SNYDER, LEE Team for Superstar SUPERMAN Title

Jim Lee promo image

The writer who made Batman the best-selling title at DC is getting his hands on another of the company's most iconic characters in 2013.

DC announced Thursday at New York Comic Con (click here for our Superman panel report) that acclaimed Batman writer Scott Snyder will be launching a new Superman ongoing title, working with superstar artist and DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee.

Although a title and date for the new Superman title has not been set, Snyder told Newsarama that he'll also write a co-feature for the comic, tying it into the main feature like he does in Batman. The artist of the back-up stories has not been announced.

Snyder said the new Superman series, which takes place in current New 52 continuity, will feature the usual Superman supporting cast — Lois, Jimmy, Lex, Lana and Perry — and will also have an appearance by Bruce Wayne. While he will be utilizing known DC villains in the story, he also indicated there will be new characters introduced.

For fans, the pairing should carry a lot of potential, not only because it's a superstar artist and one of the most lauded young comic writers in the business, but also because Snyder works months ahead of deadline on his scripts and Lee is a detailed artist who work best with some lead time.

Just this week, Snyder won rave reviews for Batman #13, the first issue in his "Death of the Family" event that sees the return of Joker. Lee, who just finished up a run on the Justice League title he helped launch last year, said in a statement on DC's blog that he's a "huge fan of Scott's writing."

The title will be a third Superman ongoing comic for DC, and it could launch around the time that Warner Bros. releases its Man of Steel movie. However, Snyder said the comic's story isn't tied to the film.

The writer wouldn't say how long he's sticking around on the new Superman series, although he left the possibility open. Snyder also emphasized that he'll continue writing Batman and his Vertigo comic American Vampire while he's working on this new Superman project.

Newsarama talked to Snyder to find out more.

Newsarama: Scott, there have been a lot of Superman stories over the years — there are even currently other Superman comics. How is your Superman story different?

Scott Snyder: This comic came about because I approached Dan DiDio about doing a Superman story at some point down the line because of an idea I had that's really similar to the kind of idea I had when I was thinking about doing Batman "Court of Owls." Not in story. It's not a similar story at all. But in the way I approached these characters, because they're so iconic, and they mean so much to my son and to me growing up. And they're sort of overwhelming. To try to imagine that you only get a chance to write them once, and you're just writing the absolute only story you'd ever get to do, and writing it for yourself, you know? No matter what anyone thinks. This is your exploration of this character, or some aspect of the character that's most exciting in this particular moment.

So it's a full, huge exploration, both bombastic and gigantic, where you get to use the most earth-shattering sequences possible, but also the most intimate, that explore the character in a deep way.

That's what I tried to do with the "Court of Owls" story and now the Joker. But that's what this Superman story is, for me.

It's my big exploration of what I love the most about Superman as a character. It's going to pit him against challenges that are really going to shake up the character and Metropolis.

And I couldn't be more honored and thrilled working with Jim. It's just a dream come true. And the stuff he's turning in on it, his designs, are just incredible.

So it's going to be a big, bombastic, but also intimate Superman story. It's going to be at once self-standing and one big take on him, and will begin this ongoing series.

Nrama: You said that it will explore what you love most about the character. What do you love most about Superman? What is it you love about the character that you hope to bring out in this story?

Snyder: What I love the most about him, honestly, and the thing that fascinates me most is the particular calibration of his heroism. The thing that's fascinating to me about him as a hero, that makes him different, is that part of his heroism is about restraint. He has the power to shape the world however he would want to shape the world, and people want him to do that all the time. And yet at the same time there's something both tragic and incredibly heroic above anything, to resist that urge, to do what you think is best in terms of making the world what you think it should be.

He's the one superhero that stands above all the superheroes in his skill set, and yet I think he's also one of the most isolated, because of the responsibility on his shoulders to resist doing things half the time. It's crushing. Not only to do things to save the world, but to resist doing other things.

So that he exists at the crossroads of those elements is what makes him so noble and fascinating, and also often flawed.

Nrama: I know you said it's different from "Court of Owls," although you compared the way you created the two stories. You created a whole new villainous threat for that story. Will we see a similar type of villain in this? Or are you getting to delve into some known Superman villains?

Snyder: You'll known Superman villains. I really want it to be, like I said, if I only got to write this character once, it's everything I'd love to use. So you'll see Lex and Lana and Lois and Bruce Wayne. You'll see him as well. And Jimmy and Perry. And all that stuff.

And I'm writing the features and I'm writing the back-ups as well. It's a full, giant story in that way.

But in terms of the villain, I don't want to give anything away. It's a big element of the story.

But part of the fun I had on "Court of Owls" was trying to create a villain that was new, but also didn't feel out of place with the classic mythos. So I'm trying to follow a similar idea here.

Nrama: DC is calling this an ongoing, so is this something that you'll be sticking with for awhile?

Snyder: You know, I don't want to get ahead of myself. I have this giant story to tell that is really, really big. It's this big, epic-in-scope Superman story. So it's the same way I approached "Court of Owls." When I was writing it, I said to myself, I think this is it. I think I have one big Batman story. And then maybe they'll either kick me off afterward, but I'll never get a chance to write him. Or maybe I'll get to the end and not know. It's just the way I perceive it, in general.

I know a lot of other guys who I love, and I love their writing, have completely the opposite process, where they plan out two or three years as a cumulative rolling story. But my way is to plan to do one big story at a time that explores what I'm most fascinated about that character at that moment. And hopefully, it's relevant to what's happening in continuity at the same time. But it's deeply personal to me. And I don't want to speculate if I'll have another one after that, or whether I have two or three after this one.

I just want to focus on this one right now. It's something we're both, me and Jim, we're really excited about and incredibly proud of. We want you to read it and feel like you're getting something special.

Nrama: Do you know how many issues this story is that you're planning?

Snyder: I have an idea, but I'd rather not say right now. I'm on it for awhile.

Nrama: Are you going to have to leave Batman to write this?

Snyder: Oh, no way. No way. No. I like to think that I'm setting up dual citizenship in Metropolis and Gotham. There's absolutely no way I will give up one for the other. I'll commute from Gotham to Metropolis. And that commute it pleasant.

But at the same time, anything I'm doing on Batman, I would never, ever for a second allow that to suffer to do Superman. A lot of the planning and the staggering of things and the kind of movement behind the scenes of how to make time for each thing has been done specifically to allow me personally to make both books something I can focus on and give my absolute 100 percent to.

And the stuff coming up in Batman, after Joker, there's going to be another epic, big story like the one we're doing about Joker. So we're not slowing down on Batman at all. It's only ramping up.

Nrama: As you approach the story, the fact that you're working with Jim has got to guide some of what you're writing, doesn't it? How does it influence what you're writing?

Snyder: It's hugely influential, although Jim was one of the people, when I was imagining the story before I even knew if there was a possibility of working with him, who I imagined as the type of artist who would be perfect for this story.

Because it is big, earth-shaking action. And it is also larger-than-life storytelling. But there are also these intimate moments between Superman and other superheroes and characters that I know Jim is so good at.

So it definitely influences me in the way that I'm inspired by Greg [Capullo]. I don't try to change the story to play to their strength in any way, but I do try to emphasize the elements of the story that they're going to have the most fun with and also do the best storytelling with. So for Jim, it's really about creating these really important character moments alongside the big action, because he's so good at those.

I'm excited about it. It's going to have a lot of things that, hopefully, you'll recognize as particular to my interest. Like there's a lot of American history in it. And it has Superman facing things that he's frightened of about himself. So it's a Scott Snyder story, but I'm hoping that people will read it and also say this is something that feels like classic Superman. 

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