Last month, DC Comics announced 48 creative teams that will take on new and returning DC titles following the events of Convergence, the continuity-altering event set to kick off in April with a main series and a slew of two-part tie-ins starring characters from throughout DC's history. We still don't know just how the DC Universe will look post-Convergence, but we do know that the publisher's making an effort to shake things up and bring in new and different readers alongside the DC Comics faithful. They're doing it with new titles, new takes on old characters and new faces in the talent pool, and one of the most exciting new faces is Gene Luen Yang, the Eisner Award-winning graphic novelist who brought us work like American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints and the superhero story The Shadow Hero.
June will see the arrival of Yang's first ever DC Comics work, but he's not just coming in as a fill-in writer or a rookie who's taking on a C-list title. He's been given the keys to Superman, a book that got renewed interest last year when legendary Marvel artist John Romita Jr. made the series his first ongoing work at DC Comics. Yang will replace writer (and DC Chief Creative Officer) Geoff Johns, who among other things introduced a new power for Superman in his run, and in a new interview with Hero Complex, he talked a bit about what we can expect from his take on Superman. Not surprisingly for Yang, he'll definitely be exploring Superman's experience and worldview as an interplanetary immigrant who's trying to both honor where he came from and embrace where he is.
"Superman has been around for so long; he’s been around for, what, eight decades now? And he goes through these different eras where different aspects of who he is get emphasized," Yang said. "I think at the core of him is the idea of the immigrant experience. His creators were two children of Jewish immigrants. And embedded in his origin story is this idea of negotiating between two cultures and trying to take two halves of himself and create something that’s whole and unified. I’m hoping what will happen is as we build our narrative, that aspect will come out organically."
Recent Superman history has produced two major personal developments for the Man of Steel: his new power, the super flare, that affects him long after he's used it, and the revelation of his secret identity to his pal Jimmy Olsen. Both could have major story implications going forward, and Yang said he intends to develop both of them as he continues picking up where Johns left off.
"He has this crazy new power that essentially strips him of his superpowers for an extended period of time after he uses them. And when we sat down at that summit, we talked about how that would play out, how that would affect him, and that’s one of the drivers for the action that follows," Yang said. "But the second thing is this idea of identity, of his dual identity. And now that he’s revealed [his secret identity] to Jimmy, that’s just one aspect of what’s happening. We really want to make those the two core pieces of what we’re doing as we move forward."
Oh, and speaking of "that summit," Yang revealed a very exciting development that could mean big things for Superman readers in the coming year. As he began work on the series, Yang went to New York and met with fellow Superman writers Greg Pak (Action Comics, Batman/Superman) and Peter J. Tomasi (Superman/Wonder Woman) to discuss what Romita described as a "Super-story," a kind of far-reaching plan in which they could all tell a unified Superman story while also keeping the voices of the individual books.
"We’re trying to figure out something that will take him through a big chunk of time. We’ve been talking about 10 months to a year’s worth of story. Superman, because he’s such an important character in the DC Universe, there are four titles where he’s one of the main stars," Yang said. " All of the writers of these books, we got together for a conference in New York a couple weeks ago to just talk through the character, talk through some sort of a premise that would be able to go through all those books. That was the tricky part, coming up with some kind of a premise that would both give us as writers the freedom to tell stories with our own voices, but also give all of these books a sense of unity."
Of course, Yang and Romita aren't spilling exactly what they've got planned, but an already exciting prospect -- Gene Luen Yang writing Superman -- just got even more exciting. Check out Romita and Klaus Janson's cover for Superman #41 below, and look for Yang's Superman debut when it arrives in June.
(Via Hero Complex)