San Diego artist key to DC Comics relaunch - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego artist key to DC Comics relaunch

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Exhibitors bring in pieces of a "Frogger" display to set-up before Preview Night at the Comic-Con 2011 convention, Wednesday, July 20, 2011 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy) Exhibitors bring in pieces of a "Frogger" display to set-up before Preview Night at the Comic-Con 2011 convention, Wednesday, July 20, 2011 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
Costumed characters wait in front of the San Diego Convention center during Preview Night at the Comic-Con 2011 convention Wednesday, July 20, 2011 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy) Costumed characters wait in front of the San Diego Convention center during Preview Night at the Comic-Con 2011 convention Wednesday, July 20, 2011 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) -  It's a bird, it's a plane, nope just another guy dressed up as Superman. Thousands of people flock to San Diego every year for Comic-Con.  Some are dressed in their favorite science fiction costumes others ready to blog and tweet about who they saw at one of the panels.

But among the superheroes showcased at Comic-Con; one super artist stands out as the man behind the relaunch of the superheroes we've all grown up with.

San Diegan Jim Lee read comic books as a kid and credits that with learning the English language after his family moved to the United States from Korea when he was just five.  Perhaps reading those early pages started some creative process in the back of his mind and through the pencil in his hand.

Believe it or not, he could be your doctor, but instead he chose to follow a different path than the one his father and mother wanted for him.

"My father was a doctor and he always wanted me to be a doctor, and so I went to college and got a degree in psychology," says Lee.

During the entire time at college Jim doodled and sketched. It was something he did as a hobby more than anything, but knew there was something else there.

"I knew that I had to take a chance," Lee said, knowing that once he entered residency he'd be stuck down a career path he was less interested in.  And with that Jim packed his best sketches in a book and headed to New York.  He would get his first gig with Marvel in 1987 as a result and never looked back.

Jim Lee took a chance on a dream and has turned it into a 24 year career which is about to take a major step forward as the Co-Publisher for DC Comics.

"There's no better book to work on than Justice League," Lee says. "Because it has all the major iconic characters in it."

They are the best known characters from our childhood and are being relaunched by DC Comics with the help of Jim's pencil.

"They are being numbered to issue one, so action comics, Batman, Superman, Justice League and what we're really looking to do is bring in a lot of new readers," he explains.

But not everyone is happy with the reboot. Taking to Jim's Facebook Page, one comic fan says "Reboot my blank---Your Outfits Look to 90's "

But Jim disagrees.

"The critics that say you shouldn't change these characters they're iconic, the truth is these characters have always been in a state of flux from when they were created back in the late 30's."

He says the characters need to change with the times to make them more recognizable to the generation reading them. But it's not just the look of the characters changing, familiar storylines will get a shake up too.

"Clark Kent and Lois aren't married anymore, kind of return to the romantic triangle between Superman, Clark Kent and Lois Lane," Lee explains.

The reboot will bring on new characters as well, which made me wonder if there's room among the Justice League for a News Anchor superhero, but come to find out Clark Kent beat me to it.

"Clark Kent actually during the 70's they moved, he moved from the Daily Planet to a television station so he actually did some TV reporting, but certainly there's plenty of room for that," he says.

Perhaps the biggest deal surrounding the upcoming launch of the new Justice League on August 31st, the digital downloads that will available the same day the comic book is released at the bookstores.

Despite the digital availability Jim says the power of the comic book remains.

"You can open the pages and you might have a double-page illustration, whereas on an iphone it'll be shrunk down."

To this date one of Jim's biggest claims to fame is X-Men #1, which is still the best-selling comic book of all time. It's sold more than 8-million copies and even set a Guinness World Record as a result.

Despite that, Jim says it's what his work has done for people that makes him the proudest.

"They say hey X-Men #1 or Batman Hush was my first comic book and you really influenced me and inspired me to pursue a career in the arts and to me that's the highest compliment you can give me."

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