You probably know Bizarro as the polar opposite of Superman—but when DC’s new series from Heath Corson and Gustavo Duarte hits shelves this month, the world will be seeing the popular character in an entirely different light.
Bizarro is part of DC’s rebooted universe, as the company unveils a wave of 25 continuing titles, along with 24 new #1 titles that aim to focus more on storytelling as opposed to continuity. True to form, Corson and Duarte’s comic is humorous and accessible—not to mention a blast to read. EW spoke with Corson about taking the character in a bold new direction. Read on for more, and check out exclusive preview pages as well as a special variant cover from the first issue, in comic stores June 3.
EW: This story is something that’s kind of unlike anything DC has done before—but in a good way! Obviously, I’m curious about how the idea came about.
HEATH CORSON: I was stalking DC editors for about two years, because I’ve been doing a bunch of direct-to-DVD DC animated movies. And I’m a comic book guy—I grew up with comics, I’ve collected comics since I was little, and I was like, “I kind of have a foot in the door, why don’t I see if I can kick it open a little farther and see if they’ll let me do a comic book?” So it was at NYCC last year when I was there promoting Justice League: Throne of Atlantis and I sort of reached out to all the editors I knew, and I got to pitch [DC editor] Eddie Berganza, and Eddie was like, “okay, why don’t you bring in a couple of ideas to bounce around and we’ll see what you’ve got?” So I brought in like, eight ideas, and the very last idea that I came up with was Bizarro. And the take of the book is, it’s Bizarro and Jimmy Olsen in planes, trains, and automobiles. That’s the pitch. So it’s the two of them on a road trip across the country, and they just get into trouble. And so I’m pitching Eddie, and he’s liking my stuff, and he says to me out of the blue, “You don’t happen to have a Bizarro pitch, do you?” Because I guess they were really interested in working with Gustavo [Duarte] and Gustavo had already done sketches for Bizarro. So they sent me his sketches and I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is exactly the version of the character I would want to do.” Because it’s not this sad Frankenstein. He’s this good-hearted happy, positive guy who just wants everyone to like him. He’s a raw nerve.
Based on everything you just told me, I’m going to assume you had a ton of fun writing this story and thinking up dialogue.
It really is incredibly fun. And I will say, to editorial detriment, they have not tried to reign me in on anything. [Laughs] I mean, the very first issue, Bizarro and Jimmy run afoul of Smallville’s most powerful used car salesman, named Regis King Tut Tuttle. So we give him a supervillain right from the beginning. And that becomes the most unlikely bad guy for Bizarro to go up against, in issue one. But down the road, we have an Old West, a ghost town, a western, we’re planning on going to Area 51—we get to go to all these different things, and we’re just having a ball doing it.
Which means you obviously have story ideas for the next 10 to 20 issues!
Yeah! When I pitched, I laid out about the first year, so I laid out the first two big story arcs. And it looks like we’re going to get to do the first miniseries and then hopefully we’ll see what happens after that. This version of Bizarro is only six issues. We’re going to see how it works, and hopefully we’ll get to do more.
Can you talk a little about the Bizarro we’ll see in this comic? Because he’s very different from the Bizarro we’ve seen in stories before.
[Laughs] Yes. This is the Bizarro who is an alien from another planet. Bizarro tells us that his planet loved him and were so excited by him, that they tied him to a rocket and wanted to share him with the universe. Now, mind you, that’s Bizarro telling us that, so we have to take that with huge mountains of salt. But Bizarro’s rockets putter out right above Earth, and he ends up falling into our atmosphere and crashing through a plane. And then as he crash lands, he looks up and watches Superman save the plane he just put in danger. And in his head, Bizarro says “oh, I’m that guy! I’m a hero!” So he puts on a cosplay costume and paints a logo on in the mirror, and he decides he’s going to be like Superman. He’s going to go out and do bad and fight for injustice. And of course, eventually Metropolis says, “we hate Bizarro.” He’s just a menace. So that’s when jimmy Olsen gets the idea that he can take Bizarro on a road trip.
Speaking of Superman, can we expect to see other fun cameos from the DC universe?
Definitely. I will say that they run into a lot of characters, one in issue two quite literally. I can say that we’re going to have a lot of cameos: Superman and Clark are both in issue one, and then we get a whole bunch of people. We’ll be making stops in Gotham City, we’ll be making stops in Starling City, we’ll be going to Branson, Missouri to see a certain magic performer who might be on tour. So we have a lot of members of the DC universe who will be popping up in one way or another. We’re not necessarily in continuity. It’s just this classic version that Gustavo and I have put together. It is kind of fun to be playing with no rules.
How would you describe Bizarro to fans that are wondering whether or not they should pick it up?
I would say Bizarro is just a return to fun, humor all-ages storytelling. You’re going to get a laugh. The art is like nothing you’ve ever seen, the look if this book is completely different than any book DC has. There’s no scared cows left unturned by Bizarro. We’re just having a ball doing a buddy comedy, which, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen that. We’re putting together a romance to rival Booster Gold and Blue Beetle. I think you’re just going to love these two doofuses trying to make something happen.