Jeph Loeb on Superboy and "Sam's Story"


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.
Anytime anything is said about Sam Loeb I just choke up. I reread the little Sam's story thing again and just like time, it got me. I'm really really looking forward to S/B #26, and I pre-ordered it like two months ago.
I'll be picking it up, but I buy Superman/Batman pretty regularly anyway. It should be real good and it's really nice with all that they did for Sam.
I did a quick revision of this new cover and updated Robin's costume to fit OYL: What you guys think:

I am going to go into more detail late on but just wanted to see what it would look like.
People talk about how 52 is such a great collaboration of writers and artists, but this takes the cake.

It's sad that it took the death of Jephs' son to warrent such a gathering.

This will be one of the most amazing books of our time. Never have I heard of something as amazing as Superman/Batman #26.

I've been with the book since the beginning and supported it every step of the way, through delays and fan outcries. I hope it's not only the people like me that purchase this book.

I hope I see every person walking into my local comic book store walking out with a copy of this book, even if they don't read Superman/Batman or even read DC comics.

Being Superman/Batman, the talent or the tribute to Sam itself would be enough to make this book fly off the shelves, we get all three.

This book will be quite memorable. Buy two copies and give one to a loved one. It's for a good cause.

Thank you everyone who are supporting this special issue for a special boy.
Sorry for double posting, but did anyone else notice Mary Jane and Gwen Stacey on the first page of Sams story?
I read that preview and well I do my best not to cry and I sort of feel bad now sense Im not going to buy it, and never was.:( Dang I feel cheap
Just plunk down the couple of bucks it will cost. It'll be worth it.
deathshead2 said:
I read that preview and well I do my best not to cry and I sort of feel bad now sense Im not going to buy it, and never was.:( Dang I feel cheap

This is one book you should buy regardless. I mean its only like $3. I doubt that will break anyone.
I'll get it, I have little or no praise for what Loeb did on Superman/Batman but I will buy this.
deathshead2 said:
I read that preview and well I do my best not to cry and I sort of feel bad now sense Im not going to buy it, and never was.:( Dang I feel cheap

Not to sound rude, but you probably should.

I'm sure you can sacrifice an X book or something else so that you can afford this issue. Hell if it comes down to it, ask a loved one for the money. It's only a few bucks and if you tell them what it is about and that part of the proceeds are going to charity, maybe they'll buy a few copies for themselves.

And if there is absolutely no way you can afford it, at the very least spread the word about this book. I want to see this book sold out.

A sad thought is that less than a month after the book is released you will see scalpers at conventions selling copies for $15 like they did with the 9/11 tribute in Amazing Spider-Man. That really burned me.
Purple Man said:
A sad thought is that less than a month after the book is released you will see scalpers at conventions selling copies for $15 like they did with the 9/11 tribute in Amazing Spider-Man. That really burned me.

I totally agree. That book is what got me back into comics. When it came out a friend of mine showed me it and i thought i should go in and pick it up. Something that really hit home bring that I live in NYC. When I went to the shop it was behind the counter at $25. I spent it because I felt I needed to have that. Since then I have fallen back into my childhood hobby which cost me up to $75 a week on books.
How did Sam, Jephs son die? How old was he? Whats happened. How do you donate? Thanks. :(
Sam died of cancer. I think he was around 17. You donate by buying the issue.
I just don't understand how people can do that with a clear conscience. If I could have afforded it I was going to buy as many copies as I could and give them away. That issue was something that I wanted everybody to read. Not sit on some dealers table for a ridiculous price.

When comics like this come out, they should never be sold for over the cover price. Getting your money back is one thing, but trying to make a quick buck off a book that is a tribute to a tragedy is just wrong.

I don't know how people like that can sleep at night. If I ever sold my comic collection Amazing Spider-Man vol 2 #36 and Superman/Batman #26 would be free of charge. Getting the story into someones hands and their hearts should be the focus.

Thank you Iceman for putting Superman/Batman #26 in your signature. I hope more people follow our lead.
Who elkse does he have left, a wife, any othger kids. Im definitley picking up more than 1 copy.
He has a fourteen year old daughter who added a small contribution to the issue as well.
lceman said:
This is one book you should buy regardless. I mean its only like $3. I doubt that will break anyone.
I barely have enough money for what I buy weekly let alone for a book thats not on my pull list. But if I do see that I get a extra money I might try to get.Also even if I told everyone in my school to buy it none of them even read let alone go inside a comicbook shop to buy it.

how awesome is that?

Users who are viewing this thread

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Latest member