Dean Cain told a panel at Wizard World’s Ohio Comic Con, Sept. 28-30, that he never gets tired of his association with Superman and Clark Kent, the characters he portrayed for four seasons on ABC’s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in the early 1990s.
“Clearly Clark Kent is the favorite role I’ve ever had,” Cain said. “Superman is the greatest American icon there is. To be able to play that is amazing. To be known as that character is great.”
He added that he admires the character’s morality. “To me he’s the most heroic of all the super-heroes.”
Dean was among several media guests, along with Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men), Val Kilmer (Batman Forever, Top Gun, Tombstone), and Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) at the three-day pop culture convention held in Columbus.
Cain acknowledged that he might be more resentful of his association with the character if it had prevented him from getting other work but that that hasn’t been the case. He also pointed out other actors who are indelibly associated with the characters they’ve portrayed. “Alan Alda is always going to be Hawkeye to me, and that’s OK. I have the people who consider me Superman. I’ll take it.”
About fellow screen Supermans, Cain said he took inspiration from Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Superman in the movie series and from George Reeves, in the original 1950s Adventurers of Superman television show for Clark Kent.
He said that Reeve, who “set the bar very high” for the character, would have been the greatest guest star to have on Lois & Clark and regretted that he never had the opportunity meet him before he died in 2004.
Cain, who was raised by his stepfather who he said guided his own morality, enjoyed exploring the character through the interaction with his adoptive parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, as played by Eddie Jones and K Callan, an aspect that hadn’t been explored previously. “You take the most powerful being on the planet and give him small-town American values, it’s a great, really strong story. To be able to see him in those moments, for me that was the heart of the character without a doubt,” he said. “When a kid sits there and watches the show, like my own son, watches it and watches the parents guiding Superman, if you will, it’s really strong. It’s a strong message.”
Cain, who said he is looking forward to Henry Cavill in 2013’s Man of Steel, praised Brandon Routh’s performance in 2006’s Superman Returns, though not the film itself. “He did a great job in that film, as best he could do in that film,” Cain said, but faulted elements like Superman not raising his own child. “Superman is not an absentee father. I just could not get past that,” he said.
His own son, who previously had resisted watching Cain’s Lois & Clark DVDs, recently began watching reruns of the series on The Hub network and told his father, “‘Dad, this is pretty good.’”
After a decade of playing Clark Kent on Smallville, Tom Welling “needs to take like six years off,” he said. “He’s probably still exhausted.”
Beyond Lois & Clark, Cain, a history major in college, said he enjoyed working on the Ripley’s Believe It or Not series. Among the artifacts he has handled on the show, his favorite was a backup Derringer carried by President Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, that fell out of his pocket, “one of the most amazing things I’ve ever held in my hand.”
On the show floor, various comics pros shared updates — or what they could reveal, in some cases — on upcoming projects.
Among those tight-lipped about upcoming projects was Humberto Ramos, penciller on Amazing Spider-Man. He is now working on #700 of the series, a ‘big story” that will be the final issue of that title’s run. “We have a great writer [Dan Slott] and he has these things figured out and they’re going to be big,” he said. “What’s happening at the end of this book is going to be big.”
Industry legend Neal Adams (Batman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow), said one of the inspirations behind The First X-Men, his new five-issue series for Marvel, was the scene in X-Men #1 (Sep 63) that introduced Professor Xavier and his original class of students. “It didn’t seem to me to make sense that that was the beginning of the story. That seemed like the middle of the story,” he said.
“These mutant kids were probably not the first kids that were extant; logically, there were a number before that, probably abused by the military industrial complex,” he continued. “Probably the program existed and Charles Xavier got drawn into it, so I try to imagine a story in which this project existed and wasn’t being handled very well.” From there, he considered who might be older than Xavier and “couldn’t think of anybody but Wolverine. There’s all these little mysteries surrounding Wolverine, like why does he keep on showing up and then leaving. Doesn’t it sound like he’s checking up to see their progress, how things are going?”
Currently working on “Blood” for Dark Horse Presents, he is having “ongoing discussions” with publishers regarding potential future projects, including ones involving “the upper echelon of characters” at Marvel and DC. “One has to look at The First X-Men as a possible ongoing series because they’re pretty good characters,” he said. Other possibilities include Green Lantern or Deadman at DC, “or maybe even something better.”
During a spotlight panel, writer and artist Alan Davis (Excalibur, X-Men, JLA: The Nail) acknowledged Adams was among his biggest influences. Other major influences he listed included early ones such as the Spanish and European artists of his childhood, and later Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, and Barry Windsor Smith.
“It just is incredibly fulfilling to take a blank sheet of paper and to invent something that didn’t exist on that blank sheet of paper earlier,” as well as the satisfaction of compiling a body of work, he said.
Asked to identify his favorite of his own work, Davis responded that he tries to make whatever he is working on his favorite, and feels the same about characters. He also said he draws inspiration for whatever he sees, whether in comics, film, novels, or real life. “Most people familiar with ClanDestine will realize that some of that is biographical, not that my family has superpowers but we got on each others’ nerves and we act pretty stupid sometimes,” he said. “So the reality is that if you keep your mind open everything’s an inspiration.”
Dennis Calero, who is illustrating issues 2-12 of Dynamite’s Masks, which Alex Ross co-writes and draws the first issue for, said he is working on a pilot for the SyFy Channel. He described it as a “swashbuckling space adventure” about a “space-faring family.”
Cover artist Greg Horn is working on projects for various publishers, including variants for several Zenescope titles such as Robyn Hood and Alice in Wonderland. He said he is also working with Marvel on a pair of “top-secret” projects including one for the publisher’s Marvel Now! initiative. “I don’t want to say what it is but it’s very big,” he said. He also recently completed an “inspiration image” being used by someone pitching a movie. “It has to do with dinosaurs,” he said. “I got to draw a bunch of dinosaurs and my kids think I’m Mr. Cool.”
Following the publication of what he calls the “remastered” Robyn of Sherwood, which has been “a really good response,” Paul Storrie is working on scripts for a new mini-series that will be drawn by Rob Davis, who did the remastered edition. He also recently completed a three-issue Sheena Queen of the Jungle series for Moonstone that should be in bookstores soon.
Dan Parent said he is working on the Kevin Keller series for Archie as well as the “Archie Meets Glee” project. “It’s complicated because you’re dealing with a lot of characters that you have to get the likenesses down for [on Archie-Glee] and they have to be approved by the studio,” he said. Aside from that it’s fun.”
Parent said he also is pleased with the reaction to the Kevin Keller character, an openly gay character in the Archie universe. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “For whatever negative press or response we get, there’s a lot more positive to counteract it.”
After doing the recently released #0 issue of DC’s Teen Titans, Tyler Kirkham will take over as artist on the monthly with #17, leaving Green Lantern: New Guardians. “It’s completely different,” he said. “I was used to the Green Lantern world. I kind of knew a lot of the characters by heart so any time you start a new book you’ve got to pull out all-new reference, you’ve got to have Google handy. It’s fun. It’s a challenge.”
In addition to Game of Thrones covers, Fangoria DVD cover art, and various work “here and there” for DC and Marvel, artist Mike Miller expects an announcement soon regarding a project he was not at liberty to discuss at the show.