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Interview: Scott Lobdell on SUPERMAN, Lois Lane and Shirtless Kryptonians

'H'el on Earth' is underway and the writer discusses some of the elements to the character along with Kryptonian fashion styles.

SUPERMAN #16

SUPERMAN #15 came out yesterday and H'el is still causing problems for Superman. With Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort coming on the title, we're seeing several new developments with Superman and other characters. With H'el on Earth going on, there are a lot of questions about the character and Krypton.

We had the chance to ask Scott a few questions to try to get to the bottom of things.

Comic Vine: Was H'el originally going to be Bizarro? Did the story change or evolve?

Scott Lobdell: When I made a proposal for Superman, part of it was to take Superman's rogues gallery and kind of bring them into the New 52. As anyone who has read TEEN TITANS or even to a degree, RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS, knows that I'm not above taking as many liberties as I can with the characters when defining them. In the proposal, I came up with a new take on Bizarro and Toyman and Parasite and Starro. They were so far afield from who these characters had been traditionally that DC said, in particularly in the case with my take on Bizarro, I had essentially just created an entirely different character. It would make more sense to let the character be his own character and leave Bizarro for another time.

When the entire story gets told, of H'el and not only just his origin he's revealed to us but also the origin he doesn't perhaps know at this time, by the time that story is told, everyone will see why DC, in their infinite wisdom were smart to separate H'el and Bizarro.

So yes, I had originally discussed a new take on Bizarro but ultimately it became such a bizarre take, if you will, that he became a different character completely.

CV: You've mentioned before that Helspont, last seen in the annual, is a story for later. Does that mean there's no connection to H'el?

SL: Correct. They might share some of the same monogramed bath towels, I'm guessing.

CV: Is using a family name a common thing on Krypton? He mentioned he didn't share the "blood" of her family?

SL: Considering that all six billion Kryptonians are dead, he can pretty much call himself Jor-El if he wanted to. There's no one there to correct him but I will say that Krypton was a very big place. Someone recently complained about why he's wearing what looks like a dress. I said well in America, there's not a lot of people wearing kilts but there are parts of the world where kilts and grass skirts and these types of clothing are acceptable. I think traditionally we've only seen Jor-El and the Science Council and maybe a city or two here and there. We have barely barely ever glimpsed Krypton in all its splendor and in all its multicultural facets which I'm sure exists. I think that it is probably well within the grounds of proper Kryptonian etiquette to perhaps take the name of a family that you respect or has accepted you. We're going to see a huge huge scene between Lara, Jor-El and H'el in issue 16. That should answer a lot of questions.

SUPERMAN #16

CV: What about his powers? Will we find out why he and Superboy have telekinesis and other Kryptonians don't?

SL: It's very fascinating to me, I used to read comics when I was younger and there was so much I didn't need to know to enjoy the story. To me, if I was a kid and reading H'el and all his powers and stuff, I would find it fascinating but wouldn't need to understand it. It's interesting to me that we live in a time where we need to know. I've had this question before and I could tell you but if I told you I'd be telling you what's happening in an issue around 24 or 25. Then you would be very angry at me.

Do you find that interesting at all?

CV: It's because of the internet. People feel like they could and should know everything right away.

SUPERMAN #15

SL: It's very interesting. So yes. And in issue 15, Lex says to Superman, or he alludes to it, it's this notion that we've all been looking at H'el and wondering how is he can do so many more amazing things than Superman? What happened to H'el that allows him to do that? I think the bigger question is what is it about Superman that has not had him manifesting these powers? Is it because he doesn't possess them or is it because Superman is so physically powerful that it's enough for him to push planets into orbit and deliver beat downs to intergalactic armies? Is it that he hasn't had to explore these different elements of his powers. Whether that's true or just Lex trying to crawl under Superman's skin is a story that I think all the Super-books will be investigating over the next or at least touching on.

CV: Is it pronounced "hell" or "huh-ell"?

SL: Huh-el! It's actually pronounced Huh-dash-el. That's the actual pronunciation. No.

CV: When can we expect answers about the zero issue, such as Superman being there before the destruction?

SL: Around issue 24 or 25. It might be 23 and 24. Right now it's planned in 24 and 25 of all Superman books, ACTION, SUPERGIRL, SUPERBOY and SUPERMAN. But that could change because life is about change.

SUPERMAN #16

CV: Is H'el just trying to impress Kara to try to recreate Kryptonians the 'old-fashioned way'?

SL: No, I think what's really tragic about H'el is from thirty thousand feet up he has a very noble cause that anybody could get behind. This is the saving of his planet. Unfortunately, as we discover, he can't do that without destroying Earth. That makes him what you and I would traditionally call a supervillain. To him, he thinks there's nothing more important than bringing back Krypton. He'll do anything to make that happen, including manipulating Kara. Sadly as the story progresses, he is going to find that his affection for Kara may at some point trump his prime directive to bring back Krypton. As you alluded to in your question, he might actually think there might be a more hands on approach to his goal.

CV: With the Justice League in SUPERMAN #16, will we see more of Lois Lane's reaction to Superman and Wonder Woman being a couple?

SL: Their relationship has not been made public just yet. Also in the New 52, Lois is so much more her own person than perhaps she's been portrayed in the past. So even when the time comes that Superman and Wonder Woman's relationship is made public, I don't necessarily think we're going to see a Lois who's particularly broken up about it. She has moved in with Jonathan Carrol. Presumedly she's very sincere and happy in that relationship.

CV: A user asked, if H'el is trying to hide his chest symbol, why doesn't he just put on a shirt?

SL: Again, I used to live in Malibu, CA. My neighbor six doors away was Matthew McConaughey and I used to ask that same question of him everyday when I would walk the dog. I never asked him directly but I did wonder why the guy will just not put on a shirt. Having said that, I do believe there are many places the world today that if were to hop into your Comic Vine catapult and shoot yourself across the planet, you could probably land in a many places where a shirt and shoes are not required for service. Similarly we will learn that H'el comes from a place on Krypton where tunics are not mandatory.

SUPERMAN #15 is on sale now. Issue #16 is in stores January 30.

72 Comments
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Posted by davidgrantlloyd

Keep up the great work, Scott Lobdell!

Posted by jobbernos

cool.

Posted by Teerack
Edited by drgnx

Is it just me, or is his main reason from H'el not putting on a damn shirt because Matthew McConaughey didn't wear one around his neighborhood?

Other than that, I like the new changes. I like the fact they are toying with Kryptonian powers. It seems there might be a trade off vs using TK and use physical enhancement and seen with Superboy's abilities. I'm sure H'el is a clone though and I hope they don't try to make him the Eradicator and I hope they don't kill him off either.

I don't like the new Steel design, and hope he gets his emblem back, I'm sure he will have to work for it though, it is the one change I don't like for DCnU.

I'm happy Superman is not with Lois, lets shake sh*t up, I hope she does her own thing and any relationship is temporary. Even if Wonder Women relationship goes south, Lois and Superman have had their run, I'd rather see them pull a Batwomen and have Lois hook up with Diana if the Super couple breaks up =P.

I'm just sick of tradition and have hopes the new 52 won't get shackled to it to appease traditionalists. I hope that they don't let DC's choice to not let H'el from being Bizzarro stop them from changing him when he comes back; the old Bizzarro could be too comical at times.

Posted by colonyofcells

I am ok with super heroes hopping from girlfriend to girlfriend. Flash also is not with Iris so the new dc policy seems to try other girlfriends. Wonder Woman should also try many boyfriends and maybe Wonder Woman is bisexual.

Posted by darkman61288

@drgnx Tradition is what these characters are all about. If that's the case why completely change who Superman is. How bout he is no longer an alien. Why not go farther?

Posted by colonyofcells

I think in the next round of reboots, dc can just convert all of the origins from other planets into earth experiments which are more believable. The current biotech advances and nanotech advances are enough explanation for all super heroes.

Posted by darkman61288

I agree,but are you serious?

Edited by drgnx

@darkman61288 said:

@drgnx Tradition is what these characters are all about. If that's the case why completely change who Superman is. How bout he is no longer an alien. Why not go farther?

I would totally be down for that too! Ultraman is one of my favorite variations of Superman. But at some point it there will be a line like H'el vs Bizzarro, when the character is not the character. I would completely not care if they made him from earth and I dig the Superboy changes to his powers as he is more TK based than before.

Edited by colonyofcells

Labs near my home are now routinely creating new species of life by manipulating genes or putting together new genes with lego parts so why not redo super hero origins ? We now have the technology to easily redo superman's origin, better, stronger, faster.

Posted by darkman61288

true they could do that with most of the superpowered heroes. But people would complain about his strenght level. Also when do think this going to happen? I think in about ten years.

Posted by colonyofcells

I don't know the future but I believe the shirtless H'el should get his own CW tv show right after the Amazon tv show comes out.

Edited by drgnx

@colonyofcells said:

I don't know the future but I believe the shirtless H'el should get his own CW tv show right after the Amazon tv show comes out.

They should do a show about Krypton before it blew up. They can have the clone wars. They can have a war with their neighboring planets (a la Earth-1). They can have an arc where the survivors of the explosion fly from planet to planet until they find the dead Daxamite world, who themselves perished in a war with their clones. Next the Kryptonians proceed to fly aimlessly through spaces until they are captured by Brainiac. Finally they have a TV movie where Superman saves them from Brainiac and it shows them 100000 years later as a prospering society on Mars building clones again with a war brewing with the humans; then H'el will show up at the end and be like "it has happened before and it will happen again". They can call the first part of the show Krypton and the second part Battle city Kandor.

Posted by colonyofcells

For a Krypton tv show, I prefer the 1938 super insect like kryptonians. All the kryptonians will be super like Jedi Knights and H'el is also a jedi knight which explains why H'el can do jedi mind tricks. The super kryptonians rule the universe for a thousand years until they are betrayed by General Zod who uses the secret back door weakness to the kryptonian brains to blow up their heads and kills all the kryptonians.

Edited by HeroFromKrypton

@Fastblender said:

Well let's go see what IGN thinks of the latest issue of this "story" http://m.ign.com/articles/2013/01/02/superman-15-review Hmm, a 5.1, or a 51/100, a failing grade. Or in comicvine terms, a 2.5/5 An excerpt: Seriously, this Superman’s behavior is so unrecognizable that you would need to go watch Zack Snyder's Man of Steel trailer to remind yourself what experiencing Superman should feel like.

You can determine from just a trailer that this movie will be a true Superman experience? I'm an optimist and I'm hoping for the best with Man of Steel, but it pisses me off when haters bash the comics and then praise a movie they have yet to see. We barely even know what the plot is.

Posted by oisindadevil

I think someone found H'el as he traveled through hyperspace and examined his Kryptonian physiology and then augmented his energy absorption powers for some deeper purpose.

Posted by COBRAMORPH

Scott Lobdell said:

It's very fascinating to me, I used to read comics when I was younger and there was so much I didn't need to know to enjoy the story. To me, if I was a kid and reading H'el and all his powers and stuff, I would find it fascinating but wouldn't need to understand it. It's interesting to me that we live in a time where we need to know. I've had this question before and I could tell you but if I told you I'd be telling you what's happening in an issue around 24 or 25. Then you would be very angry at me.

The thing I liked best about Superboy was his Telekinesis powers, even if I havent yet seen something that shows how his powers worked. I've never liked the comic book idea that aliens all have the same powers. Although I do admit that in the case of Superman, his super-powers just being a mutation in him who just happens to be the last of his people & becoming a hero is kinda wierdly unlikely. Still, the idea that Superman might have even more powers that he doesnt know about, I do not like at all. Thats unnessassery. Wasnt Zod or Non shown to have telekinetic powers in Superman2? Kal-El doesnt need to have eveything.

I just wonder how H'El will linger around once he no longer serves a purpose, like Doomsday. Especially once the New52 is ended, & the DCU returns to the pre-Flashpoint normal.

Edited by darkman61288

He is a one shot villan. How else can they use him. Which gets me to the point that Dc is doing too much too fast. They are puting everything foreward. At this rate the DCU would need to be rebooted 5years from now.

Posted by Ubermensch

CV: A user asked, if H'el is trying to hide his chest symbol, why doesn`t he just put on a shirt?

Maybe he just likes to let his skin breath. LOL :P

Posted by xxxddd

@revbucky said:

Sounds very interesting! Great artwork too.

Posted by Baberaham_Lincoln

I hope Rocafort stays for a looooonggg time... he makes superman's hair look awesome

Edited by Ubermensch

@baberaham_lincoln: Word... Superman`s hair by Rocafort looks as good as Dr. Derek Shepard: MC. Dreamy of Grey`s Anatomy (Patrick Dempsey) ^_^