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Interview: Greg Pak & Aaron Kuder Talk ACTION COMICS, "Truth" Story Arc, and Superman's Changing Powers

Things are changing for Superman and here's what we can expect.

Earlier today we took a look at Superman losing his powers and somehow changing, as seen in the ACTION COMICS Sneak Peek from last week. You can read that HERE and read the 8-page story HERE. While some are excited and others concerned, it's clear we're going to see a change in Superman's status quo on some different levels.

We had the chance to talk to both Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder about what they're doing in ACTION COMICS along with the Truth storyline beginning in ACTION COMICS #41 and continuing in SUPERMAN, SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN, BATMAN/SUPERMAN.

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COMIC VINE: What was your first reaction to the changes coming for Superman?

AARON KUDER: Hmm, “Reaction” might not be the best word here. We developed the changes together. It’s not like we were presented with the idea/project, and told to make it happen. We logged more than a few hours on the phone, flying to various time zones, and scratching our noggins over this one…

GREG PAK: All of the Superman book writers and editors met over a several months to hammer out the big plan here, so these changes come out of many, many hours of working and talking and pacing and thinking -- and we're thrilled with how it's all coming together.

In our last big get-together, Aaron was drawing while we were talking, so as we came up with the big ideas for the huge changes in Clark's life, the character was literally coming to life on Aaron's tablet. It was a kind of surreal experience, and I think everyone in the room felt it when we saw it -- this was something new and at the same time something that felt absolutely true to the character and a perfect next step. This is a Superman we've all been dying to write. The story's real and visceral and emotional and thrilling and we hope you'll come along for the ride.

KUDER: Drawing is just how I think out a story.. so it was a bit surreal for me too. Half way into a doodle, and realizing the conversation stopped because everyone is looking over your shoulder. Kind of reminded me of my school days.

CV: What can you tell us about the Truth storyline and how closely are you working with Gene Luen Yang?

PAK: As has been revealed thus far in the "Superman" and "Action" sneak preview stories, Clark's getting walloped with two massive changes. First, his secret identity will become public. Not an imaginary story; not a gimmick, y'all. This is for real and it'll affect everything moving forward. Second, he's going to lose a big chunk of his powers and lose access to the Fortress of Solitude. In short, everything that makes Clark's life easy and comfortable is going to be stripped away; we're going to see Superman pushed to his limits and tested on every level in the best kind of ways.

KUDER: Yeah that about sums up everything I think we can say. Though, as for working with Gene, like Greg mentioned above, the entire Superman team is really pulling together on this. For the first time in my career in comics, I’m getting to see what everyone else is doing, as it happens. Scripts, art, final proofs. It’s really amazing the sense of teamwork that’s happening.

CV: Will you be dealing with Lois Lane at all? Will she be able to tell her side of the story in her decision?

PAK: Absolutely and of course -- in Gene's "SUPERMAN" book, you'll get the entire story leading up to Lois's decision. Lois will also show up in BATMAN/SUPERMAN briefly. I've said it many times -- Lois is a straight-up hero, just like Superman. But that doesn't mean she and Superman will always agree on everything. Gene's got a great story to tell here for both Superman and Lois -- don't miss that book!

CV: Now that even the Fortress of Solitude has rejected him, where can he go?

PAK: That's the big question, isn't it? I'll just tease a bit of it... in "Action" #41, you'll see him in a small town in Alaska... and then he'll head right into the belly of the beast -- straight back to Metropolis, where his worst enemies await him with the full knowledge that he's really Clark Kent and his loss of powers makes him more physically vulnerable than ever.

KUDER: Spoilers man! Greg is doing an excellent job of saying everything we possible could say.

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CV: How would you describe the change in the visual tone of the series?

PAK: Aaron's always drawn an incredibly accessible, human Superman. But maybe what distinguishes the new storyline is how visceral everything is. Superman's lost a lot of his power. He's still tough as hell -- particularly inside, where it counts. But every punch takes a real toll, and Aaron's art makes you feel it.

KUDER: Well thanks! Thou I think if you look back at just the stuff that we’ve done in ACTION, changing the visual tone is par for the course. In our first arc together we delve into the land of Subterrania, then Clark finds himself battling Doomsday and Brainiac (all over the place), his haunted homecoming followed that, and of course he just recently bounced around Bizarro World… each of these stories required there own personal “vibe”. The challenge with the stories coming up is getting you to feel the internal struggle Clark goes through.


CV: Does jean and t-shirt look inspire a different vibe in the storytelling?

PAK: You bet! I think there's also something beautiful about seeing jeans and T-shirt Superman among everyday folks in Metropolis -- in particular, the folks who live on Clark Kent's block back home who are going to play a huge role in this storyline. Check out Aaron's incredible cover for issue #42 to get a sense of what I'm talking about. Superman's always been one of us, a man of the people. The jeans and T-shirt look combined with his actions in this arc make that crystal clear.

KUDER: Ha.. well thanks again. Thou, from my point of view, the jeans and t-shirt was inspired by the story. Thou I guess that since the story and the designs came together hand in hand this is really a question of which came first the chicken or the egg.

CV: We know Superman could easily go to friends like Batman or Wonder Woman for help. Will there be a reason he decides not to?

PAK: You'll see how Diana fits into the story in Pete Tomasi's SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN book. And the Batman side of the story will take place in the BATMAN/SUPERMAN story that begins with issue #21 in June.

CV: Will we see familiar enemies or new threats and locations?

PAK: Both! Lex Luthor will play a role in BATMAN/SUPERMAN -- as will a huge Superman enemy we originally introduced in ACTION. At the same time, we're introducing entirely new threats in all of the books. Keep an eye out for the Shadow ninjas we first introduced in the ACTION eight page sneak. They'll show up in more than one book. There's a big, big plan coming which will be revealed bit by bit with some massive payoffs down the line.

Also, we're introducing brand new friends and rivals as well. Keep your eye out for a firefighter named Lee Lambert in ACTION #41 in particular -- she's going to play a big role.

KUDER: Yeah, agreed! The road the Superman books are on is going to be incredible, especially in the since of who and what he’ll be up against. This story line will allow us to create an entirely cast of friend and foes!

Truth begins in ACTION COMICS #41, on sale June 3.

Here's some more sketches from Aaron Kuder.

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