It’s a brave new world for one of DC’s most legendary titles. From number 1051, the iconic action comics undergoes great changes. As Superman’s “universe” grows and expands – operating in a sort of post-World of War Sagapre-Dawn of DC context – the book will now move on to three “super-family” centered stories.
This month’s stories include a super reunion of sorts as Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks reunite for what’s being called “Lois and Clark 2: Doom Rising.” This story, a sort of sequel to their Superman: Lois and Clark from 2015 to 2016, follows the Kents just when they had moved to a farm to understand family life. But all is not so idyllic, as Jon Kent may well incur the wrath of Doombreaker. It’s a story with a bit of everything – cute family stuff, world-ending threats, and more. – which also feels perfectly suited to the sequel.
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Before the book hits shelves today (January 24), we caught up with Jurgens and Weeks last week via Zoom. The conversation included the construction of their first Superman story, the differences between Clark and Jon Kent, and what the rest of the story might contain.
The rest of action comics #1051 includes stories from Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Rafa Sandoval as well as Leah Williams and Marguerite Sauvage.
AIPT: How does that – emotionally, thematically, etc. – is it related to the first Superman book you wrote?
Dan Jurgens: I think that very early story was crucial in setting them up as a family unit. Where we saw them move away from their hectic life in Metropolis to raise Jon – under a different name, like The Whites (a sort of homage to Perry) – in California, with Clark operating much more in secret and wearing a suit different because of that. And they just wanted to make sure that they could get the family back on solid ground and establish the base and how everything would work before they went back to Metropolis. I think it’s that same kind of sensibility that these characters are really about. And, as individuals, how do they interact with each other? How are they related? And where are they now as a family? And the idea for me is that they’re still this great family living this kind of normal everyday life in the midst of extraordinary circumstances. And that’s the fun of this whole story.
AIPT: There is so much potential in Jon’s story: to let him be a child and see this family flourish. I think there should be more of these tales.
DJ: Yes OK.
AIPT: How was it working together this time around?
DJ: It’s always a pleasure to work with Lee. And I have tremendous respect for his work – the way he approaches his work and what he conveys on the page. He is so wonderful for this particular story. Because one of the things that I always talked about with George Perez was when he drew the Teen Titans, each character in that group had their own language and kind of body language and also in how they interacted on the page. It’s really hard to grasp for many of us. Yet Lee does it very naturally. With this Kent family, we feel the emotion between the three of them on the page. And that’s what’s so crucial. We see the way they relate to each other – body language, expressions and everything else. And it does [Lee] the perfect person to draw this. So our whole job here is to be somewhat evocative; I think about our first story, the feeling it had, to build on that and tell a new story. And he’s the perfect guy to draw.
Lee Weeks: For my part, I had taken a little break from storytelling for a few years. And just before that, I did a little eight pages. And this is my first real step into storytelling after a few years. The whole thing is…it’s the perfect place to take a step back. So when this opportunity came up, I said if it actually happened, and it did happen, it was definitely one for materials [available]. But most importantly, because of the collaboration with Dan – and we have a lot of things that we’re very sympathetic to about what makes a good comic – and then just our feelings about these characters. And I love what Dan’s stories bring out in me, especially because I get to know those characters too. Just through the nuances of the situations that Dan brings up in this story. So it’s just been a real joy.
DJ: For example, if you’re going to conjure up a scene where a kid has a backpack and he has something hidden in the backpack, by itself there’s nothing too dramatic about pulling a bone out of a backpack. Still, Lee is so good at building in the sense of mystery in the first place. What is the object when it actually comes out? This scene has impact, it has dram, and it has a cool lighting effect and everything. But it also fits in the context of a 10 year old – many artists in the industry struggle to draw a 10 year old convincingly. That’s not the case here. So it makes for a wonderful scene. And a wonderful first chapter in our story.
ITPA: Absolutely. What I love here is that Jon feels so childish, especially through this reveal and so on. How, then, do you compare him to Clark? Is he really his own person or is there some sort of struggle going on?
DJ: One of the things I’ve always said about John as a character is that he has his father’s looks and powers, but he has his mother’s brashness. And, and I think that’s part of what’s being built here is that with the Doomsday bone – to hide it and to make sure no one can ever use it to become an enemy of his father – that’s really Jon Kent’s reaction as a 10-year-old kid. I’m not sure 10-year-old Clark would have done the same. I think 10-year-old Clark was probably a little more reserved, I think 10-year-old John, with that bit of Lois to him, is going to be more likely to do something that’s a little more evil and a little more impetuous and perhaps a little more fun by my extension.
AIPT: This is clearly a story of Superman’s ‘past’, but given that this happens in some bi-changes for Superman and his whole ‘universe’, is it important to tap into some of these new energies , ideas and sense of change?
DJ: I think the idea here is, and what we’re honestly trying to do, is to continue building the world of a 10-year-old kid named Jon Kent. I think you touched on that earlier, that we didn’t get to see those years of John grow. And I think there’s an awful lot of untold stories out there. So the idea for me is to be evocative of the feeling that we had in the first mini-series. And then to continue and continue to build on that – moving forward to develop who he is, who he was as a character, and how he really interacted with his parents and where they went as a family.
AIPT: We have time for another question. Feel free to be as spoiler rich or avoid as you like, but what can we expect from the rest of this story?
DJ: Well, in the first chapter, we introduce a new character by the name of Gliana, who is a girl a few years older than Jon, and seemingly from another world. We’ll find out that she also has a rather unusual and extraordinary background, just like Jon, and I think the way they interact with each other will be a lot of fun. And that’s also going to take us in a fun green direction. And between her and the fact that we’re hinting at Doombreaker, which can only lead us one way, and another new presence and threat that’s coming, I think we’re going to have built up a fun and bit of a story complicated for everyone. And the visuals on it are absolutely fantastic. And Lee is continually pushing the envelope a bit here. I think everyone is going to really enjoy what they see and read.
OL: I just have the time of my life to get back into this and these characters. The one thing that comes to mind as I was trying to portray Jon is that he has a bit of Calvin in him, don’t you think? And I think that’s one of the charms that makes it a lot of fun, and trying to bring that much without going overboard with it, but just that sensibility.
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