Monday, July 16, 2012

SDCC Wrap-Up - Supergirl Pt 2 - Long Post

The Superman panel at the San Diego Comic Con was held on Friday. The guests included Shane Davis (artist of Superman:Earth One Vol2), writers Scott Lobdell, Tom DeFalco, Mike Johnson, and editor of the Super-books Matt Idelson. Here is a link to Newsarama's coverage as well as their transcript:

I have to say there was a lot of information in the panel. I have grabbed the quotes that grabbed my attention to post here and comment on. I recommend reading it in its entirety. Also, I won't be covering Shane Davis' comments here so if interested in his and JMS' graphic novel, you should head there.

Now there is a lot of stuff here that actually stood out as positives. A lot.

There were a couple of things that glaringly stood out as negatives to me.

At least the positives outweighed the negatives.

So the text in blue is taken directly from the transcript. I rearranged some of the quotes for comprehensive coverage of some themes. And as this is a set-up for the coming year, this is a long post. So settle in.

First up, Scott Lobdell talked about his upcoming run on Superman. Lobdell's answers made me optimistic about the book which I think has suffered a bit from the creative turnover. And his enthusiasm over being given the book is clear, even when reading text off a screen. Here were some of the comments and my analysis.

Next is the cover to Superman #0, Scott Lobdell's first issue. " But we don't see what life was like on Krypton, much about Jor-El, the horror of the night when he first discovered that Krypton was going to die. He's up on the roof trying to figure out how to tell his wife, and she comes up and gives him a hug and says "we're having a baby!" and he's like "greeeeat"

We haven't seen much of Krypton or Jor-El since the New 52 came about. So for someone like me looking to have a foundation on build this new incarnation on. Also, most of the versions of Jor-El's discovery start with him telling the Science Council. So this look, where he tells Lara first (which makes complete sense that he would share it with his wife first) feels new. So

"I want Superman to mix the new characters with completely new versions of existing characters. Treat them like when we first started the New 52, like we're seeing them for the very first time."

I also think this is a very positive statement. I have wondered if the writers of Superman have been handcuffed a bit by Action Comics and it's current 'in the past' story-telling. Can the Superman writer introduce an re-imagined villain knowing that a 5yr gap exists between the stories of Action and the Superman book? So hearing that Lobdell is planning to show us some new versions of existing characters means that maybe he has been given a little more creative freedom.

"I'm also doing a lot of concentrating on Clark. Traditionally in the books, Clark has been seen as kind of bumbling. To me, I think of Clark as... When you're Superman everything you say is examined to the most minute detail - you have to be more guarded with your words and actions. Clark is going to be his id, he'll be his voice when he wants to express how he really feels. It'll be fun. I want to merge them a little closer in terms of personality."

This explanation on Lobdell's take on Clark is also very interesting. It makes me think Clark is going to be a bit more of a pro-active and vocal investigative journalist. The present-day Superman probably can't vocalize his opinions about corrupt politicians or businessmen (like he is doing in Action). But Clark ... well he can uncover and report and rail against corruption loudly. So this take on Clark actually dovetails nicely with what Morrison is doing. I feel Clark is as important as Superman so I am glad he is being paid attention to.

Lois Lane will play a larger role in Lobdell's Superman. "I kind of see them as besties, where she might share a tub of Haagen Daas with Clark after having a fight with her boyfriend. A lot of relationships take a long time to happen, when you're thinking of Clark and Lois you think of them as competitors, but I'm trying to reflect them in a more realistic way. Lois will be very much a part of Clark's life, just not the only aspect of Clark's love life."

And I think Lois is as important a component to the book as Clark. I like this take on Lois as friend, confidante, and potential romantic partner. At least it is possible ... an aspect of Clark's love life. I think Lois has been on the periphery of the current book so I hope she gets more screen time.

So nothing but good news from Lobdell on Superman.

But here is where the panel took a sour note for me, all in one lump.

Next is Superboy #0, the book is being handed off to Tom Defalco.

There were clones in the Kryptonian society, then they started to deteriorate and became homicidal maniacs and warmongers. Kara sees him as something she needs to kill as soon as possible before he snaps. Superman will be much more "let's wait and see how he goes, if we can help prevent that deterioration" and Kara won't like that.

"We'll see lots of conflict between the 3 supers because of that" Johnson "They won't be superpals anytime soon."  Superman will try to mentor both Superboy and Supergirl... and both of them will reject his advice in unique ways.

Q: If he's not mentoring Superboy or girl, will he mentor anyone else?
Idelson: Not right now, he's such a loner and still figuring things out himself, so he doesn't feel like he can mentor anyone yet.

So Supergirl is going to be actively trying to kill Superboy.

Reread that sentence.

Supergirl wants to kill someone.

Okay, maybe she considers him a 'something' not a someone if she considers him more like Replicant. And she doesn't even want to wait to see if Superboy snaps (although he isn't necessarily a Kryptonian clone and Superman advises watchful waiting). Nope, Kara wants to kill him right now and Superman saying don't kill him doesn't sit well with her. And as a result the Super-family is splintered.

Moreover, both Supergirl and Superboy reject Superman as a mentor. I would think that a lonely Kara, mourning Krypton, would want her cousin and the only other surviving Kryptonian as part of her life.

And then the coup de grace of things that irked me. Idelson, the Super-editor, the person in charge of the future of Superman and all his books, thinks Superman is a loner who doesn't want to mentor anyone because he still doesn't know himself.

Reread that sentence!!

Superman is a loner! And uninterested in mentoring his family!

So in the DCnU, Batman is less of a loner and more of a mentor than Superman. It is as if the people in charge of Superman don't know him. At least I have Superman Family Adventures.

Finally, I ask you to imagine if this upcoming storyline would work for any other family. Let's imagine it in the Batman books. Imagine if at the Batman panel, they creators said this:

Batgirl thinks, given the history of the Al Ghul family, that Damien is a time bomb of villainy ready to explode (which is possible). So Batgirl decides she needs to kill Damien before he can do anything evil. Batman advises her to wait but she wants no part of it and will strive to kill Damien despite Batman's protests. Batman offers to mentor both Batgirl and Robin but they reject him. In fact, Batman is a loner who doesn't know himself at all so he really isn't ready to mentor anyone as it is.

Doesn't that sound ridiculous? Would that story arc make it past the bat editors? Would DC let that happen? So why is that part of the Superman family?

Okay, the negative parts of the panel are done. The rant is over I promise. Back to the positives.

Action Comics #0 is up next, we'll "learn things about Jimmy Olsen that you didn't know" says Idelson.
In Action #13 "we'll find out what happened to Krypto. It's our halloween issue. We'll find out in a GOOD way"

After Action #13, Superman, Action, Superboy and Supergirl will have "tighter coordination"

Okay. More Jimmy is good. Krypto is good. And a tighter continuity around the super books is, in theory good.

And now the Supergirl stuff which all sounds very good.

On Supergirl #0:

Johnson: "The whole issue is set on Krypton. It delves into the family dynamic. We have fun and make it a little messier than the traditional superman family. Her relationship with her father and her mother is very different. We see that all come to a head when krypton is dying."

Supergirl #13 will show Kara's "Fort of Solitude" not as grand as Kal's but her own sanctum. This is her opportunity to remember and preserve the world that she left behind.

Well, in the last incarnation, Supergirl had very different relationships with Zor-El and Alura. So it will be interesting to see Johnson's take on this. It does re-open up the suggestion that Alura killed Zor-El. I can't wait to read Supergirl #0 to see that night on Argo and to have some of Kara's origins revealed.

And a 'Fort of Solitude' at least gives a ripple of similarity between Supergirl and Superman. It makes sense that she would want a place to be reverential to Krypton.

So at least the main title sounds like it moving Supergirl in the right direction.

One last comment.

Lobdell said he wanted to bring Supergirl into Teen Titans and Johnson said "yes as long as I can write it with you" but there are no definite plans yet 

I'll say it again. We need a couple of years of Supergirl in her own book and getting defined before she gets put into a team book. I don't want her on the Titans.


Dante said...

A lot of good things and now...I'm more positive about Lodbell's run...but,goddang Mike Idelson,could you be more blind to the Super family?

Superboy's future seems very,VERY least I hope that Lodbell's Sb in the Titans will be better.And it's a waste,since Silva's art and Lodbell's side characters and plot made the book pretty good.

I'd love to see a Lodbell-Johnson collab for the Titans,with Supergirl in due time.One or two years later from now,I'll wait.

Dave Mullen said...

I've had doubts aabout Idelson's grasp and ability for aa long time but have always given him the benefit of the doubt as I'm not at all sure he's the one calling all the shots where Superman is concerned. It's a convenient shield really.

I agree 100% with you Anj. The fundamental issue here is that there is a mandate to make the Superman character and his 'family' as dysfunctional and hostile as is possible, I did note your Batman allegory and have had similar thought myself, especially having just read Batman #11 and a nice ending with Bruce and Dick reaffirming their bond and elsewhere in Batman and Robin him gathering his apprentices fpr a family portrait. The difference between todays Batman and Superman couldn't be any greater - In some bizarre way Batman and Superman have now switched their traditional places. Extraordinary.

This is Superman I'm reading...?

Gene said...

The concept of Supergirl wanting to kill Superboy and Superman being a loner is madness. This along with the whole Stephanie Brown/Smallville comic fiasco makes me wonder what is going on with DC.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Supergirl will be rejecting any attempt Superman makes at mentoring. Hopefully she continues to be her own person and develop and not go back to the unfortunate obsequious bobble head in Superman's shadow. David and Loeb did so much to bring Supergirl into her own and then it was just massive regress soon after. The new 52 Supergirl has been about the only character I've been interested in. Hopefully DC lets the creators do their thing instead of letting the screamers control things (as they did with the previous Supergirl).

Anj said...

Thanks for the comments everybody.

Hopefully DC lets the creators do their thing instead of letting the screamers control things (as they did with the previous Supergirl).

I never know where I stand on this argument of yours. Am I a screamer they listened to the last time?

And the fact you want no relationship between Supergirl and Superman is interesting to me. I have never said I want her to kowtow to him, just to have a healthy familial relationship. I wonder why you think that is so wrong.

Anj said...

SG writer Mike Johnson tweeted me this:

Don't worry. Kara's not someone who wants to kill anything. But she's verrrry wary of the potential danger SB represents...especially given Krypton's history with clones.

I'll say it again. I think the SG title is in very good hands right now. This is reassuring.

Anonymous said...

Yeah who is a screamer here Larry? Why doncha man up and name some names?
Basically, Superman and his mythos have been "marvelized" and no one considers the long term interests of the character over and above the current sales report or movie deal.
THAT is the state of comics today, if it means buzz and sales Superboy will start a collection of human heads and if Supergirl has to kill him to keep those sales up so be it.
Welcome to comics in the 21st century...


Jamal Igle said...

"Hopefully she continues to be her own person and develop and not go back to the unfortunate obsequious bobble head in Superman's shadow"

I'm curious about this statement as well since it's obviously, once again, directed at my run with Sterling Gates.
In our run, Superman showed up five times. Once to try and cheer her up, another to help her try and save her father during the attack on New Krypton. The third time Superman appeared in the book he had to push her away. the fourth time was to help her in an investigation she led. The last time, she punched the crap out of him.

Five appearances in 25 issues and two annuals. At no point did she kowtow to him. She was a member of New kryptons Science Guild. She used kryptonian science to cure Lana's "Insect queen" infection. She led the forces of Bizarro World into battle against a planet killing monster. She wasn't a "Bobblehead", she was intelligent, brave, resourcesful, loving and above it all, complicated.

I know it makes your nipples hard to rail on the work we did. I've stood back for a long time while you go on and on, without any facts to back it up, other than the one issue you misread (She's an alien from outer space, what the hell would she know about HUMAN SPORTS?) And decided that you would not only boycott the book but start a webpage about how pissed you were that I had the audacity to put shorts under her skirt?

Dude, get over it. I know it's hard for you to comprehend this but we left the book almost 3 years ago. I also know you have no interest in being open mined. I think it's sad that your still going on about this.

valerie21601 said...

hey Anj,

Have you read the transcript on the Superman Homepage of the Man of Steel trailer shown at the SDCC? Also learned Superman is being dropped from the movie tile and will be simply known as Man of Steel.

Ayhe said...

As long as is well written, I have no problem Kara joining the Teen Titans.
I like the way Johnson is portraying Kara and he cares about her very much.
Whatever will happen, I´m pretty optimistic :)

S said...

Hi, I just found your blog and I thought that its great. I'm glad there is a positive and great blog about the super family and especially supergirl.
I do understand that you are concern about Kara will be seen as "evil" trying to kill Kon. But I think that is a natural response from their point of view. Clones to kryptonian were sorta like manhunters to green lantern. In that all of them are seen as threats and none of them ended up fine. I guess this is a natural response for Kryptonians like Kara. There would always be a defensive wall against what you were told were the biggest threat to your people.
But I can see where the writers are going with this and I think the story could potentially be great with Kara starting to learn to trust Kon and even hopefully help him to stop the "deterioration".

Ofcourse that is only my opinion and I do respect yours. But hopefully you can go into this with an open mind. Like I said before, I really like this blog of yours.

Anonymous said...

Actually I'm fine with Supergirl joining the Teen Titans, with any luck it'll mitigate her poor ESL skills. And in a meta context, putting her into the TT book brings some hopefully a lot of Supergirl readers to the Titans Franchise which is good for sales. My only quibble is that DC Should Stick With This Decision and not cycle her out of the book when the writers change...the major drawback of the last run her team affiliations were for the most part fleeting and healf hearted, she was in every from from the Titans to the Metal Men....


Anj said...

I find it interesting that the folks who comment here are actually more pro than con for Supergirl to join the Titans!

Maybe immersing her more in Earth cultures and teams would speed up her acceptance of the place.