Three decades ago, DC Comics entrusted one man with the task of a lifetime: a complete reinvention of Superman and his supporting cast. This was a job for John Byrne, the iconic comic book writer and artist who had memorable runs with Marvel’s Fantastic Four and Uncanny X-Men before revamping Superman in the six-issue Man of Steel limited series. Following that, Byrne had a lengthy run on the Superman titles that further expanded the mythos.
In this exclusive interview, SYFY WIRE’s Mike Avila recently caught up with Byrne for Superman’s 80th anniversary. This is one of the rare occasions that Byrne has appeared on-camera to discuss his contributions to comic lore, and it's the oral history from the creator who made it.
According to Byrne, there was only one change that DC vetoed. It was regarding the fate of Superman's mother, Lara, and a demonstration that Kryptonite can kill Kryptonians. However, Byrne happily admitted that the compromise worked well.
Byrne's changes to Superman were radical for the time, including the survival of the Kents, the reinterpretation of Krypton and its culture, Superman shaving, and Lex Luthor as a corrupt businessman. But perhaps the greatest change was to Lois Lane, who was given more modern characterization and motives. Byrne's Lois wasn't scheming to marry Superman or expose his secret identity. Instead, she was just as capable a reporter as Clark Kent, if not more so. She even stood up to Lex Luthor, regardless of whether she had Superman's support. At the time, Byrne said that he got hate mail for his take on Lois... until he finally revisited a classic comic trope.
There's more fascinating tales from Byrne's Superman run in the complete interview, which you can watch below.
Additional material by Blair Marnell.