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Interview: Scott Lobdell on SUPERMAN, Lois Lane and Shirtless Kryptonians

'H'el on Earth' is underway and the writer discusses some of the elements to the character along with Kryptonian fashion styles.


SUPERMAN #15 came out yesterday and H'el is still causing problems for Superman. With Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort coming on the title, we're seeing several new developments with Superman and other characters. With H'el on Earth going on, there are a lot of questions about the character and Krypton.

We had the chance to ask Scott a few questions to try to get to the bottom of things.

Comic Vine: Was H'el originally going to be Bizarro? Did the story change or evolve?

Scott Lobdell: When I made a proposal for Superman, part of it was to take Superman's rogues gallery and kind of bring them into the New 52. As anyone who has read TEEN TITANS or even to a degree, RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS, knows that I'm not above taking as many liberties as I can with the characters when defining them. In the proposal, I came up with a new take on Bizarro and Toyman and Parasite and Starro. They were so far afield from who these characters had been traditionally that DC said, in particularly in the case with my take on Bizarro, I had essentially just created an entirely different character. It would make more sense to let the character be his own character and leave Bizarro for another time.

When the entire story gets told, of H'el and not only just his origin he's revealed to us but also the origin he doesn't perhaps know at this time, by the time that story is told, everyone will see why DC, in their infinite wisdom were smart to separate H'el and Bizarro.

So yes, I had originally discussed a new take on Bizarro but ultimately it became such a bizarre take, if you will, that he became a different character completely.

CV: You've mentioned before that Helspont, last seen in the annual, is a story for later. Does that mean there's no connection to H'el?

SL: Correct. They might share some of the same monogramed bath towels, I'm guessing.

CV: Is using a family name a common thing on Krypton? He mentioned he didn't share the "blood" of her family?

SL: Considering that all six billion Kryptonians are dead, he can pretty much call himself Jor-El if he wanted to. There's no one there to correct him but I will say that Krypton was a very big place. Someone recently complained about why he's wearing what looks like a dress. I said well in America, there's not a lot of people wearing kilts but there are parts of the world where kilts and grass skirts and these types of clothing are acceptable. I think traditionally we've only seen Jor-El and the Science Council and maybe a city or two here and there. We have barely barely ever glimpsed Krypton in all its splendor and in all its multicultural facets which I'm sure exists. I think that it is probably well within the grounds of proper Kryptonian etiquette to perhaps take the name of a family that you respect or has accepted you. We're going to see a huge huge scene between Lara, Jor-El and H'el in issue 16. That should answer a lot of questions.


CV: What about his powers? Will we find out why he and Superboy have telekinesis and other Kryptonians don't?

SL: It's very fascinating to me, I used to read comics when I was younger and there was so much I didn't need to know to enjoy the story. To me, if I was a kid and reading H'el and all his powers and stuff, I would find it fascinating but wouldn't need to understand it. It's interesting to me that we live in a time where we need to know. I've had this question before and I could tell you but if I told you I'd be telling you what's happening in an issue around 24 or 25. Then you would be very angry at me.

Do you find that interesting at all?

CV: It's because of the internet. People feel like they could and should know everything right away.


SL: It's very interesting. So yes. And in issue 15, Lex says to Superman, or he alludes to it, it's this notion that we've all been looking at H'el and wondering how is he can do so many more amazing things than Superman? What happened to H'el that allows him to do that? I think the bigger question is what is it about Superman that has not had him manifesting these powers? Is it because he doesn't possess them or is it because Superman is so physically powerful that it's enough for him to push planets into orbit and deliver beat downs to intergalactic armies? Is it that he hasn't had to explore these different elements of his powers. Whether that's true or just Lex trying to crawl under Superman's skin is a story that I think all the Super-books will be investigating over the next or at least touching on.

CV: Is it pronounced "hell" or "huh-ell"?

SL: Huh-el! It's actually pronounced Huh-dash-el. That's the actual pronunciation. No.

CV: When can we expect answers about the zero issue, such as Superman being there before the destruction?

SL: Around issue 24 or 25. It might be 23 and 24. Right now it's planned in 24 and 25 of all Superman books, ACTION, SUPERGIRL, SUPERBOY and SUPERMAN. But that could change because life is about change.


CV: Is H'el just trying to impress Kara to try to recreate Kryptonians the 'old-fashioned way'?

SL: No, I think what's really tragic about H'el is from thirty thousand feet up he has a very noble cause that anybody could get behind. This is the saving of his planet. Unfortunately, as we discover, he can't do that without destroying Earth. That makes him what you and I would traditionally call a supervillain. To him, he thinks there's nothing more important than bringing back Krypton. He'll do anything to make that happen, including manipulating Kara. Sadly as the story progresses, he is going to find that his affection for Kara may at some point trump his prime directive to bring back Krypton. As you alluded to in your question, he might actually think there might be a more hands on approach to his goal.

CV: With the Justice League in SUPERMAN #16, will we see more of Lois Lane's reaction to Superman and Wonder Woman being a couple?

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SL: Their relationship has not been made public just yet. Also in the New 52, Lois is so much more her own person than perhaps she's been portrayed in the past. So even when the time comes that Superman and Wonder Woman's relationship is made public, I don't necessarily think we're going to see a Lois who's particularly broken up about it. She has moved in with Jonathan Carrol. Presumedly she's very sincere and happy in that relationship.

CV: A user asked, if H'el is trying to hide his chest symbol, why doesn't he just put on a shirt?

SL: Again, I used to live in Malibu, CA. My neighbor six doors away was Matthew McConaughey and I used to ask that same question of him everyday when I would walk the dog. I never asked him directly but I did wonder why the guy will just not put on a shirt. Having said that, I do believe there are many places the world today that if were to hop into your Comic Vine catapult and shoot yourself across the planet, you could probably land in a many places where a shirt and shoes are not required for service. Similarly we will learn that H'el comes from a place on Krypton where tunics are not mandatory.

SUPERMAN #15 is on sale now. Issue #16 is in stores January 30.