It’s been 80 years since the Man of Steel made his debut in comics and the year 2018 is celebrating the anniversary. Today at NYCC, in a panel moderated by co-publisher Dan DiDio, DC Comics brought together two of the biggest names in the industry, Brian Michael Bendis who after two decades at Marvel is now the current writer of the Superman books, and the legendary Frank Miller, whose upcoming Superman: Year One mini drawn by John Romita Jr. is set to be released through DC’s Black Label imprint next year. In celebration legendary creators celebrating the spirit of truth, hope and justice during Superman’s 80th anniversary panel.
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Dan DiDio has taken the stage to introduce the panel-Bendis, the latest addition to the roster of talent and Frank Miller, an inspiration to both DiDio and Bendis.
DiDio noted both Miller and Bendis praised for their DD work.
DiDio asks Miller about perception that he doesn’t like Superman because of his portrayal in DKR. “Batman did knock the snot out of him!”
Superman was first superhero Miller grow up with. Early version of DKR had Batman killed in blaze of glory by police. Batman v Superman made for a great climax.
In writing YEAR ONE, Miller flips the tables with Superman and Batman compared to DKR.
Growing up in Cleveland as a Jewish kid, Bendis constantly heard that Cleveland was the home of Superman and rock and roll. Bendis retelling story he’s mentioned before about visiting Cleveland Library that inspired him to take on the character.
Bendis was involved in helping an intended museum and statue for Cleveland that never happened because “Cleveland is run by gangsters” joked Bendis.
Neal Adams was Miller’s “godfather” coming into comics. Miller never had an inclination to do Superman when he started at DC Comics. Get on a loser book because if it succeeds you’re the golden boy according to Miller.
After a pause after DiDio asked Miller why he never worked on Superman before, Miller responded, “Because you never asked.” Miller known for dark stories and people always assumed he didn’t like Supes.
Superman has the best girlfriends in comics. “Superman is gorgeous! He never wears a masks.”
Each chapter of 3 issues of YEAR ONE will focus on 3 particular Superman relationships
1) Lana Lang
2) Lori Lemaris
3) Lois Lane
Miller pushing for Wonder Woman getting involved.
Writing Superman inspires Bendis to be a kinder person in real life.
YEAR ONE will delve into Clark Kent discovering his powers for first time. Bendis remarked the extra-sensory perception of both Superman and Daredevil shapes their worlds. While DD uses it to take on crime, it fills Superman with love.
DiDio asks if Superman’s powers make it harder to write character. Bendis believes it’s just a tool he uses. During the Weisenger era, Miller joked you almost expected Superman to punch out God since he was so powerful.
“Much like a tweet isn’t the best way to handle a situation, punching isn’t the best way to handle a situation,” said Bendis to huge applause that surprised him.
Miller made a crack about infamous “F**k Batman” from Robin! Pa and Ma Kent did a better job at raising Clark than Alfred, Miller joked.
For his inspiration, Miller looked towards to original Schuster strips when the concept was brand new. Bendis described those strips as “punk rock comics.” Superman took a quantum leap when WWII hit according to Miller. Superman was “status quo hero” when Miler was growing up but wants to return to character as an affiliated force of justice- a social justice warrior if you will!
The assault on truth in today’s world informing Bendis’ take on Superman. Superman’s belief that he doesn’t do enough similarily propels Bendis.
DiDio asked stories they want to stay away from. Bendis doesn’t like to have Superman lecture, preferring Superman to speak with his actions.
Miller reiterating his Superman will not be the one in DKR. Superman is mythic and will not tell you how to vote.
Bendis has discovered that Lois Lane is the best character in comics.
When asked if DC should bring back SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSON title, audience enthusiastically said yes.
In his current Superman books, Bendis is resetting the relationship between Lois and Clark for a modern era without ending the marriage. The Superman story is all about fathers and sons for Bendis.
Bendis relates Superman raising Jon Kent as parent raising a special needs child.
Bendis was shocked to see how shallow the Superman villain pond was. He’s glad Lex Luthor is busy on JL book so he can build new villains.
Miller believes Luthor has potential to be one of the greatest villains ever. He has a fondness for Luthor and Brainiac, considering the latter the worst villain in the universe who cashed in on the death of Krypton.
Bendis made a slight but significant tweak to Superman origin as being a survivor of a cleansing instead of a natural disaster, making it more in line with the Moses story.
”Superman is the ultimate immigrant and therefore the ultimate American,” said Miller to thunderous applause.
Miller describes “shock” as a rare spice that creators shouldn’t rely on especially in today’s world.
Bendis asked Miller if he would be willing to return to monthly books and Miller said he was open which got audience applause.
Bendis revealed the end of his current storyline “The Unity Saga” will reveal the origin of the United Planets in the 31st century from Legion of Superheroes.