Thursday, August 2, 2012

Landry Walker Interview & Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow

You know what I can never get enough of? Supergirl Cosmic Adventures by writer Landry Walker and artist Eric Jones. It is hard to believe that the Eighth Grade mini-series came out 3 years ago. Despite that time lag and that this was a all ages mini-series, the series continues to get publicity. It makes me wonder why DC never gave the green light to a sequel.

The latest love lavished was in the War Rocket Ajax podcast over on Comics Alliance. Writer Landry Walker was interviewed by Chris Sims and talked for a fair amount about Cosmic Adventure before even getting to Danger Club. Here is the link to the interview, well well worth listening to if you were a fan of Cosmic:

Walker shows up around 35 minutes in. On Alliance, there is this one blurb about how in Cosmic Adventures in the11th Grade we were going to get a reverse point of view of the Fortress scene in Alan Moore's Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Here is that transcript:

WALKER: We were hoping to do Supergirl's Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, then 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade, and then after that is Crisis on Infinite Earths. So it's sad then.
SIMS: So you were building to her death?!
WALKER: It's in there! Read issue 6. We mention it, Lena actually says "the red skies are coming!" I don't think we were going to actually get to that, but one of the scenes I had planned for 11th Grade, you know the scene that takes place in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, where Supergirl visits Superman after her death? We were going to redo that scene from Supergirl's perspective, because she was going to spend that 11th grade year in the 30th Century. I usually don't like to tell this stuff, but we're not going to get to do it, so...

I think I have gushed enough about Walker and Jones approach to Supergirl here. But I will reiterate that I loved that they acknowledged Supergirl's history in so many ways during Cosmic. To know that this scene was being planned and will never be seen just adds frustration. Why hasn't there been more?

Anyways, here is the scene Walker was going to recreate. This was the last pre-Byrne Superman story and Alan Moore was allowed to pull out all the stops. At this point, Superman has gone to the mattresses, using the Fortress of Solitude as a bunker, hunkering down with his friends while super-villains amass outside. While in the Fortress, the Legion shows up ... with Supergirl in tow. Remember in this continuity Supergirl has died in the Crisis.

Superman is, of course, shocked to see his cousin again. And this is a very young Kara, in her original blue skirt uniform, wondering if she has grown up to be pretty.

Stammering a bit, Superman leads Supergirl away from her memorial statue so she doesn't see her fate.

Superman chastises Brainiac 5 for bringing Kara. It is more than distressing; it is unnerving.

Brainy hints that there is more here than meets the eye. Superman equates it with the Legion paying their respects, one final visit.

Moore does a great job conveying Supergirl's youth and innocence, showing her immediately going to play with Krypto.

Of course, the rules of time travel (at that time in the DCU) is that two versions of the same person couldn't exist at the same time. So the young Supergirl wonders how it was that she was able to materialize. Of course, that is because there is no other Supergirl at this time; she has passed.

Look at how easily the master Curt Swan is able to convey Brainy's quiet grief. Wonderful.

Quickly Superman says that the current Supergirl is 'in the past', not a lie but not exactly the truth.

There is something about the first panel there with Supergirl's face completely hidden that is unnerving. It almost feels like we are too late to catch her, to stop her from her fate. She is beyond us and we are only seeing her from behind. I can't put it into words easily ... but somehow not being able to see Kara's face there made this scene that much sadder. Their message (and a hint of escape in the form of a statuette) given, the Legion leaves. Look at the blank faces and teary eyes on the Legionnaires.

This was such a fantastic story and this was such a wonderful scene for Supergirl fans, one last look at her. I can only imagine the magic that Walker and Jones would have done with this scene in a Cosmic book.

It is too bad DC simply can't hear the clamor for more.


collectededitions said...

Excellent post. Thanks for pointing out that bit from Walker.

Outsider73 said...

I'm sad everytime I hear what might have been.

As I mentioned before, Cosmic Adventurs in the 8th Grade was what got my daughter into comics and we would have LOVED to see the series continue.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

8th grade was/is the best thing that could happen to us and Kara except for the amazing Ms. Vandervoort.- Back at the time I ran what was perhaps the hughest SG exchange in the internet (2008) and wrote:
"Too bad they enjoy humilliating her!"
In their final issue Kara scalds MXYZ exactly for that: For humilliating her at school (w-hoa!).-
God bless Mr. Walker. He is one of us.-

Gene said...

Anj wrote:
"It almost feels like we are too late to catch her, to stop her from her fate. She is beyond us and we are only seeing her from behind."

Those words could also describe how fans feel about the lack of sequels to Cosmic Adventures. It was a year ago that the concept sketches for a 9th Grade series was revealed and how we instigated a letter/email campaign to DC to make it no avail.

"It is too bad DC simply can't hear the clamor for more."

One could almost write a disertation on how DC ignores its fans. Reading Landry Walker's take on "What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" from Kara's perspective would have been amazing.

The "What Ever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" cover has become a comic book icon. If I ever commissioned a Supergirl commission, I would have her flying off the Daily Planet with all the supporting cast from her 2004-11 run waving goodbye.

Anonymous said...

I do not accord with recapitulating the whole "COIE #7"meme, though my faith in Messr's Jones and Walker is nigh boundless.
"Snuff Supergirl" can easily become the central metaphor of the character's existence if creators aren't careful, a veritable blood sacrifice for the Almighty Glory of Kal El Eternal so to speak.
And if you keep evoking that image (And the sales bump that attends along with it) you tempt the creatives behind the current character to play anew with the concept "Bad Karma" IMHO.
Here is an idea no one ever plays with these days, Kill Off Superman, Kill him dead and then let Supergirl, the Legacy character finally inherit the franchise free and clear. Other than a few "imaginary stories" in the Early Silver Age, this is a notion that gets almost no play whatsoever these days.
And if a notional "Cosmic Adventures" follow up wanted to explore real new territory I'd love to see something like that followed thru to it's logical conclusion.
BTW just a quick shout out to Landry Walker, "Danger Club" is a wonderful read in every way.


El Lass said...

I love this book, Moore showed DC why they didn't need to reboot. I grew up with multiple earths and was never confused. The LSH was my favorite book. I understood all the complexities of time travel with two characters from different decades of the 20th century. I was completely fascinated by the nuance and creativity. I was 10 years old and I got it. Sorry, trying to resist rant.

This scene especially stuck with me for years. The elegant weaving of the scene and dialogue. This (Super)man spent his childhood with these kids and knows what's in their future. When Brainy turns Superman's argument back on him its poetic writing. Invisible Kid will soon be crushed to death by Validus and the LSH doesn't know it yet. Invisible Kid is a part of this time travel team.

You are right on about Swan's drawing of Brainiac 5 in that moment.

I read that Paul Levitz offered to take Supergirl into the 30th century permanently rather than kill her off in the Crisis. They replied with a quick "no."
Not only is this the end of Supergirl, but also the LSH. No Superboy, no Supergirl...No LSH in its true form.

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I think DC could infer how popular this series was as well as the high quality of it by how much buzz there still is around it.

As for other stuff said:

I don't know if Walker would actually kill her off in the 12th grade as much as play off of the Crisis. But SG fans are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I bet it would have been great to read.

I also grew up reading pre-Crisis DC and had no problem with multiple Earths and futures. I do think Crisis streamlined things nicely. That said,we are basically back to the pre-Crisis multiple universe model again.

Anonymous said...

One of the most striking scenes comes after Supergirl leaves with the Legionnaires. Superman is overcome with grief. That bond between Superman and Supergirl is something that the New 52 needs to recreate.