Saturday, October 20, 2012

Scott Snyder And Jim Lee Interview

I continue to stumble across interviews that were sprung from the crop of  publicity planted in the fertile loam of the NYCC. Here is another short interview with Jim Lee and Scott Snyder about their upcoming Superman book. Here is the link:

What I have found in these interviews ... whether they be Snyder/Lee or Lobdell or Diggle/Daniels is a basic understanding of who Superman is. I don't think Superman is a loner. I don't think Superman would float all the time, being 'above' his teammates and comrades. I don't think Superman 'doesn't know who he is'. So here is a couple of questions from the interview I liked. As always, please go read the interview in its entirety.

CBR News: Jim, let's start with you. You're not only a DC artist but also the Co-Publisher. You've been working on "Justice League" since the launch of the New 52. What made this the project you wanted to move to as an artist, and what made this book the right business move to take DC into 2013?
Jim Lee: I would say with my Co-Publisher hat on looking into 2013, it's Superman's 75th anniversary. So we wanted to do a lot of great things with Superman in the coming year and expand the number of books we put out under his name. From an artist's point of view, I always want to work with the writers I admire. I've been following Scott's work on "American Vampire" where I actually did the variant for the first issue, and I followed him straight through to "Batman" where I loved the way he introduced new mythology and made it seem so seamless and like it'd been there forever. 

Hard to believe that Superman is 75 years old!

What I like about this is Lee, as co-publisher, saying that as an institution DC wanted to focus on Superman. It has been a while since I really felt that DC really concentrated on him. While Batman and his family have so many titles I almost run out of fingers, with creative teams that are given time to build big stories, with a clear direction as a group of titles, Superman has had rotating creative teams with short tenures and an unclear path. Is he still the spotless beloved inspiration? Is he a loner, feared by humanity? Is he a mix?

I think I know what Superman is. And he isn't a loner or feared.

Hopefully the bright star of Scott Snyder will bring readers into the fold.

Scott, people knew when you started at DC that you were a huge Batman fan and had a real passion for telling stories with that character. Do you have a similar relationship to Superman, or is your approach as a writer a bit different?
Scott Snyder: It's similar in the way that those two are the twin favorite characters for me ever since I was a little kid. There are moments when you want to be Superman, and then you get angry and have moments where you want to be Batman. [Laughs] That's both as a kid and as an adult! The way this came about for me was that I was working on "Batman" stuff, and a story started to develop in my head for Superman that I thought if I ever got a chance to write the character would be the thing I wanted to do with him. So I started mapping it out and figuring ways I could do it whenever I could. ... It was something that I feel grew really organically for me from an excitement for and love of the character as well as an excitement for working with Jim.

What I liked here is that it doesn't sound like DC just put their most popular writer on the book just to drum up publicity and sales. Snyder is a Superman fan. And he had a story in his mind he wanted to tell.

Over the first year of the New 52, we had these twin Superman books that took place in the past where "Action" dealt with Clark Kent finding his place in the world and "Superman" developing this clash between his Kryptonian past and the modern day. We know Andy Diggle will be taking on "Action" and Scott Lobdell will be continuing the themes of "Superman." How will this new series fit into the line, and where will its story focus once it gets going?
Snyder: This will play along with the other Superman books in the sense that it's in continuity, but we really wanted to carve out our own territory. This really is sort of the biggest, most epic Superman story we could do together while having our feet planted firmly in continuity and making sure that everyone had enough room. For us, this is an independent book and something that will challenge Superman in a big way that's unique to our book.

I do wonder about just how 'out of continuity' this title will be. Will it feel as distant as All-Star Superman?

Will the characterization of the supporting cast be in line with the main titles?

But maybe this is the book where Superman is the more classic version without the angst/isolation of the DCnU.

Overall, at this stage in the game how do each of your view Superman as a character? We hear a lot of talk about whether Clark Kent is the real lead character within his dual identity or whether Superman is. Do you have a feel for what your take will be like?
Snyder: I think one of the interesting things about him is that Clark is always Clark. I think sometimes people like Batman you see that Bruce Wayne is the mask he wears. But for Superman, the thing that makes him such a strong character is that the values he grew up with and the person he was raised to be are still at the core of what makes him the most powerful superhero on earth. This isn't going to be a story where it's Clark versus Superman or seeing the two of them split. It's more about challenges for Superman that rock him to the core emotionally, psychologically and also physically. It really is going to wind up putting him up against someone who can go blow-to-blow with him and really take him down.
Lee: Yeah, I'm more of the mind that you can have your cake and eat it to. It's not so much that he is Superman or Clark Kent. They're one and the same. One of the appealing things about Superman is that he is in touch with that aspect of his humanity.  When I think of Superman, I think of a guy who can relate to the everyman and be the Clark Kent that we know and love, but he's also this incredible hero that's inspirational and aspirational -- someone who can move mountains. To me, that's what makes this character interesting -- that both of these people reside in the same body.
As I have said before, Clark Kent is the 'real' persona. Superman is the mask. It has to be that way. And that is something that I think has been lost a little bit over the last couple of years. Superman is just a Kansas farm boy who wants to help and has some extra gifts that makes it easy. So I am very glad that this piece of characterization is not only recognized but embraced by the creative team.

I am looking forward to reading this book. 


Chris Barnes said...

I have loved!!! Snyder's run on Batman. It sounds like this could be a really great Superman book. It is one that I will definitely be picking up.

LJ-90 said...

Hi Anj, if you're interested Bryan Q Miller did an interview with Superman Homepage, it's a really good read (no spoilers though):

Anj said...

Thanks for the comments.

Chris, my Bat-friends have raved about Snyder's Batman from the beginning so I am not surprised to hear you love it too.

LJ, thanks for the link! I think Miller is killing it in Smallville.

Micheal said...

I like this interview but to me it's not a simple "Clark Kent is the mask, Superman is the real persona" or vice-versa but a matter of a 3 way identity (seenvin Superman Returns, Smallville, Geoff Johns Superman, Grant Morrison Action Comics, etc):
-Clark enjoys being Superman as much as he does being Clark Kent, Investigative Reporter. Sure he hides things but they are both his true identity and masks in different way
-Clark Kent he gets to be normal and do things like take the subway, use clues to help take down criminals but at the same time it's a mask because he wears glasses and pretends to not have powers while Superman he is able to use his powers to do what he loves, he wears his baby blanket as a cape and he doesn't have to hide his abilitiesor his face or his kryptonian origins but he's not able reveal he's Clark Kent in order to keep a regular life away from crime fighting

Thanks for reading.