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'Superboy' Movie Joins Warner Bros. Slate After Decades of Legal Battles

By Michael Arbeiter, Hollywood Staff

The most extensive child custody case in the history of time: the battle for the rights to Superboy. For 70 years now, DC Comics and the estate of Jerry Siegel (co-creator of Superman and his youthful alter ego) have grappled over distribution of the character, with the court's leaning bouncing between the parties over this time - after a 2006 decree of Siegel's heirs as authority on the adolescent Kal-El, DC and Warner Bros. have won the rights to develop a Superboy movie, as reported by Deadline.

Since initial inception in 1938, we have seen a number of different incarnations of ''Superboy.'' The initial property, and that which seems to be the subject of Warner Bros.' new film, depicted Superman fighting crime and coming to terms with his powers in his pre-Metropolis days (a la Smallville). Another version of Superboy, deemed Kon-El, was actually a ''metahuman clone'' of Kal-El, synthetically created to emulate his source's powers.

As the latter was created by Karl Kesel and artist Tom Grummett, we assume that the news of Warner Bros.' recent legal acquirement must refer to young Kal-El. However, as the forthcoming Man of Steel film looks to tackle Clark Kent's journey from his mysterious childhood to ultimate heroism, there might be a hefty sum of crossover between that and a traditional Superboy film. Perhaps a melding of DC's Superboys is what we'll see in any title Warner Bros. releases in the near future... either that, or we can assume that all those brooding shots of hanging laundry and Kevin Costner diatribes from the man of Steel trailers will be spread out over a whole other 120-minute movie.

Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter

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