Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tony Bedard Interview On

It's been a while since the Supergirl book has gotten any publicity. Since the deluge of pieces when Red Daughter was first announced, news about the book has sort of dried up. I suppose that with the denouement of Red Daughter still unknown, DC might want to be tight lipped.

Thankfully, we got some news via Tony Bedard over on And thanks to blog friend Thomas Hayes for pointing me to it. Here is the link:

As always, it is definitely worth reading the entire interview as it covers Bedard's career, his time on Beowulf, and other topics. I have culled some of the Supergirl specific questions and added my comments after. Overall Bedard continues to say the right things.

WCBR: Alright, turning to Supergirl, you’ve actually worked with Supergirl, at least a decent amount in the past. Were there any unexpected joys or challenges in coming back to a character who, perhaps more than most, was really changed by the New 52?

Bedard: Well, yeah. I think with the Super characters, there are certain things that are appropriate for them. And it’s difficult- you run the risk when you look at ‘em that way, of just writing them the way that they’ve been written and didn’t work for a long time. But I think that Supergirl needs to be a bright, happy, y’know, likable character and that she hasn’t necessarily been that since the relaunch. I understand what they’re going for with her and I’ve tried to do some of that, to make her a fish out of water that’s struggling to fit in, but she still needs to have some light moments, stuff that makes you like her and care about what happens. Otherwise she’s just kind of a whiny, dark character.
So, that’s been the biggest struggle with everything bad that happens to her, finding those little moments to try and leaven that and still keep her likable. And Spider-Man’s the best example of a character like that. That something was always wrong, y’know, Aunt May needed her medicine and he was going to lose his job and he couldn’t pay the rent. But it didn’t come across as a downer of a book. But Spider-Man’s a real different character than Supergirl is so it’s hard to pull that off with her.

Hurrah! Bedard says Supergirl needs to be bright, happy, and likable. Needs to be!

I think it great that he realizes that so far the character has been whiny and dark. I don't mind Supergirl adapting to Earth, even struggling to adapt. But she needs to be likable, heroic, and bright. 

It is fantastic that Bedard gets that simple truth.

WCBR: One thing I thought was great was that your Secret Origins story spent a good amount of time kind of looking at what the differences are between Kara and Superman. And one of the things that struck me is, of course, that Kara lived on Krypton. Superman has this weird secondhand relationship with his home. What do you think that difference- really having known Krypton, how does that change Kara from what people think of when they think of the Superman family?

Bedard: Well, I think- one of the problems with Supergirl is that she’s kind of a subset of Superman, y’know, and that kind of limits who she can be, or at least has for a long time. Her identity is always expressed in relation to another character and she kind of needed her own thing to set her apart. So, I think that the fact that she grew up on Krypton being played up, that’s why that’s there.

We’re trying to stand her up on her own and also to give her a motivation that stems from her Kryptonian background. In the case of Superman, he got his values from Ma and Pa Kent and that’s really vital as far as who he turned out to be and why he goes around doing good things. So, I think if we played up her Kryptonian-ness it’s to try and differentiate her from him and also not just make her, y’know-

WBCR: “Superman’s Cousin: Kara Kent”.
Bedard: Yeah. Exactly. She needs to have her own sort of reason for going around and doing good deeds and using her powers for good.

I think that this is a fine line that the best writers can walk upon.

I want Supergirl to be her own character, to tell her own stories, to have her own personality. But she is also part of the Super-family and Superman is should be a mentor or an older brother.

Superman shouldn't define her. But Supergirl shun him. There can be interplay.

Look at how Paul Kupperberg had them interact. Look at how Sterling Gates had them interact. It can happen. They can be family members, supportive of each other, loving to each other, and not have Superman define her.

And while I think Krypton has to be a big part of Kara's story, that also can't define her. She needs to embrace Earth as her new home.

WCBRL So, Supergirl #31, which is technically the latest issue at this time, was a really dense issue. There was a lot going on, but Red Lanterns deals with the Judge and Atrocitus and now this week’s issue sees her going up against the Diasporans and Worldkiller-1 , which is a big reveal after a long while. So, I guess the question is, once we’re done with that, will we be turning back towards Earth and Blaze, who’s been kind of sneaking around the corners?
Bedard: We’re definitely getting back to Earth. What happens with Blaze is actually- We’re not gonna plunge into that as a storyline. That’s kind of been put off because there’s some other things going on. And this is the joy of working in a big universe like this is sometimes you set up plans and think they’re gonna pay off at a certain point, and then you turn around and find out that there’s another thing, like, for example in September- Have they released much information about the September books yet?

The Supergirl book desperately needs some time to grow and progress on its own. I worry that while major crossovers might bring in some new readers, they tend to derail any momentum the book has.

Remember H'El on Earth? And Krypton Returns?

So hopefully this detour into Futures' End is brief.

WCBR: But, you know, solicitations are intentionally misleading to some degree.
Bedard: Right. Because those books are all going to play off of stuff that’s going on in “Future’s End”. And so that kind of punted my plans a little bit, but it’s okay because actually I get to do something really fun in that issue with Kara and Cyborg Superman. And also the issue when she gets back to Earth, we’re actually going do something a little romantic with her.

WCBR: Oh, cool.
Bedard: Which, she hasn’t had much romance or that kind of fun in the whole run of the series, so I’m looking forward to that. We actually slow down a little bit and do some more character-driven stuff.

I am not a fan of 'Zor-El as Cyborg Superman' so I hope that 'something fun' is a resolution of some sort. Maybe a retcon?

But the fact that Bedard is talking about slowing things down and adding romance makes me happy. I think he has the right mindset for the character and the progression of the book.


Anonymous said...

I don't think Kara's been "whiny" in the New 52. You can't be whiny if you legitimately have something to be upset about. Mike Johnson's run was what got me into superhero comics. It's gets depressing watching everyone put it down.

Anj said...

I actually liked what Mike Johnson did on the book as it seemed like he was moving Kara away from being just angry and bitter. There was progress and it felt like the book was turning the corner. I think if you read my reviews of his later issues you'll see that I saw a vision of things to come that were better.

I think the whining part was more when Supergirl was put into crossovers or written by other writers (back then). So H'El on Earth and Krypton Returns were very rough on Supergirl and she was at her brattiest (especially when Lobdell wrote her).

And I don't think Michael Alan Nelson did her favors either.

I would love to talk to Mike Johnson and ask him if he had future stories planned or further character development. But please don't think that I think he was public enemy #1 for Supergirl. Far from it.

AndNowInStereo said...

Indeed, Johnson and Green's Kara was not whiny. The way they wrote her dialogue and - importantly - the way Asrar's art portrayed her, you empathised with her fairly easily. It's only in the hands of clumsier writers that the empathy was lost. Lobdell and DeFalco wrote her with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

Anonymous said...

I know you guys don't hate the old run; I just need to vent sometimes. Thanks for supporting her too. (And for listening to me). I guess I just hear a lot of the other bloggers denigrate the old run in the same breath as praising Soule. If they're trying to get me to read him it's not having the right effect.
Hey have you guys seen this rap battle between Superman and Goku? (Lyrics very not safe for work)

Anonymous said...

And as for Michael Alan Nelson...

His Supergirl wasn't really fond of Earth, but his interviews and the end of the Cyborg Superman arc implied that would turn around. I'm sad we never got to see how it would turn out.

I think we all agree that the "Zor-El is Cyborg" revelation was ridiculous but Nelson Supergirl actually cracked jokes on occasion. I can forgive so so much if the characters at the center are actually likeable.

(I can understand why someone wouldn't like Nelson's run but I still really would have liked to see him stay.)

Anj said...

Nelson's run started to strongly with the PG crossover - a funny, smart, strong Kara.

But he undid all that with the Cyborg arc where he literally vaporized her having her captured, beaten, and crying for mercy in her own book.

He promised to turn her around ...

Bartiemus said...

I really don't like the romance angle let Kara be her own person.

She has spent so much time just trying to run away from life on Earth let her spend time just fitting in.

Why not show her actually get a secrete identity and a place of her own?

How does the DCU handle newly arrived Aliens that would be an interesting story.