SDCC '08 - Talking to the Superman/'New Krypton' Team
SDCC 08: Talking to the New Krypton Team
As they left the Superman panel on Thursday at San Diego Comic-Con, we nabbed Supergirl writer Sterling Gates , Action Comics writer Geoff Johns, Superman scribe James Robinson and DC's "Superbooks" editor Matt Idelson to talk about their upcoming storyline, “New Krypton.”Beginning in October with the one-shot Superman: New Krypton Special and then spilling into all three comics, the nine-part story promises to change everything about Superman and Supergirl's world. "Change is what New Krypton is all about. One-hundred-thousand more Kryptonians. He's no longer the last son of Krypton," Johns said. "Obviously it's going to affect his life, especially when they all say, 'Hey! We're on New Krypton! Earth is New Krypton!' That's going to cause some problems."
For Superman and Supergirl, the prospect of having so many people like them on Earth may seem like a good thing, but the team said it's not going to be that easy. "You've got 100,000 people with the powers of Superman," Idelson said, "but they weren't raised the way he was. They don't have human values. They don't know what's important to us. And it's going to get messy." "And there's hundreds of Zod's soldiers in there from when Brainiac attacked Kandor. It's not like, 'Hey! Cool! We're back! Alright!,'" Johns said. The writers said the New Krypton storyline grows out of events in the current Brainiac storyline in Action Comics by Johns and artist Gary Frank, as well as the Atlas story that Robinson is telling in Superman with artist Renato Guedes. Gates, the new player on the Superbooks, will start on the Supergirl series with issue #34 in October with artist Jamal Igle. "For Supergirl, who remembers life on Krypton, having 100,000 Kryptonians creates some unique conflicts," Gates said. "From that, Supergirl's relationships change as we get going. Her relationship with Superman is such right now that he's like a big brother to her, because he is her family. And through New Krypton, you're going to see that dynamic get turned on its ear and go through changes." Johns said that Superman, Supergirl, 100,000 Kryptonians and Zod's soldiers are just the start -- the entire Superman universe will be involved in the story. "It's going to involve the entire cast and a lot of the villains. It's going to redefine a lot of villains, like Reactron and Metallo," Johns said. "There's so much that will be important to the DC Universe that we can't really tell you much more," Robinson added. The storyline will also feature the return of the triangle numbers that used to grace the covers of Superman-related comic, as the books attempt to tie closer into each other. And as for concerns about a crossover "forcing" readers to buy multiple titles, Johns countered, "They'll want to read it!" "The plan is to make all three Superman books so interesting and so good that you want to pick them up," Robinson said. "The unfortunate thing is that 'crossover' has become a dirty word," Johns said. "We want to make it so that, why wouldn't they want to buy these books? They're all good books! There's no reason not to make it a big story." "If the story wasn't big enough it, we wouldn't do it. There's just so much story to tell," Idelson said. The three writers frequently laughed and cracked jokes during the interview, obviously enjoying working together. With the three of them all based out of Los Angeles, it was evident that they work together closely, as they often finished each other's sentences and shared an excitement about the Super-comics that came through loud and clear. "I've known Geoff for years," Robinson said. "I finally get to work with him. It's a real treat. And then when Geoff recommended Sterling ask me to read his Supergirl script, I thought, well, he's his assistant, so I was expecting the worst. But I was delighted to find that he's actually a fantastic writer. And Matt Idelson is a great editor." "I can't say enough about how exciting it is to work with these guys," Johns said, turning the discussion into a a bit of a mutual admiration society. "James and Geoff are two of my favorite writers, and it's always a lot of fun to get together and talk with them about Supergirl," Gates added. In fact, the first "get-together" between the new group of writers to talk about the Super-books took place last spring as the team began planning the stories that would tie the Superman universe more tightly together. "Matt and Ian Sattler flew out of L.A. in the spring, and we had a huge Superman summit and had a lot of fun," Johns said. "And we set everything up. We're working on a huge document -- a 30-page document that goes through it all. We have our over-arcing Superman story plotted out to the end of 2010. Everything we're doing now plays into that. It all plays into the story." "And things that you think now are just stories," Robinson said, "they're little pieces of a much bigger saga." "We just want to make it unified," Johns said. "The books are unified. Superman, Action Comics and Supergirl. The Superman sub-universe in the DC Universe. And we want to make the stories unified. And the good thing about Matt is that he's so organized that we can keep it all together. I mean, we get these great update emails, and he keeps everything on track so well." "We just want to bring the quality up," Idelson said. "We've been getting the books out, and sometimes they've been great, but sometimes they've been a little soft. Now, these guys set the bar so high for themselves. You want Superman and Supergirl to be taken seriously and not be seen as a 'Boy Scout' or boring or nothing changes. We just want to put out work we're proud of, 'cause that's what it's all about."