Monday, May 21, 2012

Matt Idelson Superman Homepage Interview

Over on the Superman Homepage, super-editor Matt Idelson answered some submitted fan questions. There is a lot of good information in the session and well worth reading in its entirety. Here is the link:
One of the most reported questions involved Idelson saying that Clark and Lois won't be a couple ever ... at least while he is editor. As big a fan of the Clark/Lois relationship as I was, I didn't think this was too incendiary. We are 9 months into the DCnU. As much as I like Clark and Lois together, I don't feel a rush to get them there. And given the tenuous state of comic runs and themes, who knows if that statement is anything more than air.

Here are the other questions that impact Supergirl, a couple that comment on things that interest me, and my comments.

Pardeep (Email address withheld by request) asks:
Hi Matt. I like the look of the New 52 (well done!!), but I have to ask: If the old Superman was seen as too powerful, as people love to whine on about so often, why is Supergirl gaining another ability? Why are DC now saying that she's "more" powerful? I don't see the sense. Unless of course DC just wants to weaken Superman out of dislike and use the whole "too powerful" argument as a excuse to do so? :)
Matt: Nah, we're not that shallow, Pardeep. Superman has slowly been building up the solar charge in his cells from the moment he popped out of his rocket on Earth to the present. He's like a battery that's been charging up all this time. In the pages of ACTION, he isn't yet at the point of a full charge. SUPERMAN proper is more representative of how powerful he'll be. So why was Supergirl at full strength when she popped out of her rocket, you ask? Guess you'll have to stick around through issue #12 of her title, when that answer will at last be made clear.

The whole 'Supergirl is more powerful than Superman' theme was explored and poked and abandoned in the earliest issues of the Loeb Supergirl. And I didn't like the way that played out, especially given the characterization of Kara at that time.

Idelson doesn't say she is more powerful than Superman so I don' t think that is what is going to be happening this time around. And the 'new abilities' are just different, not necessarily putting her over the top. Of course, the fear is still out there that her DNA was tinkered with, that she was part of the 'World Killer' science experiments.

Perhaps the best thing about this answer is that we will learn more in Supergirl #12 (we'll touch on this again later). If we are learning why she emerges fully energized maybe we will learn more about the particulars of her being rocketed to Earth, the whos, wheres, and whens.
John (Email address withheld by request) asks:
I LOVE the reboot. But based on the amount of time you spend apologizing to a certain sector of fans here, I was wondering how do you gauge customer satisfaction? Is it purely on sales figures or are there other methods you use?
Matt: Honestly, it mostly comes down to sales, John. My experience has been that people vote with their dollars, more than ever. With so many titles to choose from each month, both from DC and the other companies out there, I think we can reliably look at our month-to-month sales and gauge whether what we're doing is working or not. As far as determining what, specifically is not working, that's a little trickier.

This question along with the next question is a little worrisome to me.

I understand that comics are a business so sales has to determine things in the end. But I hope that sales aren't the only determination. I hope that if DC has confidence in the quality of a book that they will keep it around to build its audience. And if there is fan buzz from a smaller sales number, I hope they would let that grass roots movement have time to inspire new sales.

fmoon (Email address withheld by request) asks:
As a female fan of Superman I find it very disheartening a certain section of this fandom are going around the internet and accusing DC creators like Rags Morales, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, James Robinson as woman hating. I for one love what you are doing with Superman and I don't agree nor appreciate the unfair bashing of hard working creators. How do you begin to deal with this kind of irrational hysteria that is in no way reflective of all female fans?
Matt: That's an awesome question, fmoon, and I wish I had a (semi) monthly prize to give you! Honestly, the only way to deal with this sort of thing is to ignore it. The internet invites all sorts of horrible commentary, accusations and rumor mongering, and it's like that 'cause people don't have to sign their name to it or look you in the eye when saying it. It's kind of the coward's domain, in effect. And since none of us in this business can control what other people think, the best we can do is just keep doing our work, sticking to our principles and forging ahead.
I used to read reviews of the books I work on, but so often the "critiques" were unconstructive and generally fell into the realm of things I can't repeat here, rather than a thoughtful analysis of what did or didn't work. Believe me, if I thought I could get useful feedback from the internet, I'd be all over that. That's not to say that every review site falls into this category, but you reach a point where it's just not worth sorting through the noise for useful nuggets of wisdom, you know? Truthfully, the best feedback I get from readers is via this column and when I go to conventions.

Man, I don't want to touch the 'irrational hysteria' of 'female fans' part of that question with a ten foot pole. Unreal.

That said, the rest of the answer is somewhat concerning, especially given my thoughts on the previous question. So Idelson doesn't read reviews of books? He doesn't look for sites that give fair critique? He instead gets feedback from only the Superman Homepage and cons?  That seems awful narrow minded. Does he read the reviews at CBR or Newsarama or Comic Vine? Can't he find places that do a good job of things?

It just seems narrow-minded to limit himself like this. Especially when some of the questions asked in this very group ranged to 'horrible commentary, accusations, and rumor mongering'. Why not see what the right people think about books and take that into account?

Frank (Email address withheld by request) asks:
With Action Comics now being set in the present, can we except a shift in tone from the books? Also will Rags Morales stay on as the artist on the book? Will we get more guest artists like Gene Ha and Andy Kubert.
Matt: Hey, Frank! Well, despite what we might have planned earlier, ACTION doesn't sync up with present-day continuity until issue #14, and even then, Clark's going to be a little busy with some timely matters. As for the artist end of things, we'll be doing something similar with issues #11-12 as we did with issue #8, with Rags and Rick being joined for a section of each issue by Brad Walker. #13 will be drawn by BLAHABLHA, and then Rags will return for issues #14-16. Beyond that, I choose not to reveal our plans, as they are most exciting, and I don't want to start focusing on them yet at the expense of what we have planned now and in the near future.

I was interested in knowing when Action becomes a 'present day' book so it is good to learn that it will be in #14. I hope that issue #13 will be done by Gene Ha as I have loved his Superman stuff but I guess we'll have to wait and hear officially.

Steve asks:

Matt with Superman discovering recently that he's from Krypton and finding out about Kandor, etc... Will we see any stories focusing on Krypton, its history, Jor-El, Brainiac's involvement there and its final destruction?
Matt: Oh, most definitely, Steve. Look for another cameo by Jor-El in issue #11 of ACTION, while the last days of Krypton (and a bunch of days from far earlier in its history) will be examined from a couple different perspectives in the surrounding Superbooks this fall. Bet your summer just got a lot longer, eh?

So we learned that Supergirl #12 will have some origin information. Now we hear that Action #11 will have some Jor-El stuff. And then Krypton will be revisited in the fall in all the books ... hmmmmm .... maybe in the zero issues? Or maybe in the hinted at Superman/Supergirl team-up coming up? I do think that a year in would be a good time to reveal some of the bigger details of Kara's origins. It doesn't have to be everything, but enough to build the foundation of the character.


valerie21601 said...

I wonder if whatever Kara went through in the pod. She is now so full of solar energy her body is releasing it, from time to time?

Martin Gray said...

Thanks for the link, lots of interesting stuff in there.

So Matt Idelson doesn't read us, eh? Well, that means that as well as incisive criticism (at least at your end, Anj!), he's missing the compliments too. Daftie!

Gene said...

Matt Idelson is doing himself a great disservice by not reading your blog Anj, along with Mart's and a few others.

Anj said...

Thanks for the comments and compliments. I assure you I wasn't fishing. Nor was I saying that I should be what Idelson is reading. I just think that to ignore social media in this day and age is a mistake.

Interesting theory Val. She is so saturated with energy she needs to release some. Hmmm ...

Anonymous said...

I prefer the "Supergirl as stronger than Superman" angle. At least make them equal. Making Supergirl inferior in every way because of her gender is just wrong... absolutely ruined the last book from issues 20-end. Unfortunately, many of the old folks need Superman as the Alpha White Male. I usually don't like Superman for that exact reason. The current Supergirl won the first fight and proved she can hold her own against him. I hope that persists.

I'm also glad Idelson now claims not to read reviews online. The psychotics, mentioned in that questioned, were handed over the title last time around when DC creators were sick of being called names. Supergirl was ruined from issue 20-end by listening to those extreme voices. I don't forgive DC for that, but hopefully they never cave into that pressure again.