Monday, September 7, 2009

Iconic Supergirl Covers

Over on Comic Book Resources 'Comics Should Be Good', there have been several columns looking at the most iconic covers of a variety of characters. Last week, they listed their top 5 iconic Supergirl covers. Surprisingly, I agreed with the top 2! Here is the link: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/09/03/top-five-most-iconic-supergirl-covers/ But I did think they missed out on a couple and so I thought I would do my own ranking.

It was hard to pare it down to only 5 so I have 2 honorable mentions. I also think it is important to remember this is 'iconic' covers not best covers, so I took into account how the covers played out on the whole comic landscape.

So here we go:

Close but so far from the official list: Supergirl #50 (1996, PAD version); Adventure Comics #381, Final Crisis #3



Honorable Mention #2: Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #23 (Adam Hughes variant cover)

There is something majestic about this cover by Adam Hughes who downplays his cheesecake factor here. Smiling, happy, basking in the sun while riding a meteor ... this image invokes all the right feelings about Supergirl.

I know Supergirl's role in that Legion (heck that iteration of the Legion itself) was brief and may be forgotten over time, but this cover simply works.

It ended up on a t-shirt and made into a poster.


Honorable mention #1: Action Comics #252

I don't know how her first appearance didn't break the top 5. The comic itself is a hard to find collector's item and an obviously important piece of Superman's lore.The image of Supergirl flying from the rocket as she lands on Earth has been replayed on other comics, Supergirl #75 (1996 series), Many Happy Returns TPB cover, and Supergirl #1 (3rd printing, 2005 series).

This image has also been immortalized as a DC Direct statue and even a Supergirl bobble-head doll.


Number 5: Superman Adventures #21

There was a time when the DCU was being actively promoted by and influenced by the DCAU and Bruce Timm was the architect of those changes.

When he introduced Kara In-Ze to the DCAU, it introduced Supergirl to a sector of fans who may never have known that Supergirl existed. Garbed in a white half shirt and red combat boots, this version of Supergirl became a big part of both the Superman animated series and the JLU series as well.

Her costume became so synonymous with the character that Peter David had his Linda Danvers don the white shirt to streamline the look of the character. Gone was my beloved Matrix version of the uniform.

This cover, done by Timm, was the first appearance of that Supergirl in comics. It has since become a t-shirt and poster. The animated Supergirl has also been seen in numerous toys and statues.


Number 4: Supergirl #1 (2005)

I had to include on Michael Turner image since his is the current look for Supergirl. Plus, it had been 20 years since the original Supergirl left the DCU in Crisis on Infinite Earths and so for many fans this is *THE* Supergirl.

This version of Supergirl #1 is such a striking cover that this is the image that pops into my head when someone says 'Michael Turner Supergirl'. The shading and blurring out out of the colors at the extreme margins of the picture gives it an ethereal feel.

This image also made it onto a t-shirt.


Number 3: Action Comics #285

I had to pick a Silver Age image to represent and Action Comics #285, the issue where Supergirl is revealed to the world, is one of the more famous covers. Personally, it is my favorite.
Supergirl had matured over the 2 plus years after she was introduced and basically solo'd in this comic.

This issue also has cameos from John and Jackie Kennedy as well as Nikita Kruschev.

This cover made it as the cover image for Supergirl Archives Volume 2, Showcase Presents: Supergirl Volume 2, and onto a t-shirt.


Number 2: The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1

This happy cover by Rich Buckler is another one of the key images in my mind of the character.

When people say 'pre-Crisis' Supergirl, this is the image that comes to mind. The 'hot pants' costume is the Bronze Age costume in my mind, not the headband look.

When you reread Daring New Adventures, Supergirl is very confident and strong and acts as the sole major superhero in the Chicago area. Those are good memories for me.

This cover was immortalized as a U.S. postage stamp, perhaps the most widely visible representation of Supergirl in the mainstream public.

I really love that cover and was glad to get a Rich Buckler commission for my collection.


Number 1: Crisis on Infinite Earths #7

While I know this cover represents the death of the Earth-1 Supergirl, there is no denying that this is the most famous Supergirl cover, instantly recognized by the most casual fan as Crisis #7. Everyone knows it.

At the time, Supergirl's death represented the shocking new reality that no one was safe in COIE. Sure all of Earth-3 died, as did some Western stars, and some other B-listers. But this was the big time, a huge character in the DCU falling. Worlds will live ... worlds will die, indeed.

This cover was made into a DC Direct statue.

But more importantly, it has been emulated many times on comic covers, a mark of how striking it is. We have seen versions of this in many places Supergirl #79 (1996 series), Superman: The Man of Steel #10, Firestorm #21 (2004 series), Valor #18, Fallen Angel #16(volume 2) and even Major Bummer#12. With all those homages, it clearly is the most iconic Supergirl cover.

So what does everyone else think. Any other cover that should cracked the top 5?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I never see the cover to Crisis on Infinite Irks #7 ever again it will be too soon.
If Supergirl was such a barnacle on Superman's hulk...then was why were Wonder Girl, Batgirl, Lady Blackhawk and Mary Marvel allowed to live? Weren't they cluttering up their respective mythos' as well?
The answer to that is simple it is okay to kill Kara but slaughtering all the other iconic female characters would've raised the question of misogyny and "gendercide".
So a bunch of jaded fan-pros project their hostility onto Kara, snuff the character and run me out of the DC audience for two decades in a vain attempt to make DC as hip as say Marvel was circa 1963.
What rubbish!

John Feer

Nikki said...

I have a draft of my own top 10 ready for my blog. I totally forgot the hughes cover but that has to appear now. I'd replace the DCAU one with it. The DCAU is only 1/2 the picture the other half is Batgirl http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/thumb/a/a0/Batgirl_Adventures_1.jpg/300px-Batgirl_Adventures_1.jpg

(I think the white Tee is better than the matrix costume and is an iconic look for the character. She wore a variant in secret files and in in churchill's run on this series)

Nikki said...

oh and the DC source showed today number 1 will be homaged again on adventure comics 5 with prime and black lantern alex luthor

Gene said...

I think the cover to Supergirl #34 with Kara and Silver Banchee in front of the headline "Why the World Doesn't Need a Supergirl" is iconic too. It marked a turning point for Supergirl as she became a more enjoyable character and sales of her book rebounded.

I'm so glad you picked Superman Adventures #21 Anj. Supergirl's pose is excellent as she expresses a combination of confidence, determination, strength, and beauty all at the same time. The story inside rocked too.

TalOs said...

Man this was a toughie but I think Action Comics #252, Superman Adventures #21, Supergirl #1 (2005) and Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #23 (Adam Hughes variant cover) just have to be my all time fave iconic covers! :D

Anj: a pity you didn't post up here Byrne's cover to "the Supergirl Saga" which first introduces Matrix/Supergirl for that happens to be another of my all time fave Supergirl iconic covers, heh. ;)

Yota said...

Gary Frank's cover to Supergirl (1996) #1 is my favourite comic book cover of all time; the most unique and interesting cover, in my opinion, and very reflective of the character.

It was pure awesomeness.

--Yota.

Anj said...

If I never see the cover to Crisis on Infinite Irks #7 ever again it will be too soon.

I understand the sentiment. I do.

But there is no denying how iconic a cover COIE#7 is.

Still, it does mark the death of Supergirl.

Anj said...

I have a draft of my own top 10 ready for my blog. I totally forgot the hughes cover but that has to appear now. I'd replace the DCAU one with it.

I look forward to seeing your list and see if we cross-match.

It was hard for me to not make this 'my favorite Supergirl covers' which is a different list than a 'most iconic' list.

Anj said...

I think the cover to Supergirl #34 with Kara and Silver Banchee in front of the headline "Why the World Doesn't Need a Supergirl" is iconic too. It marked a turning point for Supergirl as she became a more enjoyable character and sales of her book rebounded.

I debated putting Supergirl #34 somewhere here but it is so recent, I didn't know if it could already make an iconic list.

But I agree it is a clear turning point for the character.

I'm so glad you picked Superman Adventures #21 Anj. Supergirl's pose is excellent as she expresses a combination of confidence, determination, strength, and beauty all at the same time. The story inside rocked too.

It really represents that time periods Supergirl where more people probably knew here from Superman the Animated Series and JLU than the comic.

Anj said...

Anj: a pity you didn't post up here Byrne's cover to "the Supergirl Saga" which first introduces Matrix/Supergirl for that happens to be another of my all time fave Supergirl iconic covers, heh. ;)

I thought about it but you only see her boots. And Superman says something like 'Not you!!'. So it isn't even clearly Supergirl.

But you're right that it is an important cover.

Anj said...

Gary Frank's cover to Supergirl (1996) #1 is my favourite comic book cover of all time; the most unique and interesting cover, in my opinion, and very reflective of the character.

Interesting. I like the cover but don't love it. I think it is great that that is your favorite cover of all time!

Did you like the 'reverse riff' of the cover on Supergirl #51 of the series?

John M said...

I very much agree Action Comics 252 and 285 are iconic. They represent the Silver Age Supergirl so well- Kara just looks ready for adventure and action right from the moment she lands on Earth!

The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl 1 is very iconic too for the costume, the stamp aspect, and heroic image. I enjoy the headband look myself, but besides the Crisis cover none of those covers are really iconic. The Crisis cover is so sad and indeed shocking on many levels.

Peter David's Linda Danvers I believe is best represented on the cover of issue 1. Very heroic and powerful! Plus, the skateboard signals this is a New Supergirl.

I would respectfully disagree though about the Michael Turner cover. I just can't relate to that kind of portrayal of Kara in terms of style. Yes, she looks powerful, but she lacks heart and soul. Joshua Middleton on issue 34 to my mind is iconic.

Coming up with a list for Supergirl iconic covers sure is a hard job... I enjoyed reading this blog and seeing other people's choices!

Marc Burkhardt said...

I'm not sure these would qualify for a top 5, but I consider these fairly iconic ...

Adventure Comics #368, where Kara and Light Lass literally toss Superboy and Ultra Boy out of the Legion ("The Mutiny Of The Super-Heroines") and Adventure Comics # 397, where Supergirl looks over readers' suggestions for new costumes ...

Yota said...

Anj said....


Did you like the 'reverse riff' of the cover on Supergirl #51 of the series?


I dug it well enough, but I think something was missing simply because it was not Gary Frank's art, not to say anything against Leonard Kirk, of course. A great concept though, playing on the recognizability of the first issue; perhaps its very iconic status? ;P

--Yota.

Anj said...

Peter David's Linda Danvers I believe is best represented on the cover of issue 1. Very heroic and powerful! Plus, the skateboard signals this is a New Supergirl.

Hmmm ... more love for Supergirl #1 (1996). Maybe I need to reconsider this cover.

Anj said...

A great concept though, playing on the recognizability of the first issue; perhaps its very iconic status? ;P

Hee hee.

Touche!

Mart said...

AAAARGH Put that freaky Michael Turner cover away, old fishtank eyes is terrifying me! Pure evil.

The reason Kara's debut didn;t make the original list is that there's a house rule - no first appearance covers, maybe because they tend to be automatically iconic.

Some good choices, Anj, I'd never even seen that Hughes cover and I agree, the hotpants outfit is THE Bronze Age look. Heck, it's still the look I think of when I think Real Supergirl.

If iconic means referenced over and over again, none of mine (that haven't been covered already) make the cut, as I'd include Supergirl (1st series, 1972) #3
http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=25911&zoom=4

and #7

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=26739&zoom=4

and the ultra creepy Adventure Comics #408

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=24377&zoom=4


and the intro of Nastalthia Luthor in #406

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=24247&zoom=4

and #411, which I'm convinced inspired the J'emm, Son of Saturn maxi series, J'onn J'onzz be darned!

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=24580&zoom=4

Of the lot, Supergirl #3 is the most memorable, even if it did represent a very soppy period in the Old Maid of Steel's life.

Rick said...

I agree with you on all these covers.

Anj said...

AAAARGH Put that freaky Michael Turner cover away, old fishtank eyes is terrifying me! Pure evil.

Thanks for the post.

LOL ... is that a Time Bandits reference?

I know a lot of people have issues with Turner's version ... even I do. But there is no denying that he was a big part of her revival. I felt I needed to include a Turner image.

Of the lot, Supergirl #3 is the most memorable, even if it did represent a very soppy period in the Old Maid of Steel's life.

There were more than one shout-outs for Supergirl #3 so maybe that should have made the list.

Anj said...

I agree with you on all these covers.

Thanks for the post.

It was hard to come up with a list of just 5.