CBR covered the ”The Long Game” panel at WonderCon 2014 which covered long form storytelling and continuity in comic books. The panelists included Mark Waid, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Francis Manapul,James Robinson, Tony Daniel, and Robert Venditti. James Robinson had a lot to say about working on Starman and The Shade:
Waid asked him [Robinson] how much of a plan he had going into the title’s [Starman] 80+ issue run (including annuals and specials). “I was determined to beat Gaiman’s ‘Sandman,’” quipped the writer.
According to Robinson, DC’s editorial hierarchy in the 1990s consisted of three controlling group editors: Denny O’Neil, Mike Carlin and Archie Goodwin. Two out of the three editors had to approve any project in order for it to move forward. “I kept saying to Archie, ‘When can I have a new Starman?’” At the time, ‘Starman’ featured Will Payton as the lead character and was not fondly regarded by fans or the staff. Robinson remembered Carlin specifically saying “no one wants to read another ‘Starman’ book.” Eventually, Goodwin and Carlin hammered out a deal for Robinson to write a four-issue miniseries, eventually published as issues #0-3 of the ongoing series. What changed the title’s status? “At the end of the fourth issue, I had the two other Starmen [Will Payton and Mikaal Tomas] show up for a cliffhanger. Carlin saw it coming together and said, ‘Let’s go for it.’”
When Waid pointed out that market forces could change a plan like that, Robinson noted that his The Shade mini series was originally meant to be an ongoing in the wake of the sales success of the Blackest Night Starman tie-in special. “Originally, [DC co-publisher] Dan DiDio asked me to make it monthly,” he said. The two eventually agreed on the miniseries, but by then, the New 52 became the focus of the company’s attention. “Had they made ‘Shade’ one of those [ongoing] books, it wouldn’t have been the book it was,” he explained. That editorial freedom did come at the cost of sales and marketing attention. In order to secure a collected edition, Robinson had to appeal to the fans to read “Shade” monthly.
Opening pages from “The Reign of the Superman” by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster from Science Fiction Fanzine V1 #3, published in 1933.
"Appearing five years before Action Comics #1, this was the first ‘Superman’ story ever written by Jerry Siegel and the first Superman image drawn by Joe Shuster. The fanzine, edited by Siegel, is 8 1/2” x 11” and was reportedly mimeographed on a machine at the duo’s high school. The issue credits Siegel as editor and Shuster as artist — the byline “Herbert S. Fine” is a combination of Siegel’s mother’s maiden name and the name of one of his cousins. Of course, this Superman was a different character than the costumed hero who later appeared in comic books; this one was bald and a villain! Siegel once commented, ‘A couple of months after I published this story, it occurred to me that a Superman as a hero rather than a villain might make a great comic strip character… Obviously, having him as a hero would be infinitely more commercial than having him a villain.’” (via)