Supergirl Sanctuary Trade: Mahmud Asrar's Cover Sketches
The latest trade collection of the current Supergirl title came out last week, collecting Supergirl #13-#20.
It is something of an uneven mix. We have the battle with Tycho in Sanctuary. We have three issues of H'El on Earth. And then the crossover with Power Girl.
I am assuming that DC realized that a H'El on Earth trade in and of itself would not sell. But reading three separate chapters in this trade read a bit disjointed.
I will say, reading all these issues in a row, you really get the sense that Mike Johnson was trying to turn the corner with Kara, have her become more invested with Earth, and become a more sympathetic character. The Michael Alan Nelson Power Girl issues were the high point of his run (and maybe the best issues of this title). And the book is mostly done by Mahmud Asrar making me re-realize just how great his art was on this book.
The end of the trade is a great treat for fans of the book and Asrar as we get to see some of the concept art he had for covers and inside pages. As a long time fan, I love these 'behind the scenes' peeks at production. I include just a sample.
Here are the concept covers for Supergirl #14. The picture to the left is a sort of more actualized sketch of the ultimate cover.
But it is the thumbnails on the right that I find fascinating. The first one is clearly the model for the final cover. But the others are so interesting. The second one, with Superboy slumped getting a beatdown is wild.
I have to assume that this was an idea for Supergirl #17, the issue of H'El on Earth where Kara and Diana squared off. The final cover is a shot of Wonder Woman bracing herself as we see her from Supergirl's POV.
But I think I would have liked this one even more. That is a powerful image of Wonder Woman, calmly getting ready to parry the incoming attack of the streaking Supergirl. I wonder if the fact that Supergirl's costume would have a reverse S (as it is a reflection) would have put off DC. Still ... fantastic.
But this was my favorite page. You might recall that the original cover solicited for Supergirl #18 was one of her crushing the Earth, a dark version of All Star Superman #10. I thought it was terrible and was glad to see it never used. The top left is the thumb nail of it.
So I was fascinated to see these other versions of the cover. I love the one on the top right. It works so much better, Kara being weighed down by the world. She is being crushed by it, struggling with it. This makes her more sympathetic and represented the tone Mike Johnson had much more than the violent one.
And the bottom right also works. The tone of the book at this point was one of grief and sadness. So this one, sitting in an exhausted and defeated pose, shows that feeling of being lost. It even had the faint feeling of All-Star Superman #1. Instead of sitting on a cloud like an angel, looking happy ... she is slumped on Earth looking sad.
Anyways, I am glad that DC included these. I love extras in trades I buy.