SDCC 2023 – WORLD OF METROPOLIS Panel

By Luis A. Jaime and Ivan Jaime

The moderator, Graeme McMillan, introduces the panelists for DC’s WORLD OF METROPOPLIS panel:

Joshua Williamson, Writer of SUPERMAN
Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Writer of ACTION COMICS
Sina Grace, Writer and Artist of SUPERMAN: THE HARVESTS OF YOUTH

And Special Surprise Guest, Joe Casey, Previous Writer of ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN

Sina Grace is complimented on his pink outfit, and he retorts, “I’m here promoting Oppenheimer,” and the the crowd laughs.

The first question is for Joshua Williamson: “Who is the best Superman villain?”

“You know the answer to this,” Joshua answers, “It’s Lex Luthor.”

Joshua says he was talking about this the other day, on how Superman & Lex is one of the most fascinating relationships in comic books. They’ve known each other since they were teenagers, more or less, and they consistently come in and out of each other’s lives. “Everything always comes back to Lex Luthor,” Joshua says. “Every battle, every challenge will always come back around to Lex Luthor. He’s my favorite, too, I just really love Lex Luthor. Every story conversation we have, every summit, I will always bring up Lex Luthor.”

Next question is for Phillip Kennedy Johnson: “Who is your favorite member of the Superman family?”

Phillip asks if this is not including Superman himself. He’s told no, and he can’t choose Lois neither. After a pause, he answers, “I love the Super-Twins [Otho and Osul-Ra],” the crowd cheers and Phillip continues, “They are not Superman’s DNA, they are children that he found that have grown up in world ruled by Mongul. They learn that Superman represents the best of what humanity is supposed to be. They choose to become his family, and Superman chooses them. And for that reason, I love the Super-Twins, I love seeing them try to aspire to be what Superman is. They weren’t born into it, they chose it, and they were chosen by him.”

The next question is for Sina Grace: “Who is the best Superman supporting character?”

“For me, that’s Jimmy Olsen,” the crowd cheers, and Sina continues, “I got to do a Jimmy Olsen story for the KAL-EL RETURNS SPECIAL, and to just spend time in his brain, and to see the world through his . . . ‘lens,’” Sina makes a gesture to signify he’s referring to a camera lens. The crowd groans a bit, and then laughs. Sina goes on, “He’s a reflection of Superman in a completely different way. I think he has an optimism and a brightness to him that is MY Metropolis.”

Next question is for Joe Casey, but the moderator asks: “Joe, do you want a really lousy question or do you want an easy question?”

“What’s the difference?” Joe asks back. The moderator answers, “One of them is: ‘Best Superman Love Interest’ and one is: ‘Best Superman Power.’”

Joe thinks about the answer in quiet contemplation. He then answers, “I’m going to say ‘Flight,’” Joe then adds, “and that answer could be for either of those questions.” The crowd and panel laugh.

The moderator turns to Joshua and asks: “Josh, talk to me about Superman in the comic. You can start by telling us how great Jamal Campbell is.” The moderator then asks the crowd, “Are you guys reading SUPERMAN?” Cheers and loud applause from the crowd have answered that question very well.

Joshua starts to talk about SUPERMAN: “You gave me the easiest question. It is really easy to talk about how amazing Jamal Campbell is. I’ve been a big fan of Jamal Campbell ever since he did PROWLER [2016] at Marvel. I’ve watched him working on FAR SECTOR and NAOMI, he’s always been someone I’ve wanted to work with.”

Here’s a video of Joshua Williamson’s response:

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Joshua is then asked about SUPERMAN #7, which is also happens to issue #850.

“We knew when we were doing issue #1, that issue #7 was #850. I’m a continuity junkie, I’m obsessed with this stuff,” Joshua then explains that there are a lot of very big moments in that issue.

Here’s another video of Joshua Williamson:

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The conversation turns as a new villain from Lex Luthor’s past will soon be revealed.

The villain is named “The Chained.”

The arc will run from SUPERMAN #6 through SUPERMAN #8, and it will have a significant impact on Superman for the rest of the year.

I’ll let Joshua Williamson explain it:

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The focus now turns to Phillip Kennedy Johnson. The moderator tells him that he writes the kindest Superman that he can remember reading. It’s what makes ACTION COMICS so incredibly special. The crown cheers and applauds for Phillip. Joshua jumps in and says that Phillip is one of the best people you’ll ever know. Joshua says that during a conversation the precious night he said, “I can always count on Phillip to do the right thing. This is a very good person.” The crowd cheers again.

The moderator tells Phillip, “You and I have talked in the past about Superman being important to you, Superman helping you grow as a person. Is that something that plays into you when you’re writing ACTION COMICS?”

Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s response: “Writing Superman is not just writing a comic book, or any kind of story. Superman is my religion. He’s a statement to the world about what the best of humanity looks like, what we should all aspire to be, and how we should all aspire to live.”

These written words don’t do justice to Phillip’s response, so here’s a video clip of him talking about Superman:

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The moderator then talks about how Phillip gets to demonstrate his feelings about Superman in stories like the Warworld Saga, which was an amazing 18 months that truly showed why Superman’s kindness is central to the character. You can take his other powers away and his kindness is still there.

Phillip then talks about Metropolis and how Superman has affected his life:

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Phillip is then asked what he can tease for upcoming ACTION COMICS plots:

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Main Cover of ACTION COMICS #1058 and Variant Covers:

It is now Sina Grace’s turn to talk about his upcoming Graphic Novel, SUPERMAN: THE HARVESTS OF YOUTH, which he wrote and drew

The story is about a teenage Clark Kent. Very early on in the book, tragedy hits Smallville. As him and his classmates are reeling from the events, more and more things are happening in Smallville that are complicated, as Clark is learning his powers.

Here’s Sina Grace describing his book:

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Some artwork from SUPERMAN: THE HARVESTS OF YOUTH:

Sina loves all the cast of characters. As a nod to the TV Show SMALLVILLE, he included Chloe Sullivan and made Pete Ross African-American. He had a lot of fun filling out the whole ensemble. Every character is fleshed out in a fun way. He loves Ma and Pa Kent. They are so cute in his book.

It is now time for Special Guest Joe Casey!

He’s here to talk about his new SUPEMAN book: KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!

“There’s going to be a lot pain, a lot of suffering, a lot of death, darkness, explosions and violence,” Joe Casey then looks at his fellow SUPERMAN writers, “Everything these guys were talking about Superman, this is the opposite of that.”

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Joshua Williamson talks about Joe Casey’s pitch for ZOD:

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Joshua Williamson and Phillip Kennedy Johnson are asked about restoring Superman’s Rogue Gallery:

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The panel is asked: “Where is Mister Mxyzptlk?”

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And the final question: “Where’s Perry White? Why isn’t he Editor-In-Chief?”

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This concludes the WORLD OF METROPOLIS panel. I am very excited for all that’s coming up for SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS. I can’t wait to read SUPERMAN: THE HARVESTS OF YOUTH and KNEEL BEFORE ZOD. As someone who started reading SUPERMAN comics about 33 years ago, I can tell you I haven’t been this excited since REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN. Can’t wait to read what happens next!

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