Ever since Injustice: Gods Among Us showed up in 2013 with its take on Superman as a despot, and Man of Steel offered a take on the superhero that was more brutal than the versions that came before, the idea of the Man of Steel being anything other than a shining beacon of hope has been met with disdain. Those who dislike that version of Superman really dislike it, and you can count comic writer Grant Morrison among them.
In an interview with Irish Youtuber Daniel Fee, Morrison spoke about how they were brought back to DC Comics and more specifically, the Superman & the Authority miniseries from earlier this year. Originally, they weren’t interested in coming back to the publisher, but then Editor-in-Chief Dan Didio managed to talk them into writing The Green Lantern from 2018 and 2020, and that same trick worked with the Superman book. The plan was for the book to be a part of the “Generation Five” initiative—which was said to have new or recent characters take the mantle of established heroes, and has since been reworked into “Future State” from earlier this year. And the plan for Superman was...well, it sure was something!
“The idea was that Superman was now this super right-wing authoritarian, and he formed this team the Authority to take over,” Morrison laughed. They quickly shot that down, saying, “Superman is not a right-wing authoritarian! That’s not how you do it...please don’t make him a right-wing tyrant guy, that’s just not Superman.”
Thus, Morrison and Mikel Janin’s Superman & the Authority was born, because they were worried that someone else may make Supes into a fascist. Their aim was to portray the Man of Steel as “like a dad, but he’s having to lay down the law sometimes, but only for the best reasons.” If Morrison has their way and doesn’t get “tricked” again, this’ll be the last book they do with DC, and they’re fine with that. Much as they felt more like they had to work on the book to protect the character, they admitted they were happy it was their last DC project.
In the past, Morrison talked about how they want Authority to see Clark go through something of a midlife crisis. Having written the character in different continuities, Morrison still finds a connection between their various takes on the character. In their eyes, this Superman of Authority connects perfectly with the t-shirt wearing Superman they wrote for Action Comics during the New 52 before his eventual cosmic merging with his post-Crisis on Infinite Earths self. “Early years Superman, I feel as if that’s the same guy as the Authority. He was just a wild young kid, a punk, he just doesn’t care...I imagine [Authority] being the old version of that. I don’t know if they all fit together, but in my head, they all fit together.” Whether they connect or not, none of Morrison’s Superman takes would try to take over the planet, so at least there’s that.
Superman & the Authority is out now as a hardcover.
[H/T Ritesh Babu]
Correction 12/12/2021 at 3:23 p.m. EST: This article has been updated to correct instances where Morrison was referred to with masculine pronouns; Morrison has been nonbinary and going by they/them since 2020.
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