At the DC Comics: Superman panel, part of San Diego’s Comic-Con International, the writers, artists, and editors of the Superman group of books took to the stage to speak with fans and preview what’s coming up for “Superman,” “Superman: Earth One,” and the other Super books in the #0 issues and beyond.
Beginning as writers Scott Lobdell (“Superman”), Mike Johnson (“Supergirl), artist Shane Davis (“Superman: Earth One”) and editor Matt Idelson walked onto stage, Davis began by speaking about the second volume of “Superman: Earth One.” Davis promised there would be a different, still learning the ropes Clark Kent in the volume as well as a new love interest, “And a lot of cool fights with Parasite,” Davis said.
Explaining that he wanted to design a Parasite that, “No one wants to touch,” Davis said it was interesting to choreograph the Superman/Parasite fights, especially when Parasite grows to “Doomsday” size towards the end of the book.
“I was like, can [Superman] do an eye gouge, maybe just one eye gouge?” Davis said, recalling a conversation with “Superman: Earth One” writer J. Michael Straczinksy.
“He’s like, what’s wrong with you, Superman fights fair!” Davis recalled as the audience laughed.
Moving onto “Superman” #0, Lobdell said the issue would get into Jor-El’s horror at knowing his world ending while having a child.
“We’re going to see Jor-El and Laura as a couple and parents...and Laura eye-gouged Jor-El at one point,” Lobdell said as the audience laughed.
“I wanted with Superman to mix new characters with completely new versions of old characters,” Lobdell said, promising to incorporate old faces in new ways, and to concentrate a lot more on Clark Kent.
“To me I think of Clark as, when you’re Superman everything is examined to the minute detail...so suddenly Clark is going to be more like his Id,” Lobdell said.
Talking about “Superboy” issue #0, Idelson explained that readers will learn why being a clone is a bad thing for Superboy, and more about Krypton.
“We’re going to see why clones are...truly a frightening concept for Kryptonians,” Lobdell said, explaining that on Krypton they used to manufacture clones but they all broke down and became homicidal. “[Kara’s] thought is he’s like a cockroach, he needs to be squished...so you’re going to see a lot of conflict between the three Supers,” Lobdell added, saying that Superman did not feel as strongly against clones as Supergirl did.
Looking at the cover for issue #13, Lobdell also said Superboy still was having a hard time with Earth morality.
“In the next five issues we’re really putting Superboy through his paces and beating the crap out of him,” Lobdell said.
Speaking about “Action Comics” issue #0, Idelson said that the issue will show Superman at his very beginning, promising readers will learn things about Jimmy Olsen they never knew.
“Tell me!” Lobdell whispered as the audience laughed.
They then showed the cover to issue #13 with Superman standing with Krypto’s collar.
“They can’t bring back Krypto just to kill him, would they?” Lobdell asked?
“It’s a clone dog,” Idleson joked. He then said that the issue would have Superman beginning to line up with the timeline in the other Super books.
Turning to “Supergirl” Johnson said the #0 issue will show Kara’s relationship with her parents and how it comes to a head with the destruction of Krypton. Issue #13 also introduces Kara’s “Fort of Solitude.”
“This is her chance to honor and remember the world she left behind,” Johnson said. Still trying to control her powers, “In her sanctum it’s almost a sensory deprivation tank for her to get away,” Johnson added, saying that villain Simon Tycho will be returning in the issue to fight Supergirl.
Opening the floor to questions, a fan wanted to know how much the “World of Krypton” would influence the New 52 series.
“It’s new for the New 52,” Idelson said, explaining that outside a sense of cool science fiction tone in the book they were taking the opportunity to do new things.
The next fan to the microphone, dressed as Stephanie Brown, asked if in “Smallville Season 11” Stephanie would be showing up officially or if the rumors she had been taken out were true.
“The first rumor wasn’t known by us and I have not heard of the second in the halls of DC, so I can’t comment,” moderator John Cunningham told her.
“But there was art!” the fan responded.
“Are you going to believe art or are you going to believe us?” Lobdell asked as the audience laughed and Cunningham gave her a Night of the Owls mask for her question.
Another fan wanted to know what villains Lobdell had planned, to which Lobdell said he often did not have characters and villains planned that far ahead.
The next fan told Lobdell he was excited to see him take over “Superman.”
“Give that man a prize!” Lobdell interrupted as the audience laughed. The fan then asked if they could to a new costume for Superboy.
“I proposed a new one...so yes, he’s going to get a new costume,” Lobdell said, adding, “I don’t know any teenagers who get dressed and wear the same clothes everyday of their lives...so we’re going to see new looks.”
Supergirl, on the other hand, will continue to wear her costume as in the #0 issue readers will learn why the costume meant so much to her.
The next audience member wanted to know if Shazam will show up in “Superman” or get into a fight with Superman.
“Every time they fight I just think that Superman’s beating the crap out of a 12 year old boy,” Lobdell said, laughing.
Johnson then told the audience that Superman will show up in “Supergirl” before the #0 issue, but will not become a mentor to Supergirl at all.
Another fan wanted to know if there were any powers the writers wanted to keep out of the New 52 from past stories, like time flight or hypnotic kissing.
“I forgot about hypnotic kissing, that’s back in!” Lobdell laughed. Idelson then said that Grant Morrison in “Action Comics” was building back up to Superman having many more powerful superpowers.
“In issue #13...Superman literally in the first fight gets knocked into Texas,” Lobdell told the audience, saying that they wouldn’t see Superman immediately overcoming all obstacles.
A Steel and Eradicator fan wanted to know if either character would return. Idelson said Steel was seen in the New 52 and would slowly be making his way back in, but there was no plans for Eradicator yet.
A Lois Lane fan wanted to know how they would keep her relevant in “Superman” as she is a big part of the Superman mythos.
“I see them as kind of besties...if she gets in a fight with her boyfriend, she’ll share a big tub of Haagen Dazs with Clark,” Lobdell said. “I’m trying to show how two people who have feelings for each other who also work together progress...she’s not going to be the only aspect of Clark’s love interest-ness,” Lobdell said. The fan then won a signed “Justice League” trade for her question.
Lobdell then said while he originally was not going to tackle Lex Luthor he had recently come up with some ideas, and his plans would show “They were not any aspect of Luthor that existed prior,” Lobdell said.
“There’s been a lot of discussion,” Idelson said about how Luthor will act in the New 52.
A fan who revealed he just became an American Citizen asked why they got rid of the iconic red Superman shorts.
“I think it was showing we were not afraid to change anything or everything in the New 52,” Idelson said. “If we changed that it shows we can change anything.”
“It’s not that he doesn’t own them, it’s that he’s wearing them on the inside,” Lobdell said, insisting that the fan got a prize as the audience cheered.
The next fan to the microphone asked if Lobo will be showing up in “Superman” and what Lobdell thinks who would win in a race, Superman or Flash.
“I find the whole Superman/Flash thing so incredibly silly I can’t imagine it,” Lobdell laughed, asking who on the panel thought which hero would win.
“Superman will cheat because he flies,” Davis said as the audience laughed. Lobdell then said there were no Lobo plans.
The next audience member wanted to know if DC would be expanding on the “Beyond” universe version on Superman, to which Idelson said they were focused on the present Superman right now.
Speaking about bringing in new villains, Johnson said with characters like the World Killers in “Supergirl” he tried to give them a Kryptonian connection to work them in.
The final panel question came from a fan who wanted to know if Superboy and Superman will meet each other in the comics soon.
“They are definitely going to meet very shortly...I think he will be a little disturbed that someone gat a hold of his DNA and how that happened,” Lobdell said, adding, “There’s been talk editorially about how Superboy would react...I think Superboy could care less about some guy wearing the S.”