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Thursday, November 03, 2022 

Jurgens has more to say about his "homage" to the 1992 Death of Superman

Dan Jurgens was interviewed by Popverse, a website that appears to be founded by former contributors to a number of other news sites just as left-leaning (including Graeme McMillan, and Chris Arrant, formerly of Newsarama), and here's more he had to tell them about his return to the topic of Superman's publicity-stunt death in 1992-93, including the following premise:
Jurgens is teaming up with Brett Breeding, colorist Brad Anderson, and letterer John Workman for a story featuring Jon Kent learning about his father’s death from a young man named Mitch Anderson, who witnessed the battle as a boy. This revelation coincides with the arrival of a new supervillain Doombreaker, a monstrous beast who resembles and possesses the destructive raw power of Doomsday, with Superman leaping into action to face this threat.
I wonder if the current status where Jon is homosexual remains? Is Jurgens really that pathetic he'd fully comply with such a negative example? Supposedly, he's a conservative, but there's only so much he's done in his writing career that suggests he's anything but.
In the original 'Death of Superman,' Clark was engaged, but he was still largely doing his own thing. In this special, Clark is a husband and father. While you’ve written him in that capacity before, how was it approaching that dynamic within this context?

Dan Jurgens: It certainly makes it a little bit different, and part of that I think is that Superman has changed over the last 30 years. I think he stands to be a little bit of a different character than he was back then. I know that even after John Byrne had done the reengineering of the character, we were all intentionally doing Superman as a younger characte, whereas now he’s a little bit more reserved because he is a bit older and he does have a family.

I think that comes through in this story and very much what it’s about along with the idea that Jon is there as the point-of-view for readers who weren’t necessarily there in 1992. I think it does reflect that change that can happen over three decades of time.
One must wonder what kind of family this can be considered to be, where PC's been applied in a homosexual identity for Jon. The politics that have been heaped upon Jurgens' co-creation of recent are exactly why Superman becoming a family man has aged disastrously. Change can happen, yes, and not always for the better.
How was it bringing Mitch back in this story to tell what happened and have Jon realize this happened to his dad?

That was fun because, if we go back to that time, Mitch was very much representative of the 'Superman is boring, I’m not going to read Superman' crowd that was around at that time. I can’t remember if it was an issue of Justice League or Superman that I wrote and drew, with Mitch saying “I like Guy Gardner. He’s cool!” because Guy was the most acerbic character that DC had back then.

He stood for that, and to bring him back as an adult to explain all this to Jon after making that conversion himself, I thought was a fun and appropriate thing to do and also something that helped stay in touch with those stories from 30 years ago.
It goes without saying that any failure to make clear the crowd hostile to Superman based on some kind of virtue-signal ragging, and made no attempt to make merit-based arguments on the stories themselves, did a horrible disfavor to the medium. And as for Guy Gardner, how does Jurgens feel now that the character's since been humiliated by Gerard Jones? (And lest we forget, Jones also humiliated Obsidian from Infinity Inc.) Those first 8 issues of the Guy Gardner solo book from 1992-96 were a walking atrocity that're unlikely to be reprinted for a long time, and even if/when they are, they're so awful, who in the right frame of mind would want to buy them? Jurgens continued with:
In this story we say “The eyes of the world were on Metropolis,” and that’s clearly a reference for what was happening to all of us at that time. The eyes of much of the world was on the comic book industry because we were doing this thing called 'The Death of Superman.' It was on network news, every local news station, and things like that. Obviously, there’s this bit of meta commentary going on at the same time.
One can only wonder why Jurgens doesn't lament that a character dying would be considered a huge deal, but not marriage; I don't think the wedding of Clark Kent and Lois Lane ever made as big a headline when it took place around 1996, nor did it result in collector's mania at the levels seen at the time Superman was put in the grave a few years earlier.
In the 30 years since the original storyline’s publication, we’ve seen it adapted and referenced in Superman: The Animated Series, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the DC Universe Original Animated Movie. What is the secret core to this story that makes it work across all of its iterations?

I don’t think it’s a secret. I think what makes the story work is that it’s Superman. He is the most important constant across all of these things. If it’s a third or fourth-level character called Popsicle Man, people aren’t going to care as much, and you’re probably not going to have a sitting President eulogize Popsicle Man.

I think what is so important to this is that it’s Superman, who is the cornerstone character of this industry. The things you say about him, the level of caring we have about that, and the level of importance that Superman holds is just not extended elsewhere. If you start with that as the center of the story and everything else works around that, it should still work out no matter the medium. Whether it’s live-action TV, film, or animation, it should work no matter what.

Across the passage of time, seeing the story adapted, and hearing fan response, has there been anything that made you see the original story in a different light?

I don’t know about seeing it so much in a different light. I think what I have enjoyed is seeing the different attempts to recreate some of those moments. It’s been interesting to see Doomsday now where we’ve seen him in film, in two different TV series – Krypton and Smallville – and to see the different takes on that. It’s been interesting to see Doomsday in animation. I think what I’ve come to appreciate more is the breadth of the different attempts at this and how they all work.

In Batman v. Superman, there is a very specific scene that existed in the comics that they tried to then recreate in the film. Zack Snyder gives us a shot of Lois holding Superman’s body. It’s one thing to see your characters interpreted for film, it’s another thing to see a specific scene that you drew interpreted for film. It’s been fun across the board.
Well where's Jurgens been all this time? One could argue Batman's replaced Superman as an industry cornerstone with the way things have been going lately, based on the themes the PC crowd now considers superior, and if there's going to be a sequel to 2013's Man of Steel with Henry Cavill, it's coming at least a decade afterwards, in contrast to Chris Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, which was completed much closer to one another. A total joke, and that goes double for Jurgens' silly assertion everything works simply because it's all about the Big Blue Boy Scout. Jurgens is confirming the real reason anybody pays attention is simply based on image recognition, not story merit. If Superman were an obscure 125th tier character, the MSM wouldn't pay an ounce of attention, let alone question why it takes a death to make anybody sit up and take notice. In a sane world, that shouldn't have to be the case. And what's so "fun" about the premise? At the end, he said:
To this day, I don’t do a con or store signing anywhere where someone doesn’t come up to me and say that the 'Death of Superman' got them into comics or their dad picked it up for them on the way home from work or their mom let them skip school that day so that they could go to the store. Everyone has those stories, and I think this will especially appeal to them.
But do they find the death of Adam Grant at the hands of the Toyman appealing? These kind of questions are never answered. Nor is how the story served as a lead-in to the next "event" which was worse: Emerald Twilight. Jurgens sure doesn't seem concerned about the embarrassment heaped upon Hal Jordan back in the day, laced heavily with shock value in its journey from point A to point B, with Kyle Rayner replacing Hal as resident Green Lantern, and all but established as the only GL for a time. Though as I'd noted some time ago, Jurgens did once seem to feel regret over bumping off Adam, though if he really did feel sorry, why didn't he take the challenging path of developing a resurrection tale for Adam, which could culminate in mother Cat hugging her thankfully returned son? Which reminds me: as bad a writer as Greg Rucka is, one fortunate thing that may have occurred in his Wonder Woman run in the mid-2000s is that a young boy who'd been turned to stone by Medusa had his fate reversed several issues later. But that's just a drop in the bucket for tales involving resurrections of civilian characters, and few of the writers whose works aren't as PC as Rucka's have ever had the privilege of scripting a tale emphasizing a resurrection of a civilian co-star, if at all. Unless writers who consider themselves respectable of fans are willing to stand up and make clear civilians have to be allowed the same right as superheroes get for resurrection, this whole farce will continue.

In the end, no matter what Jurgens says, the Death & Return of Superman just isn't the modern classic he wants everybody to think it is, and the publicity stunt effects are as obvious as the committee development of the tale.

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