George Perez Explains His ‘Frustrating’ Superman Experience In The New 52
To fans who may have felt frustrated and unfulfilled by creator George Perez‘s short six issue run on Superman at the start of DC Comics’ New 52 relaunch, you’re not alone. Perez himself felt the same, and at an appearance at this year’s Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL, shared some of his reasons why.Asked during his appearance at the annual Man of Steel-centric event about experiences where he wasn’t happy with the work he was being asked to do, he said that “Lately, I’ve been having a lot more of that,” continuing to say
Unfortunately when you are writing major characters, you sometimes have to make a lot of compromises and I was made certain promises, and unfortunately not through any fault of Dan DiDio, he was no longer the last word, lot of people making decisions, going against each other, contradicting, again in mid story. The people who love my Superman arc, I thank you. What you read, I don’t know. After I wrote it… I told them here’s my script, if you change it, that’s your prerogative, don’t tell me. Don’t ask me to edit it, don’t ask me to correct it, I don’t want to change something that you’re going to change again if you disagree…
I didn’t mind the changes in Superman, I just wish it was the same decision issue 1 or issue 2, and I had to kept rewriting things because another person changed their mind, and that was a lot tougher, it wasn’t the same as doing Wonder Woman, I was given a full year to get Wonder Woman established before enfolded into the DC Universe properly, I had a wonderful editor Karen Berger who ran shotgun for me. They wanted me to recreate what I did through Wonder Woman, but it’s not the same age, not the same atmosphere, I couldn’t do it any more, and the writer who replaced me, Keith Giffen, was very nice. I’ve known Keith since we both started in the industry, he called me up when they asked him to do Superman to make sure I wasn’t being fired off Superman. And regrettably I did have to tell him I can’t wait to get off Superman. It was not the experience I wanted it to be.
Amongst some of the surprises that greeted him on the title were the fact that he didn’t even know Grant Morrison would be working on Action Comics. “I had no idea I was doing it five years ahead [from Morrison's Action], which means, [in] my story I couldn’t do certain things without knowing what he did, and Grant wasn’t telling everybody.”
“I became very frustrated,” Perez added, explaining that there were basic questions about the character’s new status quo that DC editorial couldn’t answer for him. “Are the Kents alive? What’s his relationship with all of these characters? Who exists? And DC couldn’t give me answers. I said, ‘Oh, my gosh. You’re deciding all these things and you mean even you don’t know what’s going on in your own books?”
By the time the Superman title hits its one-year-anniversary zero issue in September, the series will have seen three separate writing teams (Perez, Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens, and incoming writer Scott Lobdell); with the level of editorial oversight Perez describes here, it’s almost surprising that even more writers haven’t cycled in and out of the series.