After the success of last year’s The Last Days of Krypton, it’s not surprising that author Kevin J. Anderson has been given the chance to dip back into the DC well and what he’s emerged with his First Encounter, the 2009 novel that will chronicle the first time that Superman and Batman meet.
“These are big books, not paperbacks, so you want to do something significant,” says Anderson. “So I thought the best way to go would be the first meeting between Superman and Batman. But I was still wrestling with it a lot, because I personally love the superheroes in the past. I did a JSA series set in the ‘40s and I just think those heroes belong in the ‘40s and ‘50s; that’s just my preference.”
Then he was struck with the idea that if they were to meet each other in the 1950s, it would place the books setting during the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union.
“Then all of these things came up,” he says. “That was the beginning of the UFO craze and the time of all of those great – or not so great, depending on your point of view – sci-fi movies, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Them and Invaders From Mars. Everybody was seeing UFOs. This would be set eight or 10 years after the Roswell crash. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun for Perry White to have Clark Kent look into the UFO crazy and find out if there were any of these little green men wandering around on earth?’ Of course, Clark wants to find out if he’s the only alien on earth, if he’s truly the Last Son of Krypton or if there are others. So he’s passionate about that. I’ve also got Lex Luthor, who’s pretty much promoting the Cold War. He’s trying to increase international tensions with his counterpart, a KGB general in the Soviet Union, because Lex is making so much money selling weapons. There’s also the element of Bruce Wayne’s board of directors being blackmailed by Luthorcorp for sensitive information.
“The other thing I thought was the most fun,” Anderson continues, “is that Bruce Wayne is just fascinated by this Superman guy. How does he fly? How do bullets bounce off of his chest? Bruce is down in the cave working like crazy to figure out how to make a suit so that bullets can bounce off his chest and whether or not he can rig something so he can fly. Bruce Wayne is a rational guy, he doesn’t believe Superman can be some alien from space flying around. I just had so much fun tracing these ideas and seeing how they can all come together.”
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