The insanity that seems to be emanating from DC Comics continues and the thought that there is some sort of editorial sanity seems to be more and more improbable.
Over on Comic Book Resources, Bob Harras and Bobbie Chase talked about all the upcoming changes to DC's comic book line. Here is the link: http://www.comicbookresources.
If you are a DC fan, I urge you to read this article in its entirety. It again reiterates the point that DC's creative powers have no understanding of what will be accepted and sell. It also means they have almost no patience in allowing a title to gain some sort of audience.
A bloody swath has been cut through the new 52 with six titles being canceled. Some, like Team 7 and The Ravagers comes as no surprise to me. Did anyone think those titles/characters would sell? Some, like Firestorm and Hawkman come as a little surprise but given the creative turnover on those books it felt (from a distance) that DC didn't know what they wanted those titles to be. Perhaps the one that bothered me the most was 'Sword and Sorcery'. I am someone who wanted to read an Amethyst book but it was clear the approach that DC and Christy Marx was bringing to the character was different than what I wanted and so didn't buy the book. Amethyst isn't Red Sonja so I doubt Amethyst fans wanted to read that book. But here is what DC doesn't seem to understand. Amethyst isn't Red Sonja. So Red Sonja fans aren't going to come to the book regardless of the approach. In essence, the book isolated itself from all audiences.
Now the title of this post is "New Writer on Supergirl" so I better get to that news. The news was buried in the middle of this article. Here is the Supergirl questions.
Looking at the some of the brand-new creative teams, writer Michael Alan Nelson will be taking over "Supergirl" from Mike Johnson, who along with Michael Green had been writing the book since issue #1. Michael Alan Nelson is known best for his darker, horror-infused comics at BOOM! -- what is it about his work that made you guys think he'd be a good fit for "Supergirl?"
Harras: Well Michael is someone we wanted to work with since we started the New 52. He's been working together with us on a few issues of "Ravagers," and Eddie Berganza and he have a good relationship and have a lot of fun together. It was just suggested by Eddie that Michael had a lot of good ideas for "Supergirl" and we said, "Why not?" Again, he's a writer that we wanted to work with since we first came up with the New 52. "Ravagers" was the first step and "Supergirl" is the next. We're kind of excited about what's coming up!
Chase: "Supergirl" is another stage, and he's gotten a lot of attention. He's a really solid writer -- we all think he's going to do great things.
Considering his horror past, does him coming on as writer signal a shift in tone for "Supergirl" from a slow-moving quasi-indie title to a much darker comic?
Harras: I think Supergirl in the New 52 is a very interesting character; she's certainly not the character as she's been portrayed before, and that's really what we want to explore. What is it like to be a sixteen-year-old girl who wakes up one day to find her planet is gone, her world is changed and she's not very happy about it and she feels very isolated?
Chase: It's a little dark! [Laughs]
Harras: I think we're going to be exploring that in a big way. Mike Johnson, with his nineteen issues, is a great guy and it was a great run. And again, we fully expect to work with him on another project. This is not an absolute end; Mike opted to move on to something new at this point, and we hope to work with him again on something else.
So Mike Johnson is off the book. Say what you will about all the publicity around the book saying she was 'Hell on Wheels' with no affection towards Earth, so don't piss her off. The truth was that over the course of the time Johnson (and Michael Green) were on the book, it was clear they had an understanding of the core characteristics of the character. Their Kara was dealing with tremendous grief. In fact, I think grief was the dominant emotional tone of the book. But despite that grief, she never seemed to lose herself. She wanted to help people, she didn't want to hurt people, she wasn't going to give in to anger or chaos. I rooted for this Supergirl to succeed. She was emotionally devastated but still strived to do what was right and just.
Well ... maybe I should amend that. She tried all of that until she became the patsy in H'El on Earth, a decision I have to assume was made by editorial fiat and not writer choice. Think about the Supergirl who outwitted Tycho and actually smiled in Supergirl #13. That feels like a lifetime ago and that was a very different character than we have seen in H'El.
Johnson leaves and in comes Michael Alan Nelson, a writer I don't know at all. His resume includes a bunch of zombie titles and a bunch of Cthulu books. Now I am as big a H.P. Lovecraft fan as there is but is that the approach I want for Supergirl?
And Nelson getting the thumbs up from Eddie Berganza makes it worse. Berganza doesn't seem to understand Supergirl at all!
Again, we have the same buzz words we heard before. She's not happy. She feels very isolated. It's a little dark! And Chase actually laughs when she says that. Guess what ... it isn't funny. And despite being around for over a year and a half, Chase and Harras are still beating the drum that this is a 'new' approach for Supergirl - the dark moody girl all alone.
Here is the deal DC. No one wants to read that sort of Supergirl book. Supergirl fans don't want it. And people who read books about angry isolated dark characters aren't going to read Supergirl. You are marginalizing the book from all audiences all over again.
I often hear writers say that some characters seem to write themselves, that organically a character changes from the initial thought the writer had to become something else. And frankly, I think Supergirl is one of those characters. The mind-controlled and easily fooled Matrix Supergirl eventually morphed into Peter David's Angel of Justice. The angry angsty Loeb/Kelly Supergirl dissolved and became the heroic hero by Gates/Igle and then Peaty and Deconnick. And even here, the hyped up bad girl that was supposed to be written by Green and Johnson evolved to this strong woman trying to be a hero despite the cards life has dealt her.
Supergirl is a hero, someone who wants to help, someone with a sense of justice and hope. No matter what DC tries to do, this is the core of the character. They can't escape that. They should embrace that!
As always, I will go into this new regime with an open mind. I will hope that the Supergirl I know and love will be represented here. And I don't know if Michael Alan Nelson knows that an established Supergirl fandom exists but I hope he will do her right.