At New York Comic Con, fans of Superboy's Kon-El got quite a surprise, as DC creators announced the hero would no longer star in his own comic.
Instead, there's a new Superboy hitting the pages of the title — Jon Lane Kent, the son of Lois Lane and Superman from a future timeline.
The Superboy switcheroo takes place after Kon-El is reportedly dying in the pages of Scott Lobdell's Superman #25 during the "Krypton Returns" crossover event. Kon-El's death and Jon Kent's new role also ties to the trip the Teen Titans have taken to the future after their disastrous confrontation with members of the Crime Syndicate in Forever Evil.
The change in lead characters for the Superboy title comes along with another change — a new creative team takes over with issue #26. Marv Wolfman will write this new chapter for Superboy, with art by Andres Guinaldo.
Newsarama talked to Wolfman to find out more about his plans for Jon Lane Kent and how he changes the direction of the Superboy title.
Newsarama: Marv, as you were offered the chance to take over Superboy, at what point did you find out the character you'd be writing was a Superboy from the future named Jon Lane Kent? And what did you think of the story potential?
Marv Wolfman: When I was first approached to work on Superboy, I was told what was going to happen and that I'd be dealing with Jon Lane Kent and not Kon. Frankly, I don't think I would have had as much to say or add with Kon that a hundred other writers' wouldn't have done just as well, but I actually thought using Jon made the strip different and exciting and a real challenge for me to write. It was something that my abilities were perfectly suited for.
Jon is a very different kind of character and the story possibilities are enormous. Jon isn't ever going to be just another hero; he has his own agenda and it's very different from Kon's. And that's going to be the fun part.
Nrama: It does seem like it would be drastically different. Readers are so used to the story of the "clone" Superboy that this is obviously going to be a shift. How would you describe the tone of the series as the focus turns toward the "Son of Superman?"
Wolfman: The Kon stories were about him learning who and what he is and adjusting to his life. The Jon Lane Kent stories are about a man who has grown up to hate those with superpowers and was taught to stop them at all cost. Immediately, it means this is going to require a very different approach to plotting and storytelling.
As someone who has always loved writing and creating villains, from Marvel's Black Cat, Bullseye, Terrax and even Dracula, to DC's Deathstroke, Anti-Monitor, Trigon and others, this fell right into my sweet spot. What's especially good is because of who Jon is, if I do my job well, you can't have preconceived notions about where the stories will go.
Nrama: So you're approaching this new Superboy as a villain?
Wolfman: Yeah, he's a villain. Least we know he is. But that doesn't mean everyone knows. Nyaaa haa haa!
Nrama: Ah ha! So you're saying that the villainy is what makes this story interesting to you? How would you describe what this story offers you as a writer? What kinds of themes are you getting to explore through this character's story?
Wolfman: Because of Jon's villainous nature and his agenda, it means I'm writing the story on multiple levels and seeing how long the plates spin. The main thing I want to do is use who Jon is and what he wants and keep surprising the readers with stories they aren't expecting. It's hard to do that with many heroes; we generally know who they are and what they're about. But with the son of Superman and Lois, what you see is not even remotely what you get. But hey, I've walked this line before, both with Dracula and Terra. And I love to mis-direct the readers and keep them guessing.
Nrama: So what is the setting of your Superboy story as you take over in December? Where does it take place, and what time period does it tie into?
Wolfman: We're beginning the series in the future, which is where the character is left in Teen Titans Annual #2. At the end of Superboy #26, he learns about some others who might be able to help him in his cause. In #27 he starts making inroads with these characters, and I promise they are going to surprise mostly everyone when you learn who they are. Dan Didio and I got together in Burbank last month or so, and he had a wacky and unexpected idea which I absolutely loved. And I took his lead and am pushing it beyond what we talked about.
If all the plans are accepted, this should be a very surprising book. As for returning to the present, well, why don't you wait to see what we've set up?
Nrama: You start in the future, we know that the Teen Titans are in the future. Can you describe his interaction with the Teen Titans at all? And does Superman or Lois Lane find out who he is?
Wolfman: That's story stuff and you'll have to wait and see it.
Nrama: Fair enough. But you are getting to write the Teen Titans, I presume. And of course, you had a legendary run on New Teen Titans. What's it feel like to get your hands on the Teen Titans again?
Wolfman: I don't have my hands on the Titans again; these are completely different characters so it's not like I'm coming back to anything.
Also, these Titans are Scott Lobdell's babies. I'll just have some fun when his characters and Superboy connect, which I hope may be more often than not.
Nrama: So what other characters will we see in the story? Are you getting to introduce some new characters or reinvent classic characters at all?
Well, we do have a reinvent in my first full issue, though you won't realize it then, and two brand new creations in the issue after that. My view has always been that if you use an older character you need to invent new characters to keep stirring the pot as well. Besides, anyone who has followed my career knows, I love inventing new stuff.
Nrama: How has it been working with Andres Guinaido and the rest of the creative team on Superboy?
Wolfman: Superboy #26 was the first time we worked together, and it was a very different experience. There had been a previous script done and layouts were already finished. So we used about 8-9 of the layout pages and I wrote a new story around them, which leads into where we're going with #27 and on. So I got to see his art on something I was only partially responsible for and really loved what he did. But then I handed in my page/panel breakdowns to him, so I then got to see how he interpreted my ideas, and they were wonderful. He now has the page/panel breakdowns for #27 and I can't wait to see them.
Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell fans about your upcoming story for the series?
Wolfman: Because of the dark and twisty nature of the storyline, I'm hoping to stay on the series to really explore what we're setting up. I also really like the Jon Lane Kent version of Superboy, specifically because he's unlike anything we've seen in the "super" family before. I hope the readers will embrace my trying to do something very different.