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DC Comics’ newest writer is poised to make Superman Jewish again

JTA — DC Comics’ newest writer says that the choices he has made for his new Superman series are “deeply connected to [the character’s] origins.”

And those origins are very Jewish.

Brian Michael Bendis, who recently jumped ship from Marvel to DC Comics, will start drawing new comic books with the iconic superhero in May. He happens to be a product of a strictly Orthodox Jewish day school in Cleveland.

“I’m a little Jewish boy from Cleveland and my connection to Superman is very, very deep, genetically,” Bendis told Forbes earlier this month.

Bendis’ personal background could have implications for the Superman character. From his given name Kal-El to his exodus from his home planet, Superman exudes the Jewish sensibilities of his creators, immigrants Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (also Clevelanders).

“El” is a Hebrew term used to designate God. And just as Moses was nestled in a little basket for his trip down the Nile, Superman’s parents placed him in a rocket ship so he could escape his dying planet of Krypton. Instead of Pharoah’s daughter lifting a crying baby out of a basket, Superman’s adoptive parents opened the rocket to discover a crying baby. The character’s transformation from mild-mannered, glasses-wearing Clark Kent to avenging strongman has also been seen as a sort of Jewish immigrant’s wish fulfillment. The list of Jewish connections goes on.

Bendis told Forbes that it took some cosmic convincing to leave his longtime perch at Marvel for DC. While he was considering what to do, he said, he returned to Cleveland for his brother’s wedding. He went to visit a friend who runs the Cleveland Public Library, and when he walked through the doors he ran into a Superman exhibition.

“It was like the universe was speaking to me, telling me ‘Oh you’ve got to do this!’ And it flooded back to me in the biggest way possible, and here we are,” he told Forbes interviewer Mark Hughes.

Bendis is perhaps best known from his days at Marvel as the man who killed off Spiderman — or at least his alter-ego, Peter Parker — in order to replace him with a new half-black, half-Hispanic character who gets bitten by a genetically altered spider. He said he was trying to make the comics look more like the real world.

Marvel Comics hired Brian Michael Bendis to kill Peter Parker, left, Spider-Man's old alter ego. In his place, Bendis created a half-black, half-Hispanic hero who angered conservative commentators. (Courtesy of Marvel Comics via JTA)

Bendis was raised by a single mother in Cleveland and discovered comic books as an adolescent.

“I studied them like the Torah,” he told JTA in a 2013 interview.

He said the rabbis at his school did not enjoy his drawings, in particular the sketches of men in tights. He frequently got sent home for his artwork.

Bendis told Forbes that his new Superman “is a reflection of where he came from and the world we live in now.”

“Writing Superman in today’s day and age is such a powerful experience. We live in a world where we’ve heard, ‘Truth, justice, and the American way’ our whole lives, right? But this is the first time those things are really not to be taken for granted,” he elaborated.

“Now I think it’s time Superman stand up and give us that hope we always want from him. It’s a great thing to be writing a character who exudes hope at a time when people really, really need it.”

From: https://www.timesofisrael.com/dc-comics-newest-writer-is-poised-to-make-superman-jewish-again/

‘Rebirth’ Superman Creators Bid Farewell to the Man of Steel in May One-Shots

Action Comics writer Dan Jurgens and Superman writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason will have one final hurrah with the Man of Steel in May, when a pair of one-shots represent their swan songs with the character.

The veteran creators launched best-selling and critically-acclaimed runs on the Superman titles almost two years ago, bringing stability to a character who had been plagued by inconsistent sales and fan antipathy for years.

With Brian Michael Bendis taking over both titles and relaunching Superman with a new #1, it appeared that April’s Action Comics #1000 would be the final stories for Jurgens and the Tomasi/Gleason tag-team. Earlier this week, though, DC announced Action Comics Special #1 and Superman Special #1.

“The creative talent of Action Comics writer Dan Jurgens and the Superman team of Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi have brought legions of Superman fans story after story filled with action, humor, emotion and candor–traits that have continued to present Superman as an enduring symbol of hope, optimism, truth and justice,” DC said in the statement announcing the releases. “This May, the conclusions to their epic runs serve as the centerpieces of two special one-shot issues.”

Each of the two specials will tie into stories that have been running through the respective books almost since the beginning: Jurgens, whose Action Comics run was sold as an uneasy team-up of the pre-Flashpoint Superman and the self-appointed “Superman” Lex Luthor, will handle “The Last Will and Testament of Lex Luthor,” while Tomasi and Gleason’s story will directly follow up on one of their earliest storylines.

May 2018 Superman Specials

May 2018 Superman Specials

You can see the official solicitation text below, and the covers in the attached image gallery.

On sale May 2, the 48-page ACTION COMICS SPECIAL #1 features “The Last Will and Testament of Lex Luthor,” written by Jurgens with art by Will Conrad. Beginning with the events of REBIRTH, Superman’s greatest enemy became his most unexpected ally. Is Lex finally on the heroic path, or is he still hiding his true colors? When he finds himself in an adventure where Superman could be destroyed, what will he do? Save the Man of Steel, or witness his demise at the hands of an unimaginable enemy? This oversize special also includes stories from Max Landis and Francis Manapul (TRINITY, JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE) originally slated to appear in the DC UNIVERSE HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2017 #1, and Mark Russell (THE FLINTSTONES, EXIT STAGE LEFT: THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES) with artist Jill Thompson (WONDER WOMAN: THE TRUE AMAZON).

Available May 16, SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 features Tomasi and Gleason’s “The Promise,” concluding a story from REBIRTH that began in issue #8, 2016’s “Escape from Dinosaur Island.” Before Superman’s world goes through some drastic changes, he has unfinished business to attend to on Dinosaur Island. Superman and the Losers’ Captain Storm take one final trip together into the abyss of tomorrow, which brings the military man out of time into the world of today. This 48-page extra-size special also features bonus stories by Mark Russell with art by Bryan Hitch and Ian Flynn with art by Kaare Andrews.

From: http://comicbook.com/dc/2018/02/15/rebirth-superman-creators-bid-farewell-to-the-man-of-steel-in-ma/

Review – Superman: Action Comics #997: Planet Zod

Owner/Publisher, Editor-at-Large

Ken Denmead


Matt Blum

Managing Editor


Senior Editors

Jonathan H. Liu, Jenny Bristol, Corrina Lawson, Patricia Vollmer

Gaming Editor

Dave Banks

Associate Publishers*

Tim Johnides, Jeff Williams, Dante Lauretta, Magnus Dahlsröm, Jayson Peters, David Michael, Gerry Tolbert, Andrew Smith, Ray Wehrs, Joel Becker, Scott Gaeta, Beth Kee, Joey Mills, talkie_tim, Danny Marquardt, Adam Bruski, John Bain, Bill Moore, Adam Frank, Lacey Hays, Peter Morson, James Needham, Matt Fleming, Adam Anderson, Jim Reynolds, Seiler Hagan, Bryan Wade, Petrov Neutrino, Jay Shapiro

Editor (Emeritus)

Chris Anderson

Core Contributors

Darren Blankenship, Rory Bristol, Robin Brooks, Preston Burt, Samantha Fisher, Ray Goldfield, Jamie Greene, Michael Harrison, Ryan Hiller, Rob Huddleston, Will James, James Floyd Kelly, Anthony Karcz, Michael Kaufman, Mordechai Luchins, Brad Moon, Tony Nunes, Anton Olsen, Skip Owens, Jules Sherred, Mark Vorenkamp, Chris Wickersham, Simon Yule

Occasional Contributors

Tim Bailey, Natania BarronJohn Booth, Samantha Bryant, Stephen Clark, Tom Fassbender, Matt ForbeckMelissa Ford, Bernd Grobauer, Travis Hanson, Kishore Hari, Whit Honea, Sarah James, John Kovalic, Michael LeSauvage, Jim MacQuarrie, Joey MillsRicardo Rebelo, Drew Rich, Andy Robertson, Mariana Ruiz, Derrick Schneider, Bill Shribman, Tony Sims, Randy Slavey, Gerry Tolbert, Michael Witwer

From: https://geekdad.com/2018/02/review-superman-action-comics-997-planet-zod/

ACTION COMICS and SUPERMAN Runs To End In Two MAY Specials

Oversized Superman specials

Credit: DC Comics
Credit: DC Comics

The “Rebirth” runs of Dan Jurgens’ Action Comics and Peter J. Tomasi Patrick Gleason’s Superman will each end in their own oversized 48-page one-shots in May. The two teams have worked with various artists on the titles since the launch of “Rebirth” in May 2016, and will pass the baton to writer Brian Michael Bendis as he takes over both titles following April’s issues.

May 2’s Action Comics Special #1 will feature a lead story by Jurgens and artist Will Conrad titled “The Last Will and Testament of Lex Luthor.”

“Beginning with the events of ‘Rebirth,’ Superman’s greatest enemy became his most unexpected ally. Is Lex finally on the heroic path, or is he still hiding his true colors?,” reads a DC announcement. “When he finds himself in an adventure where Superman could be destroyed, what will he do? Save the Man of Steel, or witness his demise at the hands of an unimaginable enemy?

Credit: DC Comics

In addition, Action Comics Special #1 will feature a new story by Mark Russell and Jill Thompson, along with the Max Landis/Francis Manapul story pulled from DC Universe Holiday Special 2017 #1.

On May 16, Superman Special #1 will revisit Dinosaur Island from Superman #8.

“Before Superman’s world goes through some drastic changes, he has unfinished business to attend to on Dinosaur Island,” reads the DC announcement. “Superman and the Losers’ Captain Storm take one final trip together into the abyss of tomorrow, which brings the military man out of time into the world of today.”

Superman Special #1 will also two additional stories by the writer/artist teams of Michael Russell Bryan Hitch and Ian Flynn Kaare Andrews.

From: https://www.newsarama.com/38615-current-action-comics-and-superman-runs-to-end-in-two-may-specials.html

New Superman Costume Coming to Action Comics #1000

So let’s try this again.

DC Comics has notoriously been tinkering with Superman’s costume for the last five or six years. And their quest to change it dates back even further than that. See, for years, Superman’s red trunks were considered hopelessly old-fashioned, and perhaps an indicator of why Supes doesn’t quite match Batman’s popularity in the pop culture consciousness or some other such nonsense. DC Editorial had, for years, been looking for an excuse to modernize Superman’s costume, and the red trunks were always in the crosshairs.

In 2012, with the launch of DC’s New 52 line, Superman was given a new, trunks-less costume, one with an ill-advised segmented armor look and a high collar. There was nothing wrong with it, necessarily, especially since there was a good in-story reason for it to exist (it’s Kryptonian ceremonial gear). But most artists never could quite agree as to how “armor-y” it should look. This was tweaked by John Romita in 2015, with a softened, slightly more traditional (but still trunks-less) look. Movie and TV versions have all followed suit, with Henry Cavill’s big screen Superman and Tyler Hoechlin’s TV Man of Steel wearing variations of the non-trunks costume. Even animated series Justice League Action has left the trunks behind.

That was then tweaked again for DC’s Rebirth initiative, initially losing not only the red trunks, but the red boots as well (swapping those out for blue ones) and then yet again last year during Superman Reborn. Honestly, this current design has been pretty appealing, melding elements from the movies with a traditional Superman comics aesthetic.

But with the momentous Action Comics #1000 on the horizon, it’s time to change once again, and in this case, it means a return to a more traditional Superman costume, with Jim Lee given the honors of bringing back the red trunks, while keeping a few movie-esque flourishes. 

Check it out on the cover to Action Comics #1000…

Action Comics #1000 represents a watershed moment in the history of not just comic books, but entertainment, literature and pop culture,” said Lee in a statement. “There’s no better way to celebrate Superman’s enduring popularity than to give him a look that combines some new accents with the most iconic feature of his classic design.”

Action Comics #1000 will boast an all-star lineup of creators. It includes a 15-page story from current Superman creative teams Peter J. Tomasi and artist Pat Gleason, as well as another 15 page story from legendary Superman writer/artist Dan Jurgens. This will see the DC Comics debut of Brian Michael Bendis, who will pen a 10 page tale with Jim Lee on art. 

Perhaps most exciting, the issue will also feature a story by Superman: The Movie director Richard Donner along with Geoff Johns and art by Olivier Coipel. Additionally, Marv Wolfman will script a tale for previously unseen work from legendary Superman artist Curt Swan.

Other talents involved with the issue include Paul Dini with José Luis García-López; Tom King with Clay Mann and Jordie Bellaire; Brad Meltzer with John Cassaday and Laura Martin; Louise Simonson with Jerry Ordway; Scott Snyder with Tim Sale and more to be announced.

That, boys and girls, is a stacked lineup of talent. This might be the most ridiculous assemblage of talent on a Superman book since 1984’s Superman #400, one of the greatest single issues in the title’s history, which was packed to the gills with work by everyone from Will Eisner and Jack Kirby to all-time great Superman writer Elliott S! Maggin.

“The one-thousandth issue of Action Comics is an incredible milestone in pop culture and a testament to the vision of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster,” added DC publisher Dan DiDio. “Without this book, along with Siegel and Shuster’s fertile imaginations and boundless creativity, the superhero’s place in literature may have been wildly different, if not altogether nonexistent.”

Action Comics #1000 arrives in April.

From: http://www.denofgeek.com/us/books-comics/superman/270369/new-superman-costume-coming-to-action-comics-1000

When Nicolas Cage almost became Superman

Since 2013, Superman has been in a film of his own, a team-up film with Batman, another team-up film with the rest of the Justice League, and two different Lego Movies. True, not all of these films could be described as critical triumphs, but they do make one thing clear: the executives at Warner Bros love to put Superman on the big screen. But that wasn’t always the case.

At the last minute, Superman was grounded – the money went to Will Smith’s Wild Wild West

Back in 1998, a decade after the dismal Superman IV: The Quest for Peace had put paid to the Christopher Reeve franchise, the original superhero was all set to take flight once again. And his new film could hardly have seemed more promising. There was an Oscar winner in the title role. A soon-to-be Oscar winner was playing his follicaly-challenged nemesis, Lex Luthor. The director and producer had collaborated on an earlier superhero blockbuster. Even the title was optimistic: Superman Lives. But then, at the last minute, Warner executives called the whole thing off. Superman was grounded, and the studio spent the money on Will Smith’s Wild Wild West instead.

Oddly enough, the origin of Superman Lives was The Death of Superman, a run of comics which killed the character in 1992, only to bring him back to life in 1993. Much to the amazement of everyone at DC Comics, this storyline made headlines around the globe, and the issues covering Superman’s demise sold a record-breaking six million copies. “We were stunned,” says Mike Carlin, the editor of the Superman comics at the time. “I can’t believe people went for it as hard as they did.”

Jon Peters, who produced 1989’s Batman film starring Michael Keaton, saw an opportunity. He bought the movie rights, and did a deal with Warner’s president of worldwide production, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, whereby they would adapt The Death of Superman together. Not that they stuck to the plot that had unfolded in the comics. Jonathan Lemkin wrote a script entitled Superman Reborn in which the Man of Steel is killed, but passes on his powers to a son he has with Lois Lane. When that screenplay didn’t fly, Gregory Poirier wrote one in which our hero comes back to life without his powers, and only regains them after he has recuperated in a robotic exoskeleton.

The conditions: Superman couldn’t fly nor wear his iconic costume but had to fight a spider

In 1996, this script was shown to Kevin Smith, who had just written and directed his microbudget debut, Clerks, and who was known in Hollywood as a superhero-obsessed über-geek. But Smith loathed everything about Poirier’s screenplay, starting with its title. “Might as well have just said ‘Superman Remarketed For a New Generation,’” he cracked. In homage to Fletch Lives, the Chevy Chase comedy, Smith suggested changing the title to Superman Lives. Warner’s executives were so impressed that they commissioned him to write a script of his own.

Creative Kryptonite

Smith was then sent to Peters’ Los Angeles mansion for a meeting – and he has been telling audiences at his stand-up shows about this meeting ever since. Notoriously, Peters declared that Smith should have three strictures in mind when he was drafting his screenplay. First, Superman wasn’t allowed to fly. Second, Superman wasn’t allowed to wear his iconic blue-and-red costume. And third, Superman had to fight a giant spider. “OK, man, I’ll spider it up for you,” shrugged Smith, and he wrote in a fiendish arachnid he dubbed the Thanagarian Snare Beast.

Peters denies that he ever set the first two conditions, but he is proud of the giant spider, and he had plenty of other curious notions about the ideal Superman film. For instance, Smith had dreamt up a scene in which the main villain, Brainiac, visits Superman’s arctic retreat, the Fortress of Solitude. But Peters insisted that Brainiac should be intercepted by Superman’s guards – which happened to be polar bears. Why, Smith wondered, would the strongest man on the planet need guards? And why would he want other people (or bears) to keep him company in a place with “solitude” in its name?

Almost as puzzling was Peters’ belief that he and Smith understood Superman “because we’re from the streets”. Never mind that the character is a god-like extra-terrestrial who grew up on a Kansas farm, and who is defined by his unwavering nobility, Peters envisaged him as a vicious back-alley brawler. And he wanted Sean Penn to play the role because Penn had “the eyes of a violent caged animal – a killer”.

It’s tempting, upon hearing these anecdotes, to blame Peters for everything that went wrong with the enterprise, but he must have done something right: having produced Tim Burton’s first Batman film, he lured Burton back to direct Superman Lives. But Burton had his own vision for the character. In his eyes, the Last Son of Krypton wasn’t a street fighter or a caged animal, but a geeky outsider – a loner so reminiscent of Edward Scissorhands that the crew nicknamed him “Edward Supermans”. Determined that the film should explore how alienating it felt to be an actual alien, Burton threw out Kevin Smith’s jokey script, and brought in Wesley Strick, a screenwriter who had worked with him on Batman Returns.

Other than Peters showing off his wrestling moves, everything seemed fine

He also chose a leading man who would be convincingly uncomfortable in his skin, Nicolas Cage. Comics fans were sceptical. Much like Michael Keaton, whom Burton had picked to play Batman, Cage was less square-jawed and macho than the average superhero. But there was some logic to the casting. The previous year, Cage had starred in a hugely successful action movie, Con Air, and he was undoubtedly committed to the role. In 1997, he had paid a fortune for a rare copy of the 1938 Action Comics magazine which introduced Superman to the world. And in 2005, he would give his own son Superman’s Kryptonian name, Kal-El. With Cage donning the red cape, and with a supporting cast that included Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor and Chris Rock as Superman’s buddy Jimmy Olsen the film was getting off the ground.

A bird? A plane? A dud?

Many of these developments are chronicled in What Happened? The Death of Superman Lives, a behind-the-scenes documentary which shows how agonisingly close the project came to completion. In the canon of superhero what-ifs and might-have-beens, there are several which were never much more than words on paper, such as James Cameron’s Spider-Man and Darren Aronofsky’s Batman: Year One. But years of toil and over $10m (£7.18m) of pre-production money were invested in Superman Lives. Roomfuls of artists sketched everything from the architecture of Krypton to a menagerie of monsters. Teams of costume designers and technicians fashioned moulded silicon bodysuits for Cage to try on. Digital effects companies ensured that audiences would believe a man could fly. If it weren’t for Peters’ habit of dropping in on the artists and demonstrating his wrestling moves, everything would have been running smoothly.

The only obvious snag was that Burton still hadn’t figured out which story he was telling. Reluctantly, he let Strick go and replaced him with Dan Gilroy (who would go on to direct Nightcrawler and Roman J Israel, Esq). But even after months of rewrites, the screenplay wasn’t finished. The problem, it seems, was that between Peters’ ideas, Burton’s ideas and the commercial concerns of Warner’s executives, there were just too many plots and themes to squeeze in. Superman had to discover he was from Krypton, and he had to get engaged to Lois Lane. He had to die, come back to life without his powers, recover his powers as long as he wore his exoskeleton, and then recover his powers without the exoskeleton. He had to fend off a gang of ninjas after Lex Luthor poisons Metropolis’s water supply (a scene more suited to a Batman film), and he had to defend the Earth from a horde of aliens. And, of course, he had to wrestle with a Thanagarian Snare Beast. It was too much. Not even someone who is faster than a speeding bullet can manage all that in a two-hour running time.

And so it was that, with just three weeks to go before the film was due to begin shooting, Burton and Gilroy were called into Warner’s offices and told that Superman Lives was dead. The theory espoused by the What Happened documentary is that Warner was reeling from 1997’s succession of big-budget flops, including Kevin Costner’s post-apocalyptic bomb, The Postman, and a woeful Superman spin-off, Steel, which failed to make a movie star of Shaquille O’Neal. The clincher was Joel Schumacher’s campy, pun-stuffed turkey, Batman Robin – a factor which infuriated Burton. He had launched a series of Batman blockbusters, and he was getting ready to launch a series of Superman blockbusters. Schumacher had scuppered them both. 

Burton can take some consolation in the knowledge that many of his team’s concepts did eventually make it into cinemas. In 2006, Superman Returns had Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor; 2016’s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice had Superman being killed; 2017’s Justice League had him being brought back to life. As for Peters, he must have been delighted by the climactic battle in 2013’s Man of Steel. It ended with Superman breaking the neck of the evil General Zod – so for a moment, at least, he was a killer with the eyes of a violent caged animal.

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From: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20180209-when-nicolas-cage-almost-became-superman

Brian Michael Bendis Reveals Why He Took Superman Over Batman

Brian Michael Bendis is already at work on his new DC project, Action Comics, and he recently revealed why he chose Superman over Batman.

Some assumed he would take on one of the Batman books, but during his recent conversation with John Siuntres on the Word Balloon podcast, he explained just why he decided Superman was the perfect way to start the DC chapter of his career.

“I said to Dan if Superman is available sometime in my contract. I want to take a shot at it. I think he thought I was going to ask for Batman…but I think Batman is well taken care of. Not That Superman isn’t as well, the Mr. Oz story is phenomenal, but one was pulling to me more. Dan said ‘We’re gonna start a new direction with Action 1000. What a great place to land you and say this is part of the legacy and how much we believe in it. ‘ … I would literally have to start writing for DC the day after I finished writing for Marvel, but we could do it.”

Bendis isn’t wrong about the Batman books. Currently, the team of Tom King (Batman) and James T Tynion IV (Detective Comics) have hit a great stride, and the extended Batman family is doing pretty good as well (Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwoman, etc).

As for Superman, the Mr. Oz storyline has delivered some fantastic surprises, and it will be interesting to see where Bendis takes the series next and how he follows up that popular storyline. If he was going to take on anyone for this latest chapter though, it is hard to go bigger than Superman.

Bendis celebrated his first day at DC with some art from Michael Avon Oeming and the status of his last few Marvel projects.

“Daniel Craig voice: ‘Agent Bendis, reporting for duty.’ today is the day! I am officially a member of the @DCComics family (I’m still working on my last marvel’s because December was not my friend) thank you all for making this surreal journey so much fun. art by @Oeming”

Action Comics #1000 hits comic shops on April 18.

From: http://comicbook.com/dc/2018/02/10/brian-michael-bendis-why-superman-over-batman/

DC Comics Author Who Created Chinese Superman Has a Surprise For the KKK

Ryan General

An Asian American author is pitting the “Man of Steel” against the Ku Klux Klan in an upcoming title for DC Comics.

Slated for 2019, the new comic book written by Gene Luen Yang titled “Superman Smashes the Klan” will be among the titles under the recently unveiled DC Zoom imprint, according to the New York Times.

Yang’s title, which will feature Superman battling the Klu Klux Klan, the terroristic White nationalist group, is expected to generate the most buzz upon its release. This will not be the first time that the son of Krypton has fought the right-wing extremist organization pushing for the “purification” of American society through racial segregation and White supremacy.

Superman already exposed the group’s evil schemes in 1946 via the “Clan of the Fiery Cross” episode of the popular radio program “The Adventures of Superman”.

The episode even inspired the nonfiction book “Superman Versus the Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate” published in 2012 by Richard Bowers.

“If anyone can make a bold statement with Superman, it is Gene Yang,” Michele Wells, DC’s VP for content strategy, was quoted as saying.

Yang, a California-born comic book writer/creator of Taiwanese parents, is known for his work on Dark Horse Comics’ “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, multiple “Superman” titles, and his award-winning creations “American Born Chinese” and “Boxers and Saints”. He also created the character Kenan Kong the Superman of China, in DC’s New Super-Man in 2016.

DC Zoom, which focused on middle school readers, was introduced on Sunday along with DC Ink, which is geared towards a young adult (YA) audience. The imprints are intended to introduce the DC Universe to new comic readers with fresh takes on beloved characters.

Feature Image (left) via Flickr / adriagarcia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From: https://nextshark.com/dc-comics-author-created-chinese-superman-surprise-kkk/

DC Comics is making graphic novels for kids, including a book …

Not to be outdone by its big screen counterparts, DC Comics also had a mid-Super Bowl announcement to make this weekend: The company is launching not one but two new graphic novel imprints, aimed squarely at young readers.

DC Ink and DC Zoom will publish graphic novels based on DC Comics characters, from some big names in the young adult publishing world, all aimed squarely at young readers. DC Zoom (promo art above) will take on the “middle grade” market of 8-12 year olds, while DC Ink will publish books for the teenage, “young adult” reader. What are some examples of upcoming titles, you say?

Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries, will pen Black Canary: Ignite for DC Zoom, while Melissa de la Cruz, author of The Witches of East End, is writing Batman: Gotham High for DC Ink. But, according to the New York Times, DC Ink will kick off with writer Mariko Tamaki (Supergirl: Being Super) and artist Steve Pugh’s (Animal Man, Preacher: Saint of Killers) Harley Quinn graphic novel, as well as a graphic novel about Mera, Aquaman’s long-time love interest and future queen of Atlantis, written by bestselling author Danielle Page.

That’ll put the imprint in a strong place to catch readers coming off of Suicide Squad and this year’s Aquaman movie. The first few books from the imprints are female-focused, reflecting overall trends in the world of YA books — but Michele Wells, VP of content strategy at DC, stressed to the New York Times that the lines would have plenty for every kind of reader.

The most arresting of the currently announced titles comes from award-winning YA cartoonist Gene Yang, creator of the award-winning graphic novels American Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints. Yang, currently writing New Super-Man at DC Comics, is working with DC Zoom on Superman Smashes the Klan, which will be released in a serial format before being collected into a single edition.

At the moment, all we have to go on is that title, but given Yang’s penchant for weaving history into even very modern stories, it’s easy to speculate that Superman Smashes the Klan will at the very least reference “Clan of the Fiery Cross,” a 1946 arc of the radio serial The Adventures of Superman. Written with consultation from a human rights activist who had infiltrated the post-war Ku Klux Klan, the arc earned sky-high ratings, while it trivialized the rituals of the white supremacist group and of course featured its defeat at the hands of Superman. Historians consider the show to have had a demonstrable negative impact on the Klan’s recruiting efforts at the time.

Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment and president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, also called back to that earliest era of comic book superheroes in a press release.

“The first comic books created decades ago were for kids,” she said, “and as the business evolved and matured, it became more focused on adult readers. DC Ink and DC Zoom present an exciting new opportunity to grow our publishing business and ensure beloved stories built around iconic characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are endeared as part of the fabric of childhood for years to come.”

Promo art for a new Teen Titans series from DC Ink.

Promo art for a new Teen Titans series from DC Ink.
Gabriel Picolo/DC Comics

Growing DC’s publishing business isn’t just a platitude here. The company has repeatedly acknowledged the reach it has found in the young adult book market for several years now. The DC Super Hero Girls line of toys and merchandise rests on the strength of its associated middle-grade reader line of graphic novels, which have sold as well as classic DC Comics fare since their inception, and will now fall under the DC Zoom imprint.

DC Super Hero Girls: Finals Crisis was our No. 2 book on units [in 2016],” DC’s vice president of sales told the Hollywood Reporter in August. “Our No. 1 book was The Killing Joke. So our list goes, Batman: The Killing Joke, DC Super Hero Girls: Finals Crisis, Suicide Squad Vol. 1, Watchmen, Preacher. And what that number [for DCSHG] doesn’t include is our Scholastic Book Club sale.” Sales from Scholastic’s Book Club exceeded those shipped to book stores, he added.

There are an awful lot of parents out there who love DC Comics characters and have been buying DC Super Hero Girls books to share them with their kids — and they’re about to get a lot more options. The first titles from DC Ink and DC Zoom will be released in fall 2018, according to a press release.

From: https://www.polygon.com/comics/2018/2/5/16974926/dc-comics-kids-books-super-hero-girls

DC Comics Celebrates ‘Action Comics’ #1000 and 80 Years of Superman With Commemorative Book: Exclusive

Comic books were never meant to last. In the early 20th century, they were disposable, the lowest of the low arts: garish and lurid, printed on pulpy newsprint with smeared colors, produced by exploitative publishers and read by mindless children and degenerate adults. 

But on April 18, 1938, everything changed: Action Comics #1 hit newsstands and the world was introduced to Superman. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster—two young guys out of Cleveland—the character was so primal, so evocative, so revolutionary, that he instantly connected with readers (kids and adults alike), altered the fortunes of the lowly comic and birthed a whole new concept: the superhero. Without Sigel and Shuter’s imagination, without Superman—indeed, without Action Comics—our pop culture landscape would be unrecognizable.

Fast forward 80 years, and Action Comics is still making history. In a few weeks, it will hit a milestone that once seemed inconceivable: 1,000 issues. Last week, DC Comics revealed details of the comic, which will hit stores April 18. On the same day, the publisher will release a hardcover companion book, Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman. And Newsweek can now exclusively announce that it will include a long-lost Siegel and Shuster Superman story.

Curated by longtime DC writer and editor Paul Levitz (75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking), the tome reprints seminal Action Comics stories from the title’s 80-year history, such as Superman’s first appearance (Action Comics #1) and the debuts of Toyman (#64) and Supergirl (#252). “There’s a real emphasis on firsts,” Levitz told Newsweek. “I thought that was important for something that was a celebration of Action Comics because it is, in so many ways, the quintessential first for the industry.”

But more than another greatest-hits collection, the book intersperses essays that provide critical and insightful commentary on Superman and his legacy, from writers like Tom DeHaven (It’s Superman!), Larry Tye (Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero), Gene Luen Yang (New Super-Man) and David Hajdu (The Ten-Cent Plague). Jules Feiffer (The Great Comic Book Heroes) wrote the introduction, while Laura Siegel Larson, Jerry Siegel’s daughter, contributed an appreciation of Action Comics.

Siegel and Shuster are also represented in perhaps the book’s most exciting element: a 12-page, unpublished Superman story from 1945. The material—saved from the DC trash bins by Marv Wolfman (Teen Titans) while touring the publisher’s offices as a young fan—will finally be available in Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman. It was drawn by artists in Shuster’s studio and likely written by Siegel. Levitz said lawyers found checks that prove Siegel was paid for the script, though no one can verify the authorship beyond those receipts. “We’re being a little cautious in how we phrase it,” Levitz adds. “There are no records worth a damn.”

SM_TOO_MANY_HEROES_page1 The first page of “Too Many Heroes,” an unpublished Superman story from 1945 that will be included in the book “Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman.” DC Comics

The story’s inclusion is a fitting tribute to the two men who created one of the world’s most seminal works. “In all of the history of literature, there are only five fictional characters known to every man, woman and child on the planet,” science-fiction author Harlan Ellison wrote in 1988. “Mickey Mouse, Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Robin Hood…and Superman.”

And yet, Siegel and Shuster were chewed up and spit out by American copyright law. The three-panel version of their story: The duo were paid $130 for their initial Superman idea, spent decades fighting for their rights as Superman’s creators and were at the edge of destitution before finally receiving a pension from the publisher, along with the restoration of their creator credits.

Siegel and Shuster’s complicated history with Superman—and their inability to share in the rewards of his success—soured them on the character. But “in later years,” Levitz said, “they took such joy that this thing that was a moment of their childhood and then many years of work as grown men could live on and they could have a front row seat to watching people care.”

Action_Comics_1 The cover of “Action Comics” #1. The issue date is June 1938, but it was released on April 18. 1938. DC Comics

Eight decades after Action Comics #1 leapt off newsstands with its seductive, brilliant cover, our relationship with Superman has gotten complex. In an ironic age, Kal-El’s earnestness can seem stodgy, and there are those who feel Superman should hang up the cape. He’s not dark enough. He’s boring. He’s unnecessary.

Wrong, all of it. Just ask the kid who finds an inner confidence by tieing a red towel around his neck. Or the immigrant who finds a kindred spirit in the refugee who escaped the dying planet Krypton. Or the soldier who finds a bulletproof mascot in the Man of Steel.

“Superman is us,” science-fiction author Ray Bradbury wrote in 1987, “and we are Superman.” Thirty years later, that’s still true—and the Action Comics #1000 celebration is a testament to the character’s relevance and permanence.

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From: http://www.newsweek.com/2018/02/09/dc-comics-celebrates-action-comics-1000-and-80-years-superman-book-787530.html

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