Supergirl stans are about to get a whole lot more of trans superhero Dreamer in the near future!
Though the long-running, beloved Arrowverse series ended last fall, fans who have missed their beloved heroes can turn to the pages of DC Comics' main DC Universe to catch up with and continue tagging along in their adventures! And some of the on-screen talent is even getting involved in continuing the legacy of some of our favorite characters!
With the help of Superman: Son of Kal-El's Tom Taylor (the writer who introduced bisexual superman and his super-cute boyfriend Jay Nakamura to the world) and with art by Clayton Henry, actress Nicole Maines (who played Nia Nal a.k.a. Dreamer, TV's very first trans superhero, in Supergirl) is co-authoring the upcoming Superman: Son of Kal-El #13 issue, where Dreamer is finally going to be introduced into the pages of the DC Universe!
And Out got to chat with them about the process!
Out: What was the genesis of bringing Dreamer to the pages of the DCU? What made y’all want to bring a hero so many loved on-screen to the comic world?
Nicole Maines: Back in early 2020, we didn’t know how much longer the Supergirl series was going to go for or if we would do a season seven or not. I knew how important this character was, and the potential that she had as a superhero. So I reached out to DC to talk about starting a Dreamer solo series. From that conversation, I started working on a young adult graphic novel starring Dreamer as fifteen-year-old Nia Nal. As I was writing that, I took a break to start working on her first comic book appearance in the DC Pride anthology in 2021. My editor on that had also been working with Tom and had been interested in bringing him and I, and consequently Jon and Nia, together for Superman: Son of Kal-El. So when I got an email in December asking to set up a meeting, I of course said yes. After that very first conversation, I knew that this was going to be the perfect place to bring Dreamer into the main DCU. I mean, we know all the kind of trouble a Naltorian and a Kryptonian can get into together. This was a match made in heaven.
Tom Taylor: Andrea Shea and I met in 2018 and we immediately hit it off. We both had a similar vision in terms of what superheroes could be and who they could represent. Andrea ended up being my editor on Suicide Squad: Bad Blood. We created an entire team of heroes and anti-heroes on that book with Bruno Redondo, and we were committed to creating characters in that team that weren’t well represented in comics, leading to a number of new fan-favoritesand DC’s first non-binary superhero, The Aerie, and their girlfriend, Wink.
After the success of Jon’s coming out in Superman: Son of Kal-El, Andrea contacted me about bringing Dreamer into the DCU in the pages of Superman. She wanted me to meet with Nicole to discuss the character, which I was only too happy to do, but I asked straight away if I could ask Nicole to write it with me. Fortunately, Nicole was on board for this. Nicole is a brilliant storyteller with great ideas, and I love the organic and powerful way we’ve found to bring Dreamer into the DCU.
What can fans who love the character already expect from Dreamer in Son of Kal-El #13? Will there be similarities/differences between the on-screen Dreamer and the comic Dreamer, and what would those look like?
TT: Character-wise there is so much of Nicole in Dreamer, and having worked so closely together on this issue, hopefully, we’ll see that shine through in this issue. Beyond her character, Nicole is a heroic activist herself, and I hope we can capture some of her passion, bravery, and heroism on the page.
NM: Fans of Dreamer are going to be over the moon with how we’ve brought Nia to the page. However, while this is still the same fun, adorable, powerful Dreamer we got to know on the show, the Dreamer that appears in Son of Kal-El hasn’t been through any of the events of Supergirl. She hasn’t even met Kara. Or Brainy! We wanted to give Nia the room to grow into those relationships, her powers, and the mantle of Dreamer on the page, so that fans of hers, new and old alike, can all have the chance to see that journey unfold in new ways, different from the show. The Dreamer that fans will meet on the page is one that has come into her own as a superhero by herself. She is more of a self-taught loner who hasn’t had any other heroes to call superfriends. But perhaps meeting Jon will change that.
What about fans who aren’t familiar with Dreamer? What do you think they will love about them?
NM: I am so excited for all the comic book fans who are going to meet Dreamer for the first time. They are going to learn right alongside Jon and Jay just what makes Dreamer such a capable and likable superhero. Tom already has, as I know readers of the series know, a brilliant story unfolding, and together we were able to come up with a truly kickass way to fit Dreamer into it. From the second she arrives, she begs the question “who is this woman?” And as soon as you think she’s answered it, you’re asking again. I’m excited to introduce fans, new and old, to this version of Dreamer, and to show them exactly what she can do. Even on Supergirl, we only scratched the surface of the true extent of Dreamer’s power. So buckle up.
It’s no secret that there’s still lots of transphobia going on in the world right now, especially in legislation. How cool is it to give young trans folks a hero that they can look up to and identify with?
NM: Not only is it immeasurably cool, epic, and awesome, it’s necessary. This is arguably one of the hardest times to be a young trans person right now, specifically because of the targeted legislation coming from our lawmakers (i.e., the people who are supposed to be protecting us.) Because of this, it's invaluable to give these kids an actual protector. Someone who sees them. Someone who is them. I don’t think any reasonable person can doubt that trans kids are already superheroes, fighting against bigotry and injustice, just for the ability to be themselves. It only seems fitting that there is a superhero that reflects that.
And it makes it that much cooler that that hero is one of the most powerful we’ve seen.
You’ve brought so much queerness and representation to the heroes and pages of so many comics! Can you reflect on why it is so important for you to be doing so? And what inspires to keep doing what you do?
TT: I have a fairly simple ethos when it comes to writing superhero comics: “everyone needs heroes, and everyone deserves to see themselves in their heroes.” Growing up fairly poor as the only child of a single mother, I can’t understate the importance of superheroes in my young life as positive male role-models. In particular, Superman was a character I looked to and he probably shaped me quite a lot. We have so many powerful people who seem committed to attacking the most vulnerable people in society, but with Superman we have the most powerful man on the planet who uses all that power to help whoever needs him. It’s my hope, and one my writing goals, that everyone can grow up with a superhero they can look up to. In terms of what inspires me to keep doing so, there’s a lot of positive that comes from it. I heard from so many people after Superman came out as bisexual. I had messages from people who wished they’d had this character when they were growing up and were happy to see this for the next generation. I heard from people who read the news and came out to friends and family that day — from young people to people in their forties. And I heard from people who weren’t ready to come out or lived in countries where it was unsafe to do so, who wanted me to know how much it meant to them.
NM: I think it’s because this is the nature of comic books. They have always been a vehicle to represent the unrepresented and to tell stories that matter. It’s a privilege to be able to do so in a way that so many people relate to and have fun with. Comic books are for everyone, and the work that Tom and I are doing is further proof of that. And selfishly, I’m doing it because superheroes are f**king cool and I think Dreamer is the coolest. Jon’s pretty up there too. It’s a good fit.
TT: I want every queer kid out there to know there are superheroes fighting the good fight for you and with you. Superman is bisexual and the strongest person on the planet. His boyfriend can walk through walls and is fighting unjust systems and corrupt leaders as a journalist. He’s doing so alongside the non-binary Aerie and their girlfriend, Wink. Dreamer is a trans woman and, as well as kicking ass, she can see the future. And she can see a better future for everyone.
Superman: Son of Kal-El #13 will hit comic book store shelves and on digital on July 12.