Superman Panel: The Short New Cape, Deconstructed Superboy and Super Abstinence for Superman [Updated]
Today’s Superman panel at San Diego Comic-Con convened with DC Comics VP of Marketing John Cunningham and guests Superman editor Matt Idelson, Action Comics writer Grant Morrison, Superboy writer Scott Lobdell, Superman: Earth One writer J. Michael Straczynski and Supergirl cowriter Mike Johnson. Major news from the panel included a recap of a near-sex scene for Superman from Earth One by Straczynski, the origin of Superman’s short cape in Action Comics, a mind and power-wipe for Conner Kent, Superboy and that Steel will play a major role in Morrison’s first arc on Action.On Superman: Earth One: The panelists showed off images Shane Davis drew for the sequel to Superman: Earth One. Straczynski said that while the readers know where superman fits into Metropolis Earth One, Clark still doesn’t know. He related that in the upcoming book, Clark has spent his whole life unable to have sex, and related a scene where after fighting the Parasite Clark gets depowered, takes off his suit and EDIT: goes home to recuperate, where he gets taken care of by his super-hot neighbor Lisa, around whom he feels insecure since while she absolutely likes him, he can’t do anything.
As Straczynski explained, “When he was young, Pa Kent told Clark that he’d probably never be able to engage in sexual relations due to the possibility of losing control over his powers.” Clark initially passes out, but starts to get intimate with her after waking up again. Soon afterwards, however, his X-Ray vision suddenly returns, and he becomes frustrated that he slept through his seemingly only window to safely have sex.
The woman will also comment on the fact that when she changed his clothes Clark was going commando, and Superman will apologize for making her have to see that and she will say “No, it’s okay.” When asked why he thought this was appropriate in an all-ages book with an all-ages character, Straczynski said he felt the graphic novel was for adults, and had the “DC equivalent of an R rating.”
On Retelling Superman’s Origin: Editor Matt Idelson said that they considered doing a farewell story to the pre-reboot Superman, but decided against it; they also considered doing some crazy plot developments in the months preceding the reboot, but felt it would be cruel to make these seismic developments and then pull it all away in September.
When a fan commented that he was “exhausted” of reading Superman’s origin over and over again, Morrison recommended that maybe he take a break from superhero comics, because “superhero comics are supposed to be fun” and “you should get exhausted by walking up stairs, not reading superhero comics.”
On Young Superman’s Costume: According to Morrison, the Superman in Action Comics will be 5 years younger than the character in Superman by George Perez. His entire costume will be thrown-together jeans and a custom-made T-shirt, and the cape will be the blanket he was wrapped in the rocket in as a child, which he wore throughout his childhood on various adventures and Morrison compared to Linus’s blanket from Peanuts. Much as All-Star was Superman at the end of his life as a mature adult, this is a young, “brash” Superman as a champion of the oppressed, similar to his Siegel/Shuster roots where he fought for the common man.
On the New Daily Planet: It will have been bought by a giant media conglomerate. Lois Lane will run the new media section and is now equal to Perry White, while Clark Kent is way lower on the totem pole.
On Superboy: According to Lobdell, in the story, Conner’s will have been kidnapped six months before the story opens and is being reverse-engineered by a group called N.O.W.H.E.R.E., who “screw up everything about him” due to his tactile telekinesis. While he will be wiped clean, this is the same Conner Kent who’s been in the DC Universe for years.
On Supergirl: According to Mike Johnson, she won’t know how she got to Earth, and in the second issue she’ll fight with Superman because she doesn’t fully trust him as to his answers to her origins. Johnson described her as “kind and funny and smart,” except stuck in a, to her, backwards civilization.
On Lex Luthor in Action Comics: Morrison said that he’s a young consultant for the government, and is “kind of the good guy” in the book. He will not have hair because, as Morrison said, “I don’t like hair.”
On Digital Comics: Both Morrison and Straczynski stated their beliefs that print comics will remain for the collectability factor, but the audience for digital comics will be far larger. Straczynski said that he believes the future of digital comics will be audio tracks accompanying digital comics that can also be used to help children learn to read.
On Jimmy Olsen: Morrison said that Jimmy Olsen’s role in Action will be as Clark’s friend more than Superman’s, since they’re “two geeks” who hang out together and talk “astronomy to zombies.”
On Lionel Luthor and Chloe Sullivan: Morrison said he has no plans for these characters.
Will Superboy Still Have Been in the Legion: Morrison said it will be done differently, but yes. Scott Lobdell also said that Superboy will actually be the villain in the first year of Teen Titans.
Are the Characters From Reign of the Supermen Still Around?: Conner Kent will have his own book in Superboy, and Morrison said that Steel will play a major part in his opening arc of Action Comics, albeit in a slightly different role.
On Elements From All-Star Superman: When asked if elements from All-Star will make their way into the Action Comics reboot, Morrison said that he’s not planning on it — he almost used the Superman Squad, but decided against it and came up with a better idea.
On the Logos: The slide they showed was a very small modification to the current Action Comics logo — the “Comics” is different and more modern, but the “Action” is identical. The Superman, Supergirl and Superboy logos are completely identical.
On How Long the Relaunch Has Been Planned: The panel stared at each other awkwardly before Matt Idelson said that it’s been planned for a few months, but “not two years or anything.” Morrison said he started writing Action Comics in March.
Morrison’s Tenure on Action: Morrison said he has sixteen issues mapped out at this point, and said he’ll keep going from there.