Saturday, March 16, 2013

This Week's Channel 52

When DC announced the 'Channel 52' pages to appear at the end of their books, I thought it was a decent idea. Sure, I still miss old-fashioned letters pages but this seemed to be a new-tech version of the old 'Daily Planet' pages. While I peruse lots and lots of comic web sites, maybe something from these pages would push me to try a new book.

Because that's what this is right? Built in advertising writ as content. A comic version of product placement. It even comes in a nice slick package. Freddie Williams II is one of my favorite artists. The 'anchors' are fun characters. Bethany Snow was a Brother Blood disciple in the old DCU. Add Ambush Bug, Calendar Man, and Vartox and you have a cast that is charismatic.

The truth is it hasn't worked for me as much as I hoped. The 'news items' are pretty vague and don't tell me enough about books to make me think about sampling.

And then there was this week's version ...

Now remember, this is supposed to be publicity for books. This is supposed to sell the characters, maybe giving a bullet point about who/what they are to try to entice new readers. Look at how poor Supergirl is portrayed.

This is how DC wants to market her ...

Supergirl is described as a 'hostile young lady'. Hostile. And a 'lady'.  She is 'opposed to Superman's mission', opposed to, in shorthand, truth, justice, and the American way. It is even hinted she might be leading a Kryptonian invasion.

Her picture has her scowling, fist clenched, holding rubble.

Contrast it to Superboy, the living weapon, the bank robber, the one who wanted to shun Superman early on in his own book, is portrayed in an iconically heroic pose. There is literally a spotlight on him. He has his hands on his hips. They question his loyalties as well, but not as in-depth.

Hostile young lady opposed to Superman's mission
Now maybe you are thinking that Snow's words aren't that far off. In H'El on Earth, she was opposed to Superman. And she has been hostile.

But remember, this is supposed to be how they are marketing Supergirl for new readers. I am more concerned that that is how DC imagines her. That is how they want to sell her. And it isn't going to work. It hasn't in the past.

And it also ignores fighting the World Killer's, saving New York City, fighting the Black Banshee, and all the other good things she has done.

All of these things make me depressed.

"Strike a heroic pose Kon!"
Ironically, Superboy, the mind controlled living weapon brainwashed to kill Superman, is getting something of a heroic makeover in his own book. He is returning the money he stole from the bank. He has a new outlook. Maybe DC realized the 'bad boy' route wasn't selling.

I am not begruding Superboy being shown in a positive light. In fact I applaud it. I look forward to him being more of a hero.

But why market Supergirl with that failed strategy?


Anonymous said...

DC has been doing an admirable job of trying to get Superboy into the mainstream and accepted as a major character. They've put him in numerous books other than his own, there have been quite a few months even prior to the H'El story when he was in three books at once. I think they finally realized it wasn't working and that maybe they needed to portray him heroically as well or nobody would want to read his stories.

Unfortunately it looks like DC has chosen the "angry girl" direction for Supergirl, partly because they think the 18-35 male demographic likes angry bad girls and that's who they think is their readership. They did this last time too, and the book went into a tailspin until Sterling Gates managed to pull it out by ret-conning all the dumb nerd-boy "chicks are angry and stupid" crap and working to turn the character back into a hero. I'm afraid we're on that road again and will be stuck with the dumb trope until there's a change in leadership at DC to people who aren't still filled with resentments about the pretty girls in High School who wouldn't date them.

Seriously, the anger directed toward women in general in the comics and gaming communities these days is amazing and seriously off-putting, and that attitude is reflected in how those characters are written in the books.

Anonymous said...


John Feer has nothing to add to the above sentiments, he is in 100% agreement.


Jay said...

Personally I think this is less the way that DC wants to market her to readers, rather this is how they want to Prime Earth to view her at first. Unpredictable black sheep looks to be the way the media is going to portray her, while being in contrast with how she actually is. In other words I think its just a plot point on how she's going to be the least trusted of the three, probably leading to an eventual really public show of heroism.

It just doesn't feel like the early Loeb/Turner days to me. Instead of her actually being these things, it seems to be just an unfortunate impression based on a series of unfortunate events. For all the events of H'El, you still couldn't convince me for example that this is a Supergirl who would forgo fighting crime to party at a club, or attack Air Force One.

Gene said...

"I'm afraid we're on that road again and will be stuck with the dumb trope until there's a change in leadership at DC to people who aren't still filled with resentments about the pretty girls in High School who wouldn't date them."

Well said! :)

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Jay, I agree with you. The Johnson Supergirl didn't approach the Loeb/Kelly era. But H'El suddenly has me doubting what DC wants to do with Supergirl. And switching writers to a horror guy isn't helping.

Now we see them marketing her like this. I would be happier if it was a mixed bag ... 'she has done some good things but recently seemed to be fighting superman. Whose side is she on?' ... instead of the all negative publicity.

Regardless, how DC has described her (the pre-Green/Johnson stuff was bad - 'hell on wheels, don't piss her off) has never matched how she is written. So why sell her that way.

All this does is make me miss the Gates/Igle days more and more.

Jay said...

Well I certainly don't begrudge you or anyone else questioning the direction. Because it definitely hasn't been entirely steady. Heck it seems like a lifetime ago when it was Kara actually giving Kal a round of applause for handling a situation well. So it does seem like they don't know sometimes whether they want her more mature for her years or your basic teen. It seems now they're leaning toward the latter, and that's fine with me but let's be consistent with it, and try to remember that being a teen doesn't mean all angst all the time.

At least that would be my advice if I were in a position in which my suggestions mattered, haha.

PRgirl1294 said...

If I were you, I wouldn't worry too much about this "Channel 52" stuff. They seem more like parodies of reports of stuff that's happening in the New 52. As for Supergirl, I agree with Jay about this being how Prime Earth is supposed to view her at first. And remember that she's still on the hero's journey and that Nelson promises that there will be fun moments in her books.

BTW, are you planning to review the latest issue of "Superboy"? Either way, please do. It may not be much, but it does show him in a more super-heroic persona.

Anj said...

Thanks for the comment.

I just worry that we who read the book realize that so far she isn't being portrayed that way. Do the readers of Channel 52? Or is that the route Nelson is going overall.

Superboy review planned for Tuesday.