DC is busy as a bee in the final weeks leading up to the publisher’s brand new line-wide reboot initiative dubbed as Rebirth. Writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) made his debut at DC with Superman, while the writer is departing Clark Kent’s series, he is staying in the Superman Universe with a brand new Super character that he created aptly named New Superman drawn by Viktor Bogdanovic (Batman Arkham Knight).
The news was announced during WonderCon’s press conference from the publisher, but since then the writer announced a brand new name for the character: Kenan Kong. The original name for the hero was Kenji Kong. DC Comics explained the reasoning behind the name change and other insight via a press release and interview with the creator at their website;
There was a problem, of course. Kenji is a common Japanese name and this would probably cause some confusion, at least at first.
What would I think if I were a casual comics reader and I encountered an Asian super hero named Kenji Kong as a supporting character in a couple panels of a DC comic, without any context for the name?
I’d probably assume some non-Asian writer had confused Asian cultures.
I was only thinking about how I’d make this character and his name work in the particular story I was going to write. I’d missed the forest for the trees.
I had to change the name.
The author clarified that he didn’t feel suited to tell a story about a Chinese Superman because he isn’t from China and didn’t want people to assume he did based on his last name. Yang explained that he had a change of heart after recognizing that he was trying to inspire others to write outside their comfort zones and sought to follow his own advice.
Take a look at the new cover that also debuted on the website and follow Kong’s adventures when New Superman #1 debuts July 13.
DC has some last minute shake-ups for the publisher’s final #52 issues, the comics that ship before Rebirth resets the series at #1. Batman #52 will be drawn by artist Riley Rossmo (Bedlam) instead of Rafael Albuquerque (American: Vampire). Action Comics #52 was supposed to be drawn by Fernando Pasarin (Batgirl) but will now be illustrated by Dale Eaglesham (Secret Six) and Scot Eaton (Batman and Robin: Eternal).
Steve Orlando (Midnighter) is joining writers Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl), Faith Erin Hicks (Friends with Boys) and Natasha Alterici (Heathen) for the upcoming Gotham Academy #18. Annie Wu (Hawkeye), a name missing from the Rebirth line-up comics very much present in the previous DC Initiative has been removed the roster in the upcoming May 11 issue.
Ethan Van Sciver, at work on Universe: Rebirth #1, is removed from Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #5. The book will now be drawn by Ardian Syaf (Batgirl) and Jonathan Glapion (Earth-2). Newsarama broke up the news and wrote up the press releases.
DC Universe: Rebirth #1 kicks off DC Rebirth on May 25th.