Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Poll results and reboot thoughts


A little Kara philosophy in this post, so bear with me.

Two weeks ago I posted a poll on this blog asking people to vote for their favorite Supergirl costume. First off, let me thank all of you who voted and left comments. It is overwhelming to me that 67 people have even found this blog, let alone took the time to vote. Overwhelming. Thanks again!

And yes, the Matrix style costume won the poll, hence the great Jackson Guice cover above, showcasing that uniform so wonderfully. However this was no landslide win. In fact, I was surprised at how close the poll was. Here are the results.


Matrix: 16 votes
Current/Turner: 13 votes
Hot pants/70s: 12 votes
Crisis/head band: 10 votes
Original/blue skirt: 8 votes
White shirt/Timmverse: 5 votes
70s variant: 3 votes

That is a pretty amazing spread. I think it actually speaks a lot about Supergirl fans in general. We tend to be very attached to Supergirl, almost zealous. No one seems to like Supergirl a little bit. If you like her, you tend to love her. And yet, Supergirl fans seem to be divided amongst ourselves despite our common love of the character. We can't even agree on her clothes.

I have been reading a pretty wild thread on Geoff Johns Comic Bloc Forums in which Supergirl #34 is being discussed. Most people really liked the new direction, myself included. I thought it was a step in the right direction to bring back a heroic and noble Kara. But there are several people on that thread that absolutely hate it. They hate the secret identity. They hate her 'losing her edge'. It is an incomprehensible response for me. How could I have loved this issue so much and yet other Kara fans hate it with the same intensity?

I think it boils down to Kara being a pretty complicated character who has grown a lot ... changed a lot ... throughout her history. As a result, fans can have a very specific and valid feel for what they want her character to be like. And when the character is not written that way, they feel cheated. Heck, they can even feel cheated if the costume isn't the one they like. And you can see from this sampling poll here, there is a contingent of Supergirl fans for each of them!

Superman is written one way. He is the ultimate hero, the ultimate good guy, the one who is able to see the 'right' thing to do and does it. For me that makes him difficult to relate to. He is invulnerable, unstoppable, bigger than life, and completely ethical. I am not that good. I am human with human foibles and failings. I can aspire to be Superman, but I can't really relate to him.

And I think that therein lies what I love about Kara. I was drawn to comics because I like the genre. I like reading about super-heroics. I was drawn to Supergirl because she had those powers, she lived those stories, but she also seemed to be trying to find herself too. She could even fail, just as I could fail.

So when she struggled with her relationships or wondered if she would forever be alone, I 'got' that. When she was trying to figure out what she wanted to do in life ... TV reporter, soap opera star, guidance counselor, or grad student... I understood that too. And when, unlike Superman, she got frustrated and lashed out swiftly and violently against villainy, something we have seen throughout her comic career, I could understand that response. She never seemed as restrained and staid as Superman. She might even have a temper like I do. She was easy to relate to and as a result a better read.


Now the Supergirl I started reading was the Superman Family dollar comics and the Daring New Adventures of Supergirl. I did not grow up with the Kara who listened to Superman and stayed hidden, who never seemed to reach Superman's expectations. But when I finally read those stories, I could see her evolution from the meek young girl in Midvale to the independent and strong Linda Danvers I fell in love with.

The problem with all these sides to Kara (struggling for acceptance, looking for love, finding her place on Earth, strong-willed and independent young woman, and super-strong kick butt heroine) is that her fans can want to see one side of her more than another, to look at the jewel of the character but want to focus on only one facet.

So someone can like a conflicted Kara trying to find her way in the world and it is a valid interpretation. These folks most likely hated the opinionated anti-hero we saw in the first 19 issues of this current title.

And another fan can like the opinionated, 'take charge' loner Kara we saw in the first 19 issues and feel that version is valid. (I really don't ... that Kara was not a hero but a self-absorbed killer.) So a Kara who tries to save a child from cancer or cries when a negative editorial is written about her makes little sense to that group of fans.


You almost could ask 'will the real Supergirl please stand up?'

All these shades of gray that make up "Supergirl" (I guess the concept of Supergirl rather than this particular one) make her a rich and and wonderful and complicated character to write stories for. That said, it would be hard (if not impossible) for a creative team to write the 'perfect' Supergirl, someone all Supergirl fans like a lot ... someone who can unite all the Kara fans under one banner.

Now one issue does not make a perfect run, but in issue 34 we see a Supergirl who drops a garbage truck on a villain and takes out a griffin. We see a Kara who is questioning her place in the world. We see a young woman who faces her personal enemy (albeit with a cute note) and decides to do what is right. We see the many shades of her personality just like we all have different sides to ourselves. I will say it again ... it is the readers' ability to relate to Kara that makes her so compelling.

This issue just felt like Kara to me.

I do not envy Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle. They have to please a very vocal Supergirl fan base who have very strong ideas about her. But I would rather be writing or drawing a character that people cared about this much than one people could not care less about.

Hopefully, these ramblings make some sense ...

12 comments:

Alan49 said...

I agree with most of what you've said but I strongly disagree with the following:

that Kara was not a hero but a self-absorbed killer.)

If Kara was such killer back then why did she find it so hard to kill?

In supergirl #11 she couldn't kil a non humanoid creature who was begging to be killed and whoes death would save lives including hers.

When she thought she had been sent to kill Superman (Kal-El) she did everything she could to make sure she didn't.

Even when it looked like Superman was giving her permission to kill him she still would not do it or even try to do it. Supergirl #17

As for any kiling she may have done back on Krypton the only evidence of that were the memory flashbacks she was having at the time.

Flashbacks that IMO were at best incomplete and more likely than not a false or distorted view of what really happened back then.

TalOs said...

Or even the work of Darkseid as her initial Superman/Batman: TSFK origin arc suggested at the time more the case really.


Now one issue does not make a perfect run, but in issue 34 we see a Supergirl who drops a garbage truck on a villain and takes out a griffin. We see a Kara who is questioning her place in the world. We see a young woman who faces her personal enemy (albeit with a cute note) and decides to do what is right. We see the many shades of her personality just like we all have different sides to ourselves. I will say it again ... it is the readers' ability to relate to Kara that makes her so compelling.

This issue just felt like Kara to me.

HEAR, HEAR! Seriously very well said indeed, anj! :D

I do not envy Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle. They have to please a very vocal Supergirl fan base who very strong ideas about her. But I would rather be writing or drawing a character that people cared about this much than one people could not care less about.
Agreed 100% fully!

Hopefully, these ramblings make some sense ...
Indeed they do, anj. Indeed they do.

TalOs said...

Oh and speaking about our fave Superheroine here, the folllowing is THE official variant cover to Action Comics #870 as done by Andy Kubert!:

http://www.midtowncomics.com/images/PRODUCT/FUL/988115_ful.jpg

Heh, I think I'll be knowing exactly WHICH cover I'll be getting now. ;)

Anj said...

Even when it looked like Superman was giving her permission to kill him she still would not do it or even try to do it. Supergirl #17

As for any kiling she may have done back on Krypton the only evidence of that were the memory flashbacks she was having at the time.


Thanks so much for the post.

I think I will need to reread those Kelly issues again. I have to admit I haven't looked at them in some time.

It is hard to get that image of the gun-wielding Kara in her school with 'the laughing dead'.

That said, you do bring up a valid point that on Earth she fought that as much as she could. I should re-assess.

Still, I don't think that I will change my mind on the overall tone of the book there. I did not like that Kara.

Anj said...

Oh and speaking about our fave Superheroine here, the folllowing is THE official variant cover to Action Comics #870 as done by Andy Kubert!:

Thanks for the posts and the info Talos! Glad you understood my ramblings! :)

I don't usually get variant covers, but this one I might make an exception.

Seriously, I am so happy that DC is supporting the Supergirl character so much.

Looks like Supergirl saves Earth while Superman defeats Brainiac. That would be spectacular.

John M said...

Very well said about Supergirl! :) I love it whenever I read something well-written and passionate about Supergirl!

I visited the Geoff Johns Comic Bloc Forum to read the responses to Supergirl 34- a lot of differing opinions. And it reminds me why I don't post on comic book forums anymore! I enjoy discussing Supergirl, but I'm not a fan of arguing over everything. Nor am I a fan of being uncivil towards others. It is always difficult to read Supergirl when the character is not written the way you see her. I believe for the most part Kara has been written the way I see her though.

Daniel said...

You don't have to thank us! This is my favorite blog on Supergirl.

I agree with everything you've said. As a fan, I will like every issue of Kara. But then I read something like Supergirl #34 and I remember why.

Keep up the good work!

Anj said...

It is always difficult to read Supergirl when the character is not written the way you see her. I believe for the most part Kara has been written the way I see her though.

Thanks for the post!

I think we all know the Supergirl we want to see. I think the Supergirl in the last issue should please lots of us.

Anj said...

You don't have to thank us! This is my favorite blog on Supergirl.

I agree with everything you've said. As a fan, I will like every issue of Kara. But then I read something like Supergirl #34 and I remember why.


Thanks for the kind words and the post!

I agree that Supergirl 34 seemed to be hitting on all cylinders!

Diana_Fan said...

I have to say a few things, here, I think.

1. Yes, you have a great Supergirl blog, and I relish coming here whenever a new issue or news comes out. Excellent work.

2. I am sure I had to have been one of those who "hated" #34 at ComicBloc. Well, I didn't hate it, honestly. I enjoyed it, for the most part, except ...

3. I do indeed hate the "false" identity. I think I fairly well laid out my reasoning in that thread, so no point in going over it here, yet again.

4. While still interested in seeing where the title and the character go, the "false" identity does really make it difficult for me.

Anj said...

1. Yes, you have a great Supergirl blog, and I relish coming here whenever a new issue or news comes out. Excellent work.

Thank you so much for the post and comments. I enjoy reading your posts on Johns board and the DC boards as well.

3. I do indeed hate the "false" identity. I think I fairly well laid out my reasoning in that thread, so no point in going over it here, yet again.

4. While still interested in seeing where the title and the character go, the "false" identity does really make it difficult for me.


I always love to hear fans' opinions about Supergirl especially when they are passionate. As I said in this post, most Supergirl fans really love her.

I am looking forward to the addition of a secret identity in the book. But you certainly laid out your concerns and I enjoyed reading them.

Thanks again for the support.

John M said...

Actually, I need to amend my previous statement about the message boards. lol! I decided to give them another shot, and hopefully this time it will be a better experience. Supergirl has improved as a character since issue 20. I'm not sure if DC Comics pays attention to the boards (I saw Jamal Igle is on there), but I do want to let them know I love Supergirl 34! And to let them know I'm for Kara keeping her secret identity!