Welcome home, Paul!

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Sulle pagine del blog Gelatometti, Jim Lee e i suoi soci dello studio WildStorm hanno realizzato una bella illustrazione per celebrare il ritorno di Paul Levitz al franchise che lo rese celebre a cavallo tra gli anni ’70 e ’80, quello della Legione dei Super-Eroi.
Il disegno, che ho riportato qua sotto in tutto il suo splendore, è un collage di contributi da parte di vari artisti, come Carlos D’Anda e J. J. Kirby. Tra questi, Lee si è occupato delle figure di Colossal Boy e Sensor Girl, oltre che di definire il layout della parte superiore dell’opera.

L’artista di origini coreane, oggi quarantacinquenne, sarà presto celebrato da un pregiato volume della Titan Books, Icons. Oltre a ripercorrere la carriera del penciler di “X-Men”, “WildC.A.T.s.” e “Superman”, il tomo conterrà peraltro una storia inedita illustrata da Lee e scritta, non a caso, dallo zio Paul. ‘Nuff said.

Il WildStorm Studio benedice il ritorno di Paul Levitz sulla Legione

Il WildStorm Studio benedice il ritorno di Paul Levitz sulla Legione

Sempre a proposito del non-così-imminente “third run” levitziano, Comic Book Resources ha strappato al futuro sceneggiatore di “Adventure Comics” (vol. III) una lunga intervista di benvenuto.
Il pezzo non contiene, per fortuna, alcuno spoiler, nè anticipa il nome del penciler destinato ad affiancare l’ex presidente DC Comics. Si tratta comunque di una lettura simpatica e ricca di aneddoti, come testimoniato dall’estratto che ho riportato in questo articolo e che è possibile visionare cliccando qui di seguito.

The first major project we’ve heard about is your return to the Legion of Super-Heroes in “Adventure Comics.” Considering your long history with the characters, it seems to be a great place to jump back into the game.

It’s an extraordinarily comfortable place for me to jump in. Legion was my first love as a kid reading comics. “Adventure Comics” was the first collection I fulfilled. My collection goes back to “Adventure Comics” #103 where Superboy came in. In the old days, you could build a collection like that without robbing a bank. Expensive ones were $5 or $10. Ooh. Although I had a few stories published in “Adventure” of the Justice Society stuff in that $1 comic period, I was never really a regular writer for “Adventure Comics,” so it’s a cool twist of the world to be fulfilling that inner eight-year old.

The Legion is obviously something that I spent a lot of my life on. I did not expect to do a third run. But when Geoff [Johns] was giving it up right at the moment that I was turning around and saying, “Hey guys, I’m going to be able to write some stuff. Got anything?,” it seemed like it would be just dumb to not start off there.

Due in large part to the size of the team and a continuity that would make some readers’ heads explode, the Legion of Super-Heroes is a different beast than the Justice League or even Justice Society. That said, readers that love Legion, really love Legion. What is it that you love about them, and how do you make them work in a team book?

It’s the same thing. The virtue and the challenge of the series is its enormity. You just have such depth of material to work with that, as a writer, you can sit there and say, “Whose life haven’t I screwed up lately?” And it’s really the equivalent of being able to put yourself in the middle of a high school and play with the entire grade. And tinker with it that way. On the other hand, “[Whines] You’ve got to know all of their lives.” And if the book isn’t being written absolutely perfectly, which few of us do, that means when you first pick it up, it may mean, “Who are all of these people?” And, “How do I figure this out?”

I literally, as is well known, used a scorecard to write the book. Hopefully people didn’t need a scorecard to read it.

I’m not sure what you can share in terms of storylines, but is there a nod to any of the plot threads from your previous work?

Right now, I’m still doing my homework. And trying to both read the material that happened in between and figure out how the DC Universe fits together and how the future fits, which is enormously challenging because, although I’ve been involved, obviously, with the DCU for the last 20 years, there’s a difference between being involved behind a desk at a distance and being immersed in it as a writer or a reader. So I have a lot of learning to do before I figure out how all the pieces fit together, but I hope to return to some of the characters I love and explore some things that I hadn’t got to.

I hope to also explore things and take advantage of how the medium has changed. Readers have different expectations. “Legion” was the second, direct-market only continuing book that DC launched when I was writing it. And I was talking with somebody the other day about that moment of time and saying, it was really one of the first handful of titles where you had to have an assumption that the readers were more than 10 or 11 years old. And we didn’t set out to do anything X-rated, or even NC-13 rated, as a result, but it became, “Well, I can assume the reader will be able to understand something more complicated. I can assume they are going to come back month after month, and I can tell a more complicated interwoven story.” Well now, 20 years later, you can obviously make a far more complicated set of assumptions about who our readers are. We know the level of sophistication is enormously greater. So how do you write for that fully? How do you take the best advantage of it?

Are there any specific storylines you can tease for “Adventure Comics?”

I can tease you, but I don’t know. I came up with a title that I really liked to potentially use on the annual yesterday (Wednesday), which I’m not going to share with you. My editor was very happy with it. We talked about the idea, and the title came naturally. And now I have to figure out how to make that work.

I think the thing to be effective with in the tease is to say, it’s my hope to pick up on all the existing plotlines that I can find and identify. It’s my hope to touch as many of the characters as possible within the first few issues. The first time I did a “Legion” annual, which was actually the first annual DC ever did back in, God, ’81 or ’82, I managed to get every single active Legionnaire at that time in that annual for at least a cameo. I don’t think I’m going to try that trick again. It worked that week. I am hoping to have at least one or two new Legionnaires introduced through the course of my first year. And I’m going to have some stuff blow up real good.

Do you have a favorite Legionnaire?

It really depends on who I am writing. In the story where Dream Girl won an election on ballot stuffing, but it was the kind of ballot stuffing that we didn’t have the sense to identify in the rules as being against the rules, so I felt obliged to do it. I’d never really cared for the character before that, and God, did I have a ball with her. And I think the readers did ultimately, too. So, some of them you just discover along the way.

Do you know when the artist you’re working with will be announced?

I know the guys have a pretty solid idea of who they want as the primary artist or two. But with the number of pages we’re looking to produce, it’s unlikely in today’s world that any one artist can do it all. But I don’t know when they are going to announce any of that.

I’m an unusually ignorant writer of the process, considering what I’ve been doing for all of these years, because I’ve really seen the process from a whole other direction. And for the most part, you’re a writer and you’re getting your first big assignment in a number of years, you’ve been sitting on the sidelines watching.

But I’m very anxious to please the readership and to give them a good ride. I always enjoyed the back and forth with the readers through the letter columns. It’s one of the things that I miss about comics today. So, hopefully, that kind of dialogue will continue, whether it’s through sites like yours or the DC Comics site or through conventions. I think the number of years I’ve been behind the desk makes it easy to forget that I was a comic fan foremost. The first fanzine that I did, that had a circulation of more than about four, had a huge one page article on the Legion in it that I did. This has been very much a piece of my life since I was a very little kid and it brings out my second or third childhood.

Currently in “Adventure Comics,” Superboy is the main feature and the Legion is the co-feature. Understanding that the Legion will be moving to the main feature, will the title continue to have a co-feature?

I think the theory is that it’s going to be pre-dominantly Legion material in the book. It’s certainly possible that if, either I get into trouble, or the artist gets into trouble, or if someone walks into Dan [DiDio]’s office with some brilliant new idea, that he’ll say, “Look, can we have a piece of space to tell this other story for a number of months?” No problem. But most of the time that I was writing the Legion, I managed to con the company into giving me more than 20 pages to do it in. I was on the book five issues before we changed it from 17 pages to a double-sized book back in the 1970s. And then we did the hardcover/softcover, and then we did matching miniseries and all sorts of tie-in stuff. And of course the Baxter book was, I think, 25 or 27 pages for most of its life. This is a large cast. There is a lot of room to tell a lot of stories. And I’ll fill as many pages as I can get away with.

And again, you’re starting the run with an annual, correct?

I think that’s the plan. They’re going to use a couple of issues of “Adventure” to wrap up the Legionnaires of the 20th Century plotlines that have been running in “Superman,” which I think makes a lot of sense, because it will make my head hurt less. And I suggested the annual as a way to bridge in. We never had an “Adventure Comics” annual, so it gives us kind of a cool #1 moment to launch with and then we can dive in full strength.

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2 Responses to “Welcome home, Paul!”

  1. Uomo che Ride scrive:

    Fabio, ma la storia inedita nel volume Icons di Lee su che personaggio è incentrata?

  2. Mr. Kayak scrive:

    il sito della titan books dice che si tratta di una storia della legione, come puoi vedere a questo link.
    ho appena notato, però, che hanno modificato la data di uscita: segnala sempre ottobre, sì, ma del 2010… sigh. ecco perchè su bookdepository lo da come “out of stock”, grazie al cazzo 😛
    adesso edito il mio post.