It’s nearly two full months into 2023 and we’ve officially entered the Dawn of DC era—and all year long, DC is providing new epic series, new creative teams and new battles to fight.
You can get all three with the new Superman series from writer Joshua Williamson, fresh from the blockbuster miniseries Dark Crisis, and acclaimed Far Sector artist Jamal Campbell. Following some tumultuous recent events in the life of the Man of Steel (including being off planet and in the throes of Warworld for months) Clark Kent is back on Earth and back at the Daily Planet. Yet while there are familiar trappings, the series is distinctly contemporary, as Williamson and Campbell take comics’ first and greatest superhero—and his family, allies and enemies—to new heights, and pitted against truly vexing conundrums. Such as…Superman in charge of Lexcorp?
DC Nation spoke with Williamson about his plans for the series, teaming with an artist as bold and visionary as Campbell, the characters he was most excited about, and Lois Lane’s new gig (which happens to be driving her nuts).
It’s been a busy couple years for Clark Kent. Where is he at the start of Superman #1?
After Warworld, Kal-El Returns, Dark Crisis and the events of Action Comics #1050, Clark has been through a lot. None of that gets Big Blue down, though. He’s happy. Happy to be back home. Happy to be with his family. Happy to be back at the Daily Planet.
But he’s still got a lot on his mind. And there is a part of him that is lost in his own thoughts a bit.
He’s frustrated by the truth of his secret identity being stolen from him by Lex Luthor. He knows Lex could be a force for good in the world if he just let himself be, but Clark thinks Lex is too far gone for that now. And that bothers him. Lex is the one person Clark believes he can never save.
A new Superman #1 doesn’t come every day. What did you definitely want to include in the issue?
Clark and Lois. Clark and Jimmy. And Clark and Lex. I wanted to show those relationships. I wanted to see Clark rip open his shirt to become Superman. I wanted to show why Superman is awesome, and how it is so much more than his powers. That it’s his compassion and how he never gives up on humanity. He sees the best in everyone, no matter what.
How would you describe this new Superman series in five words?
Superman and Lex team up.
What character from the Superman mythos were you most excited to write?
This is a very hard question.
Lex. I love him. He’s so much fun to write, which is why he plays a big role in the series.
Then Lois and Jimmy. They really bring out the best in Superman comics.
What can you share about the changes at the Daily Planet?
Lois Lane is now Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet! And it drives her nuts. She wants to be on the streets chasing down stories, but knows that no one could run the Daily Planet other than her. It would burn down if she didn’t take that gig. And Jimmy is back as our star photographer…and he has a new girlfriend!
What’s the most exciting thing for you in seeing Jamal Campbell bringing this series to life?
His thoughtfulness. His passion for the character and his storytelling ability. Jamal has been an awesome partner on the book and brings a lot of perspective and energy to the series. One of the goals we have with the new series was that we wanted to honor what came before, use these epic pieces of Superman’s lore but also push everything into the new. And Jamal excels at that.
His vision of the series showcases all the greatest hits you want from a Superman title, but also introduces new elements. It all looks stunning. I can’t wait for people to see the art.
Who are some of the new villains in the series? And what classic villains play a role?
We will have a few new bad guys, new allies, and updates to the iconic villains we all love.
I wanted to dig deeper into the pulp hero/science hero side of Superman and that meant getting more mad scientists in the series. Superman had a lot of mad scientist enemies in his early days, so when it came time to create our new bad guys I wanted to start there. That’s how Doctor Phram and Mister Graft were created. They are a twisted pair of scientists obsessed with human experiments that have a secret history and connections to Metropolis. What those connections are will tie into a bigger mystery that Superman will uncover over the course of the series.
Then we have Marilyn Moonlight, the Spirit of Metropolis. She’s a new antihero who may or may not be a new ally of Superman. She only operates at night and her first appearance will be in Superman #2.
Then we have more new villains introduced as the series goes deeper into the year. A very major deadly one that will show up to really test Superman.
With the iconic Superman villains, I want to use them all. In the first few issues we spotlight Parasite, Livewire and Silver Banshee, each getting some character upgrades in the process. Using them to tell new stories with Clark, Lex and the rest of the cast.
We really want to touch on all of Superman’s cast of characters and explore all of his mythology. Tell fun stories that show how Superman can operate in any genre. And the villains we’re using and creating give us exciting opportunities to do that.
Superman #1 by Joshua Williamson, Jamal Campbell and Ariana Maher is on sale now in print and as a digital comic book.