Don’t worry Superman fans.
That’s the message from comic book writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson in response to fans’ concerns about the future of the Man of Steel – and these days that means we need to distinguish that we’re talking about the elder, Kal-El/Clark Kent Man of Steel and not his son Jon, who has also taken up the Superman name.
While Jon has been getting all the mainstream media attention of late, and Clark has literally left Earth and installed his son as his replacement, Johnson, who writes Action Comics that features Superman Sr. has apparently seen online fretting and speculation that DC is prepared to permanently replace the soon-to-be 82-year old character.[We italicized the word to acknowledge ‘permanent’ has a different connotation in the world of comic books, where almost nothing is permanent].
Heck, he might have even seen Newsarama’s recent story speculating as to whether the publisher plans to kill Superman on the 30th anniversary of the landmark 1992 ‘Death of Superman’ storyline in the ‘Warworld Saga’ story that kicked off in November 9’s Action Comics #1036 (opens in new tab).
While the writer doesn’t outright deny plans for another ‘Death of Superman’-type storyline, he tweets a different kind of assurance.
“I’ve been hearing from a lot of Superman fans who are scared by all the recent speculation that Warworld is part of some shady, backdoor corporate plan to ‘replace’ Clark as Superman,” Johnson writes on Twitter (opens in new tab).
“To those fans: I don’t know how to easy [sic] your worries without spoiling what’s coming, and I can’t do that. But I love Clark Kent as much as you do. Keep reading, and I promise we won’t betray you. Superman is forever.”
“Won’t betray you…” is pretty strong language. As is “shady, backdoor corporate plan.”
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Johnson goes on to thank readers (in fact he tweets he can’t thank them enough and tweeted out an Action Comics #1039 variant cover by the series upcoming regular penciler Riccardo Federici as a sign of appreciation) for the love they’ve shown Action Comics and the ‘Warlord Saga’ and the trust he and his creative collaborators have gotten from DC.
While that doesn’t sound like someone about to kill a comic book icon, on the other hand, a worthy heroic death could also be seen as the ultimate gesture of respect, so we’re going to keep an eye on the Superman landscape well in 2022.
Will the ‘Warworld Saga’ someday be considered one of the best Superman stories of all time? For the record, ‘Death of Superman’ didn’t make the list.