In the 12-issue “Grounded” storyline the Man of Steel opts to walk through various American cities. His second stop in issue 702, released Aug. 11 is Detroit.
DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio said that as far as he knows from his conversations with writer J. Michael Straczynski, Detroit was always intended to be the second city Superman would visit.
He said DC chose the first city— Philadelphia— for production reasons, then started a write-in campaign from fans as to where else besides Philadelphia and Detroit Superman should visit and why.
Superman will visit a different city each issue of the “Grounded” storyline.
As for Superman’s visit to Detroit, DiDio said there won’t be any recognizable landmarks. Superman won’t be stopping in for lunch at either Lafayette Coney Island or American Coney Island. Instead, the idea is to catch the tone of the city.
He said the key aspect of the Detroit story concerns Superman coming across an abandoned auto factory and learning how it affects the people who live around it.
Brian Kelly, owner of Detroit Comics in Ferndale, said he’s sold out of the issue, but he didn’t anticipate to be too groundbreaking.
“It’s a Superman story, and it’s okay,” he said. “I’ve gotten a little bit of a bump in sales, but I didn’t anticipate it selling out.”
Mike Mullin, an employee at Back to the Past Comics and Pop Culture Warehouse in Redford, said he doesn’t know how many people are reading “Grounded” because of the Detroit connection, but that a lot of people have picked it up because of Straczynski. Straczynski’s other comics work has included Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, Rising Stars and Midnight Nation, the last two created by Straczynski himself. Straczynski was also the creator and primary writer of the science fiction TV series Babylon 5.
“I know that there’s been a couple of people that are happy that Detroit is mentioned, because in Green Lantern, I think last week, Livonia was mentioned as well. But it doesn’t seem like it’s moving that many more books.”
As to the in-story impetus for Superman to begin walking across the country, DiDio said that for the last year or so Superman had been involved in large scale, cosmic adventures off planet. He said that upon his return to Earth, Superman was confronted by a woman who told him he’s become separated from mankind, and isn’t connecting with people because he’s flying above them.
DiDio acknowledged the similarities to a scene in Green Lantern #76 (April 1970) in which an old Black man confronts Green Lantern about how he’s off helping people on other planets, but not doing all that much for people like himself back on Earth.
He also said the woman confronting Superman reminds him of the scene in Jaws where Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) is slapped by Mrs. Kintner.
No worries about Clark Kent losing his job because he’s not showing up at the office. DiDio said the Daily Planet is aware that Superman is walking across the country and that Clark might be covering the story.
He also said Superman’s in regular contact with his wife, Lois Lane.