Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Keith Giffen on Supergirl; It Came from the Back Issue Box:Legion of Super-Heroes #294


One of the columns I enjoy reading is Keith Giffen's 'Unfortunate Confluence of Words' at Comic Book Resources. Giffen has always been one of my favorite creators and he seems to have a nice common sense about comics. His last column (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=18399) came out on October 10. Check out his take on the problems with Supergirl.

I'm going to wrap this up by answering the question I'm most often asked and, in doing so, serve my own self-interest. The question is: "Which characters would you like a solid shot at?" OK, not in those words, but you get the picture. In no particular order...

SUPERGIRL: Untapped potential up the wazoo. Once, that is, DC decides whether she's an innocent, a slut, an airhead or a well meaning klutz.

It sort of pains me that someone as entrenched at DC like Keith Giffen could see the writing on the wall that Supergirl had no direction despite unlimited potential and yet the powers that be let the title languish for so long. Now I know we all think that the new creative team is going to fix that. And I believe that.

But his comments made me think of Giffen's past efforts with Supergirl, albeit in a few issues as the penciller on Legion of Super-Heroes in the early 1980's. One of my absolute favorite Supergirl moments comes in the final issue of the tremendous Legion arc The Great Darkness Saga. For those who haven't read this storyline I highly highly recommend finding it, either as a trade or in issue form (it ran from issues 290-294 in the Legion title). It is considered by many, myself included, as the best Legion of Super-Heroes arc. Some spoilers ahead.

In the storyline, Darkseid has been resurrected and comes within a hair of taking over the universe. He has taken over the planet Daxam and has an army of super-men at his disposal. The Legion has been battling him all along, calling in all the reserves.


That means Supergirl.

And in the final battle, a resurrected Highfather grants Superboy and Supergirl the ability to have powers under a red sun sending them to confront Darkseid head on.


Superboy gets immediately dispatched from the battle ... within seconds! But look at Supergirl bust up Darkseid. First with the old one-two punch and body slam.


And then she shows her tenacity, her courage, her force of will, her strength as she shrugs off Darkseid's worst and levels him with an uppercut that sends him into the upper atmosphere. That is what Supergirl is all about!


Well, you can't beat Darkseid that easily and unfortunately he pays her back in kind. Still, no one got more shots in against Darkseid than Kara!

In the end, she gets rescued, the Daxamites regain their senses, Darkseid gets defeated, the universe goes on turning, and ... oh yeah ... Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl's baby gets turned into Validus.

The story ends with Brainiac 5 telling Kara he is over his crush on her only to have her tell him she was just beginning to find him cute.

From what I have read, Levitz and Giffen worked very closely on Legion and so Giffen most likely had a hand in how Supergirl was portrayed. It is interesting to see how much Giffen's art has changed over the years. Here he has a very organic, smooth, thin-lined style as compared to his later scratchy style as seen in Lobo or Trencher.

Would I trust Supergirl in Giffen's hands? Probably. I don't know if he would be on the top of my list for Kara. But I have loved his '5 Years Later' Legion of Super-Heroes; I enjoyed his recent work on 52 and Annihilation. And I certainly thank him for this wonderful Supergirl sequence.

4 comments:

TalOs said...

I loved The Great Darkness Saga (which happens to be one of my all time if not FAVE Legion tale in general!) especially at the equally loved his depiction of Supergirl in it all to boot!

However, with in having had said that did he have to feel the need in saying the following though:

SUPERGIRL: Untapped potential up the wazoo. Once, that is, DC decides whether she's an innocent, a slut, an airhead or a well meaning klutz.
Excuse me? "a slut"? WTF?? Dude this is like THE 4th world wide recognized icon of DC Comics (what with the other three of course being Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) and he's the nerve in wanting to refer to her as being a possible slut in the making as such?!? UGH! That makes me so frickin' mad it's NOT even funny yo!!!! >:(

With all due respect anj, I for one don't want him ever working on our beloved super heroine if all he thinks of her as nothing more then being written as that of possibly white trash in the making as he apparently seems to be implying referring to her in that degrading name/way above.

Anj said...

With all due respect anj, I for one don't want him ever working on our beloved super heroine if all he thinks of her as nothing more then being written as that of possibly white trash in the making as he apparently seems to be implying referring to her in that degrading name/way above.

Thanks for the post!

I understand your anger, but I think Giffen feels the same way. When you look at the list he mentions, I doubt he would write her like any of those.

I don't want Kara to be a slut, or an airhead, or a klutz. I don't think Giffen does either. I think Giffen feels that she has been written as all of those things so far and thus her potential is untapped.

Anyways, Gates and Igle taking over I don't think we need to worry about it.

Anonymous said...

Supergirl despite moribund execution in "The Superman Family" consistently wracked up winning guest appearances all over the DCU back in the bronze age.
Who knew (for example) she could team up with Batman in "The Brave and the Bold" to such good effect? And the list goes on...I sort of wish DC would put out a HC treasury of her best 1970's guest appearances it would be a very instructive volume with respect to her untapped potential.

John Feer

Anj said...

Who knew (for example) she could team up with Batman in "The Brave and the Bold" to such good effect? And the list goes on...I sort of wish DC would put out a HC treasury of her best 1970's guest appearances it would be a very instructive volume with respect to her untapped potential.

Thanks for the post and what a great idea.

I loved her in DC Comics Presents #28, the first Mongul story.