Tuesday, April 19, 2022

A SUPERMAN & LOIS comic I co-wrote is out today and it has a very personal meaning for me

Today's the day! The SUPERMAN & LOIS comic book I wrote with fellow S&L writers Jai Jamison and Andrew N. Wong is on sale.

As a lifelong Superman fan, it is absolutely surreal to see my name on a Superman comic, let alone one with pencils by Tom Grummett - one of my favorite Superman artists. Tom was one of the artists on the book during the 90s, particularly during the period that covered the Death and Return of Superman. Tom's art is what a Superman comic should look like to me.

The writing was a very collaborative process, but I wrote the actual script for the second and third stories in the issue. The second one was very personal for me. It's a story about Clark thinking about some of those small moments in his childhood where his father's influence put him on the path to be the man he'd become. 

I lost my father to COVID in November 2020, after I'd been working on SUPERMAN & LOIS for about 8 months and only a couple months after I'd gotten a script assignment. My dad never got to see the show I'd waited my whole life to work on. He never got to see my first episode of TV, and as I started this, I was aware he'd never see my first comic book. That one especially stung because when I was younger, he bought me many of my first comics.

As the three of us writing the issue generated ideas for our stories, I landed on the second story that eventually saw print. I pitched it to Jai and Andrew as a story about the father/son relationship. Though I didn't specifically underline it was inspired by my feelings about my dad, they certainly knew what I was drawing on. Between the three of us we had several ideas and we had to whittle them down. They absolutely could have vetoed this early on... but they didn't.

Then we had to pitch our stories to our showrunner Todd Helbing. There were a couple that Todd passed on for one reason or another, but he gave the thumbs-up to "Father's Day" along with four other premises. We had to pitch three stories to our editor at DC, Andrew Marino. Andrew and Jai were supportive of "Father's Day" and it survived the culling.

After Andrew Marino approved the story, I told him about how it was a tribute to my dad and asked if there was any way it would be possible to dedicate it to him. He was immediately supportive of it, much to my gratitude.

To Todd, Jai, Andrew and Andrew... I lack the words to tell you what this means to me. I sent my mother and my brother advance copies of the issue and I'm at a similar loss of vocabulary when it comes to expressing how meaningful it was to all of us to pay tribute to my father, to make him a part of this experience even though he's no longer with us.

To Tom Grummett and Norm Rapmund, you rendered this story exactly as I saw it in my mind's eye. Thank you for the gift of your beautiful art.

Eventually I'm going to feel like I've said "thank you" enough times. So far I haven't reached that benchmark. The entire experience of working on SUPERMAN & LOIS has been one that I'm full of gratitude for. Losing my dad is always going to be tied to my history with this show... but thanks to this issue, so is celebrating him.

You can buy the issue digitally at Comixology and Amazon by going here.

For a peak behind the curtain, check out this interview that Jai and I did with ScreenRant.

We also did a very in-depth interview with Craig Byrne over at KryptonSite.

Michael Bailey of the Superman Homepage (which might be the first Superman site I read on the internet EVER) gave our issue 5/5 in Art and Story for all three of our tales. He writes: "Reading a story where you get to have all of the action of a standard Superman tale and see Lois going all out to get the story and on top of that throw in some amazing Easter eggs and on top of that give them a special way to celebrate their anniversary… I really can’t ask for anything more than that. It’s Superman and Lois as a show in a microcosm."

We also got the most generous review from Cori McCreery, whom I know to be a massive fan of the Pre-Crisis Era of Superman. In a tweet, she said, "This was one of the best Superman comics I've read in a long time, and really captured both the feeling of my favorite era and of the show it was spun out of. Great job guys." The review made me unexpectedly emotional and I'm grateful to Cori for what she said.

I hope you all enjoy the issue. And if you don't, as Ed Wood says, "My next one will be better!"

Here are the preview pages, which are basically just an excuse for me to show off Tom and Norm's lovely work.