Interview: Jeph Loeb Talks About His Smallville Departure
long been associated with Superman through his comic book work,
and joined the Smallville team at the beginning of Season
2. He also scored very highly on KryptonSite fan polls for his
work on such favorite episodes as "Red," "Insurgence,"
"Legacy," and "Unsafe." Those who read his
comics often keep Supergirl and Superman/Batman
near the top of their "must read" pile. And soon,
you'll be seeing him over at Marvel Comics and writing a movie
based on Will Eisner's The Spirit.
Loeb is a man of many talents, and has long been a supporter
and friend to this site and to Smallville. Loeb has moved
on from his post as a Supervising Producer on the show, but
he was kind enough to take the time to do an interview with
KryptonSite about his departure and reflect on his time with
Is it true that you won't be returning for Season 5, and
if so, will you still be involved with the show in any way?
Is there any chance you might do some work on the show again?
LOEB: Yes, it's true I won't be back for Season 5. Al and
Miles asked me to return for Season 5 -- and 6 and 7 -- (my
3 year contract had ended) and we were working something out
when my son's health became quite serious. As much as I loved
working on the show, I knew I had to be with Sam. A & M
were very understanding... they've been big Sam supporters since
all of this began. Al and Sam were particularly close -- he
took the role of "Uncle Al" very seriously. He introduced
Sam to his yoga instructor "Yoga Adam" who went on
to be a really good friend of my son's.
died, the entire staff has been part of our extended family.
Sam would come in every Friday before we went off drinking and
then to sushi for dinner and was always part of the gang. (He
drank Diet Coke's for all you Mom's out there!) There's little
doubt in my mind that even at 17, he would have written an episode
eventually. He was a truly gifted writer -- and a magical son.
I have only
good memories of working on the show. The people, particularly
Kryptonsite's Writers of the Year Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer
and my personal Favorite Writers of the Year Kelly Souders and
Brian Peterson, I miss terribly.
I was involved in one way or another in sixty-six episodes and
was lucky enough to be the writer on RED, INSURGENCE, LEGACY
and UNSAFE. So, to answer your question, I never say never in
terms of returning to anything. The subject matter (obviously)
means a great deal to me and I adore the people.
call from time to time. When they need to know who was Aquaman's
seahorse -- that sort of thing. I feel like William Shatner
at a Star Trek convention... (laughs)
Do you have a proudest accomplishment of your time with
Making working there fun. And consuming more grapes than
a person probably should have! (Thanks Caroline & G.!) It
can be very intense in the writers room day after day for very
long hours. I always tried to find "the funny." If
we could laugh -- we could do anything. There never was a story
we couldn't break (come up with a detailed outline for) -- they
all might not have been Memoria (I think the series' best),
but damn we gave it a good run. And it continues to run and
hot. I've read the first few scripts of the season. Rock on,
What projects are next for you?
More stuff that keeps me closer to home. My first priority
is to the adaptation of WILL EISNER'S THE SPIRIT. It's a wonderful
story and the characters are so rich, I'm having a ball. Plus
getting to work with Producer Michael Uslan (Batman Begins,
Constantine) and the good folks at Odd Lot Entertainment has
been so rewarding.
I have a
pilot at FOX with McG's company Wonderland. It's got nothing
to do with comics, but it's something I've wanted to write for
a very long time. Peter Johnson, McG's President, is one of
those people who I just see eye-to-eye with. It's like we're
connected in the brain and he's been there every step of the
way through the process. I hope it goes. People tell me it's
very good, but what do they know...(laughs)
if I don't have enough to do, I'm leaving DC exclusively to
go exclusive with Marvel as of September 1st. I'm very excited
about coming back to those characters and working with guys
I've never gotten to work with before like Brian Michael Bendis
and Mark Millar. Joe Quesada (the EIC [Editor-in-Chief -
Craig]) is a close friend, so it feels like going home ...
still have a commitment to SUPERMAN/BATMAN (through Issue #25)
and we've just launched SUPERGIRL this past week. We sold out
the first issue in something like ten hours. DC has gone back
to press on a second printing with a variant cover. (I can only
imagine your non-comic book web-readers going "What that
@#$% is he talking about?) (laughs)
Since there are a number of comic book fans who read KryptonSite
- will your Marvel contract affect the newly-launched Supergirl
As I have said elsewhere, DC has been very understanding about
making a smooth transition and Marvel has been very understanding
that I've given my word to the readers and the retailers that
I won't leave an unmade bed. Short answer: We're working it
You were the go-to guy for comic book knowledge during the time
with the series, and as I understand it you worked out the appearances
of characters like Bart Allen on the show. Can you talk about
Well, first off, your understanding is not quite right.
I certainly was looked to for the "comic book reference"
-- but that wasn't why I was on the show. I think this misunderstanding
grew out of my title for the first two years as "Consulting
Producer". I was essentially doing the same job I did as
Supervising Producer -- titles on Smallville (with the
exception of Executive Producer) have little to do with responsibility.
I was there, every day, on every show. I think people thought
I came in on the day after the show aired and in my best "Comic
Book Guy" from the Simpsons said "Worst Episode Ever!"
and left for the day. I wish!
As we often
would say, "There is no "I" in "Team,"
but there is in "Dick." (I hope I haven't offended
the family audience!). The writing staff was/is a team. We look
after each other and every script has a little bit of everyone
besides that individual writer. Because I spent the greater
majority of the show in the writer's room breaking stories,
I got to see a bit more of what I do in the scripts. But only
Is there any word as to who will be replacing you in the
Again, it's not about replacing me. The team continues. No one
single person can be responsible for an entire television series
-- even creators as talented as Al and Miles need a writing
staff. As long as the show has Todd, Darren, Kelly and Brian,
they are in great hands. Add to that my pals Stephen Steven
DeKnight and Holly Harold and John Litvack and Greg Beeman and
the new writers (Wendy and The Wicked Monkeys! who came in after
I left) and nobody has anything to worry about, I'm certain.
Smallville will fly just as high as it always has!
I'll see you all on Weds... er... Thursday nights at 8:00 PM!
would again like to thank Mr. Jeph Loeb for taking the time
to do this interview, and we wish him the best of luck in the
future. Photo at the top of this article taken by Darren Swimmer.
a December 2002 interview with Jeph Loeb about "Insurgence"
Jeph Loeb interview - March 2004