Superman Through the Ages



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Before "Superman For All Seasons," writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale's first work for DC Comics was the "Challengers of the Unknown" mini-series, edited by Elliot S! Maggin.  The following is an excerpt from a longer interview with Jeph Loeb:

Superman put in a cameo in one of your issues of Challengers of the Unknown.  He seems to be the exact same character in this appearance to the one that you're writing now.

When I sent that script in, Elliot wrote back and said, "One day someone will go back and read this book and realize that this is the definitive Superman.  You've hit it dead-on, and I know; I've written the character for 10 years."  I was blown away by the compliment, but that's how Elliot was as an editor - he liked to use hyperbole.  It's funny, but that was the first time that I wrote Superman, and no-one has ever put it to me the way that you've put it to me, but I guess that it's just the way that I've always seen the character.

Here's a story: Elliot was supposed to get permission to use the Superman character.  It's one of the unwritten rules of the DC Office.  Mike Carlin at the time was running that area, and had some problems with the fact that Superman would go to court and would exonerate four characters that, according to Mike, he didn't know - because after Crisis he had no way of knowing the Challengers.  So we came up with a lot of ways of doing it, and finally decided that the Challengers had built a Superman robot to testify on their behalf.  That's why it's ironic when the attorney says, "How do we even know that this is the real Superman?" and Superman lifts up the jury box.  Because on the next page in that revised version, which Tim drew, the Challengers all go into the bathroom and take "Superman" apart and put him in a briefcase and walk out.  We sent it in to Elliot.  He disagreed with it and ran the story without the robot explanation.  But until the book was actually printed, I had thought - and certainly Carlin had thought - that the robot part was still in there.  When it came out, Carlin was more than a little shocked.  I called Elliot and said, "What happened to that page?" And he said, "There was no way that I was going to let that page in."

I think it cost him his job.
The Complete Interview

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SUPERMAN IN HIS COMICS!
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1933-1986
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1986-2002
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2003-2011
 external link: 1958-1966 reader's guide 
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