Jurgens Wraps SUPERMAN as Lobdell Takes Over

 

Superman gets a new creative team beginning in September, with Scott Lobdell writing and Kenneth Rocafort pencilling. (Full Superman family solicitations for September 2012 here.)

Until then, Dan Jurgens is both writing and drawing the book, finishing up the storyline he started with current co-writer Keith Giffen. His last issue will be #12 in August.

Jurgens has been working on several different comics in the New 52, from helping to launch Green Arrow last September to writing the soon-to-end Justice League International (which finishes up a 12-issue run in August).

In March, Jurgens took over Superman with Giffen as co-writer, helping to completely revamp Superman for the New 52 universe. Newsarama talked to Jurgens to find out more about how he'll be finishing out his run, and what his next plans are.

Newsarama: Dan, so far you and Keith have established the tone of the comic, with great action and some fun details about this New 52 Superman, like how his costume is made up. Was that all part of the idea behind this comic, to showcase him while explaining some things since he's a brand new version?

Dan Jurgens: To address the idea of tone, going into this, Keith and I had a specific idea of what kind of tone we wanted the book to have, whether it be just in regards of Superman or whether it was with regards to the supporting cast. And we've managed to hit that now, and kind of found that pace fairly early.

In terms of the costume, that was something I wanted to deal with right away, because if you look at what he's wearing right now, whether it's just the question of the boots, they are more cumbersome than what he had been wearing in the more traditional sense. And there was no way — there was just absolutely no way — that Clark Kent was going to put a pair of socks and shoes on over the red boots. So that meant, OK, what is this costume? How does it work? And how can we make it work within the concept of the visualization of the costume and how it functions in the New 52 DC era?

And so this is what we came up with, which was sort of that Kryptonian nanotechnology type of solution.

Nrama: It also feels like you're introducing the character to some of the things that a mature Superman would instinctively know. Was that a matter of filling in some of the blanks between the Action Comics story that takes place six years in the past and the more accomplished Superman we're used to seeing?

Jurgens: Yeah, and part of it is that, what you try to do is come up with a solution that addresses the mutual problem of A) Superman has been Superman for five years, but yet B) readers are seeing a lot of this unfold for the first time.

So you kind of walk a bit of a tightrope. You want to present it to readers for the first time so it feels fresh. I don't think you want to create an entire series where Superman is saying, as he flies to Pluto, "this is the 15th time I've done that, but boy, those other 15 times were fun." You don't want to do that. So you want to have Superman still in the stage where he's learning about his powers, learning what his capabilities are, learning what the limits are, and kind of exploring that somewhat simultaneously with the readers.

Nrama: It's also indicated in solicitations that issue #11 will show the "nature of Superman's costume." So will we learn more about his new costume, in a similar way to what we've learned so far?

Jurgens: Yeah, it's kind of along those lines. The costume is part of that exploration that we're following up on, which will provide some more detail about it. We'll be exploring the nature of Superman's costume in terms of how does it function and why does it function the way it does?

Nrama: What kind of things will readers see over the next few issues? 

 

Jurgens: Not to use the dreaded "more of the same" phrase, but I think it's a continuation of the cycle that we've started. What you'll see in upcoming issues is that we're delving a little bit more into Clark's relationship within the Daily Planet walls, some of that with Lois and Jimmy and Morgan Edge — and those characters. What is the workplace dynamic?

I know that once the series started, I still had a little bit of a question of, what is Clark's role here? What is Lois' role? What is Jimmy's role? What is Morgan Edge's role? How do they all interact, or don't they? That kind of thing. So we'll be playing with that a little bit more. We're also playing with the character of Lucy Lane, Lois' sister, a little bit more.

At the same time, we're trying to give Superman an adversary that I think is worthy of Superman, a threat that can really square up with Superman and make an exciting story.

Nrama: Are you talking about Anguish, the character we just met, or this other entity?

Jurgens: Anguish is part of the story. But in #9, you saw the issue open up with a Russian submarine that was stuck at the bottom of the ocean, that was there to retrieve something. And that something then bubbles up to the surface — no pun intended, by the way — but that something bubbles up to the surface for issues #11 and #12. And that's the threat I'm talking about.

Nrama: We've seen solicitations for Zero Month. Are you off Superman after August?

Jurgens: Yeah, issue #12 is my last issue. For me, that's where this current run on Superman ends.

Nrama: And you're writing issues #11 and #12 alone? Without Keith Giffen?

Jurgens: Yeah. As we set out to do this version of Superman, it was only necessary for us to work together to get it started. He has other stuff going on now, and that's for him to talk about. The way everything fell into shape, he went off to work on a couple of other things that are yet to be announced while, at the same time, I just picked up where he left off to take over the writing the book to get it through issue #12.

Nrama: Do you have other projects lined up with DC in the coming months?

Jurgens: Oh yeah, I'll still be working with DC. I am moving on to something else. But that's something we're not ready to talk about yet.

Nrama: Now that you've delved into writing this relaunched Superman, what have you discovered are the biggest differences between this new character and the one you had written quite a bit before?  

 

Jurgens: I think the biggest difference that I see between this version and the previous version that I worked on is that this Superman is a little more isolated. And obviously, from what we've seen of him at the Daily Planet, the relationships he has there are more distant than what we would have been accustomed to. Certainly it is with Lois.

If we look at the fact that his parents are no longer there in this part of the story, he doesn't have that point of contact. So what you have is a more isolated character.

But I think he feels comfortable in Metropolis. I think he feels comfortable in his job and comfortable in his role. But at the same time, I would think it's fair to say that this Superman doesn't have a lot of people around him that he confides in. And because of that, I think he finds himself more isolated.

And that's really odd when you think about it, from the context of the world's most powerful superhero, the world's most accomplished hero, and that he has this sense of isolation. But I think that's the difference between what we have now and what we had before.

Nrama: I wonder too if that doesn't speak more to people today, with everyone on Facebook and texting, but having fewer face-to-face relationships. There are even surveys that show people feel more lonely now than they did before the internet.

Jurgens: Yeah, and I think that's true. The concept of the phrase "Facebook friends" is one that I find incredibly sad. OK, great, you have 500 friends on Facebook, but how many of them are going to come help you move, you know? So you're sitting in your house chatting with your Facebook friends, but you've never had a conversation with your next door neighbor. And I think that's what those surveys indicate.

I think Clark is in that position for entirely different reasons. But yeah, I think there's certainly aspect of truth to it, and maybe that does make that aspect of Superman resonate even more with today's audience.

Nrama: And we haven't even talked about the art.

Jurgens: Well I could just say the artist is a great guy and leave it at that.

Nrama: He is a great guy.

Jurgens: [Laughs.] Thanks! You know, it's always fun to draw Superman. And Jesus Merino is doing a fabulous job inking the book.

You know, it took me a little bit of time to get the hang of the new costume and everything. And I slimmed the figure down a little bit from what I used to do, just to make him seem a little lighter and a little younger. But there is still something about drawing Superman that's great, because he has a sense of presence and majesty to him that really few characters in comics have. And that's what makes it fun.

I'll never get tired of drawing Superman. It's always fun. 

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