that got sent up into space, from [the] "Superman: The Animated Series" episode "Monkey Fun." Titano!

Snyder: Oh, I know what you’re talking about. You’re saying you’re bringing in a vampire gorilla?

Francis: I couldn’t officially comment on anything like that. [Laughs]

Because super-science and laboratories are involved, will we see a "Flashpoint" analogy for Lex Luthor working on Project Superman?

Snyder: One of the important things for the "Flashpoint" world is it’s a shared universe, so anyone who plays a big role in the Superman mythology in this world will likely make an appearance in the "Flashpoint" world. Although there will be some surprises. So without saying that Lex or LexCorp itself will pop in, they definitely have a relationship to our story.

Because this is being treated like an "Elseworlds" story, will there be repercussions or lasting consequences for the regular DCU "Superman" series?

Francis: Apparently there are. I know that there are going to be significant implications falling out of this, but I don’t know what they are. I’m really curious. Quite honestly I’m super excited to see what Geoff has cooked up in terms of how this is going to fall out in the regular universe. Is it going to be plotlines? Is it going to be characters? I don’t know. But I’ve been told that yes, I think I’ve heard the same exact rumors you have.

Snyder: I can say I know what comes after, and yes there will absolutely be consequences. For those people who want to hear "the DC Universe will never be the same," the DC universe will never be the same! For real! [Laughs] It really will have consequences that ripple through the DCU in a big way. It’s a very exciting time to be part of DC, we’re all excited about the stuff that’s coming down the pipe.

Francis and Snyder are both looking forward to reading "Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown"

Scott, you’ve done a ton of work for DC between "American Vampire" and "Gates of Gotham" and "Detective Comics," but Lowell, is this your first DC series?

Francis: Yes. What I’ve done previously is a piece for "The Hero Initiative," and Gene and I have a piece appearing in the "Rocketeer" anthology. And of course, we have a story appearing in the "Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard" anthology. Or I should say the Eisner-nominated anthology! We’ve done a lot of project development and pitches over the last four or five years, but this is the first thing I’ve done for DC.

So you got thrown right into "Flashpoint" as your first DC project?

Francis: Oh yeah! [Laughs]

Snyder: They threw Lowell into the deep end of the pool, I’ll tell you that! It’s interesting because they give you a lot of room to work with an iconic character that has tremendous expectations and tremendous assumptions about him coming from fans. As much freedom as Lowell has he is bound to certain rules of the "Flashpoint" universe. When you answered that question, Lowell, about will Superman play a part in the "Flashpoint" main story, one of the things you are generous about not bringing up is the chronology. The tricky thing that he’s had to deal with is he’s got a great story and it’s -- not so much that it’s constricted by the events of "Flashpoint" -- but there’s certain things that happen in the series that we can’t show happening in our book. They happen afterwards or before at certain points. So he’s had a lot of things to juggle. I would have been totally freaked out if this was my first thing for DC!

Francis: Literally Gene called me on a Monday and said, "Look I have all this stuff, we need to get a plot summary and I need it by tomorrow!" He and I worked around it, and there were a couple of times where I’d say, "Here you go," and Gene would say, "Oh I forgot to tell you this!" So I’d have to go back and tell him, "I’ll call you in half an hour." I literally put that first draft plot summary together in about twenty-four hours. A variation of that has been what Scott and I ended up talking about. So it’s been this weird hybridization, and as we go along we’ve been trimming things down to get to the core elements.

Snyder: The thing that’s fun and the thing that can be tricky about writing a "Flashpoint" series -- because I’ve been talking to a couple people writing the other ones too -- part of it is that it’s a world where you want to look at so many things because it’s so interestingly different. There’s so much you would love to show. You want to bring in this character, or you want to do this character. But one of the things Lowell’s done a good job with is paring down to the core essential things that make this a story about Kal-El and who he is in this world, highlighting the question: would he be the same Superman we know if his circumstances were drastically different? Is there something that makes Superman essentially Superman, beyond the context in which he grew up?

Francis: Eddie Berganza said really early on, you don’t have to do everything that is Superman. You don’t have to have Brainiac and Bizarro. People will kind of expect it, but you don’t want to over-egg the pudding, as it were. You want to stick to a solid story, and any element that goes in there should serve that story first, and if it’s a reference that’s great.

Snyder: It’s hard though, because I remember we were talking (and this isn’t to say they are or aren’t in it) but we were saying, "Oh we could do something with Bizarro and he could do this, or we could do something with Brainiac because how awesome would that be?" It’s tough to keep your hands off some of it because its so much fun to tweak or reinvent characters.

Francis: And there’s a space limit too! There’s 20 pages. That’s a really interesting structural limitation when you have to have, like we have, pretty significant jumps in time between each issue.

Was it challenging to figure out which DCU characters were essential to the core story of "Project Superman?"

Francis: You know, I don’t think it was. Once we had what the set-up was everything naturally fell into place.

Snyder: I agree with that 100%. We have a similar process where we think, what is it about and what is the core of the story? To me and to Lowell it was a story examining if Kal-El was given a completely different background, does he still become the Kal-El we know? Then you see what characters are going to help tell that story. That lens helps you decide on those things pretty effortlessly.

Francis: In some ways there’s a larger issue about upbringing and how someone is mentored and how someone is raised, and the implications of that. A huge theme you are going to see all through "Flashpoint" is characters who have a different mentor or upbringing, and how crucial and important that is. Kal-El is a good person, but what about these different circumstances? What about a mentor -- and not one who is necessarily evil but one that had a different outlook?

Snyder: Exactly. One of my favorite comments about Superman in recent times came out of a panel at C2E2 where Paul Cornell said, "Superman is Clark." That take on it was interesting, but it goes to one of the core things about superheroes: one of the fun things about Superman is that question. Same thing with Batman, is Batman Bruce Wayne or is he Batman? Being Clark and being raised by the Kents is a huge part of who Superman is. Those identities are part of the bedrock of who they are, even if you don’t think that’s the total package under the mask. So one of the things Lowell did a great job with is bringing that front and center. What if he did have a different kind of upbringing with different influences and different mentors? Is he Clark or is he a different Superman?

You’ve described "Flashpoint" as being darker. Is the world of "Flashpoint" worse off than the regular DCU?

Snyder: It seems pretty dark to me. If I had to choose to live in Metropolis or Gotham I’d probably rather live in the DCU one!

Francis: When you read the history -- when I read "Flashpoint" issue five I went, "Oh my god! Holy cow!"

Snyder: It’s not dark for the sake of being dark, but I think Geoff has done a good job creating a few small circumstances that are different and watching how those ripple effect. Part of the idea of "Flashpoint" is how little it takes to disrupt things and change so much. There are a couple of things that are different right off the bat and with that shift those characters are still themselves, but some of them bring out much darker elements within them. Some of them don’t do the heroic job they would otherwise, even though it’s their heroic instinct to do so. We’ve all seen those darker notes in those characters, which is part of the fun of reading "Elseworlds" stories like "Kingdom Come" or "Red Son." The reason those work is because those characters do have dark notes. Batman is pathological. Superman does overreach. Wonder Woman is a warrior at heart. Aquaman is king of the sea, he can get too big for his britches. Part of this world is taking those elements and not changing their characters but examining their darker sides. As that happens, I think the world becomes darker too.

Francis: We have the luxury of working with an alternate universe story that plays with characters, and seeing how characters can have a huge impact on history. The "Flashpoint" read shows us just how potent the characters are to the world around them.

Just from the "Project Superman" catchphrase "They experimented on him for years," this seems like a pretty dark place to start from with you comic.

Francis: It’s the cover of issue two, and that’s a pretty dark looking cover.

Snyder: Unless they are super fun experiments! [Laughs] Which I guess we can say no, no they are not.

I’m assuming these experiments are being done on Kal-El?

Francis: That would be one way to read that!

Snyder: Part of the fun from the things that have been released is that you can get a shape of the story. You see the rocket landing somewhere else, and you see a boy who may or may not be Superman in a glass case in a laboratory. With the tagline, I think you get a sense of how different this world will be for Kal.

What are the other big themes in "Project Superman?"

Francis: I think its nature versus nurture and the role of the parental/authority figure in a person’s development. Love versus isolation.

Snyder: I think it’s a fun tease to say there is a love story in there too!

To each of you, what is the core of "Project Superman?"

Francis: That is a tough question. The only thing that I can say is that Superman is not the only one being experimented on and that there are some facets to the story so we can see different paths that could be taken. That’s sort of at the core of it.

Snyder: For me personally, the beginning was when we were talking about what the story really needs to be about in this world where the circumstances are different, but those core elements start out the same. Do they become a slightly darker version or not? For me, in terms of the original idea, it was to take away everything that makes Superman Superman -- all of the care and love and compassion and understanding and peaceful psychology. What if he’s raised in an environment that not only deprives him of those things but emphasizes other things more aggressive? With other sort of experiments going on in the lab, you see a lot of other possibilities about what Superman could become or what Kal-El could become. If not, is there something that will make him the Kal we love in this world too?

The action all kicks off in May's "Flashpoint" #1.

There are so many DC crossovers and events -- what makes "Flashpoint" different from the others?

Francis: I love that it stands independent. That we aren’t breaking into the numbering of other books, that these things are standalone. I think that’s great. I think there are a few that cross over like "Booster Gold," but I like that it allows people to do the "Elseworlds" they want to do, or they can stay with main continuity of their line until the changes wash back.

Snyder: It’s a glimpse of a world that is not just an "Elseworlds." You aren’t just saying, "What happens if Superman landed in Russia? What happens if there are vampires in Gotham?" It is what would happen if this one thing is different. And in that difference, everything has changed throughout the DCU. It’s a shared "Elseworlds." It has all of the fun of glimpsing into a world that might be, but at the same time it expands the entire DCU. You don’t need to buy every book to get into it, but it will have huge lasting consequences for the DCU. It straddles a number of lines that will make it exciting to all sorts of readers.

What other "Flashpoint" books you guys are excited for?

Francis: I mentioned Creature Commandos, because I love that character and we’re seeing another version of that Frankenstein from "Seven Soldiers." That is one of my favorite books, and to see those characters get traction is great. Plus "Creature Commandos" was on the stands when I was growing up, so I have fondness for that.

Snyder: For me the Creature Commandos "Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown" because Jeff [Lemire] is on it, but I’m also excited as a long-time Wonder Woman fan to see the "Wonder Woman" book! It’s going to be a fun buffet for people where you go," 'Canterbury Cricket,' what’s that? 'Lois and the Resistance,' I’ll pick that up!"

Francis: "Secret Seven" also has some great characters in it. And with "The Agents of S.H.A.Z.A.M." I have no idea what that’s going to be and I’m really curious!

What do you want fans to take away from your three issues?

Francis: That they feel it fits. That it’s a new take but they can see how it works and it feels natural.

Snyder: I agree. My favorite Superman stories, from "All-Star Superman" and "Red Son" and the re-telling of the origin, are exploring an aspect of Superman that is new, exploring him in a direction no one has seen. And this is definitely a direction no one has seen! It’s a fun way into Superman from a different standpoint but I think ultimately we’ll put Kal-El on the page in a way that fans recognize as their favorite superhero.

Francis: I have a friend who is a big fanboy, and his typical take on new stories is, "That’s not my Batman/Superman/etc." I’m hoping that I can get him to not react in that way! [Laughs]

Since you’ve mentioned "Red Son" several times, are there other "Elseworlds" or alternate stories that served as "Project Superman" inspiration?

Francis: We’ve hit on some of them. "Red Son" is unbelievably good. I re-read all of "All-Star Superman" and I went to the blu-ray of the movie; there’s a great commentary track with Grant Morrison and Paul Dini, and their take actually is as good as reading a comic book. And as goofy as it sounds, there’s that issue of "Hitman" by Garth Ennis where Hitman meets Superman on the rooftop and that’s a good Superman story. Even though that "Hitman" comic was off-kilter, it really managed to get at how Superman would look to other people in that universe and how he would be represented to them.

Snyder: Superman is a tough character to write because he’s the best of all of us. Batman I love because he’s so pathological even if it’s Dick under the cowl. To be Batman you have to embrace your demons and to be Superman it’s the opposite. He’s the smartest and most ethical and the greatest in the world. A lot of my favorite Superman stories are stories like this one or "Red Son" or "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" or "Kingdom Come." He’s a character who works well when you look at him from a skewed angle. And there are some great straight-on stories -- I loved what they were doing in "World of New Krypton." He’s such a bedrock of everything that is inspiring about what a hero can be, so it's fun to take a strange askance view of him or put him in a situation that tests him in ways we haven’t seen because he’s the white knight all the time. I consider "The Dark Knight Returns" partly a Superman story too, because he’s so conflicted in that.

Finally, "Flashpoint" is the first big DC event either one of you has ever participated in. Now that it’s almost upon us, would you guys want to do more events in the future?

Snyder: In a second!

Francis: I can’t wait! I love writing in general, but there’s a real pleasure to the creative process when someone says here are your goals and here are your restrictions and let’s see what you can come up with using these puzzle pieces. That’s really cool!

"Flashpoint: Project Superman" issue #1 hits stores June 29. Stay tuned to CBR for more exclusive "Flashpoint" news today!

TAGS:  dc comics, flashpoint, project superman, scott snyder, lowell francis, gene ha

 
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