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Thursday, June 14, 2012 

Scott Lobdell is going to take over Superman

Big Shiny Robot ran an interview with former Marvel hack Scott Lobdell, now a hack for DC, who's going to be writing Superman's title soon, and with the increasingly poor writer he's been for years now, I don't expect much of anything to come of this. They ask him:
BY: Will you be carrying on the continuity, or pulling a new New 52 and tweaking things slightly?

SL: “Pulling a new New 52!? I love your questions, Bryan!

Let me say that there will be tweaking aplenty — but I think it is going to be in terms of tone and attitude and not in history or continuity. We have no plans to reveal Lois is Superman’s daughter from an alternate future or that Perry White is actually an amnesic Jonathon Kent who has been in witness protection.

But yes, you’ll see from the very first issue — in fact, even in the Annual and the Zero issue before it — a Superman that is going to feel very of the moment.
Which should amount to 15 minutes, no doubt. Lobdell himself has been very irrelevant for more than a decade now, with very few positives and far too many negatives on his track record.
BY: What is your favorite thing about the Superman character and how do you guys hope to bring that to book?

SL: I like the sheer uniqueness of Superman. The fact he is stuck on a planet of six billion people — that he is the self appointed champion of those people — but that he will never be one of them? How awesome is that? If it were me I would probably take a deep breath and fly into space and find a planet where people were more like me (could you imagine what that would look like) — maybe a planet that wasn’t so reliant on what I did every day. But not Kal El. He’s there day in and day out putting his life on the line for a people that alternately put him on a pedestal or steer clear of the most famous alien on Earth.
What's that supposed to mean he's self-appointed and won't ever be one of the Earthlings?
BY: What villain are you itching to dust off and introduce to the new 52?

SL: All of them! Seriously, there are so many amazing characters in Superman’s rogue’s gallery and we’ve barely scratched the surface of them in the first ten months of the New 52!

That said, most of the tweaking you’ll see will probably be in those villains. We want to update them, but not in a “here, put on this quantum powered costume!” or “You would look scarier in leather” — but more in a way that “What does this particular villain represent to Superman? How would he or she be imagined if we created them today and not twenty or sixty years ago.”

The idea of an insane Superman should be the most horrifying thing anyone of us can imagine, for example, but when that person winds up being a cute and cuddly Bizarro, it takes the villain out of super villain.

We plan to change that.

When Superman puts on his cape it is only because it is a job for Superman. The days of bank robbers and men tossing toys at him are behind us!
I guess that means he'll be making villains more repellantly violent? Nothing to see there then. But the real cop-out has got to be when he implies that bank robberies are old fashioned, and that Bizarro is a cuddly villain. Bizarro has been anything but cute for over 2 decades now, as the first post-Crisis rendition of him in John Byrne's 1986 Man of Steel miniseries made clear. And the lack of bank robberies to foil is just the problem with modern superhero comics. They don't have to make the main storyline, but they can give something for heroes to deal with on the side.
BY: What comic books are you reading currently that people should check out?

SL: I am a huge fan of team books and I find that TEEN TITANS is maybe the newest and freshest take on teen super hero books on the market today. And RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS is every bit as amazing and anarchistic as the fans proclaim it is — I would place it in the top five of the industry’s best books!

In fact, I am willing to say publically that if you adore RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS (and, hey, who doesn’t?!)… you are going to love the little red boxers off of SUPERMAN!

(It’s important to note that Lobdell and Rocafort are the team behind Red Hood and the Outlaws.)

On that title, Lobdell saw some level of controversy for turning Starfire from a female role model into a sex object. Despite that change, the book is well-written and funny. It follows the exploits of Jason Todd (the Robin that died) and his band of misfits as they do “good” around the world. He’s also been writing Teen Titans, which is the only book that features Tim Drake (the third Robin and current Red Robin). He has completely different writing voices appropriate for each of the books, so him writing Superman will come with true surprises and shouldn’t be raising any red flags.
Well that pretty much caps the interview with a sewage cover. If he's going to boast so much, and the interviewer is going to be his apologist, then they're not doing much to convince anyone his work is worth it. To say that Lobdell turned Koriand'r into a sex object is just downplaying the problem; he turned her into a brainless amnesiac, that is what's wrong here. I think the typo of "reading" is a lot funnier than Lobdell's own writing is ever bound to be. I thought he was writing the books. Oh wait, maybe he really is spending too much time reading when his job is supposed to be writing.

If the Outlaws are being depicted as some kind of anarchists, that's ludicrous, considering it's the villains they face who usually engage in that kind of awful stuff. So now, what the former Titans do is really bad? What's the use of reading Red Hood then?

And even if he doesn't do anything seriously alienating with Superman, chances are it'll still be quite tedious, much like his past writing on X-Men.

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That's a sign DC doesn't care much for Superman.... Lobdell is a hack, and he has a reputation for getting titles cancelled not long after he takes them over. Didn't Alpha Flight get cancelled about a year after Lobdell wrote that issues which "outed" Northstar?

Yes, it was canceled at least a year after that. In fact, Lobdell left Alpha Flight pretty quickly after he'd written that embarrassing story in issue 106 too. If only they'd fired him altogether.

I was never a big fan of his scripts, but I'll always have a soft spot for him. He was very friendly and cooperative back when I was writing for Advanced Iron (the Iron Man fanzine) and he was writing IM.

I didn't know he wrote Iron Man. I just knew he worked on X-Men and its related titles.

Carl: Yep, the first few issues of "Heroes Reborn" Iron Man.

I was never a fan of Heroes Reborn, but I did enjoy Busiek's run on Iron Man and also on the Avengers.

Lobdell is here to stay at DC unforunately. Being a personal buddy of the current EIC has its priveleges. Even if they reboot again or whatever they call the next DC universe phenomena, Lobdell will be like one of the mainstay writers and always get first crack at the A-list books. Superman sales drops and now look he's writing Batman and Liefeld is drawing it! Personal buds will get you the cushy jobs all the time.

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