Welcome to SBC’s The Panel, a chance for you to put your burning questions – comics-related or otherwise – to a group of comics professionals.

The Panel lives or dies by your contributions; please email them to panel@silverbulletcomicbooks.com and we’ll add them to the list…

This week’s question comes from Alan Smith and is as follows:-

“Should Superheroes Have Children – Inspired by Superman Returns – Discuss”

Terry Hooper:

Hmmm. Interesting question.

Superman with a child….I’m assuming “mum” is Lois Lane? Having just interviewed Marv Wolfman for SBC I knew there were a few spoilers in the film. I had no problem with Superman having been gone for “several years” but the still youthful LL..?

The child as far as I am concerned is no problem. The problem lies in the genetics and,er,how the two….er…went about….you know….”it”? After all,being opf extra terrestrial origin,Superman would not have human DNA -different species having different DNA means that,okay,they CAN have sex but not offspring. But,for the sake of arguement,let’s put that aside.

Is it okay for a super hero to have a wife and family? Why not! Look at INVINCIBLE and other characters in comics with spouse and offspring. The problem comes when your secret identity fails [hey,in Superman’s case what happened when the kiddy needed innoculations,blood tests and so on -no one notice anything odd?]. Loved ones at risk of kidnap,etc.. You’d have to be one really tough mutha for a villain to look at the “soft” family target and say “no way!”.

In my own comics I have heroes with characters and some with no secret identities and it’s something I’d like to delve into more.

The question is:does everyone know Superman has a child? Does Lex Luthor know?? Does the kid accidentally knock over buildings? Lift huge trucks to retrieve a play-brick?

Oh gods -superbaby pooh-nappies!!!!!

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Mind you….after Swamp Thing II did Heather Locklear have a,uh,seedling????

Movies have never stuck to the comics but then,DC are notorious for not sticking to continuity,so does it matter? Nah!

Remember Bat Sprite? I still lie awake at nights worrying about what happened to him…and who did Batman have sex with to produce such offspring??

Writer, artist and freelance editor as well as Small Press publisher. Has toyed with writing for magazines, TV and radio outside comics. Drew and wrote for Marvel UK, London Editions [Manchester],Blue Comet Press, Fleetway/IPC as well as for Fantagraphics imprints Monster and Eros Comics where he wrote the best selling Two Hot Girls On A Hot Summer’s Night [!]. Has also worked in Europe, India comics and, more recently has been putting together projects for Chinese comic publishers. Published Zine Zone International between 1983-1995 and Comic Bits since 1999. Recognised as a talent spotter and got several well known artists their breaks into comics. Comic historian to boot and currently working on The Who’s Who of British Diamond, Golden & Silver Ages Comics.

Kev F Sutherland :

Superheroes must be the least reproductively capable creatures on the planet. Considering most of them are supposedly alpha males, and the main reason for being an alpha male is to bag yourself a mate, surely by now we should be up to our ears in Spider-Kids, Bat-Boys and Super-Offspring.

Of course, since we established in an earlier panel that they’re all gay, we should be glad that they don’t age, otherwise 90% of superheroes would be well past pension-able age and, since few of them could hold down a proper job, without kids to support them they’ll be dying, on welfare, living out of shopping trolleys.

Best thing for them, if you ask me.

Writer and artist on most genres of comic from (currently) The Bash St Kids in The Beano, thru Tarquin Hoylet He Has To Go To The Toilet in Viz, to Star Trek and Dr Strange for Marvel, plus Dr Who, Red Dwarf, Gladiators, Goosebumps and heaps more.

Kev Clark:

“I don’t so much like the idea of Superman having a son for the sake of the movie just so we can have a bit of a plot device or dramatic tension, but then I don’t see why such changes have to be made to a character who has been established for so long. I mean, if they were looking for storylines they had only to look back over the years and years worth of comics that are out there for inspiration! (Don’t shoot me if I’m wrong about that – I haven’t seen the movie yet).

BUT I’m not against the idea of superheroes having kids at all, if it suits the story and the character. It can be seen as a natural progression for a character’s story arc, like in the current run of Catwoman for example.

The only way I can see it ruining a character is if EVERY superhero had a child, and they spent all their time complaining about fitting in the school run.”

Kev Clark is the owner of www.Fireballcomics.com

Bart Thompson:

I’m very fond of the Larry Niven “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” essay which takes a critical, realistic, and amusing look at the possibilities surrounding a conception spawned from a Kryptonian and a Human. If anyone hasn’t read it, they should. If they have, they should check it out again (if no link is provided here, just google it).

It could be a great sales event ala the “Death of Superman” or the marriage to Lois itself (ala “The Son of Superman,” “The Daughter of Superman,” “The Super Twins,” or even “The Super Kids.”). But before that, there are TONS of stories to be told from the attempt and the actual pregnancy leading up to the birth. Because comic time is slower than our time, this could be a great back story for two to six years!

Personally I don’t think having a child would ruin Superman as a character. Short of making him a mass murderer that curses, smokes, drinks, and rapes the corpses of his relatives (which would be hard as all of them were exploded into stardust ages ago…) it’d be pretty hard to tarnish the Superman character. Even if you did go the shock value route it would probably still temporarily boost sales, people would talk about it, press will buzz about it, then pull the plug and things will go back to the way it always was. Only comic fans will remember or care. The general public will just remember Superman as the pop icon he always was.

With Superboy’s death (we had movie spoilers, why not comic ones) the DCU needs another one. Who best to take the name than an actual scion of Superman himself? This could also possibly tap into the Smallville TV show audience. But from birth to adolescence… which could take about 40 years our time.

Which reminds me… have you ever read “Superman: Secret Identity” by Kurt Busiek? One of the best stories ever written. If someone really had the calling, the heart, and the creativity to write a compelling story like that for the SuperChild… wow. The SuperKid doesn’t have to just be an event and/or an albatross on the neck of the property. The kid could actually be a fulfilling and integral part of the series. And it would bring Lois more to the forefront as an important character. I have to admit, I don’t read much of Superman in the comics, but since the marriage she seems to just be a showpiece within the series and a shadow of her former strong and feisty self.

Superman is pretty much an immortal, so you don’t have the same aging problem that say, Spider-man has. Plus Superman is pretty much a father figure to everyone anyway. It would be very interesting to see how Superman would go from being a “father” of many to an actual father. It would probably make him an even better and stronger “father” to everyone else. Give him more focus, drive, determination, and connection to his adopted planet.

I think Mark Waid mentioned adoption as a possibility once. Actually I think that is a great idea combined with the genetic child. Adoption would be a nice cause for DC to champion and get behind. Not only tell a story but really send a message. There are so many children out there who need good families and good homes. Work on that for a year or two and then bring in the actual spawn of Clark and Lois. Give them a real family. Very dynamic and much room for drama which creates great stories. Maybe both kids could develop super powers around the same time- one before the other so one could stew and be jealous for a while… I’d say the adopted one should get powers first. It would be a surprise and really irk the genetic one as he actually SHOULD have powers and wonder if and when he’ll get his.

Hmm… I’m noticing I keep saying “he” as subconsciously I really think the SuperKid should be a boy. If the current DCU didn’t already have a Supergirl I’d probably think differently. But as things stand and overall I think a Superboy would better fit the situation. Perhaps the adopted one could be a daughter. This way you could bring in powers different from the Superman types (and in turn not just making a “kid Supergirl”).

I guess I’ve rambled long enough. Long story short- I’m pro SuperKid. If done correctly this could be a win/win situation for everyone involved (DC, fans, retailers, media, speculators, stockholders, curious parties, adoption agencies, EVERYONE!!!).

Bart Thompson is the founder of Approbation Comics and creator of “Vampires Unlimited”, “the Metamutoids”, “ChiSai”, and “Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies”.

Jesse Leon McCann:

The kid was adorable! Should this have happened — well, everyone should wait to become parents until they’ve solidified their relationship with their significant other, muscle bound aliens in tights notwithstanding!

Should superheroes have kids? Yes, if they plan to keep those kids safe from harm, love them, teach them, and be friends with them. In other words, just like all parents should do.

The movie gave us a good love triangle, and the addition of a child of undetermined parentage, made the story all the more interesting. Superman is the Man of Steel! A child can’t ruin his character! However, I wasn’t that jazzed when I saw that the love triangle turned him into a super powered peeping tom!

My wife Nancy thinks Lois is a hussy for bedding another man that soon after Superman left the solar system. To me, that just shows us once again that Lois is a 21st century liberated woman.

Jesse Leon McCann is a New York Times Best-selling Author. He’s currently writing KRYPTO, THE SUPERDOG for DC Comics, as well as LOONEY TOONS and CARTOON NETWORK BLOCK PARTY; editing the fifth SIMPSONS TV Episode Guide, and writing BART SIMPSON stories for Bongo Comics.

Hey All – Welcome back to another Panel – BIG thanks again to all panellists who have taken time out to send in their answers. Traditionally the Panel goes a bit quiet for a few months during convention season… but here we have some really great answers to this month’s question.

Next time on SBC’s The panel ” What five comics/TPB would you choose to take with you if you were stranded on an island alone…?” from reader Andrew Yang

Just for a treat here is quick review I wrote for Superman Returns… marks go to everyone who spots all the mistakes I made writing it

Superman Returns Review

I sat down in the cinema early Friday the 14th of July trying to clear my mind of that what was missing and focus on the cinema screen in front of me. its been 18 years since the last superman film released in the cinema I have a vague memory of watching it with my dad and brothers at the Harlow playhouse.

I love Superman, every since I was a kid and to quote my father we sat him down in front of the TV at an early age and let him watch Superman looking back that may have been a mistake

Now don’t get me wrong, Superman is not the be all and end all of my life its not the most important thing ever but, well actually now it is. Superman Returns has had almost a 15 year trip to our silver screens various directors and stars have been attached but each different incarnation has not sounded right. Until 3 years ago it looked like we might never get a decent Superman film ever again that was until Bryan Singer came on board

The lights dimmed, I looked over at my friend Luke, wearing his Superman shirt a seat on from him was Neil White and his wife Kelly. Neil also proudly wearing his superman shirt. I cracked a joke to the cashier when we got our tickets I asked for tickets to see Pirates of the Caribbean I thought it funny that we were all wearing superman shirts and not asking for superman tickets to the first showing she didn’t and almost gave us ticket to the Johnny Depp pirate flick I’m not sure if she didn’t notice my big grin or not

Anyway after a few trailers some witty banter with the young lad behind us who was also wearing a superman shirt.

My mind drifted for a while and I started to feel a little sorry for myself I had been waiting for this since the release date had been announced and something was missing but that didn’t matter now. The trailers ended, and I started to become impatient I waited all this time and a few seconds more seemed like forever the pre-film title card came up Superman Returns this was it

A quick recap of Superman’s history in three lines and then Krypton not just any Krypton, the krypton from the Richard Donner Movie Brando as Jor-EL and then Krypton explodes I don’t wanna take anything anyway from Roy Field and his team of SFX guys from the original because did breathtaking stuff that had never been done before BUT Krypton exploding set the tone for the rest of the movie it was so epic and scary this entire world wiped out in seconds

And then I heard the rumble of a piece of music I only dreamed about hearing in the cinema begin


The Credits started and they were the same credits from Superman: The Movie by Richard Donner WOOSH the music was building, Rumbling and then dada dada dadadadadadadadadadada DADA SUPERMAN!

Superman Returns title hit the screen as the music shouted out SUPERMAN!!

Friggin awesome

The movie starts by reintroducing Lex Luthor, conning a dieing woman out of her fortune on her death bed. Great little cameo by Noel Neill the original Lois Lane from the 1940s and 50s.

Superman then returns to earth, crashing on the Kent farm and discovered by his mother, Martha Kent.

We get a little flashback of a young Clark Kent discovering he doesn’t actually need glasses and then we are back in metropolis.

I don’t want to ruin too much of the actual plot itself as I know some of the people reading this haven’t seen it yet. BUT the plane sequence is one of the most breath taking cinematic moments in the history of cinema as far as I am concerned.

Superman is back and everyone on screen is clapping and cheering and quite frankly so was I simply awesome moment.

Brandon Routh is Superman, the guy take what Chris Reeve (RIP Supes) did and updates it and makes it his own. There will only ever be one Chris Reeve, but Brandon is certainly the best replacement they could have found!

The main concern, well the only concern with the film is Lois the actress Kate Bosworth is good BUT she is a little young looking the script for Lois is also the weakest point of the movie (although Lex Luthor’s villainous plot is a little weak too) Lois character is very rarely shown. We only get glimpses of her complex character especially now she is a mum. Yes Lois has a child and is engaged to another man.

So the world has moved on without Superman, but the world still needs him despite Lois insisting that they don’t. The people of earth welcome superman back into their lives.

Superman Returns is epic its the type of film you can watch again. I went a second time that same night this time I went with Luke again, my good friend Sonya who is very much like a sister I never had, my parents came my mums first cinema trip for over 12 years, I think the last thing she saw was Jurassic Park, my brothers were there, more friends on top of that Andy Clark, JP and Katie, James Kingseller in total there was 14 of us at least (I think). This is what was missing earlier Superman Returns is a film to watch with loved ones, friends and family. Apparently my face and my dad’s face were near the same every time superman was on screen – we were both grinning like we were 5 years old again.

Superman reminds us that its the people around us that make us special and make us the person we are.

I saw it a 3rd time just last Sunday with my bro Rob, just as good if not better than before. There are things you notice that I missed the first time.

Superman Returns has returned the ultimate superhero back to the cinema screen and is everything that I hoped for. Bryan Singer has pushed the mythos of superman to the next level something happens in the film that I can definitely relate to it deals with lost loves, people moving on without you in their lives and what happens when old boyfriends return to see that the world still turns without them. its very moving, especially given the resolution of Lois and her child.

So anyone who still hasn’t seen this movie go and see it I will be going again, hopefully this weekend again or in the week. Give me a shout if you are in Harlow, Essex… in the UK and want to go!

The views and opinions expressed on the panel are solely those of the panellist who has written them. They do not reflect the views or opinions of silver bullet comic books or myself. Freedom of speech is great, isn’t it?
– James

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