Monday, January 30, 2012

Giffen And Jurgens On CBR

Over on CBR, Dan Jurgens and Keith Giffen were interviewed, discussing their approach to the Superman book. The whole interview can be read here and is well worth reading. It is interesting to see what pieces of Perez' work they are picking up and what their thoughts about Clark, Lois and Clark, and Wildstorm characters making their way into the DC mainstream.

As usual, some of the questions grabbed me more than others. Here are those questions with my comments.

Before we get there, I have to comment on the Jurgens art that has been previewed for the run. It looks fantastic, more detailed than his stuff from the 90s. That picture above is just great.

CBR: DC editor Matt Idelson recently announced there is going to be a big "Superman"/"Superboy"/"Supergirl" event this summer. As the flagship title, are you guys sort of leading the charge and setting the pace for the event?

Jurgens:The idea is, and again, this gets back to where we were originally in the conversation, that yes, this is a new DC Universe and we have a somewhat re-imagined Superman, Superboy and Supergirl. So, what are their connections, if any? Or is it going to be a situation where the connection is so distant there really isn't one? How do they interact with each other? What we're looking to build here, along with the appropriate creative teams from those two books of course, is we want to set up what exactly are those relationships, why these three characters see each other the way they do. I think there's something there that's very compelling and interesting because it simply isn't going to be what it was a few years ago.

Giffen: With any bit of luck! I have to point out right up top here that I am not the hugest fan of the boy/girl, lad/lass, dog/chimp rule of superheroes wherein you take a character and then just introduce dozens and dozens of different variants. So one of the things I would hope with this crossover, what we can do is, instead of making these characters seem more similar to each other because they all wear the S, is make them as dissimilar to each other as humanly possible so each character is still a unique character in of itself and not just part of a bigger family of like characters. That's always driven me crazy.

So, I have to wonder what all of this means.

Okay, so they want the relationship between the 'Supers' to be different than it has been the last couple of years. Way back then, they all seemed to get along. Superman was a role model. And they all wanted to do good. So I don't think that is too bad.

Now, I don't mind if they are 'dissimilar' to each other personality wise as long as the fundamental heroism of the characters are still there. Back in Jurgens first run, the characters were different. Superman was Superman, beloved trusted leader. Superboy was a brash young kid who was girl crazy. Supergirl was a naive hero just starting out. But they all worked together to be heroes.

So you can have different personalities, still respect one another, and still have the same goals. What I don't want is this story ends and they all walk in different directions not liking each other.

CBR: Have you already begun fleshing out the crossover with Scott Lobdell on "Superboy" and Michael Green and Mike Johnson over on "Supergirl?"

Jurgens: We have, which again, we're very much in the opening stanza of that dialogue, but we've all gotten on the phone a few times and talked about it. Part of it is just coming to an understanding of when does this particular story for "Superboy" close, when does this story for "Supergirl" and "Superman" close, so we can synch up the timing on everything. If it's a stand-alone, three-issue miniseries, it's easy to do. But when you have to bring all your existing stories to a natural conclusion, it's a little more complex. But we're getting there.

Giffen: We're still at the "Gee, wouldn't it be neat if?" stage. Somewhere down the line a more solid direction will come out of these phone calls where everyone is just throwing their wish list out there and seeing how everyone else responds.

At least it sounds like nothing is written in stone. Superboy is still such an unknown commodity. Does Superman even know he exists? And Supergirl and Superman need to mend the family fences. I am glad they are bringing them together ... together again for the first time!!! ... but if this is going to be the foundation of the super-family moving forward, I hope it isn't a foundation of distrust and dislike.

CBR: Idleson also mentioned that you have big "star-spanning" plans in the works for Superman. After Helspont, are you going to be focusing on more external cosmic and alien threats rather than threats coming out of Metropolis itself?

Jurgens: No! I think if you're in a room with editors and writers, one of the words that get thrown out there is "cosmic." Really what we're talking about is power. I think with Superman, the two best Superman stories really fit at both ends of the yardstick, which is very small personal stories that can only happen to a Superman or Clark Kent, but then you cross out everything that is in between and get to the other end of the yardstick where you do big and powerful and "cosmic" stories. When we say it, we don't necessarily mean threats from another planet. What we're looking at is power and scope. I think that's really what we're trying to introduce to the book.

Giffen: Legion Of Super-Heroes fandom used to have a phrase: a "sense of wonder." I think that is what we're trying to bring back to Superman, at least that's my primary goal. Bring back that sense of wonder about the book, the feeling that you'll pick up the book and see something in there that you've never seen done or never seen done quite like that before. Somewhere along the line, that sense of wonder in comics got lost and I think it's time we bring it back.

I think I am not alone in craving good Superman stories given the last couple of years.  We have seen them in Action so far. So space-faring, cosmic Superman stories would be pretty cool to read. That said, the state of Superman in the current DCU, what he means to Metropolis, to the world, in the now (Action being in the past) is still vague. And I would rather have that solidified before we Superman in deep space battling galactic threats.

Jurgens and Giffen both say in the interview that the mistrust of Superman will continue as an undercurrent ... but one of many reactions to Superman. The thing is, I still would rather have Superman be the role model, the ultimate hero, the trusted protector of the city. Someone has to be the standard. And there are many many titles out there with heroes the public is unsure of. Heck, every Xmen title has that theme. I don't think I need to read it here.

I consider myself a big Giffen fan. And I like what Jurgens did on Superman in the past. So I am hopeful.


Anonymous said...

I hope "naive" Supergirl never shows her face again. Let Superboy be the young dullard and have Supergirl be a little brash and a little boy crazy (you know, teenaged) for a change. I like this more intelligent Supergirl who is able to do things for herself so much better than "naive" Supergirl.

Anj said...

I hope "naive" Supergirl never shows her face again. Let Superboy be the young dullard and have Supergirl be a little brash and a little boy crazy (you know, teenaged) for a change. I like this more intelligent Supergirl who is able to do things for herself so much better than "naive" Supergirl.

I still don't know why you think the last series ever showed a 'naive' Supergirl. That Supergirl, at least from Gates on (including Peaty and DeConnick) was anything but naive, forced to deal with major issues in her life.

But then again, we have always been of different opinions about everything regarding the last series.

Jamal Igle said...

Because he never actually read the series. It would interfere with whatever imagined slights he's built up in his head.

Anonymous said...

OHhhhh snap.
Someone just got served yo.
I say Bring back "The Superman Family" dollar book.
Except this time, do it right!


Martin Gray said...

It sounds as if they just want to get the Wildstorm characters that have been dumped on them out of the way - fine by me.

I didn't read the comments about differences between the Supers as meaning there'd be a huge gulf between them, though given the origins of the new Superboy and Supergirl I can see there'll be bumps along the way.

I agree, the distrust thing needs to be dumped - if you can't trust Superman, who can you trust? Hoepfully everyone will realise that wasn't him in last week's rather excellent Superman.

Kelly said...

I loved the text! congratulations!