Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Still More on Supergirl

This floored me. How Ed Benes got the Supergirl gig. I love Ed Benes' art. I just want to get that out there. His art is very pretty, but it's very adult and he was not the right artist for Supergirl.

Dean Trippe has some good thoughts about Kara on his LJ, which I've added to my blogroll.

Everyone has his or her idealized Kara Zor-El. For me, it's the one I grew up with. The one who also grew into adulthood and had a career, for a while, changed costume a few times, and never seemed to find a niche after the decision was made to graduate her from high school. Right from the start, Kara was Supergirl's cousin and she never came out from his shadow the way Power Girl was able to assert herself on her Earth, probably because of the different name and attitude, not to mention not having all those years of her having to keep her powers a secret til Superman thought the time was right to reveal her presence to the world.

Yet, while she was his secret weapon in those years, she wasn't his partner. Her solo adventures were lowkey next to his. There were tales of romance, and some lame villains and even when the big guns showed up, things were tame in comparison to Superman's books because she was, after all, just a girl.

Supergirl had Streaky (vs Superman's Krypto) and there was Comet who had been a centaur who was now a super horse who whenever he saw a comet because a man for a day. Damn, I miss Comet.

But the main thing Supergirl had going for her, aside from her basic sweetness, was her family. Kal had the Kents who had adopted him. Kara had the Danvers who adopted her after her years in an orphanage and then it was learned that her real parents had survived. And through Kara, Kal gained not only a cousin, but his aunt and uncle, too. For a supergirl from Krypton's Argo City, Kara was truly the all-American girl in values and temperament.

I've been thinking about her a lot with all the posts around the comics blogosphere lately. I can never be impartial or objective when Kara is concerned. I know the old character would need reworking to fit in today. The art is too old-fashioned and her costume needs updating and to not look like Kal's. Should she be dressing the way she is now? It's a toss-up. I'd prefer that skirt a bit longer and no bare midriff, but perhaps the right artist could make that costume not look so sexy. I'm not betting on it. But then, teen girls do want to look sexy. I've seen kids roll up the waistbands of their skirts on their way to school so they can fit in and their parents won't know. Would Kara really want to wear a costume not as revealing? She should, but would she? What's truly in character for her now?

I didn't like the other Supergirl, the protoplasmic/angel/whatever that combined with Linda Danvers, but I loved the doomed Kara who dropped into that book, the art notwithstanding. That was a sweet, innocent Kara with her original origin who came into Linda Supergirl's life. The current Kara has an ugly origin, a father who clearly wasn't close with his brother. I don't like her background now and the ugliness in her, but I can see a good writer making it work. But what I see happening is just more fiddling, more not understanding, more confusion, more trying to squeeze Kara into being something she's not and when that doesn't work, fiddling some more.

Other characters have been rebooted and reworked and retconned, but none so with such an obvious lack of understanding of the core of the character as with Kara. My advice to DC is to stop, take a deep breath, decide who she is, how they want her to fit into the universe, put a writer and artist(s) on her book who "get" her, decide who her own book is being marketed to, and stick to the plan. After the fact is not the best time to try to bring in female readers and decide what the book is about.

If I could figure out how they could do it without it looking like more of the same old same old neverending reboot, I'd suggest just killing her again and starting over. Or maybe have the real Kara show up and want to know who the imposter is.

Kara should have a solid supporting cast, but while Cass makes a good friend, Capt Boomerang Jr does not. He's probably the last person you'd want Kara to associate with. And what both these characters have going against them is they come from other books. For all her trying to find herself, Kara continues to be defined by others in her own book. And with the issue that intro'd the new Terra Girl, she was reduced to being a guest star in her own title.

Yes, I'm rambling. I lose track of what I've already said. But I love this character and I want DC to get it right. I want a Kara who works for the majority of readers. A Kara who isn't at the heart of the controversy over the depiction of females in comics, especially teenaged females. Kara should be leading the way, not being mired in ugliness.

And yes, I'll probably have more to say on this, the more I read elsewhere.

1 comment:

  1. From one Supergirl fan to another, I must say I agree with you 100%.

    I liked Peter David's comic, mostly because of the quality of the writing and art. But I was always a bit sad that such efforts weren't bestowed upon the original Supergirl.

    She still isn't getting A-class treatment, but there's always hope.