Brian Michael Bendis must have given the Man of Steel a serious shot in the arm when it comes to sales because two friends of Superman are getting their own books once again… Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, as announced by the Los Angeles Times recently.
DC Comics is putting journalists in the spotlight with “Lois Lane,” from writer Greg Rucka and artist Mike Perkins, and “Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen,” from writer Matt Fraction and artist Steve Lieber. Both 12-issue series’ will launch in July.
I’m going to be fascinated to see what they do with them.
If you have been comics for as long as I have, you’d probably remember that Lois Lane’s title had a few words in front of her name: “Superman’s Girl Friend.” Well, these days, her relationship with Clark Kent is much more developed, so I’m not surprised they don’t say something like “Superman’s Wife” in the title. Nahhhhhh.
A lot of Lois’ previous comic focused on her attempts to turn their relationship more serious, as it were. This comic won’t have that going on, so I’m curious as to what she’ll do.
Here’s some interesting info from the aforementioned LA Times article having to do with Lois:
One of the most famous fictional journalists around, Lois is a Pulitzer-winning reporter whose commitment to pursuing truth and justice is second to none — not even the Man of Steel. She also happens to be the love of his life.
Rucka and Perkins’ “Lois Lane” will tap into her legacy as a reporter as she investigates threats and conspiracies in a story that they hope will show “what makes Lois Lane so very remarkable.”
“Lois Lane is the best investigative reporter in the DC [Universe],” Rucka wrote in a recent email. “This is our truth, and this is what the book is about.”
Initially, Lois was the original “damsel in distress.” Her attempts to uncover the news would often get her in danger, prompting Superman to come to her aid.
Getting away from that idea will move Lois forward, although I imagine the Man of Steel won’t be far behind wherever she goes.
One more interesting quote from the Times, this time from artist Perkins:
“[Lois] chooses to believe in her own abilities — her own prowess — to solve those problems that may seem unsurmountable,” added Perkins. “Lois is after the truth no matter what side of the political divide her person of interest stands on. That’s some pretty potent, powerful attributes for a portrayal of integrity in the days of ‘fake news.’”
It’s an odd time for journalism, and sending Lois after the truth will make for some interesting stories. I would love it if her book would steer clear of politics myself.
How this miniseries will deal with Johnathan, her son, will also be important. Perhaps all that will clear out in upcoming issues of Superman or Action, so we’ll see. Then, too, her father has been a military leader as well, so relationships will have to play a critical role here.
Honestly, what do you do with “Superman’s pal?” If he’s too dependent on the Man of Steel for help, he looks weak. If he’s too far removed from him, then he doesn’t deserve that title. It’s going to be an interesting balancing act that Fraction and Lieber will have to portray each month.
Again, here are some salient quotes from the Times:
According to the creative team, “Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen” is “ridiculous and sublime.”
Like the title suggests, Jimmy is not only the Daily Planet’s star photographer but has long been Superman’s best friend. The original “Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen” debuted in 1954 and featured its title character in increasingly wild and improbable adventures.
In the new series, Fraction and Lieber poke a little bit of fun at the current state of journalism by showing how even Jimmy has pivoted to video to help keep the newspaper profitable.
“Jimmy’s videos are basically the only thing keeping the lights on at the Planet anymore,” Fraction told The Times in a recent phone interview. “They have to let him keep doing his thing because it’s the only thing that pays the bills but it’s [also] really expensive” because they keep having to rebuild Metropolis after any messes he causes.
So Jimmy takes his show on the road to explore various settings in the DCU.
Apparently Jimmy will be out of Metropolis most of the time while Lois might stay there. We’ll see.
One thing this miniseries has to do is stay away from the “crazy” parts of Jimmy’s past stories. You know, when he was turned into a giant turtle boy? Or a version of Plastic Man? Or a super-evolved brainy guy? Well, you get the picture. Oddness abounded, but you have to remember that comics in those days often turned to sci-fi storylines because of Superman’s powers. It just made sense in those days.
Making Jimmy a video reporter is a smart move, I believe. Back in the past, photography was the best you could do to capture the news visually. Now, well, it’s much more complicated than that, and throwing Jimmy into that all works for me.
IS THIS AN AUDITION FOR BOTH CHARACTERS?
I was particularly intrigued when I saw that these were both year-long miniseries’. For literally decades, the two had their own comics without question. But telling stores with the Man of Steel and his friends hasn’t been easy these days.
I’m always worried about Superman, and I’ve mentioned this before, because he is so very moral. He always takes the high road, and that hasn’t led to the most engaging of stories. Batman, because he’s not loaded with superpowers, has to make calls based on what is the best for Gotham or himself. Superman doesn’t have to worry about such differences.
Personally, I’d love to see these two appear on the stands each month on a regular basis. But I guess that will depend on how the fans buy these books. DC must at least be somewhat nervous about it all or they would have simply launched them as ongoing comics. I’m going to following the sales numbers on both comics because I want to know what will happen to the two lead characters.
Are these series’ going to introduce new characters to Superman’s universe? It could be, and it’s especially likely with Jimmy, who will be travelling around the DCU. It could be a great launchpad for friends and foes who will appear in upcoming films and TV. I’d like that!
But these books might have what I call the “Supergirl Problem.” You know, Kara fights hand-me-down villains from Clark instead of having her own rogue’s gallery a lot of the time. I hope they’ll avoid bringing in Superman villains completely and instead develop new opponents that will challenge the two friends of Superman.
Come on, Lois and Jimmy! I can’t wait!