Monday, January 12, 2009

Andrew Kreisberg on Superman:World of New Krypton

Last week Comic Book Resources had a pretty in-depth interview with Andrew Kreisberg, the writer of the Superman: World of New Krypton maxi-series. As always, the whoe interview is worth reading at this link: ( I have not read any of Kreisberg's other works (Green Arrow/ Black Canary and Batman: Confidential as well as television shows Fringe and Eli Stone) so I have no background with his style. Still he has a lot of good things to say. Here are my highlights and comments.

CBR: What is your touchstone for Superman? Obviously, with Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, when you are reading their books, they've got Christopher Reeve in mind. Do you think of Superman from movies, comic books or even "Challenge of the Super Friends?"
AK: My Superman reference point is definitely Christopher Reeve.
And I will also take this opportunity to give a shout out to Brandon Routh, who I think really did a fantastic job [in "Superman Returns"]. The movie didn't always serve him as well as it could have but I think he made a fantastic Superman.

In some ways, the thing that has always got me about Superman is that people always assume that he is bright and happy and Batman is sad and brooding. And I think there is a real sadness to Superman – a real loneliness. And this story really exploits that in a great way. In fact, my first issue is called "Dream Come True" because in a way, this is his dream come true. He gets to live among Kryptonians. He gets to be with his people. And it's sort of, be careful what you wish for.

There are definitely touchstones to Christopher Reeve in my first issue – little nods to the Superman movies. I specifically put in the script that the bed he sleeps in on New Krypton look just like the big silver bed from "Superman II."

Those references are definitely in there visually and thematically.

I am always surprised to hear writers talk about the Donner movies as the 'sentinel event' for their Superman experience. Didn't any of these guys read to comics first? While I love the Donner films, I don't necessarily need to see that become *the* look for Superman. Yes, it was interesting to see a crystal based canyon-living Krypton on the big screen. That doesn't necessarily jibe with current comics continuity.

I also like the 'be careful what you wish for' feeling that will be in the series. Certainly we have seen that in the New Krypton storyline. These folks aren't all magnanimous high-minded philosophers.

CBR: While the "New Krypton" crossover that Geoff Johns, James Robinson and Sterling Gates are writing isn't over just yet, what can you tease us about "World of New Krypton?" Is it set on Earth or is there actually a new home planet for the Kryptonians?
AK: The book will follow Superman and 100,000 new Kryptonians led by Allura as he tries to figure out his place in Kryptonian society. Where that society resides is yours to know for $2.99 on March 4.

It will include a lot of the same characters from the "New Krypton" arc. Superman will continue his struggle with Allura and he will continue his struggle with himself as he tries to find a place for himself among these people. In a lot of ways, he's always felt separated from humanity, and now he's surrounded by 100,000 of his people and feels just as separated from them.

I can't imagine this story line taking place on Earth, especially after the events we have seen this month. There is no way that many Kryptonian can peacefully exist among us.

The bigger question is where do they end up. I sort of like the idea of Kal and Kara being relatively unique individuals in the universe. It cheapened them a bit to have a 'third Kryptonian' let alone 100,000 more. It may have worked in the Silver Age because the Kandorians were powerless, stuck in their bottle. So, I hope (although there is no reason to imagine the Kandorians would agree to it) that the colony sets up on a red sun planet and stays there.

And since Alura is there, I guess she is now even less likely to be Superwoman. And Superman 'struggling' with Alura? Hmmm, maybe her war-mongering is not just K-poisoning.

CBR: Does Supergirl have a role in "World of New Krypton?"
AK: I am not sure how much Kara is going to be playing in my book. I think she has her own journey. And it's certainly being incredibly well told without any help from me. I love her dearly. I think every man who is a fan of comics loves her dearly.

Obviously, Allura is a major part of my book. You can't talk about Allura without talking about the fact that she is a mother; that she is Superman's aunt. So if Kara is not always there in form, she will certainly be there in spirit.

I have to say I am happy about this decision. Early on I was worried about Supergirl's role in the whole New Krypton story. I wondered why she would ever choose Earth over Kandor given her struggles here and her family being there. Alura's tyranny and Zor-El's death provide a nice foundation for why she would want to find her way here rather than within the Kryptonian culture.

I am really intrigued to see the Gates/Igle team take on the book after the big cross-over. We just got introduced to the concept of Linda Lang, quirky teen in Metropolis only to leave it suddenly on the back burner. Let's see Kara's story now ...

CBR: Would you categorize Allura as the villain in this book?
AK: Yeah... but I think what's really interesting about the premise of "New Krypton" is well, I always say everyone is the hero of their own story. And as far as Allura is concerned, she is only trying to do right by her people. And where that crosses the line into villainy is always very complicated. And that's part of what's interesting about the Kryptonians' attitude towards Superman, because in a lot of ways, they see him as a traitor. And from their perspective, they're not entirely wrong. So I think that's what makes the book rich. The people who are the immigrants, the people who are the minority, who are aggrieved and afraid, are these super-beings.

And that's what makes Clark having to deal with Allura so fascinating. She's not a megalomaniac. In some ways, her treatment of Kara breaks her heart but she has to put her people first, which is what Superman does in his own way, protecting Earth. Being Superman comes before Lois, it comes before friends, it comes before family, so it all makes for interesting discussions and interesting problems. The trick will be to get you to boo and hiss at Allura for being the villain while she twirls her mustache while trying to understand her point of view. And I think, feeling a little sorry for her.

What you have to remember, the Kryptonians have really gone through hell. For everything that Superman lost, they lost that too.

Just sitting here talking to you about it gets me excited. It's really great stuff.

One thing about modern comics is that most villains have some back story to explain/rationalize their actions. The Joker got stuck in a robbery he wanted no part of and lost his wife tragically. Ra's Al Ghul is a radical environmentalist. Luthor is a humanist, afraid of super-beings making man an after-thought.

And now we have Alura. If you put yourself in Alura's shoes, it is easy to understand her beliefs. Her planet is destroyed. She is trapped in a bottle and studied for decades. She is finally freed and then finds herself scrutinized by a race she feels is less advanced. Then her husband dies in an attack by the same back-water race. She has been traumatized for the majority of her life. Of course she would fight tooth and nail to protect herself and her people. Does that make her a villain? The answer of course is no. But her methods of obtaining that safety is the problem.

It will be interesting to see if that mindset changes once she is off Earth. Does she set up a warworld to protect her people from future harm? Or does she aim for a more pacifist utopia?

Alura as a villain ... who would have thought it?

CBR: Another great part about developing New Krypton must be simply establishing what day-to-day life is like in that society. What's a Starbucks look like on New Krypton? You and artist Pete Woods must be having a lot of fun with that.
AK:Pete and I haven't actually talked face to face, but in writing the initial script, I've been toying with that. One thing I can tell you is that Superman's tunic is shredded in a fight with some Kryptonians and he needs to have a new tunic made. So we need the tailor on New Krypton. It's one of those things that it's a fully-functioning society at all levels. We generally only get to meet the scientists and military leaders but there are the people who prepare the food, and the shopkeepers, the men of the people, who they themselves are now endowed with Superman's strengths and abilities. And that's fun to play with. We'll be seeing all facets of it.
For all of Krypton's technological achievements, there is a coldness about that them culturally that I think will make Superman miss some of the wonderful diversity of Earth, like food and art and music.

I like the idea of seeing all aspects of the Kryptonian society. They all can't be scientists, philospophers, or soldiers.

Hmmm, he already says that there will be shopkeepers with Superman's abilities. Maybe they end up on a yellow sun planet.

CBR:Do you have an endpoint that you're working towards with an established beginning, middle and end? Or will it be more organic?
AK:There is **for sure** an end because the ramifications of the next year are going to live on in the DC Universe for many years to come. In many ways, that's kind of exciting too. I know what page 22 of "World of New Krypton" #12 is. It's just a question of filling in the 11 issues and 21 pages before that.

So, anyone with any ideas on what that ending is going to be?

Yellow-sun planet of super-beings?
Red sun Rokyn style planet?
Will they be a 'parents' of the universe ... reseeding the Brainiac cities on new planets?

I do have some reservations about how this will turn out. This is simply a new Superman mythos being unfolded before our eyes. Kal is not the 'Last Son of Krypton' anymore. And how that changes things in the DCU is something to watch closely.


TalOs said...

What the hell? "Allura" or "Alura" (apparently how ever you choose to spell it as far as DC is concerned) ISN'T punished for all of those innocent deaths by her hand at all?? And just exactly how in blazes does she manage to get out of THAT one exactly eh!?! *Blinks*

Personally I still think she should rightfully pay for her crimes against humanity by being sent to the Phantom Zone itself only to be let out within the year 3000 A.D. where she tries to prove to Earth of that particular era that she has changed for the better and is more then willing to repent for her past sins committed on that planet by becoming Superwoman IV! (with "New Krypton" arc eras Superwoman being the 1st and Kara Zor-El being the 2nd with Jimmy Olsen's own descendant Kristen Wells being the 3rd.) I honestly think it would be a nice way for Alura to show just how truly sorry she was about committing all those atrocious past acts during the early 21st Century.

Anj said...

So, anyone with any ideas on what that ending is going to be?

Yellow-sun planet of super-beings?
Red sun Rokyn style planet?
Will they be a 'parents' of the universe ... reseeding the Brainiac cities on new planets?

Personally, I think Red sun Rokyn style planet with a 'parents' of the universe ... reseeding the Brainiac cities on new planets really.

I do have some reservations about how this will turn out. This is simply a new Superman mythos being unfolded before our eyes. Kal is not the 'Last Son of Krypton' anymore. And how that changes things in the DCU is something to watch closely.

Hmmm, well technically he still is the 'last son of Krypton' as in last BABY born on ancient Krypton itself BEFORE it exploded when all is said and done.

Anyways, still most definitely looking forward for this to come out! :D

Heath Edwards said...

mmm, i am looking forward to this series more, now that we're got something on it...

Jason said...

Yeah...I've been noticing the "Allura" versus "Alura" spellings in all these different interviews that have been coming out during the "New Krypton" storyline. It is a little annoying. DC really should make sure that the stories' own authors are spelling the character's name when they talk about her.

"Alura as a villain ... who would have thought it?"

That's exactly what I've been saying. I've definitely been feeling that Alura would end up becoming a villain. I do think this will make for a very interesting story, and I'm glad she's not actually a villain in the traditional sense (i.e. she's just plain evil). Anj and Kreisberg are right...Alura's intentions are good and stem from her only wanting to do right by her people. She herself is not evil. Rather it is her actions that crossover into villainy.

You can even compare Alura to Superboy-Prime in that sense. He was such a hero at the end of COIE. But he gave up everything to save the universe and then spent years in some limbo dimension that ended up driving him kinda whacko. His intent during Infinite Crisis (and Countdown and Sinestro Corps) was just to find his home, Earth-Prime, the "perfect Earth." It was just his actions in that endeavor to make that happen that made him into a villain.

I would rather see this end with the Kryptonians on a red-sun Rokyn type planet. I agree with Anj that I would like to see Kal and Kara stay unique rather than knowing there are still 100,000 other superpowered beings with the same powers out there somewhere.

Mauricio said...

I'm happy that Supergirl's parents have been used as actual characters and not as background supporting characters as in the past.