Superman is having quite a month. Last week, DC Comics launched “Superman Unchained,” a new ongoing series from the superstar creative team of Scott Snyder and Jim Lee while Warner Bros.’ “Man of Steel,” starring Henry Cavill, raked in more than $125 million at the North American box office on opening weekend.
Now — with the release of “Batman/Superman” #1 only a week away — DC has announced yet another ongoing series featuring the Last Son of Krypton joining forces with another of the publisher’s major superhero icons in “Superman/Wonder Woman.” Written by Charles Soule (“Swamp Thing”) and featuring art by Tony Daniel (“Batman,” “Action Comics”), “Superman/Wonder Woman” will make its debut in October.
CBR News spoke with Soule and Daniel, and the creative partners teased that the budding relationship showcasing the New 52’s (super)power couple wasn’t going to be all up, up and away. In fact, the very makeup of Clark and Diana’s intense relationship will be magnified and reflected by the trials and tribulations they face protecting the DC Universe as Superman and Wonder Woman.
CBR News: I am huge fan of both Superman and Wonder Woman, and they’ve been together in the DCU for a bit, but I have to admit, this announcement caught me completely off guard. How did this project come about?
Charles Soule: Obviously, the idea of Superman and Wonder Woman being romantic with each other is not brand new. That concept has been around for a long time. It was addressed in “Kingdom Come,” the great Mark Waid book. There have been a lot of stories that have touched on this idea.
Tony Daniel: I’ll do my best. [Laughs] It won’t be hard with Charles’ imagination and storytelling. When I was asked to do this series, I didn’t say, “Why?” I said, “Why not?” We already have “Batman/Superman.” And when you have the two most powerful people in the DC Universe, and they are romantically linked, it makes perfect sense and only adds another layer of drama and excitement and all of things that come along with that. I think it’s going to make for an exciting, different book, which also emphasizes these two characters’ worlds coming together. And with the two of them fighting together, the sky’s the limit.
Soule: I’ve been a big music guy for a long time and a lot of my books have music in them so I like music analogies. This is like Hendrix playing on a Beatles record. Again: It’s not like we haven’t seen them together before. They’ve fought as team lots of times with Justice League, but this book is focused on the two of them together and how they are different and how they’re the same. And as Tony said, when you put the romantic angle on top of that, the sky literally is the limit — because they can fly.
But this isn’t all adventures and do-gooding, right? We are going to see some character moments, too.
Absolutely. It wouldn’t be as fun for both us to do and for the readers enjoy if it didn’t have both sides to it. The opening scene is as big as anything that I’ve ever written. And there are some quieter moments too. That’s part of the fun. I personally want to see what Superman and Wonder Woman have to say to each when the door to the bedroom is closed and they are by themselves. Or anywhere.
So we’ll get to see some Clark and Diana moments, too?
Soule: Well, they are the same people, aren’t they?
Let me rephrase, will we see some out of costume moments?
Soule: I’m sure we will see them out of costume.
Like, completely out of costume?
Soule: [Laughs] Is that something you want to draw, Tony?
Daniel: I always draw them naked first. [Laughs] But if I have a deadline coming, maybe I’ll keep their clothes off. How’s that?
Soule: Or at least a silhouette, here or there.
What can we expect from the opening arc? Which challenge or villain do they face?
Soule: I don’t want to share too much just yet, but what we’re planning on doing in the first main story arc is based on seeds that have been planted in “Action” and “Superman” for a while. Once you see the direction that it’s going to go, I think you’ll say, “Okay. Cool.” At the same time, it’s very important to me, actually it’s crucial that we make this incredibly accessible. I don’t want a book steeped in Superman and Wonder Woman continuity. Anyone who picks up an issue should be able to figure out what’s going on from within those pages. The goal is to really show people something new about these characters and maybe have them try a book about these characters when they aren’t necessarily reading some of the other books. It’s just about creating another access point for these fantastic characters. We want to make it a satisfying experience for those reading all of the books but also who haven’t been reading any of the books.
Can you define the state of their relationship when we first meet Superman and Wonder Woman in this series?
Soule: They are still relatively new to each other. There is still a lot that they don’t know about each other. They’ve been together for a while. They’ve had their first kiss. They’ve spent a fair amount of time together as a couple. They are definitely still in that honeymoon period where they really like each other, they really like every minute that they get to spend with each other, but they don’t know every last thing there is to know yet. They’re not into the second stage of the relationship yet. They’re still in the first stage.
Is everything smooth sailing for these young lovers or will they hit some rough patches early on?
Soule: It wouldn’t be much of a book if everything were smooth sailing all of the time. One of the things that I want to do, that hopefully will work and will resonate the way I want them to, is to have the challenges that they face, the external challenges, be reflections of some of the things that they are going through internally both individually and as a couple. I don’t want it to be on-the-nose and schmaltzy but you’ll hopefully be able to see the way aspects of their lives — you know, being on the Justice League, and all of the things they have to do and all of the challenges they face by being so powerful — are reflected in the things that happen in their relationship.
Tony, you’ve drawn Superman before, but aside from a few issues of “Justice League,” you really haven’t spent much time with Wonder Woman. Obviously, one is a man and one is a woman, but how do you go about differentiating the two in terms of illustrating their respective strength and power?
Daniel: I don’t, yet. [Laughs] I just know that with these two characters being DC’s power couple in so many different ways, when they’re kicking butt, it’s going to be magnificent. It’s a these two against the world type of thing — against the universe. I am looking forward to depicting some of these things and part of the excitement for me is that I get to draw things that I haven’t drawn before. I spent six years drawing Batman and all of his villains, who are grounded and reality-based. Nobody flies and he didn’t fight giant robots. He didn’t get pushed through buildings while facing aliens and all of that crazy stuff that I get to draw now. That’s what I mean by I don’t know yet. It’s really exciting to be doing something new after all of the years. I want to do all that I can do to show the kind of energy that exists between these characters, visually. I’m real excited about it.
What do you like about her look and feel and are you making any modifications to her for your run with the character?
Daniel: We’re not going to change much of what’s established. We thought about possibly tweaking their outfits a little for this title, but we decided that for now, for continuity’s sake, we’ll keep their outfits, as is. Basically, what I’m bringing to the table is my style and depiction of the character. Usually, it takes me a couple of issues to feel my way around and get comfortable and figure out what’s working and what’s not working. Wonder Woman is actually a character that I’ve drawn a lot and sketched a lot at conventions and for commissions. To be honest, I’ve become really comfortable with the character before this title came about. I’m really excited to show people the first few images of this book.
Charles, how do you plan to differentiate between whose power-set supersedes and takes precedence over another? Even who throws the first punch?
Soule: One of things that I would like to do is have the way they approach battles grow over time as they get to know each other better so that fights become more coordinated. Wonder Woman has the background as a warrior dating back to when she was very little. Ares, in the New 52, was her warrior teacher when she was 12. She has a strategic, practical approach to battles where Superman, it’s not like he rushes in guns-a-blazing, but he has a slightly less schooled approach to his attack. When you are constructing a battle scene with characters this powerful, you have to differentiate between the two. Otherwise, it’s just two people punching things. Obviously, Diana has her lasso. She has her sword. She has military training. While Superman has his various superpowers like heat vision, x-ray vision and stuff like that so the way that those can be combined and played out is going to be a lot of fun.
As you say, Diana is a trained warrior, while Superman is perhaps a softer, gentler sort of superhero. Will those personalities clash during battles?
Soule: Frankly, these are people that have a lot in common. There are maybe 100 people on the planet that can fly, and two of them are Wonder Woman and Superman. There are a lot of things like that, where they are the only two people that they know that they can talk about these things with. At the same time, they grew up in very, very different cultures and situations. They have extraordinarily different backgrounds and there is a lot that they have to learn about each other too. The nice thing about this book is that you have great similarities and you have great differences between these two characters, and that can create disagreements. It can create different approaches. It can create different scenarios. It can create all kinds of tension release — if you’ll forgive me for that — that will be fun to explore.
Obviously, when you were doing “Batman” and “Detective Comics” for all of those years, Tony, those are darker, grittier books. Is this going to be a bigger, brighter book overall?
Daniel: Well, we have the advantage that some of this stuff is taking place in the daytime. [Laughs] That’s a big plus because Batman really only comes out at night. With Batman, there were lots of shadows and all of that stuff and, to be honest, I feel really comfortable with the characters and this environment with places like Metropolis. For me, it’s going to be a breath of fresh air. For the fans and the readers, it’s not going to look like my Batman stuff except with a different character. It’s going to be a completely different from my work on Batman.
Does Lois Lane play a role in this series?
Soule: At this point, we’re going to have to wait and see.