Friday, April 29, 2016

Supergirl Comic Box Commentary Is Eight Years Old

All The Eights
Eight years ago I started a blog about Supergirl. 2.8 million page hits later I am still blogging about her.

It started out as a dalliance. I needed a creative outlet for when life got stressful. And I wanted to let the world know about how cool I thought Supergirl was, especially since she was mired in some dreadful stories.

I didn't think it would end up being this long a journey.

It is amazing for me to look at the changes we have seen in this character over the course of my blogging. In comics, this blog has been around long enough to see two different DC continuities and therefore two different Supergirls.

Another continuity/version is around the #Rebirth corner. I have seen rehabilitation, darkening, and re-rehabilitation of the character. The new Steve Orlando/Brian Ching book sounds like it is going to be a great interpretation from the get-go.

Over these years, I have seen her in animated features like Super Best Friends Forever, Superman/Batman Apocalypse, and Superman Unbound. Now she seems to be a headliner in the DC Superhero Girls series.

And the biggest news of the year? Well, now I have seen her as the star of a television show.

Suddenly, Supergirl is something of a household name. There are now numerous websites, podcasts, and Twitter accounts devoted to her. People are talking about her and not as the butt of jokes, not as a reference for perceived irrelevance, not as an outdated character. They are talking about how important she is to comics and pop culture.

And I'm thrilled. She is finally getting the recognition she deserves.

As always, I'd like to thank everyone who visits here, reads my (overly) long blog entries, and joins in the conversation. I'm glad people feel they can come here to talk about Supergirl in all her incarnations and in all forms of media. I don't think I'd still be doing this if it weren't for the Supergirl community that checks in.

The only major change that happened over this year on the site is that I cut back from posting 6 days a week to 5. As of now, I don't have any major plans for the site over the next year. I'll continue to review books, look back at Supergirl's history, cover her appearances in all media, and continue to talk comics in general. If anyone has any suggestions or things they'd like to see me try here, please let me know! I know that I still have to do a review of the Helen Slater film ... how have I not done that yet!

Anyways, happy anniversary and thanks again for stopping by!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

DC Superhero Girls 'New Beginnings'

DC Superhero Girls is starting their 'second season' of shorts over on their website. The site and line seems to be a success with toys selling out at Target, multiple pics of little girls showing up at cons in costume, and more chapter books in the pipeline.

The second season premiere short is titled 'New Beginnings' and introduces Supergirl to the series. It really feels like a prequel to the DC Superhero Girls Special where Supergirl joins the campus and helps stave off an Apokoliptian invasion. Given that the special was only on Boomerang and not everyone may get it, I suppose this episode was needed to get Supergirl into the website show.

I was glad that it wasn't just a rehash of the special. Folks who saw the special will see this as new material, getting the background of Supergirl heading off to the school. For those who didn't, it gets Kara there.

We start out at Superhero High where Principal Amanda Waller asks her star student Wonder Woman to recruit Supergirl to come to the school. At first it seems like Wonder Woman might be a little jealous. Waller calls Supergirl 'one of a kind' and Diana thought that phrase applied to the Amazon. (Happily, this isn't a lasting plot. Diana doesn't remain envious, instead realizing her own worth.)

I like Waller's file on Supergirl. That is a cool looking rocket ship. But the key photo is that shocked one. While there are shots of a heroic, iconic Supergirl, that is a better representation of this Kara. She is sort of clumsy and still learning her powers.

Wonder Woman 'facetimes' with Kara, telling Supergirl about the school and Superman's legacy there. Wondering if she will ever be accomplished to get a statue erected like her cousin, Kara loses control of her heat vision and sets her room ablaze. In fact, her room is pretty much trashed by the end of the short.

Wonder Woman's alarm goes off and she decides to continue to face time while she faces whatever threat is out there.

We get a brief fight between Diana and Giganta, all with Wonder Woman carrying her tablet.

The fight shows just how skilled Wonder Woman is. She saves a falling citizen, avoids a thrown car, and hog ties Giganta with the magic lasso ending the threat. I love how Supergirl's face is always on the tablet throughout the battle.

It is clear that Wonder Woman has received an excellent education at Superhero High. Diana ends the interview hoping Supergirl will join the class.

Back at the school, the student body has assembled to congratulate Diana on her first super-villain arrest. A shocked Diana says 'o my Hera'! How cute.

For a continuity wonk like me, I will note that Barbara Gordon is there as Batgirl, a costume she doesn't don until Supergirl has arrived in the special. But this is supposed to be the global introduction to Supergirl as well as the whole cast of characters.

Katana cuts the cake. Bumblebee plays some tunes. Flash chats with Killer Frost. It is all good fun.

Supergirl peruses all the school pamphlets she has. It includes some fun little nods for longstanding fans. Skartaris High School?? Apokolips Magnet School! Korugar Academy! How great are those Easter eggs?

But it is clear, after witnessing Diana in action, Kara decides to head to Superhero High.

I don't mind Supergirl being a little clumsy but I hope she doesn't become a longstanding punchline.

As for superhero girls, this is a pretty safe, non-threatening, and fun short and site. I think this is a perfect sort of entry into comic books and superheros. It is squarely in the 'My Little Pony'/'Monster High' niche. It is pretty cool to see all these characters newly envisioned.

What did you guys think?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

July 2016 Solicits

I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around when everything is changing and happening in DC Comics in regards to Rebirth. The new books are being rolled out a few at a time so I guess I just need to be patient and wait for everything to finally be new and fresh.

I say this because the July DC solicits are out and I was expecting to see the new Supergirl book (or at least the Rebirth Supergirl Special) to be among the books listed. But I was wrong. I have to wait a little bit longer. Still there are a lot of new books out there which sound interesting enough for me to give them a whirl. Here is a link:

And on the to new solicits.

Supergirl has met her match in Facet, who sends her back to the DEO with questions: what did Alura have to do with Facet’s past—and what is her continuing mission on Earth? And now Kara’s foster family is threatened by the diamond-hard former head of Fort Rozz!

Piecing together this solicit, it sounds like Facet was the head of Fort Rozz. So what opened that made  a prison official become a villain attacking Supergirl? This has been a wonderful series so far. Now I get an issue other art by both Cat Staggs *and* Emma Vieceli? 

I hope that when the show gets renewed, this book gets renewed too!

Who is Supergirl? Kara Danvers has learned a lot about her super-abilities, her strengths as a friend and as a sister, her love of being human and alien at the same time. And now she’ll need to pull it all together to defeat her most dangerous foe to date!

I guess this is the final issue. For now.

Love this cover!

Cover by ANT LUCIA
Mera adjusts to a life without her powers—and starts to fall in love with Arthur. Meanwhile, as Batwoman reunites with Renee Montoya in hopes of freeing Jewish prisoners from concentration camps, Harley and Ivy encounter Zatanna and Constantine, and plans to form a rebellion begin.

Let me say I am thrilled that this book seems to have survived #Rebirth. It has been a consistently entertaining book. While this issue solicit doesn't mention Supergirl, she is a part of the book. In theory, there may be a time that three books starring Supergirl are on the racks at the same time!

As for this issue, I have loved the free-spirited Mera in this title. So glad to see her spotlighted.

And now the Superman books.

Written by DAN JURGENS
Covers by CLAY MANN
Variant covers by RYAN SOOK
“PATH TO DOOM” Chapter Three: Clark Kent gets caught in the crossfire as Doomsday crashes through the streets of Metropolis! As Lois struggles to keep young Jonathan out of the path of destruction, can former enemies Superman and Lex Luthor stop the monster that once destroyed the city and killed the Man of Steel—or does Luthor have other plans?

Written by DAN JURGENS
Covers by CLAY MANN
Variant covers by RYAN SOOK
“PATH TO DOOM” Chapter Four: Wonder Woman joins the fight, but even her added might can’t slow down Doomsday’s rampage! As Superman comes face-to-face with the woman who once loved him, the Man of Tomorrow must also wrestle with the reappearance of Clark Kent.

I think it is a little early to be revisiting Doomsday given the nutty mega-crossover Doomsday virus story wormed through all the super books just a couple of years ago. 

I suppose we have the old Superman back, so touching on some classic ideas might not be bad, re-establishing them as much as the Man of Steel.

Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY
Variant cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
“THE SON OF SUPERMAN” Chapter Two: In #2, Superboy takes flight as he accompanies his father, the Man of Steel, on their first mission together to confront a creature more dangerous than anyone realizes. Will the duo triumph...or will they die when they face the lethal force of the Eradicator?

Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY
Variant cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
“THE SON OF SUPERMAN” Chapter Three: In #3, with a touch that means death, the Eradicator proves he’s a match for Superman, but his super-powered offspring may be more than anyone can handle—including the Man of Tomorrow.

Now we are cooking.

Unlike Doomsday, The Eradicator hasn't been revisited in some time, probably since his most recent stint on the Outsiders. Bringing back a Kryptonian cultural remnant and putting it in Jon White's life is an intriguing storyline.

Art and cover by VICTOR BOGDANOVIC
Variant cover by BERNARD CHANG
“MADE IN CHINA” Chapter One: An impulsive act of heroism thrusts an arrogant young man into the limelight of Shanghai as China begins to form its own Justice League of powerful heroes. Rising from the ashes of The Final Days of Superman, award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang and on-the-rise art star Victor Bogdanovic introduce readers to Kong Kenan—the New Super-Man! When the world needed a new hero, China made him!

I gotta say, I'm on the fence. Yang didn't do himself any favors in my book with The Truth.

I'll give it a shot.

Learning the truth of what happened to Krypton, Kara must separate fact and fiction and believe in herself! And after teaming up with Power Boy to stop a hurricane in Mexico, Dark Angel attacks the Girl of Steel! Then, Kara accidentally wrecks Air Force One, only to hide out at the Kents’ home in Kansas. Collects SUPERGIRL #11, #13-22 and a story from the DC UNIVERSE INFINITE CRISIS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL #1.

Hard for me  to understand why this is being reprinted and the Gates/Igle stuff isn't. This is a rough run on Supergirl. She flirts in bars, getting in because she is wearing tight shirts. She apparently gunned down her Kryptonian school Columbine style. She wants to kill Superman. I mean it ... this is rough. That said, the Infinite Crisis Christmas story is wonderful.

I suppose more stuff being printed and resolicited is a good thing for Supergirl.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Back Issue Review: Superman Family #213

With a new Blackrock introduced in the pages of Superman:Lois and Clark, I have decided to take a look back at Supergirl's battle with the classic interpretation of the villain. Earlier this month, I covered part one of their battle in the pages of Superman Family.

Today I will finish the story as presented in Superman Family #213.

This book was released in 1981. We are basically about a year away from Daring New Adventures of Supergirl hitting the stands. The Kara in these stories is pretty much an adult established hero so much of the 'beginning the hero's journey' aspect is gone. But it also means we start to see Supergirl acting more confident and intelligent. She is respected by the villain, a rogue from Superman's gallery. She visits Kal and is treated like an equal. And she outsmarts the villain.

While I think Supergirl works best as a young hero learning the ropes, it is interesting to see her in these stories, a valued member of the hero community.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: Superman:Lois And Clark 7

Superman Lois and Clark #7 was released last week and marked the penultimate issue of this mini-series. Initially solicited as a 12 issue run, the book was truncated early on leaving me to wonder why. After all, it was selling pretty decently for a book spun out of the aimless Cnvergence event.

As the book progressed, I wondered how it would wrap up in a meaningful way. Writer Dan Jurgens was bringing in new subplots and characters while the main threads of Intergang and Henshaw/Hyathis chugged along. Could this all be finished in the time allotted? Was the loss of 4 issues forcing Jurgens to rush things along?

Well, with #Rebirth, we know that this Superman and Lois aren't disappearing into a multiversal rabbit hole. They are sticking around. And Jurgens is leading the charge on one of the Superman books. So there is time now. And because of that, I suddenly don't have to read this issue wondering how everything will be tied up next month. Instead I could relax and just enjoy it as simply another chapter. And that made this a much more enjoyable read.

The art on the book is a hodge lodge of Lee Weeks, Art Thibert, Scott Hanna and others. It is a shame that Weeks couldn't seem to stay up on the deadlines. He brought a sensibility to the book I enjoyed. These others are no slouches. I love Thibert. But, call me old fashioned, a book just reads better with one art team doing all the pages.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Review: Action Comics #51

Action Comics #51 came out this week and proved that you can go home again.

Since The Truth ended, writer Peter Tomasi has been giving us a very classic, very satisfying story. It feels as if it has been years since I have read so many issues in a row and said 'This is my Superman.' Once again, after reading this book, I uttered that phrase. 

But more importantly, after reading this issue I said 'This is my Supergirl!' Kara has been suspiciously and conspicuously absent in the DCU for some time. Since her own book was canceled, she hasn't been seen or heard from at all. Even in JLU, all we heard was that 'she bolted'. Thankfully, Tomasi brings her back in a great way, showcasing a lot of what I like about Kara, folding in some of the plot of her new book, and maybe even riffing on some classic stories.

And best of all, we see the cousins acting like cousins and heroes. They squabble a bit. They care for each other. They are family. I have been waiting for this sort of relationship for some time as well.

To sum up ... hooray!

The art on the book is done by Paul Pelletier with inks by Sandra Hope Archer. There is sort of Neal Adams feel to the look here, more than I have seen in Pelletier recently. The art is big and bold, suited for the story. Supergirl looks wonderful, young and vital.

On to the book.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sales Review: March 2016

#Rebirth is right around the corner so DC has been trying their best to wrap things up on some titles and tee things up on others. So March, April, and May will be interesting months to watch form a sales point of view. Will people jump off the 'lame duck' months? Will people jump on when the stories will 'matter'?

Well the first month of this trifecta is in the books and ICv2 covered sales in their usual excellent way. Here is a link to last month's top 300 books:

Amazingly, DC improved in sales this month after what has to be considered a horrible couple of years for them overall. And, surprisingly, a Superman book did well.

Superman #50 was the end of the over-bloated, 'oh so serious', 'this isn't your father's Superman ... heck it isn't your Superman' arc called The Truth. Gene Luen Tang had come on board with a Superman story that was supposed to forever change the dynamic of the Man of Steel, a dynamic that his longtime fans actually liked. And, given that #Rebirth is happening, it looks like it didn't change things forever, or for even a little bit.

I was glad to see this direction fade away.

So I was flabberghasted to see that Superman #50 was the 4th best selling title last month, selling 91K.

I don't recall their being any super-exclusive variant covers that may have driven up store purchases. So could stores have ordered that many thinking the end of the story might draw twice as many readers? Or that the impending #Rebirth might get people intrigued?

Anyways, we are moving on. And that is the truth.

As for the Supergirl books that were out, sales held steady.

DC Bombshells continues to delight me as a reader. I wish I could know the sales digitally for this book. That might add some information.

It seems like this book will finish when #Rebirth comes around. And that is a shame. I'd love to read more about these characters.

It is relatively healthy in sales, coming in just under 20K. That has to be considered a success for a digital first book based on a merchandise line and not in the main continuity.

Thanks to Marguerite Bennett and all the artists for this book.

Justice League 3001 is definitely living on borrowed time. It isn't on the #Rebirth slate. It is struggling in sales. But it stars a great supergirl and is a great melange of all sorts of DC continuities. This book has been another delight for me. I would have missed it if Supergirl hadn't come on board. So glad I got it.

The book has hovered around the 12K mark on sales for a while. This book reminds me of the REBELS book from a few years ago. The people who like it tend to love it. It is a loyal audience. But it just isn't large enough for a DC book.

We have a couple more issues. Everyone should be reading this.

I can't wait to see the sales figures with #Rebirth.