The Metropolis Kid's Urban Outfitter: Palmiotti talks 'Superboy'

Thu, July 12th, 2001 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

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[Superboy]Jimmy Palmiotti taking over DC Comics' "Superboy" as co-writer might seem a surprising choice, but it's actually something that's been in the cards for a long time.

"Well, I landed this gig actually in a roundabout way," Palmiotti told the Comic Wire on Wednesday. "Mike Carlin, the boss man at DC comics, asked me and Dan a couple of years ago to put together a proposal for a character in the Superboy universe. Along the way it got bounced around and lost in the shuffle. When time came that Joe Kelly was leaving the book, both Mike and Mike McAvennie both thought of asking me if I was interested in the gig. At the time, I was working on the last two issues of 'Deadpool' at Marvel and was thinking about what I would like to try my hand at next.

"Now, for a number of reasons, Superboy and Deadpool have a couple of things in common that most people do not think about. First, both books have a smaller audience, but a loyal one, than most of the other books put out by their companies. Second, both books have a cool kind of humor that runs through most of their themes, and when you take this element away, they read just like everything else out there. And last, they both need better sales in the long run. They need to reach a wider audience. When I was brought on to 'Deadpool,' it was going to be canceled at issue 50 unless things didn't get better for sales. I am proud to say that by the time I ended my run, the numbers picked up in the thousands. now don't forget, it didn't mean the book was better," he laughed, "it just meant that more people are buying it, which is what we all set out for from day one on the title. I took the book in a different direction that I think it needed to get more sales and stop it from being canceled. That and some cool stories were my first priorities.

"This is something [co-writer] Dan DiDio and myself pitched around three years ago that included Superboy and Guardian. We were sitting on it for a bit and like many pitches, got lost in the madness ..."

"Superboy" is Palmiotti's most traditionally superheroic book to date, but if he's making the book a little more down to earth than it has been, it'll still be recognizably the same character and book.

"I wouldn't say that our take is much different than everybody's before really, we have to be loyal to the character while at the same time taking him in a new direction. The events around him will be a little different, less earth-shattering in content, but still life-changing for Superboy. We are going to stay away from a few trappings which I think make the book less interesting and focus on Superboy's human side of his personality and take a look at what frustrates him about having these powers. What [previous writers[ Joe [Kelly] and Karl [Kesel] have done with him was great, and we really do not want to mess with all that hard work too much."

An example of such life-changing events comes with Palmiotti's first issue this November.

"Well, right off, Superboy has a dilemma on his hands about the future of where he is going to live, so in issue 94, we deal with that problem head on and run him around Metropolis and try to find him some new digs. This is not really going to be as simple as it sounds and we are definitely going to spend a couple of pages on the fact that Metropolis is the biggest city in the world and as it stands, like New York, it's not easy finding an affordable apartment. Anyone who has ever lived in a big city knows how hard a deal this is, so we have some fun with Superboy and his situation. Once he is settled in to his new place, the people and characters around him are going to become his new cast of supporting players, plus a visit, now and again from his friends he has made along the way from Cadmus and such."

And while "Superboy" might not be heading down the darker roads of some of Palmiottit's previous titles, not only does the title have a writer experienced with such things, it's now also got an artist who's no stranger to bullets and brawn.

"Yes, it's a good buddy of mine, John McCrae, whom you might know from 'Hitman' fame. We are extremely excited about John ... he is such a cool artist, as well as a great, funny guy. He really understands how important good storytelling is as well as bringing his own special flavor to the title. I think this is going to be great."

 
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