I’ll tell you what, Kryptonians age better than us Earthlings. Superman is turning 75 and he looks pretty good for an old alien. Since his first appearance in Action Comics #1 The Man of Steel has been protecting, saving and helping the inhabitants of his adopted home, earth.
Superman Unchained #1 1930’s Variant by Bruce Timm
Now it’s 2013 and the red cape can be seen flying all over the place. He is making his triumphant return in Zach Snyder’s reboot, Man of Steel, on June 14th. From what we have seen, things look really promising that this will be a fantastic tribute to the man who is faster than a speeding bullet. The other thing that is high on our radar is the superstar collaboration between writing phenom Scott Snyder and artist extraordinaire, Jim Lee with their new series Superman Unchained which hits shelves on June 12th.
Superman Unchained #1 Golden Age Variant by Dave Johnson
The folks over at IGN got a chance to talk to DC’s Dan Didio and see the upcoming variant covers for the new series first issue. Here is a look at variant covers for Superman Unchained along with what DiDio had to say about the world’s most famous mild mannered reporter.
Dan DiDio: Did you take a look at the variant covers?
IGN Comics: Yeah, man, they are fantastic. Really excited about them.
DiDio: Yeah, we’re really excited about it, too. It was one of those things we wanted to do, especially given this was Superman’s 75th anniversary year. With a major launch like this, with the variant covers, we really wanted to capture Superman through the years and Jim Lee working with Mark Chiarello really captured that, the decades of Superman throughout time.
IGN: And that was actually one of my questions. You really went all out with these variants. Can you talk a bit about why you pursued the specific artists that you did?
DiDio: We really wanted to go after the artists that captured the flavor and the spirit of the times that we were going for — everything from Superman’s inception through the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, Modern Age, through to capturing the time of Superman Reborn. Also, we’re looking at Superman versus his greatest nemesis, Lex Luthor.
So we really wanted to capture the things that just resonated with the people throughout the years, because ultimately it just shows the life and longevity of this character. And the fact that we’re able to launch this book, Superman Unchained, in the way we have just shows that he’s just as vibrant and vital now as he was 75 years ago.
Superman Unchained #1 Bronze Age Variant by Neal Adams
IGN: So what are your hopes for Superman Unchained as a series? Is this going to be the new sort of flagship Super-book?
DiDio: Realistically, we wanted to go out in a big way and really tell that strong, concise story with Superman and really set the tone, not just for the character, but for the DC Universe as a whole. We’re more than a year and a half into the New 52, and one of the things we really want to do is go out with a big Superman story, and I think this is the one.
Superman Unchained #1 Modern Age Variant by Jerry Ordway
IGN: Obviously, in addition to the 75th anniversary, you guys have the benefit of a movie coming out this year. From an editorial and publishing perspective, how do you approach a big release like that in terms of maximizing the visibility of the books?
DiDio: The reality is the movie takes on such great weight and such great attention that, you know, it sort of feeds back into the book in a very organic way. The fact of the matter is, we knew we had two major Superman launches in June around the same time. The movie was important to us because we knew all the attention was going to be on Superman, but we didn’t want the attention just to be on the film, we wanted it to be on comics too, because that’s where he started and that’s where his origins were. We wanted to make sure that we met the level of excitement and expectations with the books we were putting out as people were starting to build for the film itself.
Superman Unchained #1 Superman vs. Lex Luthor Variant by Lee Bermejo
IGN: Do you guys have any other plans to make the most of Superman’s 75th?
DiDio: We have further plans, and we’ll announce them later in the year. We look at it as more of a year-long celebration than a single date, and realistically we have an April start to his birth, but quite honestly with everything with Man of Steel, that seems like a more important date for us to be building off of — and Free Comic Book Day too.
Between Free Comic Book Day, between the film, between the launch of Superman Unchained, Batman/Superman and the [regular] series itself, that’s just the start of everything that we have planned to really give Superman a push from now to December.
GN: Forgetting your day job and your role within the company — just as a pure comic book fan — what does Superman mean to you?
DiDio: You know, it’s a fascinating thing to me, because I’ve always enjoyed the character. But it’s hard for me to separate my job from knowing the character now. I knew him from the movies and TV and the comic stories that I enjoyed, I knew him as a member of the Justice League, I knew him from the villains he fought, I knew him from the World’s Finest comics where he appears with Batman — everything from DC Comics Presents to the relaunch with John Byrne to The Death of Superman with Dan Jurgens.
I experienced all of those as a fan just like anybody else, and those stories still hold so strong to me now. To be part of the process and to be part of building Superman, you realize how many things you’re up against because of how many great stories have been told with him. Our goal right now is to keep on building on that legend and going forward.
Hopefully, during the period of time that I’ve been here working on him, the next generation will remember the stories from the time that we’re here that resonate just as much as the stories resonated with me before I got here.
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