Looking at Lee's list now, the one that interests me most as a concept is Supergirl.  Sad to think that when Supergirl launched in 2005 to such hype and fanfare, she quickly went from being an oversexualised laughing stock to a badly managed, largely unloved, marginal character.  Her few frames in Final Crisis, hanging about her bedroom like a normal teenager, were the closest she got to her potential. 

 

She has now run her course, at any rate!  Nice knowing ya, Loeb and Churchill's panty-flashing, sense-of-entitlement Kara!

 

It's a pretty damning indictment of DC over the last few years that a flagship property like that should have been so mishandled, and rebooted so soon.  I'd say that this new Supergirl will only work if they can show us reasonably why she looks down on Earth people.  There are two routes they can take if they want to use science fiction as a way to examine our world today. 

 

One approach is that Krypton was run as a fascist state where power and physical superiority are what counted, and Kara has internalised this attitude and expresses it towards Earth people.

 

The other approach is that Krypton was a beautiful, enlightened Utopia, and Kara has genuine reasons for looking down on our benighted backward society, blighted with war and greed, pollution and corruption, poverty and injustice.

 

Either would make for years of good stories, although I'd prefer to read the latter.  Modern DC comics however, insist that Earth people are the very finest in creation.  It’s one of the many soothing lies comforts that Geoff Johns and co like to purvey in the GL series for instance.  Earth is now the centre of the Universe, isn’t it?  How many DC stories over the years has the situation on other planets being solved by the Earth person arriving to show them how the proper application of good old Earth violence will solve their problems?

 

So I doubt the Supergirl stories will show Earth, and Western Liberal capitalism especially, in a bad light. 

 

To take the fascist Krypton angle, that would sully Superman’s heritage, which may be problematic.  Also it would make Supergirl a very unloveable hero for her first few years.  DC and its readership are way too fickle and short-termist to do that.

 

Either approach would involve DC taking a stand on what Krypton was, and a big part of what dragged the 2005 Kara down was that they kept changing what Krypton was like, and Kara’s backstory, so that there was no backstory by the end.

 

So that leaves Supergirl sneering at us because she’s a TEENAGER.  Gosh, I so don’t want to read those stories.

 

I think they've got the costume and look right this time though.  I like this picture!

 

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How many DC stories over the years has the situation on other planets being solved by the Earth person arriving to show them how the proper application of good old Earth violence will solve their problems?

 

DC Stories? How about all comic book stories? Most sci-fi?

At least with R.E.B.E.L.S. it was a Coluan using good old Earth violence and some smarts. Don't we read these comics to see the Earth violence? If I wanted to read about them solving their problems with 2 months of peace talks...well I wouldn't. I would never want to read that superhero comic.

My impression is that, Sales notwithstanding, the Supergirl book ended a lot more strongly than it began. The character had lost the Loeb/Churchill taint and had become a mainstream, girl-centered, superhero book. I read some good issues Sterling Gates had written, and the book seemed to have reached a pretty solid status quo.Even though I wasn't reading it, I'm sorry to see it jettisoned for another take on it that I likely won't read either. 

I think Supergirl works best when she has a similar moral grounding to Superman, but with a younger, female perspective. This emphasis on her alien nature doesn't excite me.

I can testify that the last few years of Supergirl were far superior to the early ones, and seemed like an entirely different character. (Just like today's Superboy seems like an entirely different character than the one that used to wear leather jackets, sunglasses, hang out with the Ravers and cut his hair oddly.) She was written as a teenager who loved her family (Kal-El) but resented his shadow, and one who wanted to do the right thing but wasn't all sure what that was. And despite being a cute chick with super-powers, she was endearingly insecure.

 

The only pimple is seen in the drawing above, which was her annoying habit of turning into "Dark Supergirl." This goes back to the Loeb-Churchill origin story in Superman/Batman, and was originally instigated by Darkseid, but kept popping up with less and less rationale. (I suppose to give her an "edge.") Anyway, a recent Justice League arc had it explained away as a psychological overcompensation of some kind, and this psychobabble is supposed to prevent it from happening again.

 

At least until September.

 

Anyway, the current Supergirl is an enjoyable book with a charming star, thanks largely to Sterling Gates. And its sales were in Diamond's top 100.

I didn't realize it was still in the top 100, but I'm glad it is. But what I meant by "sales notwithstanding" is that for those early Loeb issues, it was in the top 10, wasn't it? But its sales now are nothing to sneeze at, considering the market.

 

Man, I miss leather-jacket Superboy. I didn't know what we had there until long after it was gone. 

I may be off-base here but I think the 2005 plan was to make Supergirl sexy. Because at the time, Power Girl = sexy and Supergirl = boring, from a marketing POV. So instead of her bustline, they emphasized her ridiculously long torso and legs. They had her be the young nymphette as seen in Brave & Bold #2, tempting old man Hal or being the perfect fantasy woman in Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes. But they forgot to give her a true personality and a reason why we should care about her except for looking at the pretty pictures. I dropped the book fairly quickly and I am a Supergirl fan from the Superman Family days.

Ever since her death in Crisis #7 *repressed sob*, DC has had problems with portraying this well-known character. They wanted the Post-Crisis Superman to be the LAST survivor of Krypton but the allure of having a Supergirl was too strong. So they used every twist they could think of to make her connected to Superman, yet not related. Peter David's work on her was terrific as was the animated Supergirl but it still wasn't really Supergirl. There was even a brunette Girl of Steel around briefly. Whatever happened to her?

Supergirl works as Kara Zor-El, Superman's younger cousin who is sent to Earth to escape the deadly fate of her people. She is taken in by Superman who has no clue what to do with her, leading to some awkward situations until she is ready to make her own path in the world. Family, innocence, hope and faith in her new home should lead Kara to truly be Earth's Guardian Angel!

And I consider Superboy to be one of the stronger DC 90s titles.

Rob Staeger said:

Man, I miss leather-jacket Superboy. I didn't know what we had there until long after it was gone. 


Me, too. At least he had fun with being Superboy, and the title itself was a lot of fun. Plus, it had Tom Grummett on the art, which is always welcome.

The guy in the black T-shirt is so different, I don't even consider him to be the same character.

Travis said:

 

DC Stories? How about all comic book stories? Most sci-fi?

At least with R.E.B.E.L.S. it was a Coluan using good old Earth violence and some smarts. Don't we read these comics to see the Earth violence? If I wanted to read about them solving their problems with 2 months of peace talks...well I wouldn't. I would never want to read that superhero comic.

 

Ooh, very authoritive!  Not all comic stories, and certainly not all good comic stories have to be Earth-centric.  Most of Alan Moore's highly influential and still-copied Swamp Thing and Green Lantern work decenters Earth in all sorts of ways, and even the human perspective in the stories.  eg the F-Sharp Bell Corps, etc.  2000AD's Nemesis the Warlock depicted Earth people as the scourge of the Galaxy, but scrupulously showed that this would only be a continuation of all the human history we know.

 

I've often thought a subtext of Superman himself, is that an Earth person just couldn't be as good as that.  It's a valid reading.

 

Iain M Banks Culture novels, one of the most popular, and critically acclaimed, science fiction series currently being published, make a point of showing Earth as an unremarkable backwater, which appears in one short story, to be laughed at, then pitied, then forgotten about.

 

So good stories don't have to be Earth-centric, and great ones tend not to be. 

 

Good fiction has to make us question what we think we know, good science fiction even moreso.  Fiction that only confirms our lazy, complacent assumptions isn't going to change anyone's thinking for the better.

 

Rob said:

My impression is that, Sales notwithstanding, the Supergirl book ended a lot more strongly than it began. The character had lost the Loeb/Churchill taint and had become a mainstream, girl-centered, superhero book. I read some good issues Sterling Gates had written, and the book seemed to have reached a pretty solid status quo.Even though I wasn't reading it, I'm sorry to see it jettisoned for another take on it that I likely won't read either. 

I've just looked it up and in recent months Supergirl has sold around 21k each issue.  Not bad at all in today's market.  (I had heard Sterling Gates work was pretty good, but my library's Supergirl collection ran out shortly after Infinite Crisis and before Amazons Attack.) Good recovery DC, but the relaunch/reboot so soon after the rejigging of her personality now seems like another flailing attempt by DC to do something right.

 

Philip said:

I may be off-base here but I think the 2005 plan was to make Supergirl sexy. Because at the time, Power Girl = sexy and Supergirl = boring, from a marketing POV. So instead of her bustline, they emphasized her ridiculously long torso and legs.

 

You are giving the 2004 creators of Supergirl too much credit there Philip.  She has small breasts compared to Power-girl, because she is a teenager!  Beyond that, their long-term plans for the character didn't go much beyond imposing their lascivious fantasies onto a fictional teenage girl.

 

I saw an interview Sally Jesse Raphael did with Larry King just as she was retiring.  He asked her what she'd learned about people by doing her show all those years.  She said that the American public live in fear of their teenagers.  This was the single insight that struck her most.

 

The Bad Supergirl that appeared so early in the series and stuck fast is an expression of this deep current anxiety.  It's a worthwhile avenue of exploration, but maybe not with a fresh-faced flagship character so well placed to reach out to non-fanboy markets.  Rob and Cap say that DC fixed that with Supergirl, but what have we after the relaunch?  A superhuman teenage WMD that looks down on us and could wipe us out in an afternoon...

 

So we are back to the fear of the teenager again.

 

As weary as I get with all the characters and concepts that just won't go away, even the terrible ones, when Supergirls get consigned to the dustbin of continuity, they stay there.  It's just strange to have been here paying attention when the current one was created in a hail of hype and blockbusting sales, and then to see her woefully mishandled, re-jigged and finally tossed aside in such a short span of years.

 

I hope she gets some kind of proper send-off, but I doubt it.  I just feel bad for her, notwithstanding she is a fictional character.  (Her 20,000 readers are real though.)

 

John Dunbar said on one of the DCnU threads that the bottom line is the bottom line.  It's a pertinent point.  Maybe they have to chop and change as the wind blows, but surely the wild, badly thought-through, short-termist flailing around evinced by the handling of this Supergirl concept can't be good for ..ah...the market perception of the DC brand?  If we are just going to reduce it to economics.

 

BTW, Another great cover, Mark.

 

(FWIW - I probably wouldn't be so interested in Supergirl if I wasn't captivated by the sweet-natured young lady in the Showcase volumes.)

 

And can we have a name for the current Supergirl?  We won't be able to call her that come September!  I'd go by number, but she's what Supergirl 7?  Which would make Gates' version #7.2!  Even the great Silver Age Supergirl was at least Supergirl number 2!

She could be the Sterling Supergirl.
That good huh?

Supergirl #1 - SPOILERS ... and a terrible confession.

 

As I stated above, I have a strong interest in Supergirl, partly as an academic exercise in watching DC try to get a handle on one of their own most recogniseable brands, and partly because I love the sweet-natured Silver-Age version.

 

I bought a few DCnU comics on yesterday's trip to the LCS, but for budgetary reasons, was on the fence regarding Supergirl, so I thought I'd give it the 'one page test'.  It kinda opened the story with the big hollywood special effects landing of the meteor.

 

I turned a few more pages.  The art is really good.  Perhaps it winds back the scratchy over-rendered quality of currently popular comics art, so I particularly liked it.  Supergirl looks more or less like a teenage girl.  I like her new ultra-modern costume, but I think the red 'lower section' is a mistake.  It just draws much more attention than is comfortable to her ...pelvis.  Or maybe that's just me?

 

The comic tried to bring us something that has been lost in modern-era DCU books, and that is the wonder and surprise that should go with being able to do all those super-powered things.  I liked that Kara thought she was dreaming, and didn't believe herself what was happening, as she easily fought off giant military strike-robots.

 

The writing presented us with a fairly likeable and emotionally vulnerable Supergirl.

 

I turned a few more pages and saw that Superman showed up at the end.  That is an ugly uniform, isn't it?  I'm not against a new uniform in principle, but there's just too much going on there, and I'm not sure it all sits together, and it must be a pest to draw all those fussy details.

 

Here we come to the terrible confession:  Readers expert in textual analysis will have noticed by now that I've just admitted to reading the comic from start to finish in the shop!  It did pull me in, and was a flowing easy read, which are strong pluses.  However, it took me no time at all to read.  Certainly less than 5 minutes, and probably less than 3!

 

The plot is just Supergirl climbs out of meteor, Supergirl fights big robots, Supergirl meets Superman.

 

I'm not sure $2.99 for less than 3 minutes entertainment represents great value for money on DC's part.  Value-to-return ratios like this could be part of the reason for sensible people generally staying away from comics, and DC should be addressing that.

 

It's a well-made comic in the modern style, and will probably make for a good first chapter in a trade paperback, but I'm not sure I can recommend it as a single purchase, due to the thinness of the content.

 

Or perhaps, not having paid for it, I'm not entitled to an opinion...

Or perhaps, not having paid for it, I'm not entitled to an opinion...

 

You're allowed to an opinion it just counts less.

Or should I say I give my opinion on a lot of stuff  I didn't pay for?

I've given my two cents on books that I bought from the quarter box but that's not worth a plug nickel if no one drops a dime on it!

Penny for your thoughts?

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