Superman To Return To Old Form, Say Creators

Here's what you can expect in the next couple of years of Superman comics - A secret invasion of sorts, non-slutty teenage heroes and a return to classic characterization. In a relatively quiet Thursday morning panel, the creators of Action Comics, Superman and Supergirl let everyone know what they're planning to do to make Superman the world's greatest superhero again.

Introducing the panel, Action Comics writer Geoff Johns said,

We've all kind of started to work together on Superman... we're all working in tandem to get the Superman universe lined up like we did on Green Lantern, get all the characters on the same page so we can go and tell crazy stories... We had a huge summit that we worked on all three books all the way through December 2010.

The first crazy story to spin out of that summit is October's New Krypton, which Johns teased with this high concept pitch:

Kandor is grown on the planet Earth, and all the Kryptonians decide 'Hey, cool, this must be new New Krypton' and Superman says 'No, it's not,' and chaos ensues.

More important than stories, according to the writers, is the characterization. Johns again:

We don't really want to change anything about Superman like saying, he's gonna have a kid. It's not about changing stuff as much as it's about exploring character... We want to get to them on an emotional level... [For example, the story 'Last Son'] was really about, Superman can never have a kid. He and Lois may love each other, but they can never have a kid. The House of El will end. How do they react to that?

Superman writer James Robinson admitted that part of that effort will include making sure that characters like Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen will return to the versions everyone knows, instead of superpowered giant turtles fighting evil gods: "The [supporting] characters have lost their way a bit," he said, before saying that Jimmy Olsen should be the third most important character in a Superman comic, after Superman and Lois. Johns agreed, and added that there are also plans afoot to use Lois more often: "If Superman married her, she's gotta be the coolest woman in the world."

The most important revelation from the panel may have come from new Supergirl writer Sterling Gates. When asked whether he will bring a more consistent characterisation to the Maid of Steel after an erratic few years where she's been portrayed as confused, evil, stupid, slutty and almost continually unheroic, he said that he saw her as one of the strongest characters DC Comics has, and feels that she's been mishandled recently. "Can we officially say that she's not a slut?" Johns asked, to the applause of the audience. So, now you know: Supergirl isn't a slut.

That's Mary Marvel's job.