JEFF LEMIRE: FROM ESSEX COUNTY TO SMALLVILLE PART 2
So here I am. Superboy #1 is out today! It feels like a long time coming. Pier Gallo and I have already been working on the book for the better part of 2010. So let me tell you a bit about what I have planned for Conner Kent and Smallville...
As of typing this I have six full scripts done with a seventh in the outline stage. And, I have the first fifteen issues plotted out. So, this will be a BIG story. A Big story made up of a lot of smaller stories. Most of the run will be only 1 or 2 part arcs that add up to a bigger, badder story I'm weaving in that will culminate around Issue 12 or 13. I don't want to say too much about it yet, but the first issue has some pretty good clues and teases. It also has THE PHANTOM STRANGER! one of my favorite comic book characters. Seems like an odd fit? Well Smallville really is the ideal American small town. But all small towns have a dark side. And Smallville's dark side will be slowly creeping to the surface, making Kon-el's attempts at a "normal life" harder and harder to achieve. What you see in the first two issues will only be the tip of the iceberg. (If you're interested I suggest picking up THE PHANTOM STRANGER showcase editions...they too will hold clues to coming events!)
Astute readers of my past work will also notice an "homage' of sorts to Essex County in the first issues opening sequence. It pretty much mirrors the opening pages of Tales From The Farm, with the young character of Lester dreaming of flying away and leaving his troubles behind.
(PS...One more thing. Just a side note...my past work is obviously very Canadian. I'm a proud Canuck, what can I say. But it's kind of interesting how Canadians have played a big part in Superboy's life so far. Tom Grummet a fellow Canuck was the Superboy artist through the 90's. maybe we'll have to team up for an all Canadian issue?)
One thing I love to do in all my comics is use visual motifs. Re-occurring imagery that slowly reveals a metaphor or draws attention to certain aspects of the plot. I did it a lot in Essex and I do it a lot in Sweet Tooth. But It's also fun to use these motifs as a way of drawing links, thematic or otherwise between some of my different books. It's why I made Jepperd a hockey player in Sweet Tooth and had him being followed by crows as he trekked across the post-apocalyptic world. And it's why I used this opening sequence to Superboy. Kon-el and Lester have a lot in common, and at the same time, they're very different. Lester used his imagination to escape the small town he was stuck in and the hard realities f his life. He dreamed of being a superhero and flying away to great adventure. Conner is trying to use the normalcy of small town life to escape being a superhero. But he can't. Like Lester he is who he is, and he'll have to accept it sooner or later.
Now all this talk about my past work and hoe Essex County led to Superboy is probably a bit misleading. Any of my readers expecting to pick up Superboy and read "Essex County with Capes" will be disappointed. EC was a indie book through and through, both aesthetically and in its pacing and execution. Superboy is not Essex County. It can never be that kind of book. It's a superhero comic. A DC superhero comic, and it celebrates it. It's big and fun and full of action. But if I do my job right, all of that action a will mean something. And it will be balanced with real characters...real people living in small town America trying to figure themselves, and their lives out. And finding the answers within each other.
What else can I tell you about the book? Let's see...There is a great first issue cover by Rafael Albequerque (American Vampire) and great covers to issues 2-5 by the awesome Phil Noto. There are a few new characters like Psionic Lad and The Spawn of Smallville. And of course there's always KRYPTO! So that's about it for now. That's all I got. I hope you like the first issue. If you do, stick around and come back for more. If not, that's cool too. Thanks for trying it out.
I can't wait for #2 and #3 and beyond to come out, to share the stories I've been cooking up with Pier Gallo and the rest of Superman team up at DC! Thanks for reading.