Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day - Supergirl #7

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out there! I hope romance is in the air for everyone.

Unfortunately for Supergirl, love has never come easy for her.Yes, she had relationships with Brainiac 5 and Dick Malverne but for the most part her romantic endeavors have ended up as failures. There are almost too many stories of failed romance to mention, especially early on in her history.

But, as it is Valentine's Day, I figured I would show one of them. And so, as a sort of anti-Valentine, I present Supergirl #7 from 1973, 'The Sinister Snowman'.

Now you might think from the Bob Oksner cover that Supergirl and Zatanna are vying for the affection of a Yeti. Luckily, that isn't the case. Instead, writer Bob Kanigher and artist Art Saaf give us a crazy story with the two heroes falling head-over-heels in love at first sight and the leading man acting like a cad. 

The book opens with a peace rally at Vandyre University where organizers are asking the students to donate to a prisoner of war fund.

I always find scenes like this historically fascinating. It is clear that the creators are talking about the Vietnam War. How interesting to see some political commentary in comics in this time period.

Linda 'Supergirl' Danvers doesn't get one of the bracelets bearing the name of one of the missing soldiers. She already is wearing a bracelet with the name Tony Martyn, a young man in the Peace Corps lost in the Himalayas for months.

Earlier in the year, Tony was rescued by Supergirl when his car careened off a mountainside road. When Supergirl sees the Tony she becomes immediately smitten. While the two never went out, Tony wrote to Supergirl (c/o Vandyre University) almost every day. His letters never seemed to let on whether he shared the same feelings that Supergirl had.

Unfortunately, Tony went missing soon after his Peace Corps assignment in the Himalayan mountains.

At the same time, Zatanna is also reminiscing about Tony who she met when he volunteered in one of her shows. She also was fall for Tony after just one look.

Unlike Supergirl, Tony has a bit more of a relationship with Zatanna. She describes her time with him as an 'enchanting romance'. But then Tony needs to go away to Himalayas leaving Zatanna heart-broken.

With Tony suddenly in the mind of both heroes, Supergirl and Zatanna each decide to fly to the distant mountains to try to find their missing man. They don't know that both love Tony. They don't know they both are going to rescue him. Uh oh ...

Supergirl arrives first and saves a small village from being flattened by a huge boulder tumbling down the mountain.

Grateful, the villagers tell Supergirl how they are forced to serve a demon named Orgox, a demon that lives higher on the mountain. Tony tried to help the villagers and set out to prove that the villagers are being duped and that Orgox isn't really a demon.

Supergirl also thinks that Orgox probably isn't really a demon. But more importantly, Supergirl knows that when she finds Orgox she'll probably also find Tony.

Pretty quickly, Supergirl discovers that Orgox may actually have some power. As Supergirl cruises around the mountain she is attacked by two Neanderthals. But these cavemen possess tremendous strength, grappling with Supergirl and forcing her deep into caves of the Himalayas. Showing some savvy use of her powers, Supergirl freezes the cavemen, stopping them in their tracks. With the caveman paralyzed, Supergirl can continue her search for Tony.

By this time, Zatanna has also arrived and run into some magical opponents as well. She is briefly captured by a giant ice eagle before using her sorcery to escape. The escape has worn her out though and she is about to succumb to the cold conditions of the mountain when Supergirl comes upon her and revives her.

At that point, the two heroes realize they are chasing the same man. At first they act catty to each other, but then realize they need to team up to save Tony from whatever has him.

After some searching, Orgox approaches with Tony. Just before Zatanna lashes out against Orgox, Supergirl stops her. Kara realizes that Tony's heart rate is too slow for someone running away from danger. Orgox has used illusions to make himself look like Tony and Tony to look like him. With the spell broken, Orgox stands before the two women.

Realizing he probably can't beat the combined might of Supergirl and Zatanna, Orgox decides his only chance at survival is to bring the entire mountain down around them. Zatanna's uses her magic to protect Supergirl, Tony, and herself. Orgox perishes under the weight of the rubble, in essence killing himself. Zatanna realizes that Orgox was indeed one of the 'old ones' who still walked the Earth.

Now why a powerful sorcerer/demon like Orgox would want to live on a high cold mountain getting offerings from poor villagers, I don't know. And speaking of those villagers ... did they also die when the mountain fell down?

So with Tony saved, who will he choose to share his love with: Zatanna or Supergirl?

In classic Supergirl-romance-style, the answer is neither. Tony can wait to get back to his 'new' fiance. How did he meet someone new up in these mountains? And didn't he have a romantic lunch with Zatanna the day before he left? Maybe the clue behind this whole thing is the spelling of fiance here, although I don't know if comics in the 1970s would be open to such an idea.

The bottom line is Supergirl is once again thwarted in her hopes for love.

This is a silly story without much long term impact on Supergirl's history so has a low importance for a Supergirl collection. I have always enjoyed Art Saaf's version of Supergirl; he draws a very nice Kara. I am not a fan of the slippers though. I like Supergirl in boots.

Anyways, Happy Valentine's Day!


Martin Gray said...

Ah, memories. One of my favourite comics as a kid, who could resist a yeti?

I say the heroines should have teamed up to throw ratbag Tony into the sea. I can't see the dreamboat bit myself, he looks old enough to be their dad.

valerie21601 said...

It always seemed the editors and the writers of Supergirl of back then, really didn't know how to handle nor want Supergirl to have any type of a long term romance nor relationship for some reason only they knew.

Hopefully Kara's character will be allowed to have a long term relationship, soon.

Saranga said...

nice review. you know, I have areal soft spot for kara's shorts uniform. It's good.

Anonymous said...

I lo-ove Art Saaf/Bob Oksner's "Blonde Bombshell Supergirl", I even like the ballet slippers, but good lord the writing on this book was AWFUL!
A huge step down from the generally high quality scripting she got in the Adventure Comics run....For that we can thank Bob Kanigher who decided that suddenly a confidant independent heroine was in reality a co-dependent style romance comic in a cape.
Supergirl never recovered from the creative debacle that was her first solo book IMHO.
And yet this story is NOT her romantic lowpoint at all,back in the Action Comics run aliens and later Brainiac both created handsome male androids as part of a plot to seduce and destroy the perpetually lovelorn Maid of Might.
BTW, Zatanna's idea of mountaineering gear for the Himalayas is fishnets and spike heels...and I thought the silver age Lois Lane was dingy!


John Feer

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments. Such a silly story, I know.

I agree that the 1972 Supergirl series was pretty rough. There isn't a great story in there, just some oddities.

And I like the hot pants uniform as well, but with the boots.

Anonymous said...

I think not two issues later, Supergirl runs off to Paradise Island to become an amazon cuz she is sick of "Men".
Yeah this was a Kanigher written comic likely.
Trust me, be it the Bronze age or comtemporary times, Ms. Kara Zor El is a BAD mix with Daughters of Artemis.

John Feer