Veteran Superman Artist Jon Bogdanove: Superman Classic vs. New 52 Superman

Jon Bogdanove is best known for his dynamic, dramatic, sometimes humorous work on DC’s Superman: [...]

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Jon Bogdanove is best known for his dynamic, dramatic, sometimes humorous work on DC's

Superman: The Man of Steel (most issues between #1-#85) where he drew and helped write many landmark Superman stories, including the award-winning Death of Superman, one of the best-selling comics of all time. He also co-created Steel with Louise Simonson. At Marvel, he penciled (and later, wrote) Simonson's Power Pack and drew Fantastic Four v. The X-Men, by Chris Claremont.  Jon often works creating DC character Style Guides and commercial art for Warner Bros, for companies and products as diverse as Six Flags and Band-Aid brand, and to support movies like Green Lantern. I had a hard time learning to draw New 52 Superman well, because of the weight heaped upon him by my personal attachment to the original.


It's not just the costume — New 52 Superman's build, his face— have all been re-cast. But the key to drawing him is the same as drawing any character without the burden of history and the love of millions of fans worldwide— find his essence, his personality and try to discern what makes him work.  I think that's the approach readers who have stayed away from New 52 Superman should try. For people who miss Classic Superman, here's some consolation, I hope: The classic work of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster— or any of comics originators— still survives.  You can go back and read your favorite comics, just the same as you would go back and re-read your favorite books, or re-watch your favorite movies.  You can even discover classic work you missed because you weren't born in The Golden Age. I am currently reading some of Jerry and Joe's finest Superman work from the 1940s — work that I'd never seen before, thanks to some friends at DC who kindly sent me copies of DC's reprint collections of early Superman newspaper strips. To me, these volumes are a whole new bounty of The Good Stuff-- my personal favorite version of Superman. It all came out long before I was born, but it still holds up. The visuals and storytelling are old-fashioned, but there is no missing the energy, vitality and personality in the vision of the original creators.  New 52 hasn't erased that. Neither has it erased my memories or my imagination. I suspect that's true for millions like me. Classic Superman lives in our hearts, quite independent from the needs and demands of business. Whether your Superman is Jerry and Joe's original, or the interpretations of Superman by The Fleischers, or Curt Swan-- or me, even-- it all still exists on our bookshelves and in ourselves! Meanwhile, there are a lot of talented writers and artists trying to make New 52 Superman something new and fresh— and their efforts deserve to be viewed with new, fresh eyes. I'm going to give New 52 Superman every opportunity to win me over. Whether he succeeds or not is up to the minds and hearts whose vision he is. Where they succeed, I will not hesitate to admit it. And, whatever happens, New 52 Superman— or any of the infinite re-boots and re-vamps that come after him— can't erase classic Superman from my heart. He will live there as long as I do.