Monday, August 8, 2011

The Death of Superman

Hey, I  just jogged my memory recently, by, oddly enough, watching "Newsies" with my family. It connects to the DC Comics storyline, The Death of Superman, in a strange way. The way? I keep mistaking it for the reason the Death of Superman existed. The movie I want to remember is 1993's "Swing Kids," also starring young Christian Bale. That movie is the reason Superman died, in the comics, rather than getting married to lois Lane.
 Anyhow, as I remember this, we, the Superman writers at that time (Dan Jurgens, Roger Stern, Louise Simonson and myself), had plotted out broad strokes for the many Superman titles, in conjunction with editor Mike Carlin, and associate Dan Thorsland, leading up to the wedding of Superman and Lois. We would chart out the rough outlines for over a year in advance, really, always leaving room for changes as the work started on a given issue. The wedding was scheduled for Adventures of Superman#500, far in the future. Somewhere in there, word came down that ABC was interested in doing a TV series called Lois and Clark. The possibility arose, of saving the comic book wedding, to do as a true tie-in to the show, a cross promotion. A great marketing tool to feed a potentially huge audience to comic book stores!  The execs were developing the show with  Thomas Carter as the perfect showrunner/ producer, based on his track record on tv with Hill Street Blues, The White Shadow, all great character driven shows. It would be a gritty drama, with an emphasis on the newspaper stuff, and the stories the reporters chased down. Sounded great to us, but suddenly we hear that Mr. Carter was going off to make the feature film "Swing Kids," and we were left scrambling to substitute a storyline for the wedding, knowing that the show was being delayed, the wedding had to be pushed back. We had to save the comic book wedding for the TV show. So we suddenly had a free slate, and somehow or other, the greatest comic hero met his death by our hands. Maybe a bit of spite found its way into our thinking, I can't say for sure.
Thomas Carter would have been terrific on Lois and Clark, but that never came to be either. It certainly would have been a different show,  more gritty and real. As it happened, the show worked in a frothy, "Moonlighting" vein as well.
                                                 line art by Dan Jurgens & Jerry Ordway
from the Death of Superman Omnibus edition, tm & copyright DC Comic 2011

1 comment:

Mike Mikulovsky said...

VVVeeeerryyyy iinntteerreessttiinnggg!!!