It’s an exciting time to be a Superman fan. With Clark Kent gravitating towards more and more off-world threats, the mantle of Earth’s protector falls to his son, Jonathan Kent. Writer Tom Taylor and artist John Timms are ushering in this new era with a brand-new book, Superman: Son of Kal-El. This debut delivers a fresh direction for Jon and sets the course for the world’s newest symbol of hope.
Ahead of today’s release, we recently interviewed Taylor, where we talked his other DC projects, the story’s influences, and the role of Future State, among other topics and tidbits.
AIPT: As someone whose written many alternate versions of these characters (Injustice, DCeased), how was the transition to writing their main continuity counterparts?
Tom Taylor: It’s always a little bit more daunting because with Injustice and DCeased you can break the toys. Your allowed to snap them in half, tear their heads off in brutal ways, punch their chests out or other horrific things. Whereas in this people are like, “Um, could you stop? They need to be alive for the next person and for that other book they appear in.” So that’s one of the setbacks. But having said that, on the cover of issue #4 you’ll see we destroy the Kent house and that’s very on brand for me. Goodbye Kent farm.
So yeah, it’s just about being reminded your playing in a shared universe and being a bit respectful of that, but also swinging as hard as you can in those confines and finding where you can push. I guess I’m a little lucky cause I’m not telling Clark’s story, I’m telling Jon’s story. In a large sense people don’t know who he is yet and he doesn’t know who he is yet, so I get to find that with him. I get to challenge him in ways that he’s never been challenged before.
AIPT: You’ve mentioned the ’70s Superman movie as a source of inspiration. What other sources are you drawing from?
TT: That’s a good question, which is another way of saying that’s a really difficult question. I’m a strange person, I sit down and I just write and I often don’t know where I’m drawing from. You know it’s usually from osmosis of everything I’ve read. If you’re talking about great Superman stories, then you know you’re looking at All-Star Superman, Superman for All Seasons, and everything that Joe Kelly touched during that era. Some of my favorite Superman stories go back to there and some fantastic Justice League.
I’m drawing from those stories but I’m also drawing from every other hero I’ve written. I think there’s something so very Superman about Nightwing that I love. There’s a reason they’re both kind of the heart of the DC Universe. And not to spoil anything, but there is a good chance that Nightwing and Jon will share some pages in the future. I come from all over the place when I’m looking for inspiration.
AIPT: How much will Son of Kal-El be playing into the other Superman titles?
TT: In early days it will, but I assume we all know that Clark is leaving. So once he’s gone and left the earth, Jon is the Superman of earth. There is no other Superman here and we’re not playing into that until the plans change. He will just be the Superman of Earth. So he’s not really interacting with anybody else, except in another way which I can’t reveal yet around issue #4-5.
AIPT: How much of Jon’s rogues gallery will be him inheriting Clark’s villains versus new ones?
TT: It will be a mixture of both. We will see him take on some big names especially in the next month or so.
AIPT: So at the end of issue #1 we see a shared moment between Jon and Damian. Will any more of Jon’s supporting characters (Beacon, Bizarro-Superboy) be coming back from other runs?
TT: It’s tricky. Part of sitting down to write Jon is realizing that a lot of his friendships are in the future, a lot of his friendships are in other realms. He doesn’t have many people, particularly his own age, in the here and now. So a large part of this book is about finding a new cast for Jon. People that he’s going to be friends with, people that he’s going to change things with. We talked about the Truth very early on in this issue, a sort of more modern version of the Daily Planet, and that is going to come into the book more as we go ahead. But for now it’s about creating that cast.
It’s about not forgetting Damian in particular because they’re one of the worlds finest friendships and I love what they have. They have a great friendship and we’ll definitely be keeping that. A lot of people are still concerned because of the age shift of Jon but they’re now back to the exact same age difference. So Damian’s 14 and Jon’s 17, where as they used to be 10 and 13, it’s the same but just flipped. Damian is definitely a big part of it, but so is Lois. Lois has not had the page presence that she’s deserved with Jon. So she’s going to be a really big part of his life, particularly with Clark leaving.
AIPT: How much will the glimpse we saw of Jon during Future State function as a direction for the title?
TT: Future State I see as a kind of an Elseworlds. Where we can get into it if we want and there’s always that in the back of our minds, but we’re not driven there. So for now, we have a really big character and world story to tell in our book and that’s what we’ll be focusing on.
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