DC just lost Batman editor Mike Marts to Marvel, but they’ve scored a major win to counterbalance that! Famed artist John Romita Jr., who has worked for decades drawing for Marvel, is headed to DC and will be helping to revamp the most iconic hero in comics, Superman. This summer, the famed illustrator will join Geoff Johns in bringing a new direction to the Man of Steel.
It’s no secret that despite his iconic status, as far as being a comic book character, Superman has lost a lot of his cache to the “cooler” Batman over the years. But keep in mind, Johns made Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and– even more impressively Aquaman — cool… and commercial. Can this pairing work that same magic on the Last Son of Krypton?
This announcement arrived via DC’s Youtube web series ‘All Access’. Johns spoke on the matter, stating “For me, as far as the story goes, my tagline for the story is ‘Putting the Man of Tomorrow back in the Man of Tomorrow. It’s really looking at Superman and getting back to the core values and attributes and strengths of Superman. Really, the Man of Tomorrow is the theme, for me, that we’re going to tackle in this first storyline… We’ll learn some things about Superman that you’ve never known before, one in particular that is going to be redefining him in a way that we’ve never seen.”
Romita has drawn nearly every major Marvel hero, having worked on ‘Spider-Man’, ‘The Avengers’ and ‘The X-Men’, just to name a few. His most recent collaboration was with Mark Millar, illustrating ‘Kick-Ass’ and it’s subsequent spin-offs.
Romita expressed, “The biggest thing for me was I’ve always said I want to do something I haven’t done before, whether it’s draw something in a way that I haven’t drawn before, tell a story in a way I haven’t done before. This is the ultimate in something I haven’t done before.”
“I had a meeting with [Co-Publisher of DC Comics Dan DiDio], and I had been talking it over with my wife Kathy. My wife had wanted me to try Superman for a long time — Superman or Batman. I never really paid attention to it, only because I had been under contract [with Marvel]. So it was a confluence of events: a really good breakfast with Dan, some accepted ideas, and it built on itself.”
And what about his father, the legendary John Romita Sr.’s reaction?
“Honestly, his first reaction was his eyes were wide open. ‘Are you really going to do this?’… Good. If you’re happy, I’m happy… Whatever’s good for you, whatever’s good for your family. Best of all, it’s something that’s different and something new, something you would never consider.”
Romita also followed up on Johns’ “Man of Tomorrow” concept.
“I’m an artist, so I should draw something for you right now. But honestly, there’s a lot of unknown in this, about the project, because I’ve never done the character before. I didn’t have an idea of what I was going to do before I decided. I didn’t have an idea of what I’m going to do now that I have decided, because until I read Geoff’s synopsis a couple hours ago, I hadn’t considered anything other than a couple of pinup shots. Now I have an idea. Now I’m turning it around in my head. The Man of Tomorrow line is perfect for this. To me, it’s a little bit more of the Man of the Unknown, because there are some things about Superman that are unknown officially, now, that we will discover. So that part I’m really excited about.”
Intriguing. Johns has worked on ‘Superman’ before, but states that he will be revealing new information about the character. What could that be? How do you redefine such a major character– yet one that was created and thrived in an earlier, simpler time– for our modern era? It’s certainly not the first time the hero has been modernized and revamped.
Do you think Johns and Romita can bring the coolness back to the Big Blue Boyscout? Their run on the title kicks off this summer. Will you be picking it up?