It seems hard to believe, but it’s actually been 20 years since the Superman makeover that was more controversial than the modern yes/no debate on Big Blue’s bright red trunks.
It was on March 12, 1997, when DC Comics released Superman Vol. 2 #123, featuring a brand-new look for Superman, as created by writer Dan Jurgens and artist Ron Frenz. Over on ComicBook.com, Jurgens has been talking about the genesis of the big change, linking it to the classic Silver Age story of Superman Red/Superman Blue, published way back in Superman #162, which hit stands on May 2, 1963.
“Over the years, we talked several times about doing ‘Superman Red/Superman Blue’ somehow,” Jurgens said. “Our colorist, Glenn Whitmore, had always been nudging us to do so! In this case, we finally had a story where it would actually fit.”
While the story of Superman and his new electric powers made a big impact at the time, Jurgens now says the storyline might be more fondly remembered today had it not gone on for an entire year.
“I’d say it got a bit unwieldy there for a time,” Jurgens said. “Big stories like that really need to have a certain amount of control exerted over them and we didn’t quite have that here. It was probably too big and the focus drifted a bit too much.”
You can read the entire interview here, where you can also find a podcast featuring artist Jon Bogdanove’s thoughts on the electric era.