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SDCC 2023: DC's World of Metropolis panel flies Superman to Comic Con

Joshua Williamson, Sina Grace, and Phillip Kennedy Johnson are at San Diego Comic Con 2023 for an all-Superman panel.

The Superman Family takes flight
Image credit: DC Comics

It’s a lineup fit for the world’s greatest superhero as DC brings top talent to San Diego Comic Con 2023 for a panel about all things Man of Steel. There's always something exciting going on in the World of Metropolis, both on the comic book page and behind the scenes, and this panel aims to get into exactly what those exciting things are.

Creators Joshua Williamson, Sina Grace, and Phillip Kennedy Johnson take the stage to discuss what's going on in the multiple Superman and Superman-adjacent comics DC has running right now; don't miss it if you're a fan of the Last Son of Krypton.

Can't make it to SDCC? Don't worry, Popverse will be live in the room for this panel to break the biggest news and the most interesting insights about the whole thing. You can follow along live with our play-by-play, or come back later for a beat-by-beat recap of the entire thing.

Follow along to DC's World of Metropolis panel from SDCC 2023, as it begins Saturday, July 22 at 12:30 PM PST, 3:30 PM EST.

Popverse saw it and did most of it, and you can find all about our guide to All the big news, magic, and moments from San Diego Comic-Con. And if you want to go to SDCC next year, we have the San Diego Comic-Con 2024 dates as well.

Our live coverage of this event has finished.

*tap tap* is this thing on?
Popverse is front and center and CANNOT wait for this panel to get started. We are also particularly excited that our very own Graeme McMillan is moderating.
Whilst you are waiting, feel free to pull up another tab and read Popverse's great (I may be biased, but it really is great) coverage of the weekend so far. Lots of stuff has been happening in the sleepy town of San Diego!!
A disembodied voice just told us the panel will be starting in "just a few minutes," but can you really trust a disembodied voice?
Apparently you can, because we're starting with a video trailer for the DC Universe Infinite app!
Graeme McMillan has taken the stage and is introducing the panelists. We've got Joshua Williamson, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Sina Grace...
... and surprise guest Joe Casey!
Here's what the panel looks like, for those visual learners out there.
"Every battle, every challenge, it will always come back to Lex Luthor" Joshua Williamson says about Luthor who is, in his opinion, the best Superman villain.
Who is Phillip Kennedy Johnson's favorite member of the Superfamily? (not including Superman and Lois) "I love the Super Twins... they choose to become his family, and Superman chooses them. And for that reason, I love the Super Twins. I love seeing them aspire to be what Superman is."
As for the best supporting character around Superman, Sina Grace says Jimmy Olsen, "He's a reflection of Superman in a completely different way. He has an optimism and a brightness to him that is my Metropolis."
What's the best Superman power? Joe Casey says "flight."
About his current work on Superman, Joshua Williamson responds by talking about what its like to work with artist Jamal Campbell. "What I didn't expect was how much Jamal and I were going to click together. It's always great when you're working with an artist and you feel like you've known them your entire life... he just elevates everything I'm doing in the book."
We've all just been handed a copy of the Dawn of DC Primer (Free Special Edition).
Williamson says that he is often asked what he loves about Superman. His response is to read the book and see. Williamson says that he's putting everything he loves about Superman into the comic. He also teases some fun stuff coming up with Perry White, Parasite, and Livewire.
"A major part of this book for me is second chances," Williamson continues, "... Clark's never given up on anybody." But things are different with Lex, but he's going to try. "He wants to give Lex a second chance."
Graeme is now asking about Superman issue 7, which is also Superman issue 850. "I'm a continuity junkie," Williamson says. "There's a lot of really big moments in that issue... there's a lot of really cool stuff coming with this issue." Williamson teases the introduction of people from Lex Luthor's life, including his mother.
Williamson is now talking about Dan Jurgens (to some applause), "We had breakfast yesterday and talked about Superman a lot."
"Obviously he has such a deep history of Superman. I'm not sure if you know.. but Dan kills Superman one time. It was a big deal." chuckles from the audience.
A new villain image is being shown. Williamson shares that Lex Luthor once built a secret prison. Now this character is in the secret prison. Character is named "The Chained" and is, who Williamson says, is a "Doomsday-level threat."
Image credit: DC Comics
Here's the image of The Chained
"Superman is my religion," Phillip Kennedy Johnson says about his work on the character, "Sincerely. He's a statement to the world about what the best of humanity looks like... it's the biggest of deals to me."
Johnson shouts out his son in the crowd, who is wearing a Superman shirt. "I write him in all my stuff. He's the best... Superman has changed my son's life and my own life in meaningful ways. "
As for plot, Johnson says, "All the really great Superman villains are the opposite of Superman in various ways..." He calls out classic images of Superman deflecting bullets, while "Metallo is the gun that dreamt he was a man"
"I don't like to leave any threads in my story..." Johnson talks about bringing details from the beginning of his story to wrap up this arc. There will be surprises that people are excited about!
Now who is behind Blue Earth? Apparently a young woman who is like a "goth Greta Thunberg," who will serve as a different sort of force.
Now time to chat with Sina Grace about Superman: The Harvests of Youth. "I learned how to love the way Clark does by living through his skin for two years," Grace says, adding that the book pulled him through the pandemic.
About what's happening in the book, "More and more things are happening in Smallville that are complicated, as Clark is learning his powers." Grace talks about the challenge that writers must have working with adult Sueprman at the height of his powers and intelligence. Writing Clark as a teen is a bit easier.
"I never thought I could do a Superman book," Grace says. He had originally pitched a Green Arrow and Black Canary book. He didn't think he was even allowed to think about Superman.
"I just love this book, I hope you guys do too," Grace says.
Looks like we may be getting a bit of an announcement??
Joe Casey will be writing a new series called Kneel Before Zod. Creative team is Joe Casey and Dan McDaid. Will come in 2024, with a sneak peek in Action Comics 1060
"There's gonna be a lot of death and darkness and explosions," Casey says.
"If you like bad things happening to bad people, you'll like this story," Casey says.
About joining the Superman book, Joshua Williamson says, "Maybe it was for me, I put Superman on such a pedestal. Superman is DC Comics, he is comics, but he's so much more than that... to me he means so much... I was incredibly honored when they called and asked."
"In this moment, it had been so long since we saw Parasite. Where is Parasite. Where is Metallo, where is Lex? Where are these Superman rogues?" His major advice was to do something with Superman's rogues. He and Phillip Kennedy Johnson sat down and talked about that really amazing Rogues Gallery, "Let's get back to that and show why they matter. Let's talk about how they're great and elevate them."
Johnson adds that the conversation was really fun, and that he likes to pull villains who might have been more one-dimensional "I want DC to continue to grow and thrive and evolve," and that he wants to "keep finding corners of the universe that are undeserved and grow them."
(want to read more about Kneel Before Zod? Check out our news story on the series announcement.)
"[Superman's] powers should just be there to show how incorruptible he is," Phillip Kennedy Johnson says about his storyline with Metallo and Superman. "He's just unthinkably powerful..." but instead of just throwing Metallo into jail after the fight, "he literally helps him put himself back together. 'Now that I've stopped you from killing people, now I'm gonna help you.'"
"Where's Perry White" Graeme asks Joshua Williamson. "Perry, when Lex made everyone forget that Clark was Superman, Perry was one of the people who got hurt in that." Perry is currently recovering, but he's doing something "very very cool in issue 850. He's part of the narrator of it, and he's talking about how Superman has inspired him over the years... He's inspired by Superman to make a change in Metropolis." And Perry White will be going into a new job!
Looks like we're wrapping up!
Graeme is asking the panel to tell fans where to find them online and in person throughout the con.
This has been a pretty cool panel. Lots of fun conversation and even an announcement!
Thank you so much for following along with us. And yay Graeme McMillan for his wonderful work moderating.