Monday, September 9, 2013

Tony Bedard On Supergirl

It has been a brutal week for DC Comics ... at least as far as I was concerned.

We started out the Villains month with Supergirl 23.1 being released as Action Comics 23.1. We had Zor-El cast as a hateful jealous man, more concerned with one-upping his brother than saving his family. And then J.H. Williams and company left Batwoman because the editors at DC weren't allowing them to tell the stories they wanted to tell. It was a microcosm of everything that has been wrong with DC for the last couple of years, relying to hard on the top tier books, not respecting their mid-level titles, being too grim and gritty, and forcing creative upheavals with a heavy editorial hand.

I was losing hope that Michael Alan Nelson was going to write a Supergirl I could root for. After that auspicious first issue with Power Girl, things have been relentlessly downbeat with the last issue having her crying, defeated, and ultimately vaporized.

And then ... good news ...
Bleeding Cool ran an article that Tony Bedard is coming on board Supergirl, at least for an arc. Here is the link:

Now I suppose that a change in creative teams is something that I have typically complained about in the New 52. But I like Bedard and I wouldn't mind seeing him writing Kara.

As for the cover, I have never been a Lobo guy, so his new design isn't a hot button issue for me. But I will say  the rope around Kara's neck and the position of the bodies is a bit too close to a violation for my comfort. I know that isn't happening ... it just looks like it.

As for Bedard, I loved him on R.E.B.E.L.S. and Green Lantern Corps.

And he even wrote a little Supergirl in the first couple of issues of R.E.B.E.L.S. which I reviewed waaayyyy back in 2009.

Still, even in the little time he wrote her, he gave her some spunk, a nice heroic attitude with a little bit impetuousness of youth. Not bad at all.

Maybe we'll get to see this new Supergirl in a new light. It appears she is back on Earth and very much alive.

As for Bedard, on the comment section at Bleeding Cool's article he said:
As for SUPERGIRL, I'm very excited about the opportunity. My focus is to make her even more likable as a character through her friendship with Silver Banshee. I also want to strengthen her Rogues Gallery and make her special in her own right -- not just because she's Superman's cousin. Right now we're planning the initial story arc, but I hope to stick around on the title for a while. Of course, that all depends on how well received it is, so I hope y'all will give me a chance with her. :-) 

Those R.E.B.E.L.S. issues were released 5 issues into the Sterling Gates era. Bedard actually did 3 issues post-Joe Kelly and pre-Kelly Puckett. In that tough time for Supergirl, Bedard actually wrote some very good issues, despite those issues being saddled as crossovers for Amazons Attack and Countdown. She was very likable, trying to be a hero, and learning. I have never fully covered those issues here and that might have to change.

And maybe the Michael Alan Nelson era will be super brief? I suppose he didn't have much time to show what his overall plans were. It does make the sting of Zor-El a bit worse, that someone with so little time on Supergirl would make a decision that crucial to her backstory.

But this is good news! Bedard wants her likable (I am 99% sure that Gates/Igle used the same word when they took over the book way back).


Martin Gray said...

Yay! Let's hope the DC Highest Ups give him a chance to see if a happier tone equates to new readers. I would love an extended period on Earth, with Kara making some more friends, and palling out with Siobhan.

I'm giving Nelson a pass for the Zor-El thing, I strongly suspect it was editorially mandated. And I feel sorry for him, given this Tweet exhange yesterday.

@roquesdoodle are you off Supergirl for just an arc or off the title entirely? I really am enjoying your cyborg sups stuff
4:42am - 7 Sep 13

@AlexHemsley so glad you're digging the CSM arc. And I'm off entirely as far as I know.

So again it seems a creator knows as much about his future on a title as the readers, with announcements of a replacement not being accompanied by a briefing from DC. It's shameful.

Anj said...

It seems par for the course for DC Mart. And thanks for the Twitter scoop.

It does seem quick for Nelson to be pulled from the book given the amount of publicity that was out when he was named writer just a while ago.

AndNowInStereo said...

I too am very surprised by how quickly Nelson's gone, I mean think about how much he talked about his plans. Was he on solely to mess with our heads and reinvent Cyborg Superman?... Well I guess he did do THAT...

As for Bedard, here's another announcement direct from the DC website:

"Following the stunning conclusion of “Krypton Returns,” this first issue centers around Supergirl arriving back on Earth with a new mission and a clearer understanding of her place in the universe. But a striking new foe prepares to welcome Supergirl home: Lobo! What could this mysterious new character want from Kara?"

New mission... interesting. Wonder what that is. As for Lobo, I'm not that bothered by him, because I saw the Justice League episode he was in, and he's a complete douchecanoe. I he gets his ass kicked by Kara. Cos' that would be some nice catharsis, wouldn't it? I also wonder if it's his first appearance with the new design - could his appearance thus be a little publicity stunt to boost sales?

Anonymous said...

As I much as I like Bedard as well, I hope he gets to tell the stories that he wants to tell (but I'm not holding my breath as long as the current editorial regime are in power). And I hope her costume gets redesigned.

Dave Mullen said...

But this is good news! Bedard wants her likeable (I am 99% sure that Gates/Igle used the same word when they took over the book way back).

And it's exactly the same spiel than Nelson promised when taking on the book. I like Bedard's work, much like Jeff Lemire and Sterling Gates he's a solid writer who suffers because of DCs unwillingness to shepherd and Support a strong writing team. I am sure that any of these three guys is capable of terrific work for the company if given the opportunity, support, and an perhaps an A-list book to showcase them - after all that's how Marvel have built up such an incredible stable of top class writers.
At DC though they've built it all on Geoff Johns, with an occasional support role from Grant Morrison and now Scott Snyder. No one else gets in.
God help them if Johns were to leave suddenly... if Brian Bendis left Marvel it wouldn't be a huge loss to them, if Johns left DC then it's a near catastrophe. They've got no redundancies in place to cover this eventuality.

I tend to agree with Mart that a major problem with Supergirl is that it is plotted entirely by editorial and handed to the writer to put his name to, it explains why the character is stuck forever repeating the same mistakes and playing out the same plotlines, never learning and never growing from where we first met her.
No writer really wants to repeat what the last guy was doing, but if the demands editors hand down are so impossibly rigid then they can only take the money and run. Maybe Bedard can deliver something worthwhile with such restrictions, I hope so, as I say along with Lemire and Gates he's one of my underdog heroes who deserve way better than they get...

Saranga said...

I'm pleased Bedard wants to strengthen her relationship with the Silver Banshee, who is a favourite villain/character of mine.

I wouldn't blame Nelson for Cyborg Zor-El - I bet that was an editorial decision to make the Super family a bit tighter. I don't think DC's writers have that much freedom anymore.

@Thomas: Lobo's first appearance will be in this month's villains issue. I say first, he has already been shown in another serie sbut apparently that wasn't the real Lobo (he sure looked like the old beefcake Lobo) and now the new improved Sexy Lobo is showing up for the first time with a villain's spotlight.

Anonymous said...

At this point with Supergirl technically "dead" at the hands of her own stumblebum Father, I'm no longer sure what constitutes improvement...But I will say DC has a tremendous commitment to repeating past mistakes no matter what the cost, so good luck to Mister Bedard if he wishes to do otherwise.


Anj said...

Thanks for all the great discussion.

I agree that Bedard could be handcuffed by editorial edicts as much as anyone. But none of the prior teams every used the word likeable. They all talked about the dark world Kara was dealing with. Hopefully he wouldn't use that word if DC was against it. Remember, it took DC about this long *last time* to realize a bitter dark Supergirl book wouldn't work.

As for Nelson, I don't blame him for anything. I don't know if he had a chance to get the book where he wanted it to be. I wonder exactly why the change happened. But the Zor-El thing did seem to be his idea .. even if DC had to agree to it.

Still, it sounds like we all think Bedard is a good choice.

And now we know Yildiray Cinar is on art!

Martin Gray said...

We do?

Anj said...

I thought we did!

AndNowInStereo said...

We do.

Anonymous said...

the "make her more likeable" proposal rings massive alarm bells with me, because it suggests DC management decided that the problem with New 52 Supergirl was her NOT being likeable enough.

I didn't stop buying DC comics in 2011 solely because of the New 52 Supergirl and how she was a fresh "take" on the cahracter's concept. Brash, independent, standing up for herself and her beliefs against villains and fellow heroes alike.

If that's gone, then my interest will be too. For me, the New 52 Supergirl turned out like Stephanie Brown - I didn't like the idea at first, but then I loved it and I was devastated to see her go.

p.s. there are some typos in the main article. Just simple stuff, but it makes the thing look less professional than your other posts.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments.

I think it is hard to maintain a comic where the main character is completely alone, attacked by friend and foe alike, and pining to be somewhere else.

There were definitely moments with the New 52 Supergirl where I felt like she was on a path to shed that negativity but it never came to be.

As for the idea that Supergirl was independent and willing to stand up to people, I think we have seen that in other incarnations ... from Paul Kupperberg to Sterling Gates. It's just their version had that while remaining more optimistic and trying to help others.

AndNowInStereo said...

Yeah, the discussion shouldn't be about making her either a complete doormat or a petulant spiky teenager. I agree with you Anj, as long as she's isolated, constantly on the defensive and pining to be somewhere else, we don't get to see her express much of a character, let alone show character growth. The Anon's comment about "Brash, independent, standing up for herself and her beliefs against villains and fellow heroes alike." is exactly what I want to see too, because that's what this book's first year was all about and I wanted to see it continue. So let's hope that's where it's going again!

I've said before that the reason why I started reading Supergirl with the New52 and not the preboot version is because they got that SO WRONG with the start of the previous series, I could pick that up just looking at the preview pages and reading the handful of issues I sampled (1, 10 and 12). So I thought, okay, they rebooted their universe for a reason, let's try the new one. And I like it a lot, but they're making it harder than it should be for me to stay on side.

I bought the last copy of "Last Daughter of Krypton" my comic shop had this weekend as well, so good to finally have a hard copy of it. Now my comic shop has no Supergirl trades left at all on their shelves!

Anonymous said...

Maybe there's some rule that issue 23 of a Supergirl run has to be awful.

Maybe we shoudl splice together most of the first two years of the New 52 Supergirl run with the latter half of the preboot run, to create a balanced, enjoyable experience? :)