Friday, November 28, 2008

Geoff Johns, on Smallville and Superman: Secret Origin

On MTV's Splash Page, their blog for comics and movies, Geoff Johns talks about the Legion on Smallville (I love all of the buzz this episode is getting!).

“The concept of the Legion throws a wrench in Clark’s life,” Johns said. “They’ve already built up to a huge climax with Chloe and Doomsday, and then the Legion comes in and completely complicates everything.”

Johns pitched the show on introducing the time-traveling Legionnaires — Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Cosmic Boy — by explaining that they would be relevant to Clark Kent’s life at this point in time (unlike some other characters who’d been introduced on the show although he wasn’t supposed to meet them until later — can you say Green Arrow?). And when the time came to talk villains, Johns brought in a bunch of his comic books to show them how the Persuader would translate in a cameo appearance.

...To translate the Legionnaires, Johns said there was some debate over whether they would wear spandex, but found middle ground in uniforms that give nods to their comic book appearances. “So you got Saturn Girl in red and white with Saturn on her chest,” he expained. “We had production meetings to talk through all the details. Do they have rings? What do they look like?”

Following the episode won’t require knowing Legion history, Johns promised. “If you’re not a Legion fan, it’s a lot of ‘Do you make your own destiny? Is it written in stone? Do your heroes live up to your expectatons?’ There’s a lot there for you. But if you’re a fan, we worked our asses off to be as faithful to it as possible. There’s so much mythology in this episode, I think the fans will be blown away.”

Meanwhile, he also talked to Newsarama about the upcoming Superman: Secret Origin. They've got a look at some of the covers which are linked together; the Legion stars on the second cover.

Notice that they are reintroducing teenage Clark Kent as Superboy, which is at the heart of one of the Siegels/DC lawsuits.

GJ: ...To me, origin stories - particularly "Secret Origin" stories in the DC Comics universe - are vital to the introduction of characters and mythology to the larger audience, and I think they can be to the long time audience as well. We haven't seen a modern day retelling of Clark's first adventure as Superboy with the Legion of Super-Heroes, or the day Superman met Jimmy Olsen or the origins of Superman's long time enemies like the Parasite and Metallo. More importantly, Clark Kent himself will be explored in his earlier years in a way I don't think he's ever been explored before. And freaking Gary Frank, one of the greatest Superman artists in history already, is illustrating it. Every cover, every panel, ever line.

For long time readers, with the inclusion of the Legion of Super-Heroes back in Superman's history, General Zod introduced and all the other changes made post-Infinite Crisis nearly 3-years ago, they've been requesting a definitive secret origin. Man of Steel was brilliant and Birthright was a beautiful book, but Superman: Secret Origin will be what lines right up for the modern day monthly books. It will feature new looks at the origin of not only Superman, but some of his greatest allies, enemies and supporting cast and it will tie into everything Gary and I have done so far on Action Comics as well as setting the stage for the future.

NRAMA: As readers of Gary and your work on Action know, you’ve been adjusting things on Krypton in New Krypton as well as touching upon Clark's early years, so what's the scope of this story, time-wise?

GJ: It goes from Clark's teenage years, through his first adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes and into his arrival and introduction to Metropolis as Superman. We've included the first three covers with the interview and you can see a pretty big part of Clark Kent's history is being reintroduced as well - namely, Superboy. But with a bit of a twist.

NRAMA: Can you tell us any characters or beats that you're going to play up more than they've been mentioned previously? Any that you're going to de-emphasize?

GJ: You'll see Ma and Pa Kent, Lana Lang, Pete Ross, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Mordru, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, the Parasite, Metallo, Lex Luthor and others...

...And after Superman: Secret Origin, Gary and I already know what comes next. It'll be a monthly.

Would it be too much of a coincidence for Johns and Frank to be leaving Action Comics just when the monthly Adventure Comics (starring the Legion) starts up?

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