- Mar 7, 2005
- Reaction score
NRAMA: Jeph, let's start with the second Mike Turner variant cover, which readers are seeing for the first time right here, right now When did it get rolling?
JL: Again, all of this was done from the top. Having Geoff there - and it helped enormously that Crisis Editor Eddie Berganza and Superman/Batman Editor Eddie Berganza were the same person. No Earth-2 Eddie for us. I'd also like to take a moment here to say that Eddie is the finest editor that DC has. I see a lot of crap about him online and all I can say is: Crisis, Teen Titans, Superman/Batman and Supergirl all came about on his watch. From the very first issues. If you read those titles, if you like those titles, that's because Eddie was an integral part of the creative process. He saved our collective asses so many times I can't even count.
Keep that in mind the next time you see some yahoo go off on Berganza and set that guy or gal straight!
Newsarama: Okay, as to the story itself, not to be crass or miss the forest for the trees about Sam's issue of Superman/Batman, but how does the story work continuity wise in light of Infinite Crisis. After all, Superboy is dead now...
Jeph Loeb: Like with everything Superman/Batman, the fans try and decide if the stories are "in continuity." I've been pretty straightforward by saying that "Continuity is that Jimmy Olsen never became Robin, the Boy Wonder. Other than that, the rest is up for grabs..." (somewhere Kurt Busiek and Mark Waid are having double heart attacks [laughs!])
Now, I hope that most folks know that I have a sense of humor and when you look at the things we've accomplished with Superman/Batman - most notably Lex Luthor is no longer the President of the U.S. and is returned to being the most dangerous man in Superman's life, and more importantly, the introduction of Kara Zor-El as the one true Supergirl. When you accept both those things in continuity, the book has to be in continuity.
End of story.
Now, in the meantime, the death of Superboy happened to be timed to fall when Sam's story was going to come out. We could have ignored it, but Sam had written this wonderful adventure of these two friends and the only problem was - in continuity - one of those friends had died.
But, I think Sam would've wanted us to address it and we did. Honestly, and right up front. It gives the story a different flavor - more bittersweet - almost like this is what we lost; this is what we were; this is what we could have had...
...all of that resonating about how we felt about Sam.
How I feel about Sam every day
I'm so proud of so much in this book that I want to burst, but the single biggest high is that my daughter and Sam's sister, Audrey - who knows every one of the 26 as well - agreed to and scripted one of the pages as well. At 14, she did a fantastic job, so the baton definitely got passed. We could use more talented women writers in our business!
NRAMA: When in the production of Superman/Batman #26 did you learn of Superboy's fate in Infinite Crisis? What kind of changes, if any, had to be made?
JL: It all collided together. I spent a long time assembling the team of the 26, and then there were some logistics - legal stuff - that DC was incredibly helpful about. None of this would have been possible without Jack Mahan who works behind the scenes at DC and never gets the credit he deserves. Thanks, Jack.
And it was very helpful having Geoff Johns the architect of Crisis about eight feet away in our studio - The Empath Magic Tree House.
Oh, as a quick aside, there's a major name we'll be adding to our writing studio in the trees - joining Geoff, me, and Allan Heinberg. It's a pretty big announcement - this writer is so cool - and a great writer. Fantastic
And no, it's not Audrey Loeb [gleeful laugh]
NRAMA: All this said, is this issue then, what DC would call a "Crisis Aftermath" issue? As such, it's in continuity, such as it is after Infinite Crisis?
JL: It definitely is in continuity. And it definitely comes after Crisis. The tie-in comes out of story as opposed to "let's try and make this story about something that's happening in that big event. We knew that Superboy had died and we still had to use all of Sam's wonderful story. I think we did it well. I'm very proud of the 26 and those other folks who helped out along the way - like colorists Dave Stewart, Peter Steigerwald, David Moran, Laura Martin, Aron Lusen, Jose Villarrubia, and Matt Yackey - that brought the total way passed #26.... There are times when I count it and it's almost 52 - but that would have been a confusing title for a comic book [laughs]
NRAMA: Speaking of the 26, how did it work with all those artists and writers? Did you go with the teams everyone expects (i.e. Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale, Joss Whedon & John Cassaday, etc.)?
JL: When I first read Sam's story, it felt very episodic. It was not the kind of story I would tell. But, what I missed - really until I read the book all together - was that his background in videogaming affected his storytelling. It wasn't episodic at all - Superboy and Robin were being challenged like video game levels. That kind of storytelling lent to splitting up scenes.
Because we had more pages than artists, a few people were asked to do more than one page. I mean, how sweet is that double page spread by Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair! Can you imagine owning that?!
[editor's note: more on that subject in a moment]
And there are some real treats - guys you don't get to see do this kind of thing - Arthur Adams, Joe Madureira, Mike Kunkel (Herobear) are just a few!
Once the artwork came in, Eddie Berganza and I split up the pages - no writer got more than three - and we really teamed the writers by the subject matter on the page rather than what writer would work best with what artist since the artist already had a writer/partner in Sam.
That way people like Geoff Johns got to work with Jim Lee; Brian K. Vaughn was paired with Tim Sale; and of course, Joss stayed with Cassaday 'cause... uh...well... you tell Joss what he can or can't do [laughs]!
My hope is that one of the fun things about this book will be guessing who did what with who - and why those choices were made. The credits are on the last page of the book that talks about Sam and his legacy - but unless you want it spoiled you have to read the entire comic to figure out who did what. Again, I think Sam would've appreciated doing it that way since he was much into the "fun" of comics.
I did get to work with Tim, however, on the short story called "Sam's Story" that is in the issue as well. [Newsarama previously spoke with Loeb about the story and previewed a b&w version in its entirety] Jose Villarrubia colors are over Tim's inks. Your readers probably recall the story is from the Superman for All Seasons era (which Bjarne Hansen colored), Jose colored Prom Night the Superman For All Seasons short story in Tim's issue of Solo (DC's Solo #1: Tim Sale).
NRAMA: Schedule-wise, where is the issue? When will readers be able to buy it in comic book shops?
JL: As far as I know, Superman/Batman #25 ships on May 17th, then Superman/Batman #26 ships on May 31st.
I don't mean to pass the buck, but I don't do scheduling. The books are completed and have gone to the printers. After that, it's out of my hands.
My hope is that folks will enjoy the wrap up of most of the storylines in Superman/Batman #25 (hey, I had to leave something for Verheiden to sweep up!) and see the magic that is issue #26.
Also, #26 is a stand-alone story, 30 pages of story and art, and as you now know, two covers by Mike Turner. I promise you no matter how many copies your store has ordered, they don't have enough.
I mean, this is the perfect convention book - who wouldn't want to get all 26 plus autographs? And, if it matters, the more copies you buy, the more money goes to the Sam Loeb College Scholarship Fund.