A press panel/breakfast was held at the SXSW DC Comics Pop-Up Shop in Austin, Texas, March 10 and AiPT! had a chance to attend! Among the guests were comics talent Dan Jurgens, Jim Lee, Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis, as well as showrunner and writers from the new Syfy show Krypton, Cameron Welsh, Nadria Tucker and Lina Patel, who were all there to discuss Superman’s legacy and his future.
Before the panel, there was a breakfast complete with a donuts provided by Austin’s Voodoo Donuts, as well as a tour of the area, which included replicas of Batmobiles from Batman v Superman, Justice League and Batman Forever, as well as a replica of the Superman statue from Batman v Superman. The attendees were also given goodie bags complete with red underwear that read #TheTrunksAreBack across the back. But the real fun began once the panel started. Dan Jurgens was up first. It was announced that a tally has been completed on exactly how many Superman stories he’s written, and the count is around 225. He explained what it’s like to finish his run on Action Comics with #1000, a story titled “For the City Who Has Everything,” and confirmed it’s a reference to Alan Moore’s famous Superman story “For the Man Who Has Everything.” Jurgens commented on his 1995 story “Death of Superman” and how it was “about what Superman means to us by taking him out of the book.”
Jim Lee was next and, of course, the first question he was asked by the moderator was about the red trunks’ return. He laughed and said, “no trunks remain unworn.” He continued that the trunks were always going to come back after they were banished to the Phantom Zone at the beginning of the New 52 in 2011, but they had to find the right time, and Action Comics #1000 seemed perfect. Lee talked about his collaboration with Brian Michael Bendis, saying that “Bendis is really helping us understand the character.”
Frank Miller was then asked by the moderator about his upcoming series with artist John Romita Jr., Superman: Year One, for DC’s Black Label imprint. Miller elaboarated that he “wanted to write Superman as someone would if they had never heard of Superman before,” and that the story is emblematic of a hero’s journey.Brian Michael Bendis talked about how when you grow up in Cleveland, you’re told over and over again that rock ‘n’ roll and Superman were born there. He went on to say that he joined DC specifically to write Superman, and Dan Didio enticed him further with the promise of the trunks. He also talked about the creative process of working with Jim Lee and how he had to “write bigger, bigger than I’ve ever had to write for an artist! Now more than ever, this world needs Superman.”
Following the comic creators, it was time for the Krypton writers to chime in on Superman’s legacy. Showrunner Cameron Welsh started by talking about how when Superman’s gone, everyone feels his absence, both in the Krypton universe and in ours. “He embodies hope, and even though there’s no Superman in our show, we still tried to explore his legacy.”
Welsh and show writers Nadria Tucker and Lina Patel went on to discuss the use of time travel in Krypton and how Adam Strange’s presence and idealization of Superman factor in, since the show takes place before Superman is even born. Welsh confirmed that the Krypton creators drew a lot of inspiration from John Bryne’s “World of Krypton.”After everyone got their time to speak, the moderator asked for all the panel’s favorite Superman stories. Jurgens’ response: “Superman Returns to Krypton” from a unidentified 1950s-era comic. Lee went all out with his response, citing three stories that had a profound impact: “Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali,” The Dark Knight Returns and “Death of Superman.” Miller chose a television appearance saying the 1940s Max Fleischer cartoon series episode where Superman stops a train full of gold robbers. Bendis cited the 1978 Richard Donner movie, and Linda Patel seconded this. Cameron Welsh echoed Lee in his enjoyment of “Death of Superman” and Nadria Tucker said “as a child of the ’90s and early 2000s, I have to say Smallville.”
In the waning moments of the panel, Frank Miller said something that resonates with so many, “Superman is like a diamond, he’s tough and unbreakable, but he’s also beautiful.” There’s more to explore and so many new avenues to take Superman, and we’re definitely lucky to have these dedicated and passionate creators ushering in a new era for him.