Thursday, November 8, 2012

Scott Lobdell At The Long Beach Comic Con

The Long Beach Horror and Comic Con (website here) took place last weekend. It had a very impressive guest list but unfortunately occurred on the wrong coast for me to attend.

Luckily some of the news from the convention made it to the comic sites for coverage. As I had something of a mixed response to Scott Lobdell's first issue on Superman, I was glad that Comic Book Resources ran an article about Lobdell's panel. Here is the link:

As always, I recommend reading the piece in its entirety. There are some pieces that stuck out and require some of my usual commentary. Perhaps I should have braced myself a bit by the title of the article: LBCC: Lobdell Promises Radical Changes for "Superman"

I have said it in other places but I don't think Superman needs radical changes. As a character he has been around, successful, and prominent for 75 years. Do creators really feel such hubris that they think that can break Superman and make him better? I will say that the article doesn't hint at anything radical so maybe that is just some overzealous editors.

Okay, here are the blurbs that grabbed me.

Weighing in with his thoughts on Superman and Wonder Woman's relationship Lobdell said, "I don't think I would ever forget a kiss from Superman, no matter the circumstances. It must be very hard to be Clark -- to have best friends and this whole section of your life you're not able to talk about. Imagine being best friends with someone and you can't tell them anything you did that day -- any of the exploits and situations." Lobdell pointed out Wonder Woman is a perfect sounding board for Superman. "The relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman I want to explore going forward.

Hmmmm ....

I had to chuckle a bit about this because Clark/Superman had someone he could talk to about his day. Her name was Lois Lane and he was married to her! If we go back 15 months, this wasn't an issue!

Of course, having Lois be with Clark was felt to be too constraining. So instead we get Wonder Woman.

And for me, I think Diana is probably the worst sounding board for Superman because ... well ... it's the same board. Wasn't Lois take on his actions, as viewed from humanity's viewpoint, much more powerful than Diana?

So what happens if the two break up, a fan asked Lobdell. "It would make for an interesting story," shouted another fan. Lobdell stated if it ever came to that, both Wonder Woman and Superman would handle the situation like adults, as would the other Justice League members.

Yeah yeah yeah. Because breaking up with someone you work with always goes easy.

I have never warmed up to this Diana/Kal coupling. It is just one more thing that just puts distance between Superman and the people of Earth.

Lobdell's first few issues of "Superman" have been met with mixed fan reactions, but the writer stated he received "no push back at all from DC" when he initially pitched his story. "When I wanted to take on 'Superman,' I wrote a 25-page proposal, and  --- 
I wrote a bunch of things in there I thought Superman should be like" [and]  "I thought, if DC wants it, alright! And if not, I don't get the job and that's that. I thought they'd say, 'You can write 'Superman,' but you can't do this, this, that and this,' and I'd be like, 'Errmmm…' But I received a text saying "OK," you'll start right away.

"In the next year, you'll see new things with Superman, Lois, Jimmy, Lex and Krypto -- actually, you won't see Krypto. I was just seeing if you were paying attention. And yes, there's more going on with Wonder Woman as well."

I wish I could see the proposal. There were all of those small things that bothered me about this issue - Lois interested in ratings not truth, Clark spying on Lois, Jimmy's tryst in the shower, people fleeing from Superman in fear, yelling at Kara, etc - that gave the issue the wrong tone. I wonder if DC okayed these details or if the proposal was more of the broad strokes.

And no Krypto! The one thing that might have put a lighter touch to the book has already been ruled out.

Hey, I am sure that Kara knew Krypto on Krypton. Maybe he can be part of her book?

Asked if Superman's "Clark Kent" identity remains relevant now that Clark has quit the Daily Planet, Lobdell replied, "As a reporter, you tell the truth. By this token, Clark lived in hypocrisy by writing about himself, claiming Superman is 'some other guy,' so I had to get rid of it. I'd like to think Clark is not defined by Lois. Ma and Pa Kent are dead in the New 52, and he's about 27, so it's been five years since he became Superman. But in these first five years of his New 52 life, he was really Clark Kent. Even when he's Superman, he's still Clark Kent -- he just doesn't have glasses and people call him 'Superman.' I can tell you without giving anything away -- actually, spoiler alert! -- in one of Clark's first blogging stories, he's revealing to the world the fact the U.S. Government has been forcing supervillains to work for them under threat of death. Clark's going to crack open the whole Suicide Squad story through his website. So even though Clark is not working for the Planet, he's still a reporter moving forward."

I am glad that Lobdell keeps coming back to the fact that Clark is a big part of Superman's life. That he is 'still' Clark Kent. But the way he says it is a little off.

As for 'truth', maybe that's why he, as Clark, tried to shy away from writing Superman stories and tried to do more about social justice. Moreover, my guess is he 'uncovers' this Suicide Squad with some of his super-powers. So is writing it as 'Clark investigating' not the truth?

I don't know what he means by 'Clark is not defined by Lois'. Has this been a complaint by some people? I thought Clark was impressed by Lois, that he aspired to be like Lois as a reporter, that he loved her. But I never thought she dominated him as a character.

Lobdell's plans also include a very real-world method for Clark to maintain an income while being a rogue reporter. "His money comes from international news advertising -- if he believes in the advertising. Don't think for a second his reporting days are behind him. Clark has more freedom now as a blogger than as a reporter working for a great metropolitan newspaper. He doesn't see 'Clark Kent' as a separate identity."
Jimmy Olsen is soon to be known as Clark's ex-roomate according to Lobdell, because "very soon someone else needs that apartment very desperately." 

Hmmm ... maybe Cat needs to move in because they are both kind of broke?

Lobdell also explained the images of Superman's new black suit. "The story takes place on Krypton, and as everyone knows, Superman gets his powers from the yellow sun and Krypton has a red sun. He's going to be wearing the black suit during that time in order for him to maintain any of his 'Supermanness.'

So I guessed right about the black suit being needed on Krypton (whenever that time travel story happens).

 On the subject of Superboy, Lobdell stated the character's relationship with Superman in the New 52 is "different than what it was before. The first thing Superman does in the 'H'el on Earth' storyline is save Superboy's life. This has an impact." 

So it looks like he'll have a better relationship with this unknown bank-robbing clone than he will with his own cousin, the only other survivor of Krypton. I don't know ... something just wrong there.

I will go into Lobdell's issues with an open mind. I am glad Clark will still be a big part of the book.

And go read the rest of it, as he talks a bit about H'El on Earth, Red Hood, and other topics.


Anonymous said...

Well, he does not know his cousin. I do not see very good relationship with Kara (I base this on the comic of Supergirl)

PRgirl1294 said...

I agree with Anonymous. Kara may be the only other survivor of Krypton, but she's the only survivor, period, who actually remembers Krypton. Superman was just a baby when he left, and as such he doesn't remember his life on Krypton, and therefore, would likely feel just as much of an Earthling as Superboy. Also, remember that while Supergirl is his cousin, Superboy is essentially his SON.