I wish I could be like my ultra-trendy pal Michael Siglain, and give you a nice Halloween theme here, but let’s face it: on New Krypton, everyone wears a costume 24/7, and they don’t have candy there. (Notice none of the Kryptonians are overweight—well, except for Kal’s lawyer, but that’s genetic.) You’d think having been trapped in a bottle for decades they’d all be out of shape—or at least have invented Malomars. Whatever.
In celebration of not celebrating Halloween in space this year, here’s a shot from WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON (WONK to you insiders) #9, featuring Kal-El, some bodiless heads that are really big, and a couple of people I really wish were just dressing up, courtesy of James Robinson, Greg Rucka, Pete Woods and Nei Ruffino.
You can get the full horrific scoop of what’s going on here next Wednesday, the 4th, which is not just the first Wednesday of November, but about the time I’ll be trying to figure out a “What Superman’s Thankful for This Year” theme for the next column. Continuing our non-scary tour of the DC books, check out this upcoming page from ACTION #883, which comes out November 11th.
Wow, who knew Flamebird’s super-power was a knockout kiss? And hey, that Brimstone dude’s kinda Halloween-like, right? At least Rucka, Eric Trautmann, Pere Pérez and Javier Mena think so.
Check out this page from November 18th’s SUPERGIRL #47. Guess we know what Alura Zor-El thinks of Halloween, huh?
And if you want to see something that’s really scary, just imagine this day which Alura has been both eagerly anticipating and dreading simultaneously, as she at last comes face-to-face with the man who murdered her husband—Reactron!
Bet you wish you knew what they were saying, huh? My thanks to Sterling Gates, Matt Camp and the aforementioned Nei Ruffino for these glimpses into Supergirl’s future—well, her book’s future, anyway. Which brings us to November 25th, Thanksgiving eve, and SUPERMAN #694. Anyone remember Javi Pina? He teamed up with James Robinson to bring you this past summer’s SUPERMAN ANNUAL. Well, the scream team is at it again, this time for SUPERMAN #694, a.k.a. “Man of Valor” part 1, the arc which will bring Mon-El back in time to the very day Halloween was conceived, and… okay, it has nothing to do with Candy Day, but Bizarro is pretty scary, right? Huh? Please?
Wow, that’s some heady stuff, particularly with Blond’s coloring in place! Why, I—er, what? Oh, okay. That was Alex Segura on the phone, telling me I have failed utterly in my Halloween themage. Maybe I’d better get an early start on the Thanksgiving column. Anyone have a good suggestion for words that rhyme with “Turkey”?
A rare non-rainy day and I find myself trapped indoors with Wil Moss, putting the finishing touches on SUPERMAN #691, the fourth and final chapter of our latest Superman crossover, “Codename: Patriot”. While Wil goes over some dialogue tweaks involving the not-so-nice General Lane with James Robinson, I’m going over David Curiel’s colors. We’re asking a lot of David on this one, and so far, he’s been more than up to the challenge.
So what is “Codename: Patriot” anyway? Glad I pretended you asked. We’ve long had a plan in place for the Super-books, one that would build and build until culminating in a very large story in 2010. It took a while for folks to believe us and see the emerging pattern, but now, I think it’s starting to be clear. Certainly, with hindsight…
After stories like “Last Son”, “Superman & The Legion”, “Brainiac”, “The Coming of Atlas” and even “Escape from Bizarro World” set the stage, we began things in earnest with the first JIMMY OLSEN and NEW KRYTPON specials. NK set the stage for our first few months of stories, in which the Kandorians were introduced, hostilities broke out as General Lane was reintroduced, and Superman got evicted from his two titles. After that, we spent some quality time getting to know Mon-El, Guardian and the new Nightwing and Flamebird, even as the society of New Krypton was further fleshed out and the Kryptonians presented themselves as a thriving, formidable society. So what’s next? Uh, “Codename: Patriot”, obviously.
After spending so much time and effort on the Kryptonians and Earth’s new protectors, it’s time to show why Earth as an adversary is no wilting flower. Over the course of this month, we’ll see the full scope (well, some of it, anyway) of Lane’s plans to protect Earth from the deadliest threat the world has ever faced (and not just in his mind), catch up with old friends like Atlas and Codename: Assassin, learn more about that odd woman with the funky blue eye named Mirabai, and even get to see some of our latest editions to the character stable like Flamebird and Nightwing cross paths with Mon-El and Supergirl. And no, it ain’t gonna be old home week.
The fun kicked off last week in WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON (or as we call it, WONK) #6, as we picked up on the shocking act of violence committed at the end of WONK #5. And that’s only the first act, as the story flows into ACTION COMICS #880 this week, SUPERGIRL #44 next, with SUPERMAN #691 rounding out the month with the big finale. Along the way, we’ve got a SECRET FILES for ya (also out this week) to help you ongoing readers brush up on your facts in time for the crossover, and to serve as an introduction to those foolish stragglers who aren’t as hip as you are. August 19th is the date you should circle in your calendar for the payoff to Sodom Yat’s quest to find Mon-El in SUPERMAN ANNUAL #14, and the end of the month gives you the long-awaited sequel to SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN SPECIAL #1. We’ve cleverly numbered it issue #2, and you’ll get to follow Jimmy around as he delves even deeper into the mystery of General Lane’s 7734 operation.
I could gush about the tension-filled writing or the stunning art in these books, but I feel pretty confident you’ll look at the books and know what I’m talking about.
I could get into the meaning of the story title, “Codename: Patriot”, and speculate with you on if this means we’re introducing a daring new character to Lane’s arsenal, joining Codename: Assassin, Codename: Reactron, Codename: Metallo and Codename: Superwoman (moment of silence), but hey, I ain’t the Shell Answer Man!
So enjoy the hints of art I’m sharing instead, let it whet your appetite, find your closest comic store and get started! I’m so sure you’ll like what we’ve got for you that I’m throwing in this bamboo steamer absolutely free!
Ooh, look! Sun! I’d forgotten what that looks like. Neat. Today is a bit of a mad scramble (what else is new?). We’re wrapping up the lettering on ACTION COMICS #879, which means a lot of emailing back and forth with letterer Rob Leigh. He’s come up with what I think will be a stronger method for the English subtitles to all the crazy Kryptonian speak going on in the book. And if this doesn’t work, we’ll just start throwing sound chips in the book!
Also on the lettering front, Jared Fletcher, the man of many nicknames, has delivered the first round of lettering for SUPERGIRL #43, and man, he’s done a great job. We asked him to do something slightly different here for Kara’s narrative, and he’s knocked it out of the park. The whole issue is somewhat of a departure, and definitely a pallet cleanser after a few months of asking, “Who is Superwoman?” I swear, Sterling and Jamal are getting exponentially better by the issue! One guy who’s not getting better is Jon Sibal, and that’s only ‘cause he couldn’t possibly get any better. The fact that he’s crazy in a good way just adds to the joy of working with him. And Wil tells me that Jon tells him that he’s inking the last page of the issue right now. I love it when a plan comes together.
Just got a couple of new pages in from Javi Pina for the upcoming SUPERMAN ANNUAL (#14 for those of you keeping score at home). Man!!! I’ve worked with Javi before on a few occasions, but this is far and away the best work I’ve ever seen him do. James challenged him with a heck of trippy story, and I’m already dying to see what people think of the finished book. Well, August will be here before I know it.
Spend a few minutes chatting with Wil about a new costume we’re having designed for… well, don’t want to give that away here, in case anyone is actually reading this thing. The main design is coming along nicely, and we’re at the stage of small tweaks in order to put a wrap on the thing. This is going to be very, very cool.
Hmm. It’s 3. I should eat something, but what? Right, what I always eat—oatmeal. 10 minutes and a burnt tongue later, I’m back in action. Associate editor Sean Ryan brings by a couple of rate requests for me to sign. These are the forms by which we set up page rates for artists, writers and so forth. He’s been bringing me an awful lot of these lately. I’m starting to suspect he’s hiring childhood friends or something. I’ll have to talk to him about this.
Engage in a quick conference call with Wil and Greg Rucka about some costume designs going on there—next week is the start of July, and that means beginning work on our covers for the books that come out in December. Yes, we actually do plan ahead that far. Actually, in the case of the Super-books, we’re planned through the end of 2010. In fact, I take this blessed opportunity of basking in Greg’s phone aura to confirm when the Super-writers will engage in our next weekly chat—next week looks iffy. Something about a holiday. We’ve got a lot of work to do before we all meet up in San Diego in the days leading up to the convention, putting a lock on a few dangling items for 2009 publication so we can spend the time in sunny CA (indoors, ‘natch) planning in great detail the first half of 2010 and as much of the 2nd half as we can squeeze in.
Oop. Just missed a message from James Robinson. He’s included an odd comment on one of the profile pieces for August’s SUPERMAN SECRET FILES. My, he’s in a jaunty mood. It seems we’ve missed some important elements in the costuming of a non-superhero character, and he’s absolutely correct. He’s also got an idea for the inclusion of some characters normally outside the realm of Superman for next year’s stuff, and ways to maybe spin them out into something of their own afterwards. No wonder he’s so jaunty.
I mark the 4:00 hour by sending my lettering notes on SUPERGIRL #43 to writer Sterling Gates, and then remember he’s on a plane to Dallas for a convention. –Sigh- my day is empty without some correspondence from Sterling. Oh, well.
I settle instead on talking to Pete Woods, who’s juggling putting together a map of Kandor for the SECRET FILES while drawing the next issue of WONK (World of New Krypton). Man, he just gets better and better, and his design sense is incredible! He’s done an amazing job in less than half the series with really establishing New Krypton as a world, with all sorts of different sets and locales.
The feeling begins to return to my tongue just as a new batch of pages arrives from Gary Frank for SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN #2. There really aren’t adjectives that I can apply to Gary—he’s in his own stratosphere, and I feel stupidly lucky to be working with him and Geoff on this project—it’s simply incredible. Geoff seems pretty happy with the pages, too, and I’m glad to have an excuse to give Gary a call, even if most of our conversations steer towards the insanity of Italian politics. (Don’t ask.)
I’m in the middle of typing up some notes on SUPERGIRL ANNUAL #1 for the mysterious colorist who only goes by the name “Blond” when Liz Gehrlein drops off two more jaw-droppingly cool profile pages by Francis Manapul for SECRET FILES. Ab-so-lute-ly stunning! This is going to be one special Secret Files. This reminds me that I need to turn in pages from artist Matt Camp, who’s illustrated a seven-page story that James wrote for the book. So many balls in the air, so few hands…
And then the next thing I know, it’s 6:00, time to close up shop, blow out the candles, and be thankful another day that I didn’t set my office on fire.