In this week's Superman: Lois and Clark, writer Dan Jurgens revealed that not only has pre-Flashpoint Superman been around the main DC earth for years, but he couldn't help but provide some assistance.
Jurgens and artist Lee Weeks are bringing the older, married, pre-reboot versions of Clark Kent and Lois Lane onto DC's Prime Earth in the new ongoing, Superman: Lois and Clark. Lois has been writing books under another name, and Clark's been quietly preventing disasters while hunting down some of this former enemies to possibly prevent their villainy in this new, alternate world.
And in the first issue, readers met the couple's son, Jonathan, who's starting to figure out that his parents are hiding a secret. They all live together (under the name "White") in a house in the country, and nobody has noticed that they're there…. yet.
Newsarama talked to Jurgens to find out more about the decision to bring this version of Superman to the "New 52" world, as well as the new threats introduced so far, including the current version of Hank Henshaw.
Newsarama: Dan, I want to live in that house with Clark, Lois and Jonathan. Can you write me into the extra bedroom?
Dan Jurgens: Ha! Isn’t it great?
Lee and I really wanted to portray a true home. A place that would be very inviting, both inside and out.
Nrama: Seriously, though, there's something so heartwarming about this Lois and Clark. They're familiar in a way that's comforting. Did you recognize that and make it part of the comic on purpose?
Jurgens: Yes, that was very much part of the goal, taken right from the title: Lois and Clark.
At this point, they’ve been together for a long time and their lives are totally interwoven. It’s a healthy relationship built on love, mutual respect and a reasonably common goal and approach to life.
With young Jon, they’re a family.
That’s really the core of the book.
Nrama: OK, so let's get into the meat of the story. Clark's been secretly influencing things in the main DCU earth?
Jurgens: We’ll be getting into that a lot more as the series plays out, but, yes — Clark has been here for a number of years, doing the things a Superman can do.
We very consciously put this Superman in the midst of the Justice League’s first adventure, ready to get involved if needed. It wasn’t necessary, but we’re going to find out that, over the years, he’s stepped in on a number of different occasions.
With no one knowing, of course.
Nrama: I guess he just couldn't help himself, huh? Part of who he is?
Jurgens: It’s the essence of who he is.
This Superman is not about to let people suffer unnecessarily.
Nrama: OK, but why the change to the black costume that we've seen on covers? I was kind of liking seeing the red trunks again.
Jurgens: It might be called Earth, but this is a foreign world to him.
As we say in the story, it’s a darker, more suspicious world. If we go back to that time, when the Justice League first emerged, heroes weren’t automatically accepted and admired. There were skeptics, cynics and doubters.
Clark is leaving room for that world’s Superman to create his own place.
So he put the costume aside and pretty much went back to working like he did in his younger days.
Until he gets the black costume, of course. And we’ll have a story dealing with that coming up soon.
Nrama: There are some questions within the first issue about this Superman's powers. Is he being affected by his time on this Earth?
Jurgens: While he was fine when he first got here, something is certainly affecting his powers in the present.
That’s a bit of an unknown, and one of the problems of being isolated is that he has no advisors — no help on the technical matters.
Nrama: There are other differences too — Clark's beard and Lois' haircut just two of the more obvious things. How are this Lois and Clark the same as the ones we knew in the "old" universe, and how are they evolved and different because of their time on the new earth?
Jurgens: There are a couple of things going on here.
First of all, they’re older. They’re parents. Their son, Jonathan, is the most important aspect of their lives.
They also know they’re on a world with another Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Because of that, they are creating some obvious differences. The beard and haircut are examples of that, as is the notion of creating new identities by taking on the last name "White".
An obvious tribute to a man they admire and respect, of course.
Nrama: Before we get further into the story, let's talk about the art. How has Lee Weeks been capturing the world you're creating in the lives of Clark, Lois and Jon? How would you describe his work and how it contributes to the comic?
Jurgens: Lee’s work and contribution to the series is absolutely brilliant.
It’s funny — when I first started to describe the farmhouse, to him I was referencing the idea of it being a leaky old place like we saw in It’s a Wonderful Life. Lee was already using that as inspiration before I even mentioned it in those terms. So we’re on the same wavelength.
I’ve always thought that when properly drawn, Superman should have a certain sense of quiet nobility and majesty. He’s human and even unassuming, but he has presence. Lots of guys whiff on that.
Lee nailed it from day one.
Nrama: Jon seems way too smart to be kept in the dark for very long about his father's secret activities. How important a role does his curiosity — and awareness — play in the comic going forward?
Jurgens: Jon’s curiosity about his parents’ secret lives will absolutely be a part of the book.
The way I describe him is that he looks like Clark but has Lois’ spitfire attitude and inquisitiveness.
Nrama: OK, so we met a couple characters in first issue — let's talk first about Hank Henshaw, who's not new to the "New 52," but he hasn't become Cyborg Superman here. How did you come upon this character as a threat — or character anyway — for this Superman? And what's his role in the comic going forward? Will he be important to the story coming up?
Jurgens: Because he came from another world, Superman has a certain degree of advanced knowledge about who might emerge as a threat on this world.
Dealing with that is part of his mission here.
Of course, he fully realizes that Hank Henshaw is one of the greatest threats he ever faced. When Superman finds out that Henshaw is returning from space he becomes concerned that this version of Henshaw might suffer the exact same kind of accident, thus turning him into the Cyborg Superman.
So far, it looks like that’s the case.
Nrama: It looks like you have more than one threat developing, and one is specifically targeted at Lois: Intergang. Are Lois' challenges a big part of this series as well?
Jurgens: Superman isn’t the only one who’s been doing his part to make this earth a better place to live.
Lois has taken on her own identity as Author X— a writer who’s written several books exposing injustices across the globe.
Her newest book is geared to out the global syndicate known as Intergang. Only problem is, they’ve gotten advance knowledge about this book and are determined to find out who this Author X really is.
Nrama: Not good. Then there's also a short bit at the end of this issue about the Oblivion Stone. What can you tease about that?
Jurgens: The Oblivion Stone is going to be a catalyst that takes Superman into a large scale new adventure. As for the woman we saw on the final page, well… let’s just say this isn’t her first ever appearance.
Nrama: The solicitation for Superman: Lois and Clark #3 refers to Blanque and something in Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Anything you can reveal about that?
Jurgens: Every Superman needs a place to hang his cape, right?
Or at least rest and relax?
A lot of that will begin to unfold in #2 and accelerate in #3. The strange level of existence this Superman is experiencing is that he’s on a different world where he can’t replicate what he knew before. But at the same time, there’s an innate desire to try.
We all need our comforts.
Nrama: How did it feel for you as a writer to get back to these characters?
Jurgens: When Lee and I were working on the Convergence Superman story, I described it as being like sitting down with old friends again.
It’s like that now. It really is fun to be able to move their lives forward.
Nrama: I'm sure you have plans beyond the next few issues. How would you describe what's coming up for Superman: Lois and Clark into 2016?
Jurgens: This book is about their relationship as a family. Like all families, they get tested by things that come along.
The way they deal with it is important and central to the book. They’re going to evolve here and I think we have some fun surprises coming up.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about Superman: Lois and Clark?
Jurgens: Only that Lee and I feel privileged to be here. We’re totally committed to the idea of building these people into a strong, enduring presence that’s fun to read about.