DC Comics is bringing the future of Superman to New York Comic Con 2022.
CBR is seated for a Superman panel moderated by Alex Segura and revolving around Men of Steel — such as Clark and Jon Kent — with the panel’s guests including Dan Jurgens (Superman, Justice League), Joshua Williamson (The Flash, Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths), Phillip Kennedy Johnson (Action Comics) and Mark Russell (Superman: Space Age). The panel is set to discuss the 30th Anniversary of The Death of Superman in Nov. 2022, and share what’s on the way for Superman fans in 2023.
The panel’s attending fans are filing in and the room’s seats are practically full.
The panel’s crowd is now full, and the panelists have arrived.
The panelists are seated, and the panel begins with a “Good Afternoon” from Segura, noting that this year, 2022, marks the 30th anniversary of “The Death of Superman.” Writer Dan Jurgens then walked in to applause from the audience, each creator earning their share of applause as they are announced.
The warp-up questions begin with, “What is it about Superman that you find compelling as a creator?” Russell answered the character’s optimism, and Johnson said that it is hard to “sum up” the character that is the “best of us” and that he is the antithesis to the idea the “power corrupts.” Williamson talked about Superman’s compassion and his ability to “bring out the best in all of us.” Williamson continued that thinking of Superman “Always makes [him] smile.” For Jurgens, he talked about how the Man of Steel sees the best of humanity and strives to embody that and make that world a reality.
The conversation then shifted to villains and who the creators gravitate to. Williamson mentioned Lex Luthor and said he loved how he is an “egomaniac” and just a “jerk.” Something he notes is that the relationship between Superman and Lex is something that brings the idea to mind, “They should have been friends,” but because they never became allies, the conflict between them persists.
Johnson said he “liked the potential for Mongul,” the main villain of his recent “Warworld Saga” in Action Comics. He said that he wanted to see Superman as the “Champion of the Oppressed” in the story, with Mongul serving as his foil as a massive enslaver.
Russell answered “Perry White” for which villain he likes the most, joking on how he is always yelling at Clark Kent as the editor of the Daily Planet newspaper without knowing he is Superman. As for Jurgens, he brought up Mister Mxyzptlk.
The panelists were then asked about their favorite Superman moment that resonates for them. Williamson said that he “waited in the rain” to get his copy of “The Death of Superman,” continuing to say that his father was with him the whole time, making the moment special. Johnson recounted seeing the first Superman movie from 1978 starring Christopher Reeve, connecting with Clark Kent and how he figures out his place in the world. “That movie has shaped my entire life,” Johnson, even bringing up how he can play the theme on his trumpet and he does “all the time.”
Russell said that his first exposure to Superman was his mom purchasing a Superman hairbrush out of a catalog when he was four-years-old, asking himself, “How famous does someone have to be to wind up on a hairbrush?” Jurgens said that the very first comic that he purchased with his own money was a Superman comic. “I was always captivated by the interesting relationship between Superman and Clark Kent,” discussing how his secret identities are not divided by a mask but a pair of glasses, which was “captivating” for him.
The panel conversation then started showing slides of comics, starting with Russell’s Superman: Space Age miniseries. Artwork for the series’ upcoming third issue releasing in Feb. 2023 was shown, with Russell speaking about the book and praising the artist on the title, Michael Allred. “Hope is the line we make come true,” Russell quoted from the series, talking about how the series tackles the idea of a world becoming unrecognizable. He said that in Issue #3, the Anti-Monitor succeeds in destroying the universe and the heroes will have to deal with it.
Next up was “Kal-El Returns,” the crossover between Action Comics and Superman: Son of Kal-El exploring Clark Kent’s return to Earth. Johnson spoke on the crossover he is co-writing with Son of Kal-El writer Tom Taylor, talking about how Superman has to answer for the decisions he has previously made, and said that the future of the title will deal with more consequences for the hero.
The next slide shown was the Superman: Kal-El Returns one-shot coming out in November, with exclusive artwork from Segura’s own story shown to the crowd. Williamson added that the issue ties into his Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths series.
Action Comics #1050 then appeared onscreen, with Johnson saying that the theme of the anniversary issue is “family.” Johnson said that Action Comics is going to begin focusing on the “whole Super Family” with the issue, and that Superman (Clark) is going to get worried with how things became worse on Earth in his absence. He promised that the Super Family is going to be the “First Family” of Metropolis leading the city into one of tomorrow, with John Henry Irons’ family playing a key role as well.
Williamson brought up how he killed off Superman in Justice League #75, the “Death of the Justice League.” He spoke on how he loved bringing elements from the 90’s and “all of these iconic elements” into Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths. He said how he wanted the theme of Dark Crisis to be that it is always “Darkest before the dawn,” saying that the dawn is coming afterward.
Williamson then announced that he will be writing a brand-new Superman series launching in Feb. 2023 with artist Jamal Campbell.
The writer continued that Lex Luthor will be arrested and imprisoned in the storyline, and that Action Comics #1050 is the first book to take place after Dark Crisis and will set up his new Superman series. One thing he added is that Superman always keeps his super-hearing on some people, one being Luthor, and that it will be seen in Superman #1.
The title will also tackle Luthor understanding that the “world needs Superman,” but he feels that if Earth is going to have one, it will be his “own” Superman. He revealed that in addition to including classic Superman villains with Jimmy Olsen not realizing he is dating a supervillain and Parasite will be the villain of the first arc, there will be new heroes and villains in the series, with character designs showed to the panel audience . He also revealed that in addition to Campbell, Nick Dragotta will be an artist working on the series.
As cover artwork for Action Comics #1051 came on the screen, Johnson began to talk about the title and how the Super Family will be working together in its future. He said that he is working closely with Williamson and Taylor, then speaking on how he wants to make villains like Metallo more scary and powerful.
“There’s a lot of stuff we have planned,” Williamson said, as designs by artist Dan Mora showed up onscreen for the Super Family’s new outfits. He also said that new stories are coming as a result of a format change, one focused on Power Girl and another by Jurgens focusing on Jon.
Jurgens said his stories will be going back in time to tell more stories about young Jon Kent, which will begin with the “Death of Superman” anniversary issue set for release in November. More cover artwork was then shown for Action Comics #1051 after Jurgens promised more stories of Jon and his family living on their farm.
Segura then asked Jurgens about whether he knew how massive “The Death of Superman” would be when it was being created. Part of the event, he said, was wanting to see how the world reacts to Superman and the absence of Superman. Artwork was shown of the anniversary issue coming up from Jurgens as he discussed it, an issue that will introduce a new threat: Doombreaker, a Doomsday-like villain. The villain will be named by a young Jon Kent as his father fights Doombreaker.
Jurgens compared how when “The Death of Superman” was releasing, technology had not gone digital and they had to transfer physical copies to each other while working on the story, but now in the digital age, there is more of an immediacy working on the anniversary special. Jurgens said that in addition to young Jon, the issue will explore Steel and Guardian.
It was then announced that Superman: Son of Kal-El #18 will be the series’ final issue, as a recording of Taylor appears onscreen. Taylor revealed that DC is bringing back and creating a new Adventures of Superman series, which will revolve around Jon fighting Earth-3’s Ultraman and Val-Zod. The series will be titled Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent and cover artwork was revealed for the new book.
As the panelists began to talk on their other projects, Williamson spoke on finishing Dark Crisis while Johnson said he will be contributing a story to the Lazarus Planet event announced earlier at NYCC. Russell said Superman: Space Age #3 will be “worth the wait,” while Jurgens spoke on “just getting started” with Superman and that he will be working on Dark Crisis: Big Bang #1. Williamson revealed that the issue is set after Dark Crisis and one story told will show Flash Barry Allen fighting the Anti-Monitor.
After final remarks, the panel ended.