Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Poll: Optimism Or Pessimism

For some time on this blog, I have been saying that this is a good time to be a Supergirl fan. In fact, I never felt more optimism over the character than I did during 2010. There was so much to be happy about.

And yet suddenly, now, I have this sort of nagging sense of dread. Why do I feel like we are approaching a cliff? Am I too pessimistic? So I figured that I would open up to a poll ... to get some sense from Supergirl's fans. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about where we are going? Is the glass half-full or half-empty?

I tried to delineate some of what is going through my mind below.

Why should I consider the glass half full?

1) 2 + years of Gates/Igle: Let's face it, this was probably the biggest reason for my earlier optimism. I know that their run wasn't universally loved. But I think most people felt that they brought a sense of maturity and respectability to the character. All the nonsensical and insulting stuff from before ... the crystal spikes, the Daddy issues, the high school shooting, the reluctance to be a hero, the overwhelming angst ... it all went away. And then we had a Supergirl trying to be a hero, learning and growing, striving and struggling. Those are the stories I want to read ... and they were done so well.

2) She is a star in JLA: It's almost like being promoted to the major leagues. Suddenly Supergirl was the muscle of the JLA, the S-shield representative on the biggest most important hero team in the DCU. On top of that, James Robinson seemed to have a better grasp of her character than he did in Cry For Justice. Here she was an eager hero, willing to throw herself into the fray.

3) Statues galore: Between October and January, 4 Supergirl statues were solicited: the DVD maquette, the Turner mini-statue, the Dynamic statue, and the Adam Hughes Cover Girl full sized statue. She is going to be a segment of the Superman Family multi-part statue in July. She is scheduled to have another Women Of DC bust statue. And that doesn't even count the Ame Comi stuff I don't like and the Superwoman action figure coming out next month. With all this merchandise coming out, DC must realize they have a star.

4) Smallville: Supergirl has had a decent showing on Smallville in the past. This season she showed up as an actualized hero, even sporting some quasi-uniforms. The Maiden of Might indeed ... maybe there is a spinoff in there somewhere.

5) Superman/Batman: Apocalypse: She stole the show in the movie, growing from a reluctant hero to someone who chose that path. She squared off against Darkseid and ended up being responsible for his defeat. The more squirrely parts of the actual comic book arc was smoothed out. The movie paid her the respect she deserves. An animated Supergirl movie! Who'd have ever thought it was possible?

6) Hot Nick Spencer on book: Even as I lament the loss of Sterling Gates, there should be some optimism that Nick Spencer is coming on board. The guy is everywhere and is being lauded for his work on Jimmy Olsen and Morning Glories. He brings a buzz to the book and maybe that means new readers.

Why should I consider the glass half-empty?

1) Gates/Igle leaving: Not everyone gets Supergirl. These guys did. There were clearly more stories percolating inside them. The preview page in Superman #700 talked into next summer. But suddenly they were gone. I know Igle asked off of the book (at least he said so on his blog). I don't know about Gates. But their stories were the type of Supergirl stories I want to read.

2) Dark Supergirl taking her spot on JLA: Just when it seemed like Supergirl was making her mark in the JLA, I read that she is off the team and 'Dark Supergirl' is taking her place. That would feel like being demoted from the majors and your spot being taken by someone with the same talent but is a jerk, clubhouse nuisance.

3) Potential for Kara as the end villain on Smallville: I know she was great in the 'Supergirl' episode but I am absolutely convinced that she will be Darkseid's vessel on Smallville in the big finale. And until I see differently, I am going to believe this. There were too many hints. It just makes too much bad sense for Smallville not to do it.

4) While major character in Apocalypse, barely mentioned in ads: Yes, she was in many ways the star of the movie, but DC had such little confidence in her carrying the movie that her presence in the film was barely acknowledged in trade ads, previews, or the very cover of the movie. This was a Supergirl movie based on a story arc called Supergirl and it starred Supergirl. And yet, you would never know it if you picked this movie up off the rack.

5) Dwindling sales: Sales continue to suffer from a month to month basis. And now we have a new direction complete with a pink S-shield and no incentive covers. Is there going to be a point where DC thinks they should just pull the plug. I don't think Supergirl will get the same 'no worries' label that Jonah Hex and R.E.B.E.L.S. seem to enjoy.

6) A pink S-shield?

So how do you feel? Please vote!


Nomah said...

I'm optimistic because Igle and Gates are off the book. Sales have been dropping steadily and Igle was very controversial and the Supergirl fan base was split in two with a lot of bickering during his time on the book. I think adding Bernard Chang is a step in the right direction.

I'm pessimistic because of the way DC treated fans of the Loeb character and the David character years back. I do not know if DC can recapture the excited fanbase that made this book a top seller under Loeb. The shorts under the skirt, tying the character too closely to Superman (get her out of Metropolis), and the effort to lower her sex appeal, spirit, outspokenness, and ability to get the job done needs to go away forever. I only hope they stop catering to the conservative message board bullies who want a 1950's Kara with no sex appeal and take some giant steps back in the opposite direction... or else I fear sales are going to go so low, this will just be another canceled Supergirl book.

Yota said...

Well, the issue of sex appeal, I think is a combination of the fact that Supergirl is an under-aged heroine, and that she also should be able to stand on her own merit, and having tons of readers drawn in by cheesecake isn't going to help her get that strong, independent young woman feel.

I agree about the Supergirl abuse from fans through all of her incarnations (Anj, you know about my feeling regarding Linda Danvers), but I really think that all of the fan-service that DC is doingvwith their titles actually does a disservice to actual fans and followers of the books, the people who really enjoy the stories and character development.

I do think that the higher-ups at DC have a particular fondness for Kara Zor-El, which stems from the Pre-Crisis Supergirl of their childhoods, and that that will have them carry her title through whether she's achieving enlightenment or grooving at a rave, so whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is up to each respective reader. It means that she'll stay in a solo book, but certainly does not ensure quality, so.....

I really do like this title, it's one of the one's I save for last because my favourites make me feel like I didn't just blow $25 on the funny pages, and I hope that it continues the relatively new-found tradition of good story-telling, art, and growth in the character.

I'm not familiar with the new writer's stuff, so I can't say much of anything about him, but I'm a sort of cross between an optimist and a realist, so let's just say that I'm being cautiously optimistic, at least until I have an actual issue in my hands.

Anonymous said...

I'm being catiously optimistic about Supergirl. Yeah, Jamal and Sterling are off the book, but who know what this new guy has up his sleeve. I'm looking foward to it and yet at the same time I'm dreading the outcome.


Anonymous said...

edited: I'm being cautiously optimistic as well about Supergirl. Yeah, Jamal and Sterling are off the book, but who know what this new guy has up his sleeve. I'm looking foward to it and yet at the same time I'm dreading the outcome.


Anj said...

For the record, I think being optimistic because Supergirl might be sexier is a strange reason.

As for me, I voted optimistic. I also hope that Spencer picks up where Sterling and Jamal left off and keeps the title of the highest quality.

Mart said...

Totally optimistic. The creative team may get Supergirl too. It's not like the book is going away or, worse, returning to the Loeb/Turner feel. As for the Dark Supergirl bit, it's just a story.

One more for the Happy column, the wonderful World's Finest issue with Damian.

Gene said...

Like my esteemed colleagues here, I am also cautiously optimistic because Nick Spencer is an unknown quality to me. He could be great, average, or a disaster. We'll see in January.

Smallville- There is a chance that we might not see Lara V. on the show again. Sure, it would leave a lot of stuff unresolved, but its not like that hasn't happened on other shows on network television before. If she does return, I also hope she doesn't become evil or selflessly sacrifice herself to save Clark. We don't need a live action version of COIE #7.

The way Warner Home Video promoted Superman/Batman: Apocalypse by hiding the fact that it was about Supergirl was a disgrace. Bruce Timm and Lauren Montgomery are card carrying friends of Kara, so there is always the possibility that we might see Supergirl again either in another animated adaptation (Superman: Brainiac) or even in a Showcase short.

Pink "S" Shield- I have read and I respect the opinions of those here who don't like it. Honestly, it does not bother me and I kinda like it because it makes that cover unique. I am glad that the shield wasn't bright neon Barbie dream house pink. That would have been painful to look at.

Other thoughts- The chances of Supergirl showing up in Batman: The Brave and the Bold are slim, but still possible. The odds are better that she will show up in the upcoming Young Justice show because other young female superheroes are already slated to appear.

Finally, I know we haven't heard anything about a sequel to Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade. But rarely does a comic book convention occur that someone in the audience has not asked DC about it. I still maintain a glimmer of hope that it will happen one day.

Anonymous said...

Why is Kara being so popular
that they split her into 2 characters so she can be more places at once a reason for pessimism?

Anj said...

Why is Kara being so popular
that they split her into 2 characters so she can be more places at once a reason for pessimism?

I'd rather see more Supergirl than her evil clone.

Anonymous said...

I'm pessimistic simply because I don't trust DC to do the right thing by Supergirl. There is also a lamentable tendency towards missed opportunities with Supergirl, from her abortive movie franchise to her animated spin off that never happened or Laura VanderVoort's Smallville spinoff that wasn't.
Now she is rumored to be out of the JLA, whoich makes me extremely paranoid she has no super teams left to join save the Inferior Five or the Metal Men...
I'm beginning to think another opportunity is slipping past us once again...the chance to put Supergirl on the A-List beyond the reach of writers and artists who think she is naught but a living sacrifice to boost some crappily written mini series sales.
Just sayin'

John Feer

Anonymous said...

Oh boy. OK, here we go. I could go on a long time, but I'll hit on two areas to keep it from being an article of its own.

On top of what's already been said the pink S shield bothers me because it seems to reinforce the idea that DC doesn't understand how to attract the female reader it often claims it wants. It feels like they're grasping at straws, first thinking that being strong and independent means being angry, arrogant, and unwilling to listen (sort of a cardboard cut-out of feminism), then thinking that the female reader wants pink shields and cuteness. If they took a moment to read the fan-fic that female fans write or the commercial fiction that they actually buy they'll see that they want depth, dedication, strength and growth of character, and an occasional story that emphasizes friendships, family, and contribution to go along with the danger and combat. Harry Potter is big with pre-teen and teen females because while there are comic-book style villains there's more as well. They like seeing characters that have friends, that can work through problems with those friends without always needing to use the logic of a punch to the jaw, and have some traits they can admire. The sort of thing that we got from Gates. If the usual DC writers had created Harry Potter it would have been non-stop magical battles, 15 year old female students in skimpy outfits, and a Hogswarts wing done with pink curtains to attract the girls. Not to mention a kiss or catfight between Luna and Hermione while the guys make juvenile comments. Then we'd see an interview where the writers say that female readers just don't buy these books, and they can't understand why because the stories have girls in them.

The return of Dark Supergirl is another reason for pessimism on my part. OK, here comes more rant. Sigh. So, what's Mary Marvel doing these days? Sweet little Mary Marvel. Oh, that's right, "Dark" Mary. Yes, Dini decided to go with a truly original storyline and have Mary become a "Dark" character, down to the fan-service slinky black outfit with lace-up dominatrix boots. Yep, Dominatrix Dark Mary Marvel, Dark Supergirl the pole dancer, maybe even Dark Pheo... uh, never mind. It's been done, re-done, and overdone. It's not shocking or intriguing anymore, it's just routine and kinda boring. I almost want to borrow the Legion's time bubble, go back in time, and kidnap Chris Claremont so he could never write the whole Phoenix saga, which I absolutely loved at the time. You know it's a "Dark" character, just look for the jack-o-lantern evil grin on the face and the complete lack of character motivation or depth other than to be EVIL, muah ha ha ha. It's always darkest before the cliche. No, the word's dawn, sorry 'bout that. I got carried away. Anyway, Mary Marvel was too "nice" so they had to fix her wagon, slap her around, make her evil, then de-power her. Not sexy enough I guess. And here comes Dark Supergirl in JLA, I wonder why I'm worried? Great. I'll give it a try, but I'm not hopeful given the track record.

Anonymous said...

Why dilute "Brand Supergirl" by reviving "Dark Supergirl" AND giving her a seat at the table of the JLA?
Why depict Supergirl reaching out to other heroes and being befriended by the same if she is about to be replaced in the JLA?
There is serious confusion at the editorial level about the character and her long term prospects.
Thats what this rumor sez to me at any rate.

John Feer

Mart said...

Oh dear, this is starting to get me down. So much great Supergirl exposure, and all these worries because some of it is short-term negative.

Anj said...

Oh dear, this is starting to get me down. So much great Supergirl exposure, and all these worries because some of it is short-term negative.

I am starting to feel the same way ... maybe even regretting posting this poll.

I voted optimistic and I feel that way.

Anonymous said...

After I ranted about Dark Supergirl above I read the interview with Nick Spencer over at CBR today and I'm feeling a lot better. Here it sounds like he really does get it:
Pessimism to cautious optimism in just a few days!

Anj said...

After I ranted about Dark Supergirl above I read the interview with Nick Spencer over at CBR today and I'm feeling a lot better. Here it sounds like he really does get it:

I had the same response! Post coming soon.