DC Comics’ Superman #21: exclusive preview | SyfyWire – Blastr

Superman never kills, right? It is one of his most important tenets. And it is about to be put to the test … and in front of his son, no less.

Just two weeks ago, I was pretty excited to tease out Superman #20 right here at Syfy Wire with an exclusive preview, which launched the “Superman Black” storyline as a “Superman Reborn Aftermath” tie-in. Now we’re back at it with an early glimpse of Superman #21 by DC Comics before it drops this week.

In the first few pages of this sneak peek below, Damian Wayne is sleeping over at the Kent homestead after he and his Bat-dad grapple-hooked into farm country. With Batman still gone after a night of investigating, Clark tells the boys to grab their suits so they can go have a look for Bruce. Meanwhile, the mystery surrounding Hamilton deepens. And in this issue, Supes has to decide whether to take a life … and with his son in tow.

The issue is written by Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi; art is by Jaime Mendoza and Doug Mahnke; cover is by Patrick Gleason, with a variant cover by Tony S. Daniel.

Check out an exclusive preview of Superman #21, published by DC Comics and available on April 19. If you dig what you see, pick up the book when it drops on Wednesday.

From: http://www.blastr.com/2017-4-18/dc-comics-superman-21-exclusive-preview

DC Comics Rebirth Spoilers? Superman Artist Jon Bogdanove Talks Action Comics #1000 & How Supes’ Red …

DC Comics Rebirth Spoilers and/or Speculation follows?

Classic Superman artist Jon Bogdanove recently posted some cover art on his facebook account.

As part of that, he commented on DC Comics Rebirth’s Action Comics #1000 and How Superman’s red “Modesty” tights and The Shuster Family Lawsuit may play into it.

      This is one of my most favorite drawings ever— the original “The Adventures of Superman” #16 cover as it was originally commissioned by DC for the final issue of that title. I was asked to add New 52 Superman after the cover was finished, so he is drawn and inked on a separate board. To fit him in digitally, I had to rearrange the five classic Supes in Photoshop, making all the figures smaller. Nothing against poor, ol’ 52, but I like this version best.

    As part of the comments to the image he posted, the question about Supermen’s red trunks or “modesty shorts”, Bogdanove was asked if the New 52 Superman’s lack of red outsider underwear was becaise of the legal battle between the Shuster Family, Superman’s co-creator, and DC Comics? Jon Bogdanove responded as follows:

        That is my understanding. To protect their IP copyright, they needed to distance themselves as much as possible from Siegel and Shuster’s “contribution” to it. The idea was to dump anything that could be contested as being created by Siegel and Shuster, without totally tanking the universally recognized and beloved brand. On New 52, I was even instructed to avoid Sman’s face– no S curl, no cleft chin etc. He was meant to be a totally different man. Some of that has relaxed now all is settled, but the SS heirs only won the rights to his modesty briefs– so no more shorts on Superman without paying them. At least, that is the inside buzz as I have heard it.

      Bogdanove followed up with the art colored…

      …as well as clarified his comments on Superman’s shorts that sparked much debate.

          Hey, about this business with Superman’s shorts– or “The Modesty Briefs Affair”, wherein people, including me, have speculated that the reason Superman doesn’t wear red trunks anymore is because Siegel and Shuster’s heirs figuratively “sued the pants off him” (to quote a FB pal): I want to reconfirm that everything I have said, and will say here, is just that—SPECULATION. It is based entirely on rumors I have heard from various current and former DC folks and other people inside the industry. Let me reaffirm: I could be wrong.

          But since when has that ever stopped anyone on social media? So, in true Donald Trump fashion, here’s what I think happened to The Man of Steel’s pants:

          (Remember, this is all distilled in my head from an assortment of inside rumors and confidences from within the industry. I COULD BE WRONG. But please feel free to get worked up, if that’s what you’re here for.)

          Someday, I would love to read the settlement that finally ended the nearly 70 years long legal struggle of Superman’s creators and their surviving heirs, to recoup a bigger share of the profits generated by their invention. I’d at least like to read a summarized brief of Warner’s legal arguments over the years. My guess is that one of the provisions of the settlement is that the heirs are enjoined from speaking about it, and I wouldn’t expect Warners to either. So we may never know.

          Ultimately, I think this final chapter of the war— this final case— came down to a fine-tooth, point-for-point argument over specifically which defining characteristics of Superman were actually created by Jerry and Joe before they came to DC and started laboring as “work-for-hire”.

          For example, Superman’s red boots replaced his Greek lace-ups AFTER Jerry and Joe signed him over. Likewise, the “S” emblem continued to evolve from the original while Jerry and Joe were under contract, as did much of his likeness and appearance– EXCEPT for the modesty briefs. Apparently, that’s the one original characteristic that persisted unchanged from before the boys ever approached DC until the resolution of this case.

          As a result, the briefs are the one thing Jerry and Joe’s family were able to hold onto– or regain. DC can’t use the pants without paying the heirs a little something— or so I’m told. Word on the street is that someone at DC or Warners is angrily determined never to pay for those shorts, so off they came!

          Now, there is also buzz that Dan Jurgens, and others in the company, have campaigned hard in favor of the traditional, classic, populist brand, appearance and costume– and that Diane Nelson or someone up top recognizes the dollar value of that brand as being worth much more than what it costs to rent the shorts from the heirs.

          This buzz suggests that Superman will be restored to his true self in ACTION #1000– which would be awesome in the extreme— an historic comics event tantamount to “The Death of Superman”. I think it would heal and restore a great deal more than just #Superman. I think the effects would be restorative across the industry. I would expect a revamp and revitalization of the movie franchises to stem from it, eventually– worth millions in revenue.

          Again, just rumors and speculation. I could be wrong. Have I mentioned that yet?

          But, checking out the vibe at DC these days, I have to say I detect a gathering of life force. I think DC is getting its head out of the old “everything must be Batman” days and getting its mojo back, folks. Mark my words and stay tuned!

        Interesting. What do you think?

        Tags: , , , , ,

        From: http://insidepulse.com/2017/04/16/dc-comics-rebirth-spoilers-superman-artist-jon-bogdanove-talks-action-comics-1000-how-supes-red-modesty-briefs-shuster-family-lawsuit-may-play-into-it/

        Superman — Reborn!: A Roundtable Of ’90s Creators Look Back on …

        Start Slideshow

        If you turn back the clock twenty years and look at the Superman comics that would have been new in stores at that time, younger fans might be surprised to see a version of the character who, physically at least, doesn’t resemble what you think of when you say “Superman” at all.

        superman-the-man-of-steel-79
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        That’s becuase twenty years ago last month, Superman #123 hit the stands and reinvented the Man of Steel as an energy-based superhero with a one-piece outfit, blue skin, and electric powers.

        It was a few months later that Superman was split into two distinct characters in a reinvention of an old story called “Superman Red/Superman Blue,” elements of which have recently been reused in Superman and Action Comics.

        The story was at the time — and continues to be — controversial, often mocked, and beloved by many of the dedicated audience who were reading the Superman titles at the time, many of whom had been on board since 1992’s The Death of Superman, some even since John Byrne’s The Man of Steel reboot in 1986.

        To get a sense for how the story developed, how it has aged, and some of te creative machinations that went into it, ComicBook.com performed a series of interviews, and has combined most of them into a roundtable interview.

        Below, you can find remarks and recollections from longtime DC editor Mike Carlin; then-Superman writer Dan Jurgens; Superman: The Man of Steel artist Jon Bogdanove; The Adventures of Superman writer/artist Stuart Immonen; Action Comics writer Karl Kesel; and Glenn Whitmore, who colored all of the Superman titles at the time. 

        Some further insight, including a lengthy interview with Superman artist Ron Frenz, who designed the new costume, will be coming along soon.

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        HOW IT ALL BEGAN

        What, in your recollection, led to the Power Surge/Superman Transformed storyline?

        electric-superman-transformed-1997
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Karl Kesel: The idea had come into my mind to give Superman completely different powers. Not only would this be a fun monkey wrench to throw at Our Hero, but on a story level I saw lots of possibilities to show Superman struggling — something not easy to do or often seen with Superman. For the first time he wouldn’t know what he was capable of, he wouldn’t know what could or couldn’t hurt him. I liked the idea of showing Superman learning, pushing himself, sometimes failing because, well, that didn’t work. It also gave us the opportunity to give fights with old enemies a new twist.

        In the end, though, the real point of the arc would be: it isn’t the powers that make Superman who is is, it’s Superman himself. I had no idea what those new powers might be — and I actually wanted other people to contribute that part so that more people were invested in the story. I believe Jon Bogdanove suggested energy powers.

        The whole Red/Blue thing came later. In all honesty it would have ever happened if we hadn’t gone with the Ron Frenz’s blue suit design. We could have just as easily had a black suit with some sort of glowing design on it — in which case Red/Blue would have never happened. I’m not sure who came up with the Red/Blue idea — I’d guess Dan or Roger.

        Dan Jurgens: We were always looking for big stories to do with Superman and those usually involved the idea of changing up the status quo in some way. We had discussed the general idea of a costume change even back when we brought him back from the dead, of course. That was part of the inspiration for the all black costume.

        So we kind of revived some of that here and also went with a change in powers, which we’d also talked about previously.

        Jon Bogdanove: It was introduced at the Super Summit, and we were like “Yeah, okay.” [Laughs] That was a period when the company was looking fo the next Death of Superman and we were deep into event-driven mode. Of course we knew that you couldn’t just manufacture the next Death of Superman, but the assignment was to come up with whatever the next overarching arc is. I think it was Mike [Carlin] who suggested Superman Red/Superman Blue. We were talking about some of that stuff form the “silly sixties,” from the Julius Schwartz era that we read when we were growing up, from the Weisinger era. We were slapping around for what the next big event was, and for some reason we settled on Superman Red and Blue, and it sort of grew from there.

        How would you respond to the assessment that this and similar events came out of a desire by editorial to find “the next Death of Superman?”

        Carlin: Never once did management tell us to “Do it again.” Lucky for us VPs like Paul Levitz and Dick Giordano were from the creative pool and knew that we had caught lightning in a bottle. That being the case, as creators ourselves, WE wanted to see if we could do more and more stories that the readers would get excited about.

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        COLOR COMMENTARY

        Mike, Jon says you were the one who sold it to the team. Is that your recollection as well?

        Superman Red Blue 001
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Mike Carlin: Nope. When we used to do the Superman Summits we included all four writers, all four pencilers, all four inkers AND the colorist even. And as corny as it seems doing SOMETHING with “Superman Red/Superman Blue” was suggested by colorist Glenn Whitmore.

        We worked very hard not to simply discount any ideas no matter what corner of the room they came from — and we were all fans of the original “Imaginary Story,” but we wanted to do something new that was something the particular team we had assembled at that time wanted to get behind. Now if the writers and artists couldn’t come up with something the room wanted to do we wouldn’t have done it. People joined in with ideas and suggestions… and the Power Surge idea was fleshed out. And while it was controversial when it came out — clearly we’re still talking about it.

        Glenn Whitmore: The idea to revisit “Superman Red/Superman Blue” did come from me. Every year at the Super-summit, it would become the running gag that I (as colorist) would pitch the idea, though I was serious about it. Being someone who loved the Silver Age, I simply envisioned in my mind that Superman would be drawn by the artists as Curt Swan drew him. The story would simply be one about a split personality; Red would have the more aggressive personality while Blue was the more cerebral and thoughtful one.

        I have the distinct memory of being in the conference room and pitching that idea. Everyone began to laugh at me. This idea had everyone in stitches as if it was the most inane idea ever pitched. In those days, I was the youngest of the group with the reputation of a goofball. Anyhow, I was dead serious when I pitched it. Not being a writer, I probably had trouble articulating what was in my head.

        Every year after, I would seriously mention it, yet still knowing it would get laughs out of the rest of the Super crew.

        Somewhere along the way, budgets were cut and the colorist could no longer attend the Super-Summits. KC Carlson had become editor at this point, and when I made a visit to the office (after missing that particular Super-summit), I laughed when I saw the notes for Superman Red/Blue on the plot grids. I had absolutely nothing to do with the costume and powers redesign aspect, but some of the personality split aspects made it into the storyline.

        But obviously it was always going to be a Superman Red/Superman Blue riff?

        Jurgens: Over the years, we talked several times about doing “Superman Red/Superman Blue” somehow. Our colorist, Glenn Whitmore, had always been nudging us to do so!

        In this case, we finally had a story where it would actually fit. Even as we started the story, we knew we’d get to “Red/Blue” before it was over.

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        RECEPTION

        Many of you were part of the Death and Return of Superman storyline, so you were no stranger to the mega-events in the Superman books. Did you anticipate the kind of response the costume and power change would get?

        jurgens-superman-123-variant
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Jurgens: I thought it would get us a bump of sorts, but it ended up getting more attention than I expected. I think some of it was the glow-in-the-dark cover and some of it was simply the idea of us changing and updating Superman.

        Carlin: We never tried to anticipate responses. Obviously we always hoped for the best with every storyline… but we also knew that ya can’t please everyone all the time. We certainly had no idea that the Death of Superman would get the attention it received— you can’t pay for the kind of hype the media decided to bestow on that storyline. All we could try to do was react. We made the Return of Superman bigger than originally intended BECAUSE the world was obviously watching. I always figured our job was to not drop the ball when it was thrown to us. And in the case of “Superman Red/Superman Blue” we got another big reaction— but a very different kind of reaction. Still our assignment was always to get people buzzing about what was going on in Superman— and on that level alone it succeeded.

        Was always happy when a comic book story makes it onto Saturday Night Live the week it comes out. Again… you can’t buy that kind of awareness.

        Kesel: You always hope the stories you want to tell are ones readers will respond to (in a good way!) but in my experience you can never predict that. I was very happy with the reactions.

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        FACING THE FUTURE

        Dan has said in the past that, almost 25 years later, he still never goes to a convention where somebody doesn’t approach him to sign the Death of Superman or ask him to talk about it. I wonder if there’s still similar interest in the “Superman Transformed” story in your experience?

        Jurgens-Superman-123-variant
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Carlin: I would say no. There are people who enjoyed the story…more people admitting it each day…but nothing will ever match “The Death and Return of Superman” in our lifetimes. Even while it was happening we knew that we would be talking about that for years to come.

        That said, I am very happy that you wanted do a commemorative piece on “Superman Red/Superman Blue” for it’s 20th anniversary — during “The Death of Superman”’s 25th Anniversary, because the Super-Team did a lot of good story arcs during our time on the titles…and it’s nice to have more than the one story brought to the forefront.

        Stuart Immonen: No, not so much.

        Kesel: Oh, “The Death of Superman” is a much bigger moment in the character’s history. I sign far more “Reign of the Supermen” books— and even “Death” books, which I really had nothing to do with!— than I do “Superman Transformed” collections.

        Jurgens: It’s weird—I have always and will always get plenty of “Death of…” issues to sign.

        But, over the last few years, I’ve seen revived interest in Superman Transformed, just as I have with the Ben Reilly Spider-Man stuff. I get a lot more questions, comments and issues of both to sign these days.

        Bogdanove: Well, when it happened of course, everyone was upset that we were messing with the “S.”

        I don’t know…I sign an awful lot of them. I think they must have sold pretty well because I would say next to the Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen eras, I get a lot of those Electric Blue eras.

        Especially “The Death of Mr. Mxyzptlk,” which came in that run and where I got to do a lot of gag writing and stuff like that. There’s a lot of my personality in that 22-page-long fart joke.

        I dont’ know if people talk to me about it a lot, but it comes across my table a lot.

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        AN HONEST APPRAISAL

        It’s a story that the Superman faithful still discuss pretty often. Would you say you’re happy with the execution of the Electric Superman mega-arc?

        EB10h
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Kesel: There are a few things I’d do differently, but over-all: very happy.

        Carlin: Pretty much… it was something new and different for the Superman character (he had even died before we got to “The Death”, so this really was new) and that’s always fun. As for the folks that thought it was a mistake— it was a story— we always knew that we were getting back to “normal” when the story was done, same with “The Death”… Same with EVERY story arc. And the beauty of having all the Superman titles tie together during any given month, if you didn’t like a story… sit tight, there’ll be a new one coming fast enough.

        Jurgens: I was happy with parts of it. Other parts, not so much.

        I’d say it got a bit unwieldy there for a time. Big stories like that really need to have a certain amount of control exerted over them and we didn’t quite have that here. It was probably too big and the focus drifted a bit too much.

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        NO REGRETS

        Is there anything you would do differently if you had it to do over again?

        superman-the-man-of-steel-68
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Kesel: The ending.

        I don’t think the New Powers arc was resolved as well as it could have been. Since I had come up with the idea, I did propose an ending where we learn that some new villain had found a way to switch his powers with Superman — so now this villain had all of Superman’s powers, while Superman had his. And just as Superman was learning how to use these new powers, so was the bad-guy. Then the bad-guy starts wrecking havoc in ways Superman, of course, would never do, and Superman has to stop him. Basically, Superman has to find a way to defeat “himself.” He does, of course, and then the powers are transferred back to the proper bodies. This then gave us a villain with powers that everyone knows can beat Superman’s powers. I thought that’d be a cool note to end on. Mike Carlin over-ruled that idea, saying it was too much like Venom/Spider-man. Didn’t seem that way to me, but maybe it was.

        I’ll admit at that point I was kinda “OK — that was my shot. Who’s got another idea?” And I, at least, didn’t hear any. It could well be that people were tossing ideas at editorial, and nothing was sticking. So when it came time to move on, I said “Well — what if we reveal this is just a stage in Kryptonian physiology, as altered by the effects of a red sun, and Superman more-or-less grows out of it and the new powers go away?” It wasn’t ideal, but we had to move forward quickly. I wrote this explanation into the plot of the jam issue that (abruptly) got rid of the powers, but I’m not sure it really, fully made it into the book itself. A huge stumble on our part. Biggest regret of my whole Superman run, without a doubt.

        Jurgens: I’d address focus and the overall size of it, as mentioned above. Smaller, better delineated chapters would have helped he entire approach. I think I’d also try to clean up the ending a bit.

        The entire “Death of…” through “Return of…” was focused and linear. That’s really hard to do but if we had more of that here, we’d probably have been better off. That’s not to say I’d change anything as much as I’d tighten it up.

        Carlin: There are always things you can tweak and second guess… but comics are a never-ending battle and we’re always moving on to our next fight, and can’t afford the luxury of looking back and re-doing in most cases.

        Whitmore: If I were to take on the job now, I would either assemble a team and form a studio to color it, or assimilate myself into a pre existing team. Take one glance at today’s Superman comics, and you’ll notice the whole approach is different. A LOT more work goes into each panel than I ever put into it back in the ’90s.

        Today, I could never color a book like that by myself. Also, the conventional wisdom is that my “traditional, comic book-y” approach wouldn’t work for today’s readership. However, others have given me positive feedback on the more colorful approach, praising me for “not being afraid to use color.” Whatever the art style is, the colorist has to tailor his palette to complement it.

        I do know that if DC ever contacted me about coloring a Superman comic based on the Max Fleischer version, I’d be all over it. In fact, a few years ago, I colored a Superman/OMAC story written by Jerry Ordway and drawn by Steve Rude. It was probably my last hurrah with the character and a nice one at that.

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        CHANGING ADVENTURES

        Karl, you in particular had to do a lot of heavy lifting to set up this story since you were the brains behind The Final Night. Did The Final Night begin its life as part of this story, or was it just a story you wanted to tell, which turned out to dovetail nicely into this?

        grummett-red-blue
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Kesel: The Final Night came out of brainstorming possible Superman stories for an upcoming Summit with Stuart `. Stuart said “Superman’s powers come from the sun— what if the sun went out?” And I said “If the sun went out, Superman wouldn’t be the only one with problems!” And a mini-series event was born! I don’t remember it had any specific connections to the New Powers storyline.

        Stuart, you worked on The Final Night as well. Between drawing a big event and then taking over as writer/artist on your own book, did it feel a bit like you were being put forth as the future of the franchise or the next Dan Jurgens/John Byrne/Jerry Ordway? As a reader, I remember feeling like your style and Bogdanove’s both really killed it on the Electric Superman.

        Immonen: This is very kind of you, but I’m not sure I felt entirely stylistically comfortable until very close to the end of my tenure on the Superman books. I enjoyed the freedom of being able to experiment a little with formal aspects of storytelling, employing different styles, telling stories within stories and playing with format, but I suspect readers would have preferred meat-and-potatoes Superman to what I was doing.

        At the start of this story, you had Stuart Immonen, while later it was Tom Grummett drawing the book. Both of those guys are unquestionably A-list talent, but they have a very different look and feel and approach to Superman. Was that an adjustment for you, particularly in the middle of a story where there were already so many big changes going on?

        Kesel: I don’t remember any problems or adjustments. Of course, I’d worked with Tom a lot by that point, so having him back on the book was more like spending more time with an old friend. Made for an easy transition.

        Mike, from the editorial end, it seems like the shifting roles of Stuart Immonen and Tom Grummett during this time might have been difficult to juggle. Did you know when this big status quo-shattering event started that you would be losing David Michelinie, or was that a surprise?

        Carlin: We never really had a lot of surprises in the Super-Group… everyone was always up front and honest when they wanted to move on… and we always knew that it wasn’t in our interest to force someone to stay. We’d lost a few folks before, John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, Roger Stern, Jackson Guice, Bob McLeod, George Perez… almost everyone was super-professional and gave us editors plenty of time to find suitable replacements. Sometimes if there was to be overlap we’d have two writers for one title attend the Summit… which is what we did when Ordway was leaving writing ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, we had Karl Kesel come to the meeting so he could introduce his Superboy in the issue after Jerry O’s swan song (ADVENTURES #500).

        Stuart, did it feel a little like a trial-by-fire to be writing and drawing your own book in the middle of a big event?

        Immonen: With the entire creative roster starting from scratch, and given the structure of the books at the time with an overarching story being carried from title to title every week, and the support of the rest of the teams, it was an ideal way to start a monthly gig. I’d written other things for DC before that, and I expect Joey felt it was better to keep the books “in the family” when Roger and Tom stepped over to the quarterly.

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        RED AND BLUE

        I remember thinking that there was some variation in the way different writers tackled Superman Blue and Superman Red and their wildly different personalities. Was that a topic of a lot of conversation at the time?

        red-blue-bickering
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Carlin: Mostly at the initial Summit…though we did encourage writers to collaborate on the phone whenever they wanted/needed to. And we had a fairly elaborate system of sending everyone on the team copies of whatever the other creators did that week. So every Saturday everyone would get a massive dump of plots and scripts and pencils and inks…and the onus was on the gang to keep up, so that all the stories reflected each other as best they could. Sure do wish we had PDFs and Scans back then…would’ve saved money on Saturday Delivery.

        Immonen: I don’t recall. As was usual, everyone would receive a weekly package with whatever art and script had been turned in to the office, so we were all kept apprised of how each team was handling the material; I think having different takes on the character(s) is par for the course when you have five creative teams exploring new territory in a parallel formation.

        Jurgens: That’s one of the things I would have tightened up.

        I really can’t emphasize this enough: The idea of producing a tight, weekly comic is extraordinarily difficult. Miss one or two things and it can get sloppy in a hurry. Sort of like a NASA moon launch. Throw a few too many pounds on the ship and it gets thrown off course and will end up on Jupiter instead of its intended target.

        (Yes, I know that’s an exaggeration. But it serves the point!)

        Bogdanove: I was a little whiny about it at first. Ron Frenz drew what is actually a pretty good costume, but I just wanted to draw Superman. I started calling it the “skater’s costume,” because it looked like a speed skater’s costume. But what saved the whole thing for me was, when I realized that Superman Red and Superman Blue weren’t just duplicates of the same guy, but you could really treat it like two sides of Superman’s personality.

        That was really fun, because Superman Blue, for me at least, became the “serious” Superman. Very much the Dan Jurgens sort of grim hero. Superman Red was the late ‘40s bantering Superman, who would punch something and make some lame pun about it. A Superman who seemed to be having fun doing super-stuff. I liked the possibility of splitting Superman into two personalities, that both were sides of him, sort of “Mirror Mirror”-like from Star Trek, having him deal with different sides of his personality, except one’s not crazy and bad, they’re just different sides of his personality. That became kind of fun.

        I think they idea to spin the two characters as different interpretations of Superman developed as we started working on the character. It didn’t happen at the summit, I don’t think. I think it just sort of happened organically. Blue Superman was maybe Superman first, Clark as a disguise, and Superman Red was Clark first, Superman as the job. I don’t remember talking about the differences of their personality, I think it just happened.

        PreviousSlide 9/9

        IN CLOSING

        I feel like a lot of people remember the Red/Blue element of it because it was so larger than life and because it tied into the Silver Age story, but that was comparably little of the actual story. Would you have liked more time to explore that, or do you think the proportions were about right?

        DP
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Jurgens: Given where we were on the entire story, I think we handled it about right. Had we played it longer I think people would have gotten tired of it.

        Carlin: Well, as I mentioned above, we weren’t trying to “tie-in” with the Silver Age story… but we did always love that folks had a fondness for playing with the characters— which “Imaginary Stories” always celebrated. (And WE all loved that story!) And I really think people remember our version of the story because it was so outlandish and wild — for a Superman story — compared with the previous 60 years of adventures. Next year it’s 80 years since Superman was created — and while he’s worn all kinds of variations in his costume, especially in “Imaginary Stories” and “Elseworlds”— but this was one of the few costumes that was a part of his “real” continuity and gave people a scare.

        And it never ceases to make me smile when I see an Electric Blue Superman action figure… or an Electric Blue skin in a DC Video Game. He even made an appearance in Bruce Timm and Zack Snyder’s 75th anniversary short! Heck, there are even costumes in Superwoman‘s Rebirth issues that are playing with the Red Blue costumes in a way that’s reminiscent of Ron Frenz’s design for Electric Blue Superman! I think the shock has worn off by now!

        And in regards to needing more room to explore any story… the hardest thing for us to gauge is how long is the right length for any given story. It’s bad to drag things out too long… and it’s a bummer to lose out on continued interest by stopping a story waaaay too soon. I think we mostly guessed right on “The Death and Return,” a long story that still left people wanting more (which continued in other titles like Green Lantern, Steel and Superboy for years to come). Sometimes I think we would guess wrong and stick with something too long. Ultimately every single individual reader gets to vote on whether we ever guess right. So it’s up to you if we guessed right on “Superman Red/Superman Blue.”

        Bogdanove: I would tinker with it. I would tinker with it in a couple of ways: one, I would have the discussion of the different personalities of the characters up front. I would hammer that out a little bit more carefully, and I’d get to that quicker because that’s really fun. And I don’t remember how exactly it resolved, but I would have liked a high-stakes reason why Superman had to reintegrate. I would play with the great advantages of him being able to be in two places at once. One of the great frustrations of Superman’s life is that he can’t be everywhere, he an only do so much, and that’s a constant frustration for him. So having a spare “him” around, he can do twice as much, so for a while, he’d love Superman Red and Blue, but since each one represents a different aspect of the character, they really are different people and they’re incomplete without each other. Ultimately the logical extension of that is that there needs to be a serious, high-stakes, character-driven reason why they have to re-merge together.

        From: http://comicbook.com/dc/2017/04/13/electric-superman-throwback-thursday/

        All the Easter Eggs in Action Comics #977 – Comicbook.com

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        Superman’s world is being realigned in DC Comics, and today’s Action Comics #977 is the start of a two-part story that writer Dan Jurgens told ComicBook.com would set the status quo for the new universe.

        action-977-clark-books
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Following the merging of the pre- and post-Flashpoint versions of Superman in the “Superman Reborn” storyline, there is plenty to get the audience caught up on, between the merged timelines, setting up the Superman Revenge Squad story coming next month, and getting Superman’s head on straight.

        …So of course, Dan Jurgens, Ian Churchill, and company inserted a bunch of Easter eggs and references. And now we’re going to check them out…!

        You can check out the official solicitation text for the issue below:

        ACTION COMICS #977

        Written by DAN JURGENS • Art by IAN CHURCHILL • Cover by ANDY KUBERT • Variant cover by GARY FRANK

        “Superman Reborn Aftermath” part one! Following the epic struggle against [REDACTED], Superman examines his entire history—the birth of Jon, the marriage of Lois and Clark, their lives at the Daily Planet—to discover who tried to destroy his life. Who is waiting in the shadows? Who is Mr. Oz? All questions the Man of Steel cannot answer alone. It is time for him to unite the entire Superman-Family!

        On sale APRIL 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

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        THE COVER

        The cover for Action Comics #977, by Andy Kubert, presents a tableau of Superman’s history — including the iconic Neal Adams cover to Superman #233, the opening salvo of the controversial “Kryptonite Nevermore!” storyline.

        Superman-new-Costume-teaser-image
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        It’s perhaps worth noting that shortly after the death of the New 52 Superman, ComicBook.com speculated that “Kryptonite Nevermore!” could provide some insight as to the nature of his death, and possibly even the nature of his very being.

        Also represented on the cover: Lois and Clark’s wedding from Superman: The Wedding Album, and the birth of Jonathan Kent from Convergence: Superman #2, indicating that following whatever changes are made to the character and/or his backstory in “Superman Reborn,” he still experienced those events (with at least one notable tweak we’ll get to soon). His first appearance at the Daily Planet in his Rebirth duds appears to be one of the other images.

        (…And is that thing with the American flag a riff on Superman IV: The Quest For Peace?!)

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        CLARK KENT’S WORKSPACE

        There are a couple of things here: first off, Clark and Lois are going to dinner at “The Swan,” and above that you can see that “Carlin” called — again!

        action-977-clark-photos
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        That would be longtime Superman artist Curt Swan, who along with inker Murphy Anderson set the standard for Superman’s design for years, and Mike Carlin, the longtime Superman group editor who worked with Jurgens on the titles in the ’90s.

        You can also see something interesting here: a photo (at right) of Perry, Jimmy, Lois, Clark, and another Daily Planet staffer, apparently at the time of Jonathan Kent’s birth.

        That’s interesting — that he was born in a hospital around friends — becuase when his birth was depicted in Convergence, he was born in the Flashpoint Batcave with only Lois, Clark, and Flashpoint Batman around.

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        CLARK KENT’S BOOKSHELF

        There are a number of interesting books on the shelf behind Clark at his Daily Planet workspace.

        action-977-clark-books
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        There’s a book on Siegel and Shuster — Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who created Superman — along with a number of journalism reference books.

        There’s actually a book on editing that’s credited to DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras — and a book called Truth, Justice, and the American Way by none other than Daily Planet editor Perry White.

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        SUPERMAN RETURNS

        “Tell me everything,” Superman says while standing over a bank of crystals at the Fortress of Solitude.

        That sound familiar? If you’re a longtime Superman fan, it probably should.

        That’s the same thing Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor said when he penetrated the Fortress’s defenses in the 2005 movie Superman Returns. He used the Kryptonian crystal technology to develop a way to fight the Man of Steel.

        That’s a nice little wink-and-a-nod reference, to put Superman in a position where he feels like he needs all of the information and to use a callback like that to sell it.

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        KRYPTON

        Krypton is a melting pot in more ways than one now.

        Action-977-Krypton
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Besides being more multicultural than it’s typically depicted (which makes sense, given the increased importance of an African-American Superman from an alternate Earth introduced during Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics in The New 52), this take on Superman’s homeworld brings pre-Crisis on Infinite Earth elements of Kryptonian design together with John Byrne’s The Man of Steel designs, and looks from Superman: Secret Origin and the New 52 take on the world.

        From: http://comicbook.com/dc/2017/04/12/all-the-easter-eggs-in-action-comics-977/

        Superman — Reborn!: A Roundtable Of ’90s Creators Look Back on 20 Years Since His Power Change

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        If you turn back the clock twenty years and look at the Superman comics that would have been new in stores at that time, younger fans might be surprised to see a version of the character who, physically at least, doesn’t resemble what you think of when you say “Superman” at all.

        superman-the-man-of-steel-79
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        That’s becuase twenty years ago last month, Superman #123 hit the stands and reinvented the Man of Steel as an energy-based superhero with a one-piece outfit, blue skin, and electric powers.

        It was a few months later that Superman was split into two distinct characters in a reinvention of an old story called “Superman Red/Superman Blue,” elements of which have recently been reused in Superman and Action Comics.

        The story was at the time — and continues to be — controversial, often mocked, and beloved by many of the dedicated audience who were reading the Superman titles at the time, many of whom had been on board since 1992’s The Death of Superman, some even since John Byrne’s The Man of Steel reboot in 1986.

        To get a sense for how the story developed, how it has aged, and some of te creative machinations that went into it, ComicBook.com performed a series of interviews, and has combined most of them into a roundtable interview.

        Below, you can find remarks and recollections from longtime DC editor Mike Carlin; then-Superman writer Dan Jurgens; Superman: The Man of Steel artist Jon Bogdanove; The Adventures of Superman writer/artist Stuart Immonen; Action Comics writer Karl Kesel; and Glenn Whitmore, who colored all of the Superman titles at the time. 

        Some further insight, including a lengthy interview with Superman artist Ron Frenz, who designed the new costume, will be coming along soon.

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        HOW IT ALL BEGAN

        What, in your recollection, led to the Power Surge/Superman Transformed storyline?

        electric-superman-transformed-1997
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Karl Kesel: The idea had come into my mind to give Superman completely different powers. Not only would this be a fun monkey wrench to throw at Our Hero, but on a story level I saw lots of possibilities to show Superman struggling — something not easy to do or often seen with Superman. For the first time he wouldn’t know what he was capable of, he wouldn’t know what could or couldn’t hurt him. I liked the idea of showing Superman learning, pushing himself, sometimes failing because, well, that didn’t work. It also gave us the opportunity to give fights with old enemies a new twist.

        In the end, though, the real point of the arc would be: it isn’t the powers that make Superman who is is, it’s Superman himself. I had no idea what those new powers might be — and I actually wanted other people to contribute that part so that more people were invested in the story. I believe Jon Bogdanove suggested energy powers.

        The whole Red/Blue thing came later. In all honesty it would have ever happened if we hadn’t gone with the Ron Frenz’s blue suit design. We could have just as easily had a black suit with some sort of glowing design on it — in which case Red/Blue would have never happened. I’m not sure who came up with the Red/Blue idea — I’d guess Dan or Roger.

        Dan Jurgens: We were always looking for big stories to do with Superman and those usually involved the idea of changing up the status quo in some way. We had discussed the general idea of a costume change even back when we brought him back from the dead, of course. That was part of the inspiration for the all black costume.

        So we kind of revived some of that here and also went with a change in powers, which we’d also talked about previously.

        Jon Bogdanove: It was introduced at the Super Summit, and we were like “Yeah, okay.” [Laughs] That was a period when the company was looking fo the next Death of Superman and we were deep into event-driven mode. Of course we knew that you couldn’t just manufacture the next Death of Superman, but the assignment was to come up with whatever the next overarching arc is. I think it was Mike [Carlin] who suggested Superman Red/Superman Blue. We were talking about some of that stuff form the “silly sixties,” from the Julius Schwartz era that we read when we were growing up, from the Weisinger era. We were slapping around for what the next big event was, and for some reason we settled on Superman Red and Blue, and it sort of grew from there.

        How would you respond to the assessment that this and similar events came out of a desire by editorial to find “the next Death of Superman?”

        Carlin: Never once did management tell us to “Do it again.” Lucky for us VPs like Paul Levitz and Dick Giordano were from the creative pool and knew that we had caught lightning in a bottle. That being the case, as creators ourselves, WE wanted to see if we could do more and more stories that the readers would get excited about.

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        COLOR COMMENTARY

        Mike, Jon says you were the one who sold it to the team. Is that your recollection as well?

        Superman Red Blue 001
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Mike Carlin: Nope. When we used to do the Superman Summits we included all four writers, all four pencilers, all four inkers AND the colorist even. And as corny as it seems doing SOMETHING with “Superman Red/Superman Blue” was suggested by colorist Glenn Whitmore.

        We worked very hard not to simply discount any ideas no matter what corner of the room they came from — and we were all fans of the original “Imaginary Story,” but we wanted to do something new that was something the particular team we had assembled at that time wanted to get behind. Now if the writers and artists couldn’t come up with something the room wanted to do we wouldn’t have done it. People joined in with ideas and suggestions… and the Power Surge idea was fleshed out. And while it was controversial when it came out — clearly we’re still talking about it.

        Glenn Whitmore: The idea to revisit “Superman Red/Superman Blue” did come from me. Every year at the Super-summit, it would become the running gag that I (as colorist) would pitch the idea, though I was serious about it. Being someone who loved the Silver Age, I simply envisioned in my mind that Superman would be drawn by the artists as Curt Swan drew him. The story would simply be one about a split personality; Red would have the more aggressive personality while Blue was the more cerebral and thoughtful one.

        I have the distinct memory of being in the conference room and pitching that idea. Everyone began to laugh at me. This idea had everyone in stitches as if it was the most inane idea ever pitched. In those days, I was the youngest of the group with the reputation of a goofball. Anyhow, I was dead serious when I pitched it. Not being a writer, I probably had trouble articulating what was in my head.

        Every year after, I would seriously mention it, yet still knowing it would get laughs out of the rest of the Super crew.

        Somewhere along the way, budgets were cut and the colorist could no longer attend the Super-Summits. KC Carlson had become editor at this point, and when I made a visit to the office (after missing that particular Super-summit), I laughed when I saw the notes for Superman Red/Blue on the plot grids. I had absolutely nothing to do with the costume and powers redesign aspect, but some of the personality split aspects made it into the storyline.

        But obviously it was always going to be a Superman Red/Superman Blue riff?

        Jurgens: Over the years, we talked several times about doing “Superman Red/Superman Blue” somehow. Our colorist, Glenn Whitmore, had always been nudging us to do so!

        In this case, we finally had a story where it would actually fit. Even as we started the story, we knew we’d get to “Red/Blue” before it was over.

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        RECEPTION

        Many of you were part of the Death and Return of Superman storyline, so you were no stranger to the mega-events in the Superman books. Did you anticipate the kind of response the costume and power change would get?

        jurgens-superman-123-variant
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Jurgens: I thought it would get us a bump of sorts, but it ended up getting more attention than I expected. I think some of it was the glow-in-the-dark cover and some of it was simply the idea of us changing and updating Superman.

        Carlin: We never tried to anticipate responses. Obviously we always hoped for the best with every storyline… but we also knew that ya can’t please everyone all the time. We certainly had no idea that the Death of Superman would get the attention it received— you can’t pay for the kind of hype the media decided to bestow on that storyline. All we could try to do was react. We made the Return of Superman bigger than originally intended BECAUSE the world was obviously watching. I always figured our job was to not drop the ball when it was thrown to us. And in the case of “Superman Red/Superman Blue” we got another big reaction— but a very different kind of reaction. Still our assignment was always to get people buzzing about what was going on in Superman— and on that level alone it succeeded.

        Was always happy when a comic book story makes it onto Saturday Night Live the week it comes out. Again… you can’t buy that kind of awareness.

        Kesel: You always hope the stories you want to tell are ones readers will respond to (in a good way!) but in my experience you can never predict that. I was very happy with the reactions.

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        FACING THE FUTURE

        Dan has said in the past that, almost 25 years later, he still never goes to a convention where somebody doesn’t approach him to sign the Death of Superman or ask him to talk about it. I wonder if there’s still similar interest in the “Superman Transformed” story in your experience?

        Jurgens-Superman-123-variant
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Carlin: I would say no. There are people who enjoyed the story…more people admitting it each day…but nothing will ever match “The Death and Return of Superman” in our lifetimes. Even while it was happening we knew that we would be talking about that for years to come.

        That said, I am very happy that you wanted do a commemorative piece on “Superman Red/Superman Blue” for it’s 20th anniversary — during “The Death of Superman”’s 25th Anniversary, because the Super-Team did a lot of good story arcs during our time on the titles…and it’s nice to have more than the one story brought to the forefront.

        Stuart Immonen: No, not so much.

        Kesel: Oh, “The Death of Superman” is a much bigger moment in the character’s history. I sign far more “Reign of the Supermen” books— and even “Death” books, which I really had nothing to do with!— than I do “Superman Transformed” collections.

        Jurgens: It’s weird—I have always and will always get plenty of “Death of…” issues to sign.

        But, over the last few years, I’ve seen revived interest in Superman Transformed, just as I have with the Ben Reilly Spider-Man stuff. I get a lot more questions, comments and issues of both to sign these days.

        Bogdanove: Well, when it happened of course, everyone was upset that we were messing with the “S.”

        I don’t know…I sign an awful lot of them. I think they must have sold pretty well because I would say next to the Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen eras, I get a lot of those Electric Blue eras.

        Especially “The Death of Mr. Mxyzptlk,” which came in that run and where I got to do a lot of gag writing and stuff like that. There’s a lot of my personality in that 22-page-long fart joke.

        I dont’ know if people talk to me about it a lot, but it comes across my table a lot.

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        AN HONEST APPRAISAL

        It’s a story that the Superman faithful still discuss pretty often. Would you say you’re happy with the execution of the Electric Superman mega-arc?

        EB10h
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Kesel: There are a few things I’d do differently, but over-all: very happy.

        Carlin: Pretty much… it was something new and different for the Superman character (he had even died before we got to “The Death”, so this really was new) and that’s always fun. As for the folks that thought it was a mistake— it was a story— we always knew that we were getting back to “normal” when the story was done, same with “The Death”… Same with EVERY story arc. And the beauty of having all the Superman titles tie together during any given month, if you didn’t like a story… sit tight, there’ll be a new one coming fast enough.

        Jurgens: I was happy with parts of it. Other parts, not so much.

        I’d say it got a bit unwieldy there for a time. Big stories like that really need to have a certain amount of control exerted over them and we didn’t quite have that here. It was probably too big and the focus drifted a bit too much.

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        NO REGRETS

        Is there anything you would do differently if you had it to do over again?

        superman-the-man-of-steel-68
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Kesel: The ending.

        I don’t think the New Powers arc was resolved as well as it could have been. Since I had come up with the idea, I did propose an ending where we learn that some new villain had found a way to switch his powers with Superman — so now this villain had all of Superman’s powers, while Superman had his. And just as Superman was learning how to use these new powers, so was the bad-guy. Then the bad-guy starts wrecking havoc in ways Superman, of course, would never do, and Superman has to stop him. Basically, Superman has to find a way to defeat “himself.” He does, of course, and then the powers are transferred back to the proper bodies. This then gave us a villain with powers that everyone knows can beat Superman’s powers. I thought that’d be a cool note to end on. Mike Carlin over-ruled that idea, saying it was too much like Venom/Spider-man. Didn’t seem that way to me, but maybe it was.

        I’ll admit at that point I was kinda “OK — that was my shot. Who’s got another idea?” And I, at least, didn’t hear any. It could well be that people were tossing ideas at editorial, and nothing was sticking. So when it came time to move on, I said “Well — what if we reveal this is just a stage in Kryptonian physiology, as altered by the effects of a red sun, and Superman more-or-less grows out of it and the new powers go away?” It wasn’t ideal, but we had to move forward quickly. I wrote this explanation into the plot of the jam issue that (abruptly) got rid of the powers, but I’m not sure it really, fully made it into the book itself. A huge stumble on our part. Biggest regret of my whole Superman run, without a doubt.

        Jurgens: I’d address focus and the overall size of it, as mentioned above. Smaller, better delineated chapters would have helped he entire approach. I think I’d also try to clean up the ending a bit.

        The entire “Death of…” through “Return of…” was focused and linear. That’s really hard to do but if we had more of that here, we’d probably have been better off. That’s not to say I’d change anything as much as I’d tighten it up.

        Carlin: There are always things you can tweak and second guess… but comics are a never-ending battle and we’re always moving on to our next fight, and can’t afford the luxury of looking back and re-doing in most cases.

        Whitmore: If I were to take on the job now, I would either assemble a team and form a studio to color it, or assimilate myself into a pre existing team. Take one glance at today’s Superman comics, and you’ll notice the whole approach is different. A LOT more work goes into each panel than I ever put into it back in the ’90s.

        Today, I could never color a book like that by myself. Also, the conventional wisdom is that my “traditional, comic book-y” approach wouldn’t work for today’s readership. However, others have given me positive feedback on the more colorful approach, praising me for “not being afraid to use color.” Whatever the art style is, the colorist has to tailor his palette to complement it.

        I do know that if DC ever contacted me about coloring a Superman comic based on the Max Fleischer version, I’d be all over it. In fact, a few years ago, I colored a Superman/OMAC story written by Jerry Ordway and drawn by Steve Rude. It was probably my last hurrah with the character and a nice one at that.

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        CHANGING ADVENTURES

        Karl, you in particular had to do a lot of heavy lifting to set up this story since you were the brains behind The Final Night. Did The Final Night begin its life as part of this story, or was it just a story you wanted to tell, which turned out to dovetail nicely into this?

        grummett-red-blue
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Kesel: The Final Night came out of brainstorming possible Superman stories for an upcoming Summit with Stuart `. Stuart said “Superman’s powers come from the sun— what if the sun went out?” And I said “If the sun went out, Superman wouldn’t be the only one with problems!” And a mini-series event was born! I don’t remember it had any specific connections to the New Powers storyline.

        Stuart, you worked on The Final Night as well. Between drawing a big event and then taking over as writer/artist on your own book, did it feel a bit like you were being put forth as the future of the franchise or the next Dan Jurgens/John Byrne/Jerry Ordway? As a reader, I remember feeling like your style and Bogdanove’s both really killed it on the Electric Superman.

        Immonen: This is very kind of you, but I’m not sure I felt entirely stylistically comfortable until very close to the end of my tenure on the Superman books. I enjoyed the freedom of being able to experiment a little with formal aspects of storytelling, employing different styles, telling stories within stories and playing with format, but I suspect readers would have preferred meat-and-potatoes Superman to what I was doing.

        At the start of this story, you had Stuart Immonen, while later it was Tom Grummett drawing the book. Both of those guys are unquestionably A-list talent, but they have a very different look and feel and approach to Superman. Was that an adjustment for you, particularly in the middle of a story where there were already so many big changes going on?

        Kesel: I don’t remember any problems or adjustments. Of course, I’d worked with Tom a lot by that point, so having him back on the book was more like spending more time with an old friend. Made for an easy transition.

        Mike, from the editorial end, it seems like the shifting roles of Stuart Immonen and Tom Grummett during this time might have been difficult to juggle. Did you know when this big status quo-shattering event started that you would be losing David Michelinie, or was that a surprise?

        Carlin: We never really had a lot of surprises in the Super-Group… everyone was always up front and honest when they wanted to move on… and we always knew that it wasn’t in our interest to force someone to stay. We’d lost a few folks before, John Byrne, Jerry Ordway, Roger Stern, Jackson Guice, Bob McLeod, George Perez… almost everyone was super-professional and gave us editors plenty of time to find suitable replacements. Sometimes if there was to be overlap we’d have two writers for one title attend the Summit… which is what we did when Ordway was leaving writing ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, we had Karl Kesel come to the meeting so he could introduce his Superboy in the issue after Jerry O’s swan song (ADVENTURES #500).

        Stuart, did it feel a little like a trial-by-fire to be writing and drawing your own book in the middle of a big event?

        Immonen: With the entire creative roster starting from scratch, and given the structure of the books at the time with an overarching story being carried from title to title every week, and the support of the rest of the teams, it was an ideal way to start a monthly gig. I’d written other things for DC before that, and I expect Joey felt it was better to keep the books “in the family” when Roger and Tom stepped over to the quarterly.

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        RED AND BLUE

        I remember thinking that there was some variation in the way different writers tackled Superman Blue and Superman Red and their wildly different personalities. Was that a topic of a lot of conversation at the time?

        red-blue-bickering
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Carlin: Mostly at the initial Summit…though we did encourage writers to collaborate on the phone whenever they wanted/needed to. And we had a fairly elaborate system of sending everyone on the team copies of whatever the other creators did that week. So every Saturday everyone would get a massive dump of plots and scripts and pencils and inks…and the onus was on the gang to keep up, so that all the stories reflected each other as best they could. Sure do wish we had PDFs and Scans back then…would’ve saved money on Saturday Delivery.

        Immonen: I don’t recall. As was usual, everyone would receive a weekly package with whatever art and script had been turned in to the office, so we were all kept apprised of how each team was handling the material; I think having different takes on the character(s) is par for the course when you have five creative teams exploring new territory in a parallel formation.

        Jurgens: That’s one of the things I would have tightened up.

        I really can’t emphasize this enough: The idea of producing a tight, weekly comic is extraordinarily difficult. Miss one or two things and it can get sloppy in a hurry. Sort of like a NASA moon launch. Throw a few too many pounds on the ship and it gets thrown off course and will end up on Jupiter instead of its intended target.

        (Yes, I know that’s an exaggeration. But it serves the point!)

        Bogdanove: I was a little whiny about it at first. Ron Frenz drew what is actually a pretty good costume, but I just wanted to draw Superman. I started calling it the “skater’s costume,” because it looked like a speed skater’s costume. But what saved the whole thing for me was, when I realized that Superman Red and Superman Blue weren’t just duplicates of the same guy, but you could really treat it like two sides of Superman’s personality.

        That was really fun, because Superman Blue, for me at least, became the “serious” Superman. Very much the Dan Jurgens sort of grim hero. Superman Red was the late ‘40s bantering Superman, who would punch something and make some lame pun about it. A Superman who seemed to be having fun doing super-stuff. I liked the possibility of splitting Superman into two personalities, that both were sides of him, sort of “Mirror Mirror”-like from Star Trek, having him deal with different sides of his personality, except one’s not crazy and bad, they’re just different sides of his personality. That became kind of fun.

        I think they idea to spin the two characters as different interpretations of Superman developed as we started working on the character. It didn’t happen at the summit, I don’t think. I think it just sort of happened organically. Blue Superman was maybe Superman first, Clark as a disguise, and Superman Red was Clark first, Superman as the job. I don’t remember talking about the differences of their personality, I think it just happened.

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        IN CLOSING

        I feel like a lot of people remember the Red/Blue element of it because it was so larger than life and because it tied into the Silver Age story, but that was comparably little of the actual story. Would you have liked more time to explore that, or do you think the proportions were about right?

        DP
        (Photo: DC Entertainment)

        Jurgens: Given where we were on the entire story, I think we handled it about right. Had we played it longer I think people would have gotten tired of it.

        Carlin: Well, as I mentioned above, we weren’t trying to “tie-in” with the Silver Age story… but we did always love that folks had a fondness for playing with the characters— which “Imaginary Stories” always celebrated. (And WE all loved that story!) And I really think people remember our version of the story because it was so outlandish and wild — for a Superman story — compared with the previous 60 years of adventures. Next year it’s 80 years since Superman was created — and while he’s worn all kinds of variations in his costume, especially in “Imaginary Stories” and “Elseworlds”— but this was one of the few costumes that was a part of his “real” continuity and gave people a scare.

        And it never ceases to make me smile when I see an Electric Blue Superman action figure… or an Electric Blue skin in a DC Video Game. He even made an appearance in Bruce Timm and Zack Snyder’s 75th anniversary short! Heck, there are even costumes in Superwoman‘s Rebirth issues that are playing with the Red Blue costumes in a way that’s reminiscent of Ron Frenz’s design for Electric Blue Superman! I think the shock has worn off by now!

        And in regards to needing more room to explore any story… the hardest thing for us to gauge is how long is the right length for any given story. It’s bad to drag things out too long… and it’s a bummer to lose out on continued interest by stopping a story waaaay too soon. I think we mostly guessed right on “The Death and Return,” a long story that still left people wanting more (which continued in other titles like Green Lantern, Steel and Superboy for years to come). Sometimes I think we would guess wrong and stick with something too long. Ultimately every single individual reader gets to vote on whether we ever guess right. So it’s up to you if we guessed right on “Superman Red/Superman Blue.”

        Bogdanove: I would tinker with it. I would tinker with it in a couple of ways: one, I would have the discussion of the different personalities of the characters up front. I would hammer that out a little bit more carefully, and I’d get to that quicker because that’s really fun. And I don’t remember how exactly it resolved, but I would have liked a high-stakes reason why Superman had to reintegrate. I would play with the great advantages of him being able to be in two places at once. One of the great frustrations of Superman’s life is that he can’t be everywhere, he an only do so much, and that’s a constant frustration for him. So having a spare “him” around, he can do twice as much, so for a while, he’d love Superman Red and Blue, but since each one represents a different aspect of the character, they really are different people and they’re incomplete without each other. Ultimately the logical extension of that is that there needs to be a serious, high-stakes, character-driven reason why they have to re-merge together.

        From: http://comicbook.com/dc/2017/04/13/electric-superman-throwback-thursday/

        Superman’s New Rebirth Origin Revealed in Action Comics #977

        SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for “Action Comics” #977, on sale now.


        After the events of “Superman Reborn,” the Man of Steel is once again whole, with a unified history incorporating elements of pre-“Flashpoint” and New 52 continuities and firmly establishing that, yes, he belongs in this universe. But coming off a climactic battle with Mxyzptlk that he can barely remember beyond its vaguest outlines, Superman suspects that something in his life is in some way off.

        RELATED: Superman #19 May Have Just Tipped DC’s Entire Rebirth Hand

        In “Action Comics” #977 by Dan Jurgens and Ian Churchill, Kal-El pays a visit to his Fortress of Solitude, where Kryptonian memory crystals review the major events of Superman’s life — revealing to readers the new canon.

        Krypton: Silver Age Plus

        We know the essentials, of course: Facing the death of a planet, a father makes an impossible choice to send his son into the stars in hopes of the child’s survival. But several aspects of Krypton and the particulars of Jor-El’s fateful foresight have shifted throughout DC’s multiple continuity reshuffles. In the Silver Age, Krypton was a place of wonders, its brightly-adorned inhabitants enjoying the fruits of advanced science. After “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” the John Byrne-led reboot recast that obsession with scientific advancement into a cold culture all but devoid of human emotion.

        action-comics-krypton

        Post-“Reborn,” Krypton more closely resembles the earlier incarnation, which was itself largely re-established in 2003’s “Superman: Birthright” by Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu before the New 52 swung the pendulum back towards the Byrne version. But crowd scenes presented to Kal-El by his Fortress of Solitude’s memory crystals reveal that some Kryptonians did adopt the Byrne-style robes with crystalline headdress, and perhaps this faction also shuns emotional expression.

        There has also been some back and forth through the years as to whether Kal-El was rocketed to Earth as a baby — that is, one already born — or whether his spaceship was a “gestation pod,” which allowed him to be born on Earth. There are interesting cultural implications to both, which various writers have explored according to their interests and the context in which they were working. But as in his original origin (and “Birthright”), “Action” #977 once again establishes that yes, Kal-El was born on Krypton. It is not clear from this issue whether he was created by scientifically combining his parents’ genetic material or was conceived the old fashioned way, but the portrayal of Jor-El and Lara’s relationship indicates a strong chance it was the latter.

        Childhood Photos

        The rest of the origin story should be pretty familiar. Jonathan and Martha Kent spot baby Kal-El’s crashed rocket while out for a drive, and “lay low” long enough to pass Clark off as their own in a secret pregnancy. (Digression: this may be the first time I’ve read Superman’s origin since becoming a parent, and as such, I now find this scheme hilarious.) Clark grows up with best friends Lana Lang and Pete Ross, with Lex Luthor once again serving as a childhood rival, as he does in most (non-Byrne-era) continuities. Clark definitely has powers by his teenage years, as Lana becomes the first person to discover his secret, but this issue does not make clear whether he possessed these abilities from infancy — given that his own son Jon did not start to manifest powers until around ten or eleven, it seems unlikely Clark was a superbaby.

        Back to Metropolis

        action-comics-young-clark-lana

        The issue’s opening scenes re-establish Clark and Lois’s status quo at the Daily Planet — everybody now knows the lovely couple are married and have a son, and Perry White is Jon’s godfather, all as if the New 52 was a bad dream. There are some interesting logistical problems, though — the Kents are still living on a farm in Hamilton County, as the pre-“Flashpoint” family were during their exile in the N52 world, but are planning to move back to Metropolis. The commute wouldn’t be bad for, say, Superman, but one can’t help but wonder why, in the new continuity, the Kents chose to move out there or how this affected their professional lives.

        The Unknown Future, and Past

        action-comics-clark-lois-perry

        “Action” #977 neatly breaks off its origin tale with Superman’s arrival in Metropolis, meaning there’s still a lot we don’t know. But the issue does an extraordinary amount of work in what is, in many regards, a pretty standard telling of Superman’s origin.

        DC’s Rebirth has done amazing things for the Superman line of comics — the stories are fresh, thanks to the deep exploration of the Kent family dynamic, and the mysteries and intrigue surrounding previous and alternate incarnations have provided for some incredibly engaging storytelling. And yet, for all this, there was a fundamental problem: DC had broken the concept of Superman. Because we all know who Superman is, right? Strange visitor from another planet, rocketed to Earth as a baby, raised by loving and virtuous parents who taught him to use his great powers in the service of Truth and Justice. But post-“Rebirth,” he has been a strange visitor not only from another planet, but from another universe; his counterpart native to this universe is dead, his closest confidants either don’t know who he really is, or else view him with an uneasy suspicion as he usurps the role of their fallen comrade. For longtime fans who have followed this journey, perhaps this is not a problem; but in terms of accessibility for new or returning readers, it’s a lot of obfuscation and sets up some tricky barriers for one of the most famous fictional characters in the world.

        This issue fully begins the movement forward the character has needed. Readers (and future creators) now know the most important aspects of the “Reborn” Superman’s origin; that is enough. We don’t especially need to know how much of the New 52 characterizations survived, or how this affected the progress of Lois and Clark’s relationship, or when Superman first fought Lex Luthor, and so on. “Continuity,” big C, is sometimes derided as the bane of good storytelling. But there must be some grounding, some baseline personal history for these characters if we’re to understand who they are and why we should follow the stories of their lives. Now, that’s been reestablished.

        Still, revising Superman’s origin so soon after “Rebirth” is certain to have a ripple effect throughout the DC Universe. It already appears that the energies unleashed when the New 52 and pre-Flashpoint Supermen re-combined have caused other characters to reset, as in Eobard Thawne’s return as Zoom over in “The Flash.”

        Speaking of the Flash, once and future Scarlet Speedster Wally West has been at the center of universe-altering mysteries since his return in the “DC Universe Rebirth” one-shot — and Superman was one of the few heroes to remember Wally from his life before “Flashpoint.” If the universe is re-establishing a life history for Superman that largely tracks with his post-“Birthright,” pre-“Flashpoint” incarnation, and this is in turn leading to prior versions of other characters to re-assert their right to be, this is a pretty colossal shakeup of the post-Rebirth status quo, even before we get into the big event of who might be behind the universe-bending machinations. Perhaps our friend Wally West will see Linda Park finally remember their life together, their love, and their children?

        Probably not.

        action-comics-beyond-mxyzpltlk

        Jurgens and Churchill do set up some new mysteries, as well. An unknown figure, resembling a red humanoid “Matrix code” screen, is aiding and assembling major villains old and new for a strike on the Metropolis Marvel. And as Kal-El reminisces uneasily in his Fortress, another figure (possibly Red Matrix again, or Mr. Oz, or Dr. Manhattan) lurks unseen, representing an unseen threat to which Mxyzptlk had only alluded.

        But those are all stories for another day. For now, Superman, his family and his friends, are whole once again, and that’s more than enough for this issue.

        Supermans New Rebirth Origin Revealed in Action Comics #977By:

        Tags:
        action comics, superman


        From: http://www.cbr.com/supermans-new-origin-action-comics/

        Batman V Superman’s Doomsday Initially Looked More Like the Comics

        “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” endured a lot of criticism, for its grim tone, for its plot and for the design of Doomsday, a monstrosity created with Kryptonian technology that combined Lex Luthor’s blood with General Zod’s DNA. While Doomsday served the same purpose in the film as he did in the comic books — he killed Superman, at least temporarily — what audiences saw on the screen looked a lot different from the DC Comics source material.

        RELATED: How “Batman v Superman’s” Epic Doomsday Fight Was Created

        However, early concept art reveals the Doomsday of “Batman v Superman” initially more closely resembled his comic book counterpart.

        Here’s a very early #doomsday concept I did for #batmanvsuperman a couple of years back. I did several options for the character. It really was an honor working on such an amazing project with such an incredible team.#dc #dcuniverse #batman #superman #wonderwoman #comicbookmovies #conceptart #photoshop #zbrush #bigguy #badguy #moster #creature #creaturedesign

        A post shared by jsmarantz (@jsmarantz) on Mar 28, 2017 at 12:13pm PDT

        Concept artist Jerad S. Marantz recently shared some illustrations be created for the Zack Snyder, some of which depict the creature with bony spikes on its head, shoulders and torso that will be familiar to readers of Superman comics.

        “Here’s a very early Doomsday concept I did for Batman v Superman a couple of years back,” Marantz wrote. “I did several options for the character. It really was an honor working on such an amazing project with such an incredible team.”

        Early #doomsday #conceptart for #batmanvsuperman this piece was a collaboration I did with my incredibly talented friend Constantine Sekeris. There were a lot of amazing artists on this project. #batman #superman #comicbookmovies #photoshop #wondereoman #dcmovies #funeralforafriend #dccinematicuniverse #badguy #zod #comicbooks #monster

        A post shared by jsmarantz (@jsmarantz) on Apr 7, 2017 at 10:24am PDT

        Marantz has had a lengthy career as a concept artist and character designer, with credits that include “Avatar,” “Green Lantern,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Doctor Strange” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” and its upcoming sequel.

        Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” earned $873.3 million. The DC Extended Universe continues June 2 with director Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman,” followed in November by Snyder’s “Justice League.”

        Early #doomsday #conceptmodel for #batmanvsuperman There were a lot of amazing artists on this project. #batman #superman #comicbookmovies #conceptart #zbrush #3d #wonderwoman #dcmovies #funeralforafriend #dccinematicuniverse #badguy #zod #comicbooks #monster

        A post shared by jsmarantz (@jsmarantz) on Apr 8, 2017 at 4:02pm PDT

        (via ComicBook.com)

        Batman V Supermans Doomsday Initially Looked More Like the ComicsBy:

        Tags:
        batman v superman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice


        From: http://www.cbr.com/batman-v-superman-doomsday/

        ‘Injustice 2’ Comic Explores What Happens After The Fall of Superman

        The reign of Superman is over — but although the world of DC Entertainment’s Injustice is no longer under the despotic rule of a Man of Steel gone bad, it doesn’t mean that it’s out of trouble. In fact, with the launch of the Injustice 2 digital comic series this week, things might be about to get a lot worse.

        With the first chapter in the videogame tie-in to be released digitally Tuesday (the print edition is set for release May 3, with the videogame available May 16), Heat Vision talked to writer Tom Taylor, who wrote the first Injustice comics and returns to the alternate version of the DC Universe for this new series, about what lies ahead.

        Superman almost comes across as surprisingly sympathetic in this first issue. It’s unexpected, because while there’s a lot of nuance (and tragedy) in the Injustice version of the character — especially in his comic book incarnation — he’s also someone who has clearly overstepped many boundaries in both the first Injustice comic and the larger storyline of the franchise as a whole. Will Injustice 2 offer some kind of redemption for the character, especially as Supergirl gets to show up and could act as the moral compass Superman once was?

        I don’t think anything in Injustice is completely black and white, and a lot of grievances Superman has are pretty well-founded. The reasons for why he did what he did, in his mind, are still right. He may have overstepped — hell, he may have been a murdering tyrant — but he did stop wars. He was working for the environment. He was acting against inequality, even if it was all done with an iron fist.

        Batman isn’t exactly a shining beacon of good in all of this, either. He’s done … questionable things as well, and we’ll see more of this in the early chapters [of the new series]. Supergirl certainly offers us something more pure. But this could turn when you realize why she comes to Earth. 

        You mention the Injustice Batman, and he’s an interesting take on the character — in many ways, he feels like the paranoid/emotionally-closed-off idea on Batman taken to an extreme. In many ways, he matches the emotional journey of Superman because he, too, has lost his way as a result of everything that’s happened — although he’s aware of that, because he’s Batman. I know you’re a fan of the World’s Finest concept of Batman and Superman as a crime-fighting duo — has that influenced the way you’ve written the collapse of their friendship?

        I’m a huge fan of the World’s Finest. I do think Clark and Bruce, outside of Injustice, bring the best out of each other. One of the cores of Injustice really is the break-up of the World’s Finest friendship, and I think both men feel this. They both know what they’ve lost, and wish it were otherwise. If either had been able to compromise at the beginning, maybe everything wouldn’t have gone off the rails. If Bruce had stood with Clark and accepted him after Joker’s death, maybe the world could have changed for the better with both of them working together. If Superman had accepted he’d done the wrong thing, I think Batman would have done anything to help him.  That’s the problem with writing an epic tragedy, it all has to be a bit tragic.

        Outside of those two core characters, one of the stars of the series has been Harley Quinn. Your take on the character has always been a lot of fun, and it feels like the character’s growth in popularity in recent years — especially with regards to last year’s Suicide Squad movie — is merely everyone else catching up to your love for her. In the first issue of Injustice 2, she’s not only arguably the most trustworthy of the leads, but also the point-of-view character for the audience. What is it about her that draws you to her?

        Harley can say anything. She can get away with anything. I’ve often said I love writing characters who can point out the Emperor is wearing no clothes. Harley is someone who can pull down the President’s pants, giggle and put it on YouTube. She is as free as many of us wish we could be.

        But she’s also a complicated character. She isn’t one-note. Behind the laughter, there’s grief and loss and guilt within her. As a person, she’s been through so much. She has a history of abuse, of putting her own needs far behind someone else’s. But I truly believe when she’s free of the Joker she becomes something else, something far better. And the strength she’s showing as her redemption continues is great to tackle. She’s no one’s sidekick. She’s not a victim.

        One of the things that I loved about the first Injustice comic book series was that it went everywhere, folding in ideas and characters and mythologies that didn’t seem obvious based on the game concept. Is the second series equally far-reaching? Where does Injustice 2 go?

        It really is just as far-reaching. There will be characters who will only appear in the comics, not the game. There will be whole stories, which, while hopefully strengthening the game story, will only be seen in our pages. There will be battles, disasters and triumphs. The world will be rocked. Characters will fight and love and die in our pages. There may even be characters created solely for our story … read and see. 

        The mention of characters created only for the comic leads me into this: How much of the comic is worked out in conjunction with the game studio versus how much are targets you have to reach but the journey is left up to you? It’s proven to be a two-way street, with the second game picking up on your Green Arrow from the first series…

        I have an immense amount of freedom on this book. It really is a dream project. There are certain events mentioned in the game that we want to expand on, or things we want to hit to strengthen the character motivations and alliances in the game story. But it basically comes down to me getting to play with some of the greatest toys in the world, writing a giant outline, not holding anything back, and editor Jim Chadwick and the guys at [game studio] NetherRealm supporting me. We’ve really hit the point where the Injustice comics and the games inform and enrich each other. It’s like each season is a chapter of one giant story.  

        Anyone who has read the first series — or watched your animated series The Deep, or read your other comic work, for that matter — knows that you’re a writer who likes to use comedy where necessary. Injustice, as a concept, is a pretty dark story, though; Superman goes rogue and becomes a dictator, after Lois Lane’s death, turning heroes against each other. Is there ever a desire to write against the grain and come up with solutions for everything and leave with a happy ending, or are you having too much fun raining destruction and the occasional death on everyone’s heads?

        The Deep TV series is probably the most “me” in terms of natural storytelling, and I’m happy to say season two is coming to Netflix and elsewhere around the world later this year. I actually gravitate to happier places naturally. I like to have big shocks and down beats, but I always try to bring this back to places of triumph and joy. That’s harder in Injustice, so I probably rely on humor more to balance it. Fortunately, we have great artists like Bruno Redondo and Mike S. Miller, who can sell the real emotion and the humor. It’s why characters like Harley Quinn are so important for Injustice, and why there will always be room for left-field characters like John Constantine or Plastic Man or Detective Chimp to show up.     

        Well, now that you’ve brought up left-field characters, I have to ask one final question: All of the heroes in the DC universe are having Injustice-style, one-on-one brawls. Every single character. Which character is the last one standing?

        The last hero standing will always be Plastic Man, but no one will know he’s still standing because he’ll be disguised as a lamp post.

        ***

        The first chapter of Injustice 2 launches April 11, with new chapters being released digitally every week and available for download via the DC Comics App, readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comixology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store and Nook Store. Read on below for a preview, with art by Bruno Redondo, Juan Albarran and Rex Lokus. The cover for the chapter (above) is by Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair.

        From: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/injustice-2-comic-explores-what-happens-fall-superman-preview-992244

        Batman V Superman’s Doomsday Initially Looked More Like the …

        “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” endured a lot of criticism, for its grim tone, for its plot and for the design of Doomsday, a monstrosity created with Kryptonian technology that combined Lex Luthor’s blood with General Zod’s DNA. While Doomsday served the same purpose in the film as he did in the comic books — he killed Superman, at least temporarily — what audiences saw on the screen looked a lot different from the DC Comics source material.

        RELATED: How “Batman v Superman’s” Epic Doomsday Fight Was Created

        However, early concept art reveals the Doomsday of “Batman v Superman” initially more closely resembled his comic book counterpart.

        Here’s a very early #doomsday concept I did for #batmanvsuperman a couple of years back. I did several options for the character. It really was an honor working on such an amazing project with such an incredible team.#dc #dcuniverse #batman #superman #wonderwoman #comicbookmovies #conceptart #photoshop #zbrush #bigguy #badguy #moster #creature #creaturedesign

        A post shared by jsmarantz (@jsmarantz) on Mar 28, 2017 at 12:13pm PDT

        Concept artist Jerad S. Marantz recently shared some illustrations be created for the Zack Snyder, some of which depict the creature with bony spikes on its head, shoulders and torso that will be familiar to readers of Superman comics.

        “Here’s a very early Doomsday concept I did for Batman v Superman a couple of years back,” Marantz wrote. “I did several options for the character. It really was an honor working on such an amazing project with such an incredible team.”

        Early #doomsday #conceptart for #batmanvsuperman this piece was a collaboration I did with my incredibly talented friend Constantine Sekeris. There were a lot of amazing artists on this project. #batman #superman #comicbookmovies #photoshop #wondereoman #dcmovies #funeralforafriend #dccinematicuniverse #badguy #zod #comicbooks #monster

        A post shared by jsmarantz (@jsmarantz) on Apr 7, 2017 at 10:24am PDT

        Marantz has had a lengthy career as a concept artist and character designer, with credits that include “Avatar,” “Green Lantern,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Doctor Strange” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” and its upcoming sequel.

        Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” earned $873.3 million. The DC Extended Universe continues June 2 with director Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman,” followed in November by Snyder’s “Justice League.”

        Early #doomsday #conceptmodel for #batmanvsuperman There were a lot of amazing artists on this project. #batman #superman #comicbookmovies #conceptart #zbrush #3d #wonderwoman #dcmovies #funeralforafriend #dccinematicuniverse #badguy #zod #comicbooks #monster

        A post shared by jsmarantz (@jsmarantz) on Apr 8, 2017 at 4:02pm PDT

        (via ComicBook.com)

        Batman V Supermans Doomsday Initially Looked More Like the ComicsBy:

        Tags:
        batman v superman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice


        From: http://www.cbr.com/batman-v-superman-doomsday/

        That Time Don Rickles Met Superman in a Jack Kirby Comic

        Image
        Excerpt from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen.

        Photo: Jack Kirby; Vince Colletta/DC Entertainment

        Few mediums are as prone to oddity as the American comic book, and few comics creators were as capable of imagining the strange and uncanny than the late writer-artist Jack Kirby. But even for Kirby, issues 139 and 141 (issue 140 was a giant-sized retrospective issue with reprints of old Jimmy Olsen stories) of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, published by DC Comics in 1971, are supremely bizarre. It’s not the presence of alien spacecraft or faster-than-light travel that sets it apart — no, it’s the introduction into the DC mythos of none other than Don Rickles.

        In fact, not only did Kirby deliver the famed insult comic, he even dreamed up a cape-wearing doppelgänger named Goody Rickels [sic], a “sweet, lovable soul” whose dunderheaded antics inadvertently help defeat space aliens. In honor of Rickles, who just died at the age of 90, let us revisit his delightful and borderline incomprehensible escapade from the hands of a sequential-art master. As Kirby asked on the cover of the first issue: “Are you ready for defoliants in your succotash? Are you ready for landmines in your lunchbox?? Are you ready for this?” If so, let’s begin with the appropriately weird origins of the saga.

        The Rickles pitch began not with Kirby, but with his young assistants, Mark Evanier and Steve Sherman. Evanier recalled the backstory in a 1997 panel at the San Diego Comic-Con:

        Steve and I, at the time, were enormous fans of Don Rickles. Like many people at that time who were our age, we all went around doing Don Rickles, insulting each other. Rickles used to say, “I never picked on a little guy, I only pick on big guys.” Somehow, this gave us the idea that we should have Don Rickles make a cameo appearance in Jimmy Olsen to insult Superman. It was gonna be like a three-panel thing. So we wrote out a couple of pages of Don Rickles insults. One of them was, “Hey, big boy, where’re you from?” And Superman says, “I’m from the planet Krypton.” And Rickles says, “I got jokes for eight million nationalities and I’ve gotta run into a hockey puck from Krypton!”

        So we took these out to Jack. Jack was a big fan of Rickles. And he says, “That’s great, that’s terrific.” And, of course, he used none of it. He said, “We’ve gotta get permission from Don Rickles for this.” So Steve contacted Rickles’s publicist, and they gave us permission to have Don Rickles do a cameo. Then Jack tells [DC Comics publisher] Carmine Infantino about it, and Infantino thinks this is great; this is something promotable; it’s gotta be a two-issue story arc. So instead of us writing two pages, it’s now Jack writing two issues.

        And what issues they were. The first cover, in addition to querying about succotash, promised “TWO RICKLES! Don and his long lost alter ego Goody!” and depicted a bespectacled Rickles look-alike in purple-and-green superhero garb leaping into the air while holding a photograph of Don. “That Goody causes more trouble than the villains!” a stern Supes says while running behind the oddball.

        Image
        Photo: Jack Kirby; Vince Colletta/DC Entertainment

        Only after nine pages of the series’ preexisting story arc about a crime-fighter named the Guardian and his gang of kid sidekicks, the Newsboy Legion (why they’re called that is a whole other strange story), working alongside Superman and Jimmy venturing from a secret science collective to Metropolis. Then the real action starts. We cut to the executive suite of corporate raider Morgan Edge, a media entrepreneur who owns a broadcasting company and has taken over The Daily Planet. After some chatter about Jimmy and Clark Kent, Edge, out of nowhere, asks his assistant, “How are we progressing on those contracts for Don Rickles?” She replies, “Oh, Mister Edge, I just hope Don signs with us! He’s such a funny man!”

        Image
        Photo: Jack Kirby; Vince Colletta/DC Entertainment

        Edge says he’ll be able to snag the funnyman (presumably for a TV show, though there’s no such explanation); the assistant enthusiastically says they’ll “have two of them now! Don — and his ‘look alike!’” She’s speaking of Goody Rickels, a staff researcher, whom Edge apparently loathes. “If the real Don Rickles and this yo-yo ever bump into each other — it’ll be utter chaos!!” he thinks to himself. And in walks Goody, dressed in a superhero getup that he confusingly says “some of the fellows in another office” forced him to wear. He begs Edge for a promotion and spouts non-sequitur dialogue that doesn’t quite work as humor, though it’s unclear if that’s intentional on Kirby’s part. For example: “Nature gave me a small liver — but a big, big heart!” and “It’s like John Wayne says! The American Dream — it works! You just have to eat apple pie and believe!

        Image
        Photo: Jack Kirby; Vince Colletta/DC Entertainment

        Edge decides he needs to kill off the maddening Goody and sends the man to investigate a UFO. Supes, Jimmy, and the Guardian show up at the same UFO, and aliens (or “space creeps,” as Goody puts it) attack them. Terrified and clumsy, Goody doesn’t know how to fight, but survives and even defeats some baddies through slapstick luck. The issue ends without Don actually appearing, but the next chapter promises his arrival in its bizarre title: “WILL THE REAL DON RICKLES PANIC?!?” Don arrives at the GBS offices and, while parading past a crowd of autograph-seekers, declares, “Relax, you cockamamies! You’re liberated! The Nazis are gone! That’s right! I just saw General Patton grab von Rundstedt!” Ever the disser, he calls a zaftig lady a “runaway locomotive”; tells Edge’s assistant, “Get yourself a bikini and start a chain of heart attacks at a garden party!”; and curses the assembled masses by yelling, “And may the gods rain on your memos!

        Image
        Photo: Jack Kirby; Vince Colletta/DC Entertainment

        Then comes the moment you’ve been waiting for: Goody returns to GBS and meets Don. “I-I-I-I — I think I’m going — bananas!” the latter cries upon seeing the Goofus to his Gallant. Goody reveals that the UFO encounter left him infected with some weird science-fiction-y ailment that’s killing him, and the unsympathetic Don wanders off to read a book while all the mishegoss sorts itself out, which it does. Don’s odyssey isn’t done, however — Superman shows up, as does a bomb-disposal squad that got a report of a human bomb (i.e., Goody), and an exhausted Rickles runs after the latter, declaring that he is the bomb, and therefore needs to be evacuated. Goody screams after him for an autograph, but is denied one. The squad lift Don away and one of them, noting the comedian’s declaration of his status as a bomb, delivers the punch line to the whole cameo: “Poor guy! With your routine — this had to happen!”

        Image
        Photo: Jack Kirby; Vince Colletta/DC Entertainment

        Alas, the real-life Rickles was just as displeased as his four-color counterpart. According to Evanier, Rickles “felt exploited” by the story — it had been pitched to him as a brief cameo in which he insulted Superman, but the finished product was long, bizarre, and featured no such insult. Years later, when asked about the comic on a talk show, he frustratedly told the host to put it away. It’s also not one of the better-remembered Kirby stories, so the whole thing has more or less been left on the dust pile of comics history.

        The whole story is easily one of the craziest and least sensical of Kirby’s illustrious five-decade career, but its wacky ambition is admirable. If you’re wondering what the whole deal behind the inclusion of Goody is, you’re never going to find much of an answer: Kirby had an expansive imagination that regularly conceived of ideas that even he couldn’t explain. He also managed to capture Rickles’s face remarkably well and his jokes, though often incomprehensible, are at least fresh and not simple carbon copies of existing bits. Though sadly out of print, it’s worth digging up this oft-forgotten story to see one of the most interesting appearances of a comic in a comic.

        From: http://www.vulture.com/2017/04/that-time-don-rickles-met-superman-in-a-jack-kirby-comic.html

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