PREORDER! Neil Kleid & Dean Haspiel in February's SUPERMAN 80 PAGE GIANT
This is my first story for the DC Universe, and my first published work with Dean, and both of those are personal milestones long overdue. I've actually been pitching DCU stories for a few years now, and I'm thrilled that my first is for the Superman office in the form of excellent, handsome, debonair editors Matt Idelson and Wil Moss, both who have been great to work with. In fact, I actually pitched them this story one year ago this week (I remember because I attended the pre-holiday taping of the David Letterman show that day, a standby ticket scored between DC meetings). It's a fun story, one that had a bit of character alteration due to some Big Picture Stuff, but all in all has remained exactly as pitched....keeping the tone and character representation of one of the DCU's unsung heroes.
I've always been a fan of good supporting characters and while most visitors to Metropolis gravitate to Jimmy Olsen or Lois Lane, I've always been a Perry White fan. Solid and dependable like the new he prints, Perry provides the structure to Superman's secondary cast and—in my opinion—often allows them the considerable leeway needed in order to do their job, perhaps turning his head for a moment for the sake of the story. How else can we explain why the Daily Planet's roof—and landmark globe—has become a focal gathering point for heroes and reporters, each out to do what they must in service of the truth? How else can we explain why a decorated reporter, a man with years of investigative journalism and observational skills under his considerable belt, doesn't catch on that a star reporter constantly goes missing (sometimes for days or weeks, suddenly calling in vacation time) and conveniently returns when the day is saved? Perry's smarter than we give him credit for, but more importantly—to me, and to this story—the man has Been Around.
We forget that Perry White has been reporting world news since very small, roving with the Newsboy Legion and then traveling to exotic locales like London, Paris, Egypt and Gotham City. He's lived through it, commented on it, reported it—from World War Two to World War Krypton—and though he's given up the walkabout for a desk, chair and staff it doesn't change the fact that at the end of the day, Perry White can tell a goddamn story. And there's nothing he likes talking about more than Metropolis.
If Superman is Metropolis' heart, Lex Luthor it's brains and Jimmy Olsen it's eyes, then Perry White is Metropolis' SOUL. He lives, breathes and bathes in it, knowing it's streets better than he knows his own family. He grew up here—schooled in class and on the street—and when it was time to raise a family, there was no other place he planned to do it. He speaks it's language, understands the kind of hero it needs and paper it deserves and does his best to provide them with both. But his time in the trenches, reporting on the comings and goings, the stories and scandals, the heartbreak and hubris of the DCU has permanently affixed him in my mind as the Nick Fury of DC journalists—he knows where the bodies were hidden because he was there to report about it. And that history, that charming, brilliant, dedicated intelligence is what draws me to tell stories about him. And I'm proud that Wil and Matt have allowed me to do it here.
I'm also thrilled that I was able to recruit Dean Haspiel to partner with me on the story. Dean (or "Dino") has been schooling young, eager cartoonists and storytellers as long as I've known him (ten years now, back to right after 9/11) and might just be the glue that keeps this industry together. He's Mister Connections, particularly in the Brooklyn/Manhattan indie/alt comix circuit, branching out now to all forms of media with his partnerships with Jonathan Ames, Ted Hope and others. His work —most notably his alter-ego, Billy Dogma, but also the full-length graphic novels he's been doing for Vertigo like THE QUITTER, THE ALCOHOLIC and CUBA—has earned him the respect and awe of his peers, and placed him the ranks of comic book/cartoon superstars of the last decade. He helped co-found ACT-I-VATE and has illustrated stories for everyone from Marvel to DC to Image to Dark Horse to Harvey Freaking Pekar.
Dean and I met when I was trying to find a way into the industry—I'd organized a panel forum with the then EICs of Marvel and DC and attended a BIZARRO COMICS signing at Union Square to promote it and hand out flyers. I met Dean there, along with Evan Dorkin, Nick Bertozzi and others, but it was Dean who engaged me as a fan and would-be creator, handing me his information and encouraging me to get in touch. Through Dean, I was able to help organize (with A. David Lewis) the beginnings of Alternative Comics' 9-11 tribute anthology (the lion's share of the work was done by publisher Jeff Mason). I remember being at a meeting for the book and then invited to grab sushi with Dean, Josh Neufeld and some others. It was obvious they just wanted to hang out as pals, shoot the shit, but Dean was so welcoming and made me feel like one of the pals, even though they want back for years and were so damn talented and I was the new untested kid on the block. He really helped establish my comics career and I always hoped I could one day return the favor.
Dean and I started collaborating together a few years later, during Marvel's EPIC initiative. We'd tossed around some ideas—I have a scrapped "Strange Tales/Bizarro Comics" style MARVEL TWO IN ONE anthology pitch somewhere in my files—and decided on a short, out-of-continuity Jack of Hearts miniseries which was actually greenlit and in the breakdown stages before EPIC hit the skids. From there, Dean and I plotted an end of the world Machine Man joint and talked about other, fleeting ideas along the way. Recently, we'd cooked up an Hourman proposal and I attached his name to some other Marvel pitches (which are still in the air) but one year ago, sitting in the Superman offices with Matt and Wil, the second character in my story had to be switched for editorial purposes and when we landed on Wildcat, I knew the artist had to be Dino
Dean can't hide: he freaking digs on Ted Grant. Perhaps because Ted and Billy Dogma share DNA, that aggro-moxie Dean's always on about? Can't tell. But I know a Wildcat series would be like Chrismukkah Birthday to Dean if he could get it. Boxing. Square jaw. Drawl and swagger. History and wisdom. That freaking amazing costume. How can one man resist? With two like-minded, old school characters in place, and a story that offers history, fisticuffs, hard-knocks and fun, I knew Dean would jump at the chance to draw this thing and am thrilled that we're finally going to get a collaboration out there in the world. Hopeful that it's the first of many, but I'm happy that it's al least the first.
Hopefully, after reading it, you will be too.
The 2011 SUPERMAN 80 PAGE GIANT hits comic book stores in February, but you can preorder it now using its Diamond Order Code (DEC100215) — simply walk in to your local comic book shop and ask the kind, generous retailer to order it NOW.
Here's the solicitation text:
Written by JOE CARAMAGNA, STEVE HORTON, ABHAY KHOSLA, NEIL KLEID, AUBREY SITTERSON, BEAU TIDWELL and others
Art by EDDY BARROWS, CAFU, DAN MCDAID, ANDY MCDONALD and others
Cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
Get ready for seven fresh and exciting stories spotlighting Superman and his friends and foes by some of the industry's most promising talent! In one story, either Twilight-mania has finally hit Smallville, or Superboy has a vampire problem on his hands. Meanwhile, when a lab full of Jimmy Olsen clones escapes and runs amok in Metropolis, it's up to Superman and Jimmy to round 'em all up before things turn even more bizarre! And speaking of bizarre, take a trip to Bizarro World for 'Bizarro Grounded'! Plus, stories of Supergirl, Krypto, Jor-El, and more! On sale FEBRUARY 2 • 80 pg, FC