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Old June 20th, 2005   4PointOh is offline   #1
The Lower Frequencies

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Default Gail and Eddie Talk ACTION @ PULSE!

The first two parts of the Gail Simone penned Action Comics have sold out from DC Comics. Simone credits it to the creative team of John Byrne, Nelson, and Guy Major, but we suspect her scripting also has something to do with the initial success of the run. Simone said she wanted to get back to the heart of Superman - the core of what makes this hero fight for truth and justice.

Simone told THE PULSE it was Dan DiDio's idea to pair her with artist John Byrne for Action Comics. She was a fan of his version of the Man of Steel and thinks today's comic readers are embracing the creative team of Byrne, Nelson, and Major. "The art is a big draw," Simone stated. "I think people love John Byrne drawing Superman. There's just something about his interpretation that feels right. Even in the darkest situation, when John draws Superman, you know **** well it's the real thing. We lucked out in Nelson's rich inking and Guy Major's vivid color as well."

Simone admitted her statements might sound a little like "sheer hype," but was also quick to point out that she's heard from people who doubted the creative team on Action Comics could pull off the task of handling this hero, who have now "admitted that the book looks phenomenal."

"As for the story, I can't speak for readers, but I will say that I don't apologize for Superman being Superman," Simone continued. "I don't feel the slightest need to 'update' or de-power the guy. The real, core guy, that's who I'm interested in. I'm hoping that belief carries through to the page."

But just who is Superman at his core? Simone said the first issue she penned, Action Comics # 827, addressed that issue in part. She explained, "Superman is the product of the best of several different cultures; Krypton, Kansas, Metropolis, America, and Earth more generally. He's the guy who knows the right thing and does it, who leads without trying, who inspires through his actions. The fact that he'll happily kick a little robot or supervillain behind just makes him all the more fun to read about. People want to read about mutants, maybe, but they want to BE Superman. There was only one Elvis, there's only one Kal El, all pretenders take a number and stand outside."

"On top of that, there's just something amazing about the cast," Simone continued. "Again, these characters don't need to be loaded up with angst to be fascinating. I could go on at length, but I've never been handed a more interesting and rich cast of regular players. Lately, I just want to move to Metropolis and live there for a few decades."

Group Editor Eddie Berganza summed up his thoughts on Action Comics and what's making the series so popular now. "Gail's book stands for fun," he said. "It's not as caught up with the continuity that bogs some comics down. Action Comics is that classic feel with some modern sensibilities. She definitely wanted a high adventure take to it, with a classic feel that would please the die-hard Superman fans, who are not easily swayed. When we got John Byrne interested it was a matter of finding someone different and new to pair him up with. I give Dan DiDio the credit for thinking of Gail. So we had something old, something new for Action."

"The book is tying in to Villains United and the other popular minis, but it's with Gail's unique touch, and we have Nelson on inks and Guy Major on colors, and they are giving John a different feel," continued Berganza. "It's a Superman book, so there's always feedback as well as making sure that it goes along with the other titles. Gail does her best to reflect that, and she came on at a very busy time. She's used to being more on her own writing, but with a book like Action there's a lot more coordinating of characters and stories. And John is contributing just to the pencilling side, but getting more into it with each issue. The upcoming #829 has him doing a great take on Darkseid and Apokolips."

Simone isn't looking for frivolous stories in Action Comics. "Superman is suited for thrills and adventure that most comics can't really duplicate," said Simone. "Any book can do whiney moping, but if you want crazy villains getting singed by heat vision a mile off the ground, you kinda need the dude from Krypton. There's no excuse in the world to have a boring book if Superman's in it."

"Some of the best Superman stories ever revolve around average Joes," Simone continued. "I do love contrasting the 'normal' humans in the cast against the bigger-scale problems Superman faces. But as I already knew, but am having confirmed by working on Villains United, the DCU is full of orphan lunatics who really need to try their luck against the big guy. All SORTS of semi-forgotten creeps out there just waiting to be pummeled, I think."

Paramount for Simone while working on Action Comics is to write stories that are accessible to everyone - whether he or she started reading Action Comics in the Golden Age or are picking up the title for the first time. "I'd rather write each little arc as though it were someone's first Superman story," Simone stated. "There's a definite gravitas to writing Superman in the book he first appeared in, certainly, but the idea of writing this book in a way that acknowledges how important it is seems like death to me. When I started on Deadpool, I tried to write it like it was the number one book in the universe, and I still feel that way about Birds of Prey."

"[Writing Action Comics] is a different mindset entirely, really," continued Simone. "I like both sides of that coin - I'm fine with the murkier ethics of the Bop team, as well as the shiny side that has our Kryptonian on it. Just as people like to watch both 24 and, say, Star Trek, writers have that same desire to work in different landscapes with different characters. The goal is still to try to get the best from your cast that you can."

Simone hopes to meet that goal with the team's upcoming plans. She teased, "It's all about the fights."

"No one wants to see Mike Tyson do Shakespeare," Simone said. "Darkseid. Black Adam. The Society. And one of my favorite JLA villains, but I'm not going to say who. For the rest of the cast, Lois has made a powerful and ruthless enemy, and Jimmy's made a friend who may change his relationship with Superman forever. AND we'll be seeing a great Superman villain who's never appeared in the DCU before. That's just for starters. It's going to be a great time!"
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Old June 20th, 2005   Whealer is offline   #2
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Multiverse refugee

joined: Aug 2003
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Good interview, I think. Gail knows what it takes to nail a great Superman story. I couldn't agree more about the inappropiateness of whiney, angst ridden Superman stories; Superman is the character we should all want to be. And the art team has delivered on this one.
Don't tase me, bro.
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Old June 20th, 2005   PMH is offline   #3
Freedom Fighter

joined: Jan 2004
Location: So Cal
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"Hello Kryptonian."

I love Darkseid. I love Gail. I am pretty sure I am going to love this issue!
"I don't imagine there will be any X-Men similarities. Except when Damage starts smoking cigars and calling everyone "Bub."

SNIKT!" -Matt Sturges
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Old June 21st, 2005   imarriedsatanII is offline   #4
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Hmmmnnn... who is the Superman villain that has never appeared in the DCU before? Someone from the cartoon, perhaps?

Overall, I really love Gail's take on Superman. It's perfect.
"Something profound" - Me
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Old June 21st, 2005   Cousin Cory Springhorn is offline   #5
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Cousin Cory Springhorn
Advanced Geoffan

joined: Feb 2005
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Hmmmnnn... who is the Superman villain that has never appeared in the DCU before? Someone from the cartoon, perhaps?
I bet it's Richard Pryor's character from Superman III.
Hey, just kidding! Settle down!
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Old June 21st, 2005   dhodgepodge is offline   #6
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Neo Geoffan

joined: Oct 2004
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Great article and interview - Gail seems to have a perfect grasp of what a Superman book should be.

I can't wait to see who the secret villian first time in the DCU could be - Ursa from Superman II? Live Wire from the cartoon? Very interesting stuff.
"When you play the game of thrones, you either win or you die - there is no middle ground." - Cersei Lannister
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