'Zero Year' turning back the clock for Superman
(CBR) DC Comics' ongoing "Action Comics" is getting a brand new creative team and outlook this Fall as writer Greg Pak and artist Aaron Kuder take the Man Of Steel through "Zero Year," an incursion of subterranean people and a rotating mix of allies, new and old.
The writer for the new "Batman/Superman" series with artist Jae Lee, Pak has spent the past few months detailing the secret first meeting of Superman and Batman five years ago, and will dive back into the "jeans and t-shirt" Superman for his first "Action Comics" issue, a "Zero Year" tie-in that sees Clark in Gotham and a mysterious woman meddling in his affairs.
New permanent "Action Comics" artist Kuder is also a familiar face to fans of the Green Lantern corner of the DCU where he's spent much of his time drawing "Green Lantern: New Guardians," and was both the writer and artist for the Villains Month "Parasite" issue. Turning his pen and pencil to "Action Comics," after the flashback to "Zero Year," Kuder and Pak jump into a story set in the current DCU, pitting Superman against a new foe, a new character named Ghost Soldier and a mysterious woman from Clark's past.
Ahead of the November 6 release of "Action Comics" #25, Pak and Kuder joined forces to speak with CBR News about their goals for the title, their place in the larger two-year story building over the Superman line of books and what characters will not appear in their title (sorry, Giant Turtle Boy Jimmy Olsen fans)!
CBR News: You guys are beginning your "Action Comics" run with the "Zero Year" tie-in before moving into your first present-day New 52 arc in December. Why kick off your run with a tie-in, and does it have anything to do with the story that comes afterward?
Greg Pak: Yes, it will. I loved the idea as soon as I heard it; Scott Snyder and I had been talking about the amazing stuff he's doing in "Batman" and he told me about it months ago. When the opportunity came up to tie this first issue in with that it totally made sense, because it was a chance to tell a story with Superman when he's very young and lets us start at the beginning. I've joked about this before but its totally true, in comics its very rare to get the opportunity to start at the beginning. We're dealing with characters that have been around for decades! I've loved coming to work for DC because of the New 52 and having the chance to get in at an early point with all of these characters as they are being reintroduced. This is kind of taking that to the max where we're really going to the earliest days of Superman. That's really a special and fun place to start our run together!
CBR TV: Snyder Dives Into Batman's "Zero Year," "Superman Unchained" On the note of starting your run together, let's talk about your collaboration -- is this the first time you've ever worked together?
Pak: Yeah, definitely first time working together.
Aaron Kuder: This always gets back to the fact that I'm really new to the industry, only having been in it for three years now, I think. But the most amazing part of how I got into and how I've evolved in the industry is just the fact I've been able to work with so many amazing people. The people I've been teamed up with throughout these three years have been absolutely some of the most creative and supportive people I could imagine working with, and Greg is definitely high amongst that list.
Pak: This has been a fun one! Aaron and I got to meet each other briefly at the DC summit that happened months ago, and we had no idea we would end up working together -- its always nice to have met someone face to face. Then when we started working together we got on the phone and I think I've probably talked more with Aaron on the phone than any other artist I've worked with. It's just the way we've been doing this. I give a lot of credit to Eddie Berganza, our editor, for first encouraging that. Also, because we're working plot first on this particular story I'm writing out really detailed page-by-page and panel-by-panel outlines but I'm holding off writing the dialogue until the art comes in, so it's a way to really focus on what the story's about and what the visuals look like. So I send that outline and plot-first script to Aaron and then we get on the phone and talk it through, page by page, panel by panel, which is amazing!
Kuder: It really is!
Pak: We're both good on the phone, we like to talk a lot!
Kuder: We've gotten to the point where we finish each other's sentences -- but not necessarily with the sentence we were going to end it with. [Laughs]
In general, what are both of your goals for "Action Comics?" Do you want to concentrate on Superman's past mythos or really look to inventing new characters and villains for him?
Pak: We're doing both and I think this is one of the really exciting things about this. For me as a writer -- and as a reader, frankly -- the New 52 has been a blast because we don't have to spend a lot of time explaining past history. We can totally draw on and play with great stuff from the past, and we totally are, but we're able to tell stories fresh and come up with new stuff to dive in for the first time. These are the iconic characters we've all loved for years, but we're getting the chance to dip into them all over again. That's huge. Also, we've been given a lot of opportunity to create totally new friends and adversaries for Superman. We're building a big emotional story -- we had a big Superman summit with various Superman writers right before New York Comic Con and we've got a big, big plan! We're looking at the next two years of stories and there's tons of stuff happening with this character. There's a real arc that we're building that has the potential to be really powerful, and "Action" is a huge part of that. In these first issues of "Action" we are laying seeds for things that are going to pay off over the course of the next two years throughout all these books. You'll definitely want to jump in and buy them! [Laughs]
Kuder: Absolutely, buy our book! [Laughs]
Pak: So part of that is creating new characters for that arc and having fun bringing in characters people love from the past. In "Action" #25 we are bringing back a beloved Superman supporting cast member and you're going to see a whole new side of her -- I guess I'm going to say it's a she. She's awesome! And actually early on when we were talking about this character to Aaron he had a few very key suggestions that were great and play a big role in how we are developing her. She's going to be a lot of fun and a big challenge for everybody in the book. So -- yes! [Laughs]
Kuder: From the side of drawing this stuff, its just amazing that with the old stuff I get to honor the comic book creators I loved in the past and with the new stuff I get to make my own mark. It's really great.
Copyright © 2014 Comic Book Resources. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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