Superman would have entered the public domain last year if Congress hadn't extended copyright protection more than fifteen years ago. For now, and possibly forever, DC has the exclusive rights to profit from the character --- but that happily hasn't yet stopped artists from paying tribute with their own fan-made, not-for-profit works. Among those works is artist and animator Stephen Byrne's awesome nine-page silent story starring his modern makeover versions of DC's 'Trinity', Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

The redesigns started out as a pin-up that proved especially popular  on social media earlier this year. Byrne decided to turn the pin-up into a story, and has been posting the pages online as he completes them, with the final page going up just this past week. The story has a surprising twist in the tale that you're unlikely to see in an official Superman comic. And we don't just mean Batman using a gun.

We talked to Byrne about the story behind the story. You can check out what he had to say after the comic.

 

 

 

ComicsAlliance: What was the inspiration behind these hipster-fied contemporary versions of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman?

Stephen Byrne: I saw DC's new 'Superman in a T-shirt' costume design, which I thought was pretty cool, and wondered what that style of costume would look like if it was applied across the board. I was also a big fan of what Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr did with Batgirl's costume recently, so I was partially inspired by that. I did an illustration of the Trinity characters in casual costume, which seemed to be pretty well received by the Interwebs.

CA: What made you turn it into a nine-page comic?

SB: Emerald City Comic Con was approaching, and I always try to have recent pages with me at a Con. I was just trying to capitalize on the momentum that the casual costume designs were getting on the internet. It sorta worked, many people saw the Trinity stuff and said, 'Oh you're that guy'.

CA: You've been putting the pages out over the past few weeks. What's the reception been like?

SB: Generally positive. Not earth-shattering. I've always known that when you post full pages, you usually get less of an impact than you would with a pin-up. Particularly if the pages are part of a bigger picture and coming one by one on an intermittent schedule. It wasn't until I finished the last page and then reposted everything together that it exploded a bit.

CA: The story has a twist on the last page. What was the idea behind that, and what's the reception to that been like, specifically? I imagine it's pretty divided!

SB: The story originally had a more straightforward ending, but when I was three or four pages in, a friend suggested it would be funny if Bats was jealous of Wonder Woman instead of Superman. I immediately knew that leads to a far better ending, so I did some jiggery pokery and changed the way it played out. That's the fun of fan art. You get to break the rules a bit. It's a part of the appeal.

The reaction has been mostly positive. Only a handful of immature outbursts that I've seen. I think people get that its just a bit of fun.

CA: Are you working on any other comics that our readers should check out?

SB: I've just finished working on Legendary's horror anthology tie-in to cult horror movie Trick R' Treat. I believe that's out in October. I have a cartoony webcomic called Steve Loves Internet at Stevelovesinternet.com. In a similar vein to the Trinity fan comic, I've just started posting a new Spider-Man story on my Facebook page and Twitter, which will be updating in the near future.

 

Stephen Byrne is also among the artists featured in our collection of Mad Max: Fury Road Furiosa fan art! Check it out below: