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Superboy

Alias: Kon-El, Conner Kent

Titans Member
Joined: 
Teen Titans (third series) #1 [2003]

Related Links:  SupermanLex Luthor
CadmusDubbilexTana Moon •
Roxy LeechRex LeechYoung JusticeKrypto

Superboy Quick Bio: In an attempt to clone Superman, Cadmus Labs combined the Kryptonian DNA of Superman with the human DNA of Lex Luthor. The impetuous clone escaped the lab and later became known as the hero, Superboy. The Teen of Steel later was welcomed to live in Smallville as “Conner Kent” and joined the Teen Titans while he came to grips with his true lineage.

Teen Titans File Photo:

Teen Titans Group Photo:

Archived File Photos (in chronological order):

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History


I Think I’m A Clone Now

Superboy was created by scientists at Project Cadmus with what he believed was DNA from Project Director Paul Westfield. One of several clones that were created to replace Superman after his “death,” Superboy was the only clone to survive. He was aided in escaping Cadmus by the Newsboy Legion.

The exact nature of Project: Superboy is still somewhat of a mystery, but what is known is that scientists were incapable of successfully cloning Superman. After several failed experiments, they grafted what they could of Superman’s DNA onto human DNA and that process stabilized the extraterrestrial genes – thus Superboy was born, fifty percent Kryptonian and fifty percent human.

ABOVE: Superboy escapes Cadmus, as recounted in SUPERBOY #0 [1994].
BELOW: The intrepid Tana Moon makes Superboy a star in ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN  #501 [1993].

Super Friends

After his first adventure, the mysterious teenaged clone met a young enterprising telejournalist named Tana Moon. Grabbing the Teen of Steel by the arm, Tana led him to television station WGBS and began to strike up a friendship. When she delivered the scoop on the latest celebrity, who thought at the time he might be the then-deceased Superman, Tana was hired as a news anchor. Thanks to Tana, the Kid became a media sensation.

Such attention did not go unnoticed by ruthless promoter Rex Leech, who spied his ultimate meal ticket when he met a brash young hero. Rex used his attractive daughter Roxy as further enticement for the so-called Metropolis Kid, which was just fine as far as the smitten blonde teenager was concerned. Rex became the soon-to-be Superboy’s manager and even secured the trademark to the Superman name.

While the teen hero later ceded the rights to the name when the real Superman returned, Rex had no intention of letting go of his super-powered gold mine. So Superboy and the Leeches then embarked on “Supertour USA,” along with the Kid’s telepathic chaperone Dubbilex. But the tour ended in Hawaii when Superboy was reunited with Tana Moon, who had since taken a job as a reporter for KONA TV. Despite feeling a romantic attraction to the teen, Tana tried to maintain a professional distance. This worked until Superboy’s life was threatened with cellular breakdown. This prompted Tana to finally admit her feeling for the Kid, which he reciprocated. Once Superboy fully recovered, the two began a relationship.

ABOVE: Superboy, Dubbilex, Rex and Roxy Leech are Hawaii-bound in SUPERBOY #1 [1994].
BELOW: Superboy was reunited with Tana in Hawaii, as recounted in SUPERBOY #100 [2002].

The relationship proved challenging for both parties. Tana was a few years older than Superboy, and the Kid’s hormonal immaturity proved cause for concern. Additionally, some of Tana’s co-workers found the reporter’s relationship with the much-younger teen hero both unprofessional and unseemly. Their romance ended when the bawdy and bodacious Knockout arrived and caught Superboy’s wandering eye. Tana investigated and discovered the devious Knockout’s true colors, something Superboy refused to acknowledge until faced with the facts firsthand. After putting Knockout in jail, Superboy renewed his romance with Tana.

Just as his life seemed to be going well, Superboy’s genetic structure began to literally melt down as a result of tampering by a group called the Agenda, which also created Match, a clone of Superboy. The only way to save Superboy was to speed up the cell degeneration and then rebuild it using a donor’s template. The kid was saved thanks to the donation of genetic material from his friend, Roxy Leech, which stabilized his DNA. However, Superboy’s aging process halted, leaving him at the physical age of sixteen.

ABOVE: Superboy joins a reorganized Cadmus in SUPERBOY #56 [1998].
BELOW: Superman gives Superboy a Kryptonian name in SUPERBOY #59 [1998].

Following the reorganization of Cadmus under its new director, Mickey Cannon, and Colonel Adam Winterbourne, Superboy returned to Cadmus to become their special field agent. His assignments included tracking down escaped Cadmus monsters and heading Cadmus investigative teams.

Not long after this, Superman shared memories of Krypton with Superboy, who he came to regard as a member of his family. Deciding that Superboy needed a name to honor his Kryptonian heritage, the youth was dubbed Kon-El, cementing his place in The House Of El.

Reckless Youth

Robin, Superboy and Impulse later found themselves at the epicenter of the conflict in which all adults were banished from the Earth. When an ancient artifact came into the possession of Matt Stuart, the son of an oft-absent archeologist father, he discovered that it possessed a genie, and used its power to remove all grown-ups from the planet. With only children left behind, chaos ensued and it was up to the junior heroes Robin, Superboy, and Impulse to restore order.

Following this adventure, the threesome decided to remain together as a team. Adopting the JLA’s “Secret Sanctuary” in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island as their de facto headquarters, the team acquired the name Young Justice and quicked welcomed Wonder Girl, Arrowette and Secret  into their ranks. Wonder Girl was instantly attracted to the Teen of Steel, who remained oblivious to her affections.

ABOVE: Young Justice forms in JLA: WORLD WITHOUT GROWN-UPS #2 [1998].
BELOW: Young Justice gels in YOUNG JUSTICE #1 [1998].

 

Unknown to his teammates and friends, Superboy had been held captive by the sinister Agenda. In his place, the evil duplicate Match successfully duped Superboy’s peers in Young Justice. Meanwhile, genetic think tank Project Cadmus was also systematically infiltrated by clones loyal to the Agenda. Though substantially weakened, the real Superboy freed himself and joined the battle to liberate Cadmus from Match and the Agenda’s doppelgangers.

But young Kon-EI’s victory was not without great losses. Mysteriously stricken, Superboy was temporarily aged to adulthood by Cadmus to spare his life. Furthermore, Kon-EI’s reunion with long-lost paramour Tana Moon was cut tragically short by the Agenda’s Amanda Spence, who murdered Tana to fulfill her own personal vendetta against Superboy, whom she blamed for the death of her father, Paul Westfield.

When Superboy returned to his normal age, he learned that he was no longer frozen at the age of sixteen. This gave the Teen of Steel renewed hope that he could one day grow up to become Superman. Recovering from the tragedy of Tana’s death, Superboy adopted a new costume and began to notice the affection of his Young Justice teammate, Wonder Girl.

Later, Superboy was taken in by Superman’s Earth parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent. Under the guise of Conner Kent, cousin to Clark, the youth began attending Smallville High School in an attempt to live a more balanced life.

ABOVE: Love lost, as Superboy is reunited with Tana moments before her death in SUPERBOY #74 [2000].
BELOW: Love found, as Superboy reciprocates Wonder Girl’s affections in YOUNG JUSTICE #55 [2002]. 

Teen Titans

A conglomerate known as Optitron offered to sponsor the Titans and Young Justice after summoning them to San Francisco. Before any decisions could be made, a mysterious cybernetic girl known as Indigo emerged from the future. Unwittingly, she somehow activated a rogue Superman android, resulting in the apparent deaths of Troia and Omen. At Troia’s funeral, Nightwing disbanded the Titans.

Meanwhile, members of Young Justice felt responsible for the tragic deaths. This led Wonder Girl, Robin, Impulse and Superboy to form a new group of Teen Titans under the guidance of the more experienced Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy.

ABOVE: Superboy learns Lex Luthor is his genetic father in TEEN TITANS (third series) #5 [2003].
BELOW: The next generation of Teen Titans, as depicted in TEEN TITANS (third series) #21 [2005].

Soon after joining the Teen Titans, Superboy received a mysterious e-mail detailing the truth behind his genesis. This documentation revealed that half of Superboy’s DNA was from Superman, but the other half was that of criminal mastermind Lex Luthor. Superboy began to fear the effects of his Luthor genes.

Those fears were realized when Superboy found himself vulnerable to a deeply-buried brain trigger planted by Lex himself. No longer in control of his mind, Superboy shaved his head to resemble Lex and brutally attacked his teammates before struggling back to sanity. These events left Superboy deeply shaken – which prompted the Teen of Steel to take a leave of absence from the Teen Titans. It was during this time that Wonder Girl and Superboy grew closer than ever before, and shared their first night of intimacy.

ABOVE: Superboy and Wonder Girl share an intimate moment – unaware of the tragedy
that awaits – in 
TEEN TITANS (third series) ANNUAL #1 [2006].
BELOW: Superboy makes the ultimate sacrifice in INFINITE CRISIS #6 [2006].

 

Super Sacrifice

Superboy from Earth-Prime and Alexander Luthor from Earth Three – survivors of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths – returned in a misguided plan to restore the multiverse and create a new “perfect earth.” Superboy was summoned back into battle when the delusional Superboy-Prime attacked him.

Nightwing and Superboy later teamed up to ambush Alexander Luthor’s cosmic tower, the source of of Luthor’s twisted plan that created a multi-universal cataclysm. Locked in savage combat, Superboy and Superboy-Prime collided into Luthor’s tower, creating a huge explosion. When the smoke cleared, the tower was destroyed, but Superboy was suffering critical wounds. As Wonder Girl rushed to his side, Superboy died in her arms, having sacrificed his own life to save the universe.

Superboy and Kid Flash are back in FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF 3 WORLDS [2009].

Many Super Returns

When Superboy Prime threatened the very fabric of time in the 31st century, Brainiac 5 planned to bring back the one person that could defeat the rampaging teen terror: Conner Kent.

Traveling one thousand years in the past, the Legion of Super-Heroes arranged Conner’s corpse to be placed in the same Kryptonian regeneration chamber that brought Superman back from the brink of death. And after introducing a living strand of Lex Luthor’s hair, Conner Kent was restored to life in the 31st century to help Superman and the Legion defeat Superboy Prime. The resurrected Teen of Steel then traveled back to his proper time in the 21st century and resumed his super-heroic career.

Settling in Smallville, Superboy made it his personal mission to find a shred of humanity in Lex Luthor, with the hopes of one day redeeming his biological “father.” In this pursuit, Superboy met Lex’s disabled sister, Lena, and her daughter, Lori. The Teen of Steel challenged Lex do perform an act of kindness and cure his sister. And although Luthor was successful, his own massive ego propelled him to undo this act – rendering his sibling incapacitated once again. After witnessing Luthor’s cold hearted decision, Superboy realized that Lex Luthor was utterly irredeemable.

Finally coming to terms with his lineage, The Kid of Steel rejoined the Teen Titans as he and Wonder Girl decided to put their relationship on hold for the time being. Superboy then came into conflict with his arch-nemesis, Superboy-Prime, who besieged the team with his army of Superboy clones. Together, Titans past and present were able to defeat the clones and trap Superboy-Prime within the impenetrable Source Wall at the edge of the universe.

ABOVE: Superboy comes to terms with his lineage in ADVENTURE COMICS #6 [2009].
BELOW: It’s Titans Together in TEEN TITANS #93 [2010].


Powers & Abilities


Because he is not an exact clone of Superman, Superboy’s abilities differ. His primary power is a limited form of telekinesis that mimics super-strength and flight. He is also able to disassemble objects with a touch. As he’s aged, Superboy has manifested a certain amount of non-psychically derived super-strength.

Superboy later developed heat vision, X-Ray vision and super-hearing, similar to his mentor’s abilities.

 A 2009 Superboy commission by Francis Manapul.

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Essential Reading


Adventures of Superman #500 [1993]: A teenaged Superman clone escapes Project Cadmus. First appearance of Superboy.
Adventures of Superman #501 [1993]: The teenaged Superman clone makes his Metropolis debut. Tana Moon interviews at the Daily Planet and meets Superboy, who provides her with her first big scoop at WGBS. First appearance of Tana Moon.
Adventures of Superman #502 [1993]: Superboy comes face to chest with Supergirl. Between manipulations by Lex Luthor, Vincent Edge, and Rex Leech, Superboy and Supergirl are drawn into a deadly battle with a villain calling himself Stinger.
Adventures of Superman #505 [1993]: Tana says goodbye to Superboy and leaves Metropolis.
Adventures of Superman #506 [1993]: Superman rescues Superboy from some Cadmus DNAliens and the two, along with the Guardian, decide to return and confront the Cadmus brass to get some answers on Superboy’s origins and powers. Superboy relinquishes the “Superman” trademark back to the Man of Steel. Dubbilex is tasked with monitoring Superboy.

Superboy #1 [1994]: “Trouble In Paradise” Superboy was launched into his self-titled series. The first issue introduces the new setting of Hawaii, establishes the supporting cast and sets up the tone of humorous adventure as Superboy encounters (again and for the first time) the villain Sidearm.
Superboy #5 [1994]: When Superboy’s cells break down, Tana at last admits her feelings, which Superboy reciprocates.
Superboy Annual #2 [1995]: Superboy is summoned back to Cadmus, which has discovered the lab containing the twelve prior failed attempts to clone Superman. Superboy learns that his cell-stock came from the slimy and now deceased former director of Cadmus, Paul Westfield.
Superboy #55-57 [1998]: Cadmus is put under new management, led by Mickey “the Mechanic” Cannon, a former Suicide Slum resident with a reputation for being able to “fix” anything. The new head of genetics is Dr. Serling Roquette, a teenaged genius with a crush on the Guardian and Superboy. Dabney Donovan is also brought back, under armed guard. Superboy is also reunited with friend Dubbilex, who is now head of genetics. Cannon makes Cadmus more open to the public.
Superboy #59 [1998]: Another notable issue is Superboy #59, where Superman has the Kid visit Krypton via virtual reality and gives him the Kryptonian name of Kon-El (both an obvious anagram of klone and a nod to the Silver Age Superboy’s friend, Mon-el).
Superboy #72-75 [2000]: Tana resurfaces, having been captured by the vengeful Amanda Spence. Dubbilex is manipulated by the gene gnome, as the Agenda threatens to infiltrate Cadmus. Spence murders Tana in front of Superboy, devasting the young hero. Death of Tana Moon in issue #74.
Superboy #83 [2000]: Writer Joe Kelly took over the Superboy title starting with issue #83 with Kelly’s trademark emphasis on humor. That issue also has Superboy changing to a new costume in a desperate search to be cool after his looks are dissed by some teenage girls.
Superboy #83 [2002]: Dubbilex reflects on his time with Superboy. Superboy moves in with the Kents.
Young Justice #53-55 [2003]: Secret is corrupted by Darkseid and turns against the team. As punishment for failing, Darkseid turns her human. Superboy admits his feeling for Wondergirl and the couple shares their first real kiss.

Teen Titans #1 [2003]: What do teenage super-heroes do on the weekends? They hang with the Teen Titans! The invitations go out to a handful of reluctant heroes: Superboy, Robin, Impulse and Wonder Girl. Walk into the new Titans Tower with Cyborg and Starfire as they gather together the next generation of Titans. First Superboy as a Teen Titan. Superboy learns his DNA is a combination of Superman and Lex Luthor.
Teen Titans #24-25, Outsiders #24-25 [2005]: The Insiders,” a 4-part crossover between the TEEN TITANS and OUTSIDERS. The Titans and the Outsiders are rocked to the core as they face two of the most powerful villains in the DCU – Lex Luthor and Brainiac – in an all-out war to destroy the young teams! Luthor uses a trigger word to turn Superboy against his friends, while Indigo is revealed as a Brainiac plant from the very beginning.
Teen Titans (third series) Annual #1 [2006]: Having narrowly survived the death and destruction of the Infinite Crisis, Superboy and Wonder Girl find some time alone in Smallville. Superboy and Wonder Girl take their relationship to the next level.
Infinite Crisis #1-6, Teen Titans #32-33 [2005-2006]: Superboy-Prime confronts Superboy. Nightwing and Superboy team up to ambush Alexander Luthor’s cosmic tower. Locked in savage combat, Superboy and Superboy-Prime collide into Luthor’s tower, creating a huge explosion. When the smoke clears, Superboy lay dead, having sacrificed his own life to save the universe. Death of Superboy in Infinite Crisis #6.
Legion of 3 Worlds mini-series #1-5 [2008-2009]: Superboy Prime arrives in the 31st century and plans to remove Superman from history with the help of the Time Trapper and the Legion of Super-Villains. In this reality-bending adventure, Superman joins forces with the Legion of Super-Heroes from three alternate worlds. They are joined by Bart Allen, who returns from the brink of death in a super-charged lightning rod, and Conner Kent, who is restored to life in a Kryptonian regeneration chamber. Together, their combined forces defeat Superboy Prime and his evil allies. Kid Flash returns to life in issue #3. Superboy returns to life in issue #4.
Adventure Comics #6 [2009]: Ever since Superboy returned from the grave, he has been obsessed with Lex Luthor, believing that there must be some good in the master villain somewhere. So for Luthor, it’s time to put up or shut up. With Superman off planet, it’s time to do some good for the planet earth. Superboy is willing to do what it takes to make Lex’s dreams come true, but what Superboy will discover is that one man’s dreams, are another man’s nightmares. First appearance of Lena Luthor Post-Crisis. Lori revealed as Lex Luthor’s niece.
Teen Titans (third series) #99-100 [2011]: It’s all-out war as Titans old and new come together to face the greatest threat to their existence. Superboy-Prime gathers his own “Legion of Doom,” comprised of various Titans villains. He then creates an army of Superboy clones to besiege the Titans. Together, Titans past and present defeat the villains and trap Superboy-Prime within the impenetrable Source Wall at the edge of the universe.

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A 2007 Superboy commission by Karl Kesel.

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 Not The Superboy


“Is this the real Superman? Meet Superman – not Superboy – taking on the Adventures of Superman”
An article from Comics Scene Magazine #34 [1993]

Being mistaken for Superboy can make a hero cranky, but writer Karl Kesel wouldn’t describe his teenage-looking Superman as annoyed. He’s kind of like the Rebel-Without-a-Cause Superman,” he explains. ‘He does get annoyed when people call him Superboy because he is Superman. He’s a clone of Superman.”Kesel certainly isn’t annoyed about his part in the return of Superman and actually petitioned to get the teenage version for his run of Adventures of Superman beginning with #501.

“A few weeks after I took the assignment, there was a Superman summit where we figured out how to bring him back from the dead” he remembers. “I thought it would he nice if each of the Supermen somehow reflected the titles of their books. I remembered that the tagline from the old Superboy comic was ‘the adventures of Superman when he was a boy’ and I thought Superboy should he the character in Adventures.

“I thought no one would go for it, but at the summit, we had a huge list of all the possible ways Superman could come back and Superboy was one of them. I really stomped to get it. I’m really happy that penciller Tom Grummett and I ended up with this Superman because he’s a really fun character.”

As revealed in Adventures #500, the teenage clone comes from the Cadmus Project, although he was supposed to have reached full maturity. “He shouldn’t be loose, but he is. He has normal teenage attitudes. He thinks he’s indestructible, partly because he is, and he thinks he knows how to do everything. Most times, he’s right, but a few times, he’s tragically wrong.”

The creative team is assuming that Superman’s innate goodness and ethical stands were ingrained in his cellular structure and copied into the clone. However, access to the original’s mind was impossible and the clone has none of Kal-EI’s personal recollections. Thus, encounters with old friends will have a strange twist. “I just finished a sequence where he specifically asks Lois Lane why she’s not covering his stories anymore.” Kesel reveals, “He’s basically wondering why he isn’t getting better press – he wants page one headlines. He does a few things which are pretty disquieting to her.

“Lois, Jimmy, Perry and the Daily Planet are all very good characters, but my Superman really has little to do with them after the first issue because lie moves on to a totally different world. He associates himself with a TV station because television is the method of communication for the ‘90s. There will be a very fine line between PR and news in his mind.”

Kesel also says his hero won’t have a secret identity because he revels in being Superman. As for the other three entities claiming to be Superman, his character thinks ‘they’re all poseurs. He just discounts them.”

Superboy debuts in ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #500 [1993].

Although Kesel knows the final resolution to the “Reign of the Supermen,” he’ll only offer a hint at the answer. “All I’ll say is that every single one of these four Supermen think they’re Superman or at least say they are,” he states. “It’s a really exciting, big, full story that’s going to take a while to play out. We’re going to keep people on their toes guessing. There’s really close planning and we’ve got a chart for the next six months. It’s very specific about what must take place in each issue for everything to happen like clockwork.”

While there’s very tight continuity between the four titles, Kesel feels people can read his book by itself. “Each of my issues so far are fairly self-contained, with beginnings, middles and endings,” he says. “If you read all four titles, you get a much richer texture and it’s more satisfying, but you could just read Adventures and have a good time. One of the things [editor] Mike Carlin insisted was that every major event that happens to any character happens in the book that deals with that character.”

Kesel is mostly known for inking such projects as John Byrne’s Superman and the Hawk and Dove mini-series, but he has always had an interest in writing. “When I was inking Superman over John, I would keep throwing ideas at him and a few of mine showed up during his run. I co-wrote the Hawk and Dove regular and mini-series with my wife, Barbara. Also, I have this Indiana Jones mini-series I’m doing all by myself for Dark Horse, probably out in another year. And I did some small stories with the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion during Jerry Ordway’s run on Superman. Little by little, I’ve been getting my feet more into that pond.”

In fact, he’s pleased to be following in Ordway’s footsteps on Adventures of Superman because “Jerry and I have always been pals and we have similar interests. When he needed a little bit of a break, he would say, ‘Have Karl do some Guardian stories.’ Also, Jerry started off some really cool stuff and much of it is probably going to be played up, maybe not exactly like he would have, but pretty similar.”

There’s no doubt that Karl Kesel is pleased to be part of the Superman saga. ‘Tom Grummett and I are really excited about this teenage Superman, and hope the response is phenomenal. He’s the kind of character I enjoy and I think the fans will like him, too. So far, I’ve enjoyed doing every page. I’ve already got ideas I would love to do six months down the road. Because of the continuity between the four books, it depends on what the others think, but I have ideas that could keep Adventures of Superman going for a couple of years. People should read it because it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun. What more do you want from a comic book?”

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A 2007 con sketch of Superboy by Todd Nauck.

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 Hero of Hawaii


Karl Kesel Interview
[from Titans Companion 2, by TwoMorrows Publishing – 2008]

TTC: Where did the idea of bringing in a new Superboy come from?

KK: I have to say, when I wrote up my ideas for the way to bring back Superman, when I wrote down the idea of there being four different Supermen, my idea at the time was each book could have a Superman in it that reflected the history of the book.

So I thought, “Action Comics should probably have a very Shuster and Siegel-esque Superman. There’s something very primal about Action Comics, and maybe that Superman can only leap an eighth of a mile.” That was my initial idea. I thought the book that’s called Superman should have the real Superman, and I wasn’t sure what Man of Steel should be – maybe a robot, [or] something like that – but when I sat down to figure out what Adventures of Superman should be, the book that I was going to be writing, I [thought], “What kind of different Superman fits that title?” and I remembered the old tag line, “The adventures of Superman when he was a boy.” I said, “That’s it! That should be Superboy.”

Obviously, none of those things happened except the Superboy idea, but that was my approach, and that’s how I ended up with an idea of Superboy. I would say in the Superman summit, it might’ve been Louise Simonson [who] first said the idea when we were just throwing out ideas of different kinds of Superman. I think she was the one who mentioned a Superboy, but I successfully argued that he should be in my book, and I’m very glad I did. I think Weezie’s and Bog’s character Steel was equally as good, so I think we both did really well.

[…]

TTC: Personality-wise, your Superboy was a lot different from the original Superboy. Was that always your intent?

KK: Well, I certainly wanted a more modern character, yeah. I wanted someone who had a little more attitude. I have always enjoyed humor in my stories, so I wanted someone with a sense of humor, and there just seemed to be a certain arrogance built into a teenage boy who’s walking around saying he’s the clone of Superman. There seems to be a certain arrogance there [that] just seemed to fit the character really well.

[…]

TTC: Why did you set the series in Hawaii?

KK: The thinking was this: when Superman was first created, he was very definitely a wish-fulfillment character. He was the guy who would throw the evil Senator across town and catch him. He would do the sort of things that you or I, or Siegel and Shuster, wished they could do, and so Superman was very much, especially at the beginning, a wish-fulfillment character.

So that’s the tact I took with Superboy. I said, “All right; in today’s society, what would every kid wish if they had super-powers?” and I decided they would want to live in Hawaii! [laughs] So that’s where we set it, because it’s this tropical paradise with beautiful gals in bikinis, and it just sounded really exotic. It just sounded very much like a dream come true. Very wish fulfillment.

[…]

Superboy’s supporting cast, from SUPERBOY #4 [1994].

TTC: The Superboy book also had a rich supporting cast. How important do you think those characters were to the series?

KK: I think they’re really important. I really enjoyed doing the first run on Dubbliex and Rex and Roxy and Tana. I think all of those were really good characters that I enjoyed a lot, and I think later on the cast of characters we had in Cadmus was just as rich. I always go back to early Spider-Mans that Stan Lee was writing, especially when John Romita was drawing it.

Many times, many times I have gone back and pulled out those old comics, and I’ll flip past the fights because I know Spider-Man’s gonna beat the Shocker, but I always stop and read the Coffee Bean scenes because the interplay between the characters is just so great. There’s no way my work ever came close to that, but I’ve always remembered how grounded that makes any character.

I’ve always tried to surround characters with interesting supporting characters because of that.

TTC:You also brought Tana Moon over from Adventures of Superman. Was that always the plan?

KK: Well, once we decided to put him in Hawaii, we realized, “Hey! Maybe she’s Hawaiian!” [laughs] So it worked out really well. It certainly wasn’t the plan from the beginning. It wasn’t like we said, “Okay, we gotta find a place to put Superboy and Tana.” The only thing I wish we could’ve gotten the approval for there was we wanted to reveal that Tana Moon was related to the Batman villain Dr. Moon, and Denny O’Neil nixed that idea. The series didn’t suffer, but it would’ve been a cool connection.

TTC: She did fill the “Lois Lane” role of the book.

KK: Yeah, she did.

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A Superboy commission by Mike McKone.

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 Teen Titans and Superboy


2003: Titans Together
[from “DC Comics Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle”]

The Teen Titans had been one of DC’s most popular teams of the 1980s, and while some successive series had been well-received, none had reached the heights of the Marv Wolfman and George Pérez era until writer Geoff Johns and artist Mike McKone’s relaunch.

Following the events of Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day, Cyborg and Starfire decided to form a new team of Teen Titans to train the next generation of heroes. The team was partly made up of former members of Young Justice: Superboy (Conner Kent), Robin (Tim Drake), Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark), and Impulse (who renamed himself Kid Flash shortly after joining). The new line-up was completed with Beast Boy and the subsequent return of Raven.

The first story arc, “Child’s Play,” put the new team through their paces as their old for Deathstroke set out to kill them. The team soon learned that Deathstroke was being possessed by his son, Jericho, and old Titan long thought dead. Jericho was insane and wanted to stop the team from reforming, hoping to prevent more deaths like his own. The series succeeded in pleasing fans of all eras with its mix of old and new characters to the foreground, making the reader feel empathy toward the teenage heroes. It wasn’t long before the Teen Titans was one of DC’s best-selling titles again.

The next generation of Teen Titans by Mike McKone.

Geoff Johns on Superboy
[from Titans Companion 2, by TwoMorrows Publishing – 2008]

TTC: Now, your Titans contained a mix of old and new Titans. What sort of dynamic were you shooting for there?

GJ: Well, I looked at the original – what George and Marv did – and they had a reverse pardigm, kind of. They had the old standbys – Wonder Girl, Robin, and Kid Flash – and then they brought in the new characters Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy, who was established already as a Doom Patrol sidekick, and they made him Changeling.

And from that, I kind of saw it as, “If this is the next generation, Nightwing, Donna and Flash had already gone off on their way, and we want to make this the Teen Titans,” so I would bring in Cyborg, Starfire, and Beast Boy as the old guard, and the new guard would be Superboy, Robin, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash.

[…]

TTC: Speaking of the crossover with the Outsiders, how far back was that in the works?

GJ: That was in the works since day one. We always knew it’d be the two year mark. We’d bring the books back together in two years. It was like, “Okay, we’ll go away for two years, and we’ll bring them back together in two years.”

TTC: Did you always intend to address the whole Luthor DNA story within the Outsiders crossover?

GJ: Yes, we did.

TTC: Superboy was a character you paid a lot of attention to during your run on the series. What is it about Superboy that you find so appealling?

GJ: I thought Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett created one of the greatest characters in the DCU. I just thought he was a wonderful character with tons of potential, and I always loved reading his book. I always loved his attitude. He wasn’t the smartest guy in the room, he was just the guy who was trying to do the right thing. He was very caring with his friends, he was very tough when he needed to be tough, and I just related to to him a lot, I guess. He’s just a really interesting character.

 


TT

A Superboy commission by Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning.


 Titans In Love: Superboy and Wonder Girl


It was love at first super-sight for Wonder Girl. Upon joining Young Justice, Cassie Sandsmark was instantly smitten with Supeboy (Young Justice #4 [1999]). The cocky Teen of Steel remained unmoved by Cassie’s affections. Cassie matured as a member of the team, finally ditching her geeky wig and goggles for a more fashionable ensemble. The gawky adventurer also emerged as a more capable heroine, even assuming the role of team leader. Superboy finally realized he had fallen in love with Wonder Girl, and declared his feeling in Young Justice #55 [2003], culminating in a long-deserved kiss.

Love at first super-sight in YOUNG JUSTICE #4 [1999].

The super teens’ romantic relationship continued in the pages of Teen Titans [2003], despite Wonder Woman’s initial disproval (Teen Titans #6) and Superboy’s Luthor-initiated rampage (Teen Titans #24-35). And when the Infinite Crisis threatened all of existence, Cassie and Conner consummated their relationship  (Teen Titans Annual #1). Heartbreak followed, as Superboy seemingly gave his life in Infinite Crisis #6-7, dying in the arms of Wonder Girl.

A mourning Wonder Girl became obsessed with bringing Superboy back, and joined the corrupt “Cult of Conner” to do so (52 w2, 52 w4, 52 w11-12). Eventually rejoining the Teen Titans, Cassie found comfort in the arms of Tim Drake. The pair dated for a short time, while the Legion of Super-Heroes used 31st century super-science to revive Superboy (Legion of 3 Worlds #4-5 [2009]). After defeating Superboy-Prime, Conner returned to his proper time and reunited with an elated Wonder Girl.

Superboy and Wonder Girl share their feelings in ADVENTURE COMICS #2 [2009].

But Wonder Girl later wrestled with a conflict of interests when she assumed a leadership role on the team. Having lost Superboy once, Cassie was unsure if she could be with Conner and lead the team at the same time. With that, the two star-crossed teens but a hold on their relationship (Teen Titans #88 and #91). But given all that the pair have endured, it’s a good bet they will find their way back to each other.

An interesting thing about their love story is that it’s the inverse of a typical comic book romance. Usually, it’s the dorky guy trying to win the affections of an out-of-his-league beauty. Here, it was geeky Cassie who eventually won the heart of her hunky hero.

Romantic Reads:
Young Justice [1999] #4, 6, 55
Teen Titans [2003] #5-6, 16, 24-25, 88, 91, Annual #1
Infinite Crisis [2005] #6-7
Legion of 3 Worlds [2009] #5
Adventure Comics [2009] #2

 


Sources for this entry: DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [ West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author