Column: Next generation wears the ‘S’ in new Superman story

By MATTHEW PRICE 

The Man of Steel and his family undergo a shakeup in July, as DC Comics launches a new series starring the son of Superman.  

On July 13, “Superman: Son of Kal-El” will replace the current Superman monthly title. Current “Nightwing” writer will be joined by artist John Timms (“Young Justice,” “Harley Quinn”) as the young Jonathan Kent, son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, is entrusted to protect Earth. Under the guise of Superboy, Jon has been protecting the planet and more with the Young Justice team and Robin, aka Batman’s son Damian Wayne. But with Superman off-planet, Jon Kent will be required to fill the shoes of Earth’s greatest hero in this new series. 

Jonathan Samuel Kent first appeared in “Convergence: Superman” #2 in 2015, created by Dan Jurgens. 

Exploring the adventures of a second-generation Kryptonian is an idea that’s long been intriguing to “Superman” writers. Whether in alternate futures, time travel stories or so-called “imaginary tales,” Superman’s birth or adopted sons or daughters have appeared in scores of comics. 

Writer Bob Haney and artist Dick Dillin created “The Super Sons,” Superman Jr. and Batman Jr., in the pages of “World’s Finest” starting in 1973. Off and on through the decade, this possible future looked at the adventures of the often-rebellious offspring of Superman and Batman (and their anonymous, at least in these stories, wives.) 

Lara Kent, the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman,  appeared in Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Strikes Again,” the sequel to “The Dark Knight Returns,” in 2002. She returned in “Dark Knight III” in 2015. 

Geoff Johns and Richard Donner (director of the 1978 “Superman” film) created the storyline “Superman: Last Son” starting in 2006 in the pages of “Action Comics,” issues #844–846, 851 and “Action Comics” Annual #11. In the story, a young boy lands in a rocket that Superman believes came from Krypton. Taking in the child and calling him Christopher Kent, Lois Lane and Clark Kent must protect him from Lex Luthor and the Phantom Zone criminals from Krypton. 

And the idea has crossed into mass media as well. “Superman Returns” in 2006 posited that Superman unknowingly had a Super-son. And the current CW series “Superman and Lois” draws heavily on more recent comics establishing Superman as a father. In the CW show, Clark and Lois are parents to teenagers Jonathan and Jordan, who are each struggling with adolescent changes as the family moves back to Smallville.  

Matthew Price, matthew@matthewLprice.com, has written about the comics industry for more than two decades. His column runs weekly in The Oklahoman. He is the co-owner of Speeding Bullet Comics in Norman.

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