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Superman meets Batman in 1950s Cold War novel

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm •  Published: June 5, 2009

WORD BALLOONS

Superman meets Batman in the new novel from writer Kevin J. Anderson, “Enemies and Allies.” Anderson sets the first meeting of the two in the 1950s, at the height of the Cold War.

“It seemed unlikely to set a story in the modern day, and say that Batman and Superman have never heard of each other before,” Anderson said in a phone interview with The Oklahoman. “It felt more in keeping with the spirit of the universe if we set it back in a more nostalgic time. And of course the ’50s is the time we all remember from George Reeves as Clark Kent and Superman, and Noel Neill as Lois Lane, and that was the flavor I wanted to pick up on.”

In “Enemies and Allies,” Bruce Wayne’s Wayne Industries is at the forefront of many technological breakthroughs. But he’s being spied on by another industrialist, Lex Luthor, who wants to stoke Cold War tensions to build his own military-industrial empire.

“Set in the Cold War universe with Bruce Wayne as the big industrialist as well, Lex Luthor just seemed like the natural foil for both Bruce Wayne and Wayne Industries, and Clark Kent and Superman,” Anderson said.

Meanwhile, Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen, reporters for the Daily Planet, are sent to look into a possible flying saucer crash.

“We did the story in stages,” Anderson said. “One was doing Batman and Superman and deciding to set it in the ’50s. And in the ’50s, the primary thing is the Cold War, and everybody was afraid that the Russians were going to launch nuclear missiles at us, and everybody was doing disaster drills. The movies at the theater, they’re … all these wonderful flying saucer paranoia pictures.”

Ultimately, the 1950s setting became interwoven completely with the story.

“It became not just window dressing, but the ’50s setting and everybody’s attitudes about the Cold War, the paranoia about flying saucers, and all of these details became integral to the plot rather than just little backdrops,” Anderson said.

Another new release from Anderson is “Terra Incognita: The Edge of the World,” a fantasy novel

featuring high-seas adventure. Additionally, a CD from ProgRock Records tying into the book’s release has lyrics by Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, with music by Erik Norlander (keyboardist for Asia Featuring John Payne).

“This idea’s been in my head for a long time, because I think a lot of the people who listen to that kind of music also listen to the kind of books that I write,” Anderson said. “It’s a crossover rock CD and fantasy novel.”

More about Kevin Anderson’s “Enemies and Allies” and “Terra Incognita” can be found at his Web site, www.wordfire.com.

- Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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