Wednesday, August 20, 2014

November Solicits Part 1:Another New Supergirl Creative Direction


The November solicits for DC Comics came out earlier this week and had major implications for the Supergirl book.  Because in November, Supergirl has new writers ... again.

In fact, that news is so big that I am splitting the solicits post into two. There will be this one covering just the Supergirl solicit and one later this week covering the other books. To look at all the solicits, here is a link to Newsarama's coverage: http://www.newsarama.com/21907-dc-comics-full-november-2014-solicitations.html

So here is the solicit for November's Supergirl #36 including the news of a new writing team.

SUPERGIRL #36
Written by MIKE JOHNSON and KATE PERKINS

Art and cover by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO

The new writing team of Mike Johnson and Kate Perkins enroll Supergirl in the Crucible Academy! Against her own will, Kara has been selected to join the mysterious academy, which promises to train her and other beings of cosmic importance to serve the forces of good in the universe. But who’s pulling the strings behind the academy? And what are Kara’s chances of survival if she decides to drop out? Guest-starring Superboy!

Where to begin.


Let's start with the new team:


Kate Perkins is a name I don't know from comics and has no list of prior works on comicbookdb.com. There is a very brief blurb about her on CBR which describes her as a New York playwright breaking into comics. I am glad that DC is bringing a woman onto the book. And on her website, she does have an interesting CV. While these works can't be read or viewed directly from there, the blurbs about them sound interesting.


Mike Johnson should be a familiar name to everyone as he returns to this book after a being away for a  year and a half. I really felt like Johnson was turning the corner with the character, making her more heroic and more likable on his own before that vision was completely derailed by Scott Lobdell and H'el On Earth. I have to say I'm happy to see him back.


I wonder if Perkins is the main driver on this team with Johnson bringing some experience in comic writing to keep things moving along.


Now on to the solicit itself:

Kara is now joining a cosmic super-school called Crucible Academy. Certainly, putting Kara in a school solves one major problem the book has suffered from - lack of a supporting cast. I am sure we are going to meet friends, enemies, frenemies, and all sorts of professors. And the concept of a school training heroes is an interesting one. 


Now I have hoped beyond hope that the New 52 Supergirl would one day embrace Earth and become a hero on the planet. I somehow don't think that a cosmic super-school will be located on Earth-0 which means Supergirl is going to be off-planet again. While making Supergirl a more intergalactic hero is a fresh take on the character ... even expanding her horizons, I still prefer the idea of Kara as a young hero, growing into the role on Earth. I don't know if we will ever get there.

Still, it is completely different. I will go in open-minded and optimistic.




Lastly, I just have to wonder if this completely new direction is somehow coming off the overwhelmingly positive buzz on the new 'Batgirl of Burnside' direction over on that book. I can imagine the conversation sounded something like this:

DC editor 1: Wow, everyone is talking about Batgirl and Gotham Academy. How can we cash in even more on this topic immediately making it less fresh and unique?


DC Editor 2: Well, Supergirl is a young female protagonist. Why don't we send her to school?


DC Editor 1: I know! Let's make it a school .... wait for it .... IN SPPPAAACCEEE!


DC Editor 2: And if it doesn't work, we can always make her angry, angsty, pissed off, and disaffected again!


Maybe I am wrong. But it seems weird to suddenly take on yet another completely different take on the title, another creative direction, just as the last one was finally moving forward. And it seems so spur of the moment, like when Charles Soule said 'let's make her a Red Lantern' at a meeting and it suddenly changed everything Tony Bedard was hoping to do initially.

Which leads me to my next topic.

The Big Picture and Tony Bedard:

I literally just did a post where Newsarama interviewed Tony Bedard who talked about his long term plans about Supergirl. So this seems to imply that he didn't know that things were changing so soon. Why would he talk about the future after Futures' End issue when he is off the book after that crossover?? I can't help but be reminded of Sterling Gates' piece in Superman #700 where he laid out his plans for the next year (!!) only to have Nick Spencer take over the book shortly thereafter.

Much like Mike Johnson in his first go around, Bedard finally seemed to be bringing the ship around, set on the direction he wanted the book to go, only to have the book taken away from him. The whole Red Daughter story arc seems less important now. Part of that storyline was to rid Supergirl of this unnecessary rage DC saddled her with, to have her finally look at Earth as home, to finally have her patch up her relationship with Superman. It was supposed to be the beginning of a new life. We even had subplots bubbling - Veritas, Siobhan and her roommate, and Blaze.

And now, if this Crucible Academy is in space, none of that seems to matter. Once again she isn't looking at Earth as home. She isn't having a family relationship with Kal. She isn't being a hero on Earth. So Bedard's future stories of a well-adjusted Supergirl being a young hero in Metropolis are now in the 'what might have been' files.

From afar, this completely new direction makes the book look like it is once again on shaky ground despite sales being remarkably stable. Let's look at the 36 issues of this book and the writers: Green/Johnson then Mike Johnson then Frank Hannah then Mike Johnson then Scott Lobdell then Tony Bedard and now Perkins/Johnson. 6 different writers and writing teams in 36 issues! Compare that to the stability of Wonder Woman, Batgirl, the Green Lantern books, Justice League, and Aquaman. There have been one or two writers and directions on those books. DC has let those creators tell their stories. DC seems to know what to do with those characters. And yet, they seem to flail with Kara.

What I want on this book is some stability ... some consistency. I want Supergirl to be likable, heroic, and optimistic. I want her character to be at the center of things, not some crossover which takes the emphasis off her. I want a rogues gallery, a supporting cast, and character growth. And we haven't had that on this book. Unfortunately when there was consistency, it was the angry bitter Kara. Now just as she seems likable and heroic ... finally ... we are going somewhere else. Now maybe ... hopefully ... Johnson and Perkins build on what Bedard did and don't take a step back.

But to put it simply, I just want a Supergirl book that truly is a book about Supergirl.

Now the Perkins/Johnson run may very well be fantastic. In fact, I hope it is going to be fantastic. And if they are reading this, understand this isn't a comment on their story or direction. This semi-rant is a comment on DC and their treatment of this character and this book.  

I am looking forward to reading this story. I am hoping Kara isn't the angsty  angry brat that has weighed her down these three years. 

See you all in November.

19 comments:

Martin Gray said...

Thanks Anj, I agree with every word. I hope this direction works, but there was already a direction that had me thrilled, the Bedard one.

Now, this may be great, like a New 52 Cosmic Adventures in the Eigthth Grade, but the cynic in me expects Superman and the Ravers.

Another new direction, another terrific writer gone. I'm disheartened.

Martin Gray said...

One thing that has me hopeful - that cover, Supergirl is smiling!

Bartiemus said...

First up I love that cover Kara looks stunning and is front and centre smiling I guess there is a first time for everything.

I wonder if Tony Bedards plans to give Kara a boyfriend had anything to do with him being taken off the book? Like what happened with Batwoman? I hope DC would not be stupid enough to make the same mistake twice but we shall see. If that was the case I doubt Mike Johnson would be back after a year that has to be a first I don't think he was working for DC at all.


I'll be interested to see what Mike Johnson has planed he did co write the first two trades which I loved and was responsible for the Powergirl mini arc which was fantastic.


The new girl seems an odd choice no experience in comics at least DC partnered her up with someone who knows the book and industry.

Please DC no more writer changes or cross overs for a year this book is finally growing and in a good spot don't stuff it up.

Anonymous said...

Gee Another Bold New Direction in place of Last Month's Bold New Direction....same old same old from DC the Perfect always wars with The Good.
The whole thing sounds very very "Hogwarts" to me and didn't Supergirl finish her Probationer Status with The Red Lanterns? In effect isn't DC rebooting that whole storyline with a new cast...is Supergirl even the star of her own book anymore? If not...can I option the copyright & trademark? I don't think I can do a more inexplicable job at the very least.

JF

Anonymous said...

Trying to keep an open mind as well on this, but one can't help but wonder what's going through the minds of TPTB over at DC.
I was hoping that in addition to the turnaround Bedard did with Red Lanterns, some stability with the creative team AND a
definitive plan on what to do next would be welcome.

> DC Editor 2: Well, Supergirl is a young female protagonist. Why don't we send her to school?

Can I just say it now, but if they're going to send Supergirl to school, PLEASE no Joe-Kelly-prison-film-school-massacre"
repeat? Just... seriously... Once was enough, thanks.

I also wonder what this bodes for the Geoff Johns "Superman and Supergirl will become a support team for one another. Love
writing them together ..." comment back in June, or does DC intend to deepsix this idea as well?

Regards

Anonymous said...

"Supergirl" issue generator v1.0.

For each new issue, you MUST roll 1D20 and consult the following table, even though that will clearly contradict the instructions some results state:

1 - Kill Supergirl, then bring her back in the next issue, very very angry.

2-3 - Darker and Edgier! Write Supergirl as a more stubborn, bull-headed character with even fewer friends for the next D3-1 issues.

4-6 Into Spaaaaaaace! Have Supergirl leave Earth entirely for D6 isssues, following an ultimately forgettable and inconsequential storyline.

7-10 - Issue in a Bottle! Write a one-shot story line for Supergirl, derailing any ongoing plot. This result overrides all other ongoing results that would have lasted for multiple issues.

11-13 - Plan ahead! Set up an interesting new story arc for Supergirl and spend time (and money!) hosting interviews and convention panels outlining all your long term plans. As with all results on this table, you must still re-roll for the next issue, regardless of said plans.

14-17 - Crossover! Yank Supergirl out of her ongoing story and spend D3+1 issues crossing her book over with other books, leaving her ongoing story unsalvagable. Rolling this result for consecutive issues does not require you to begin a new crossover, simply continue the earlier one.

18-19 - Supergirl: a Bold New Direction! Hire a new creative team and fire the old one. Begin a new storyline covering the exact same ground that previous story lines recently covered, but with a slightly different background.

20 - Love! Add a love interest for Supergirl, for D3 issues, then remove them plus the entire creative team who designed and implemented said love interest. When you roll for the next issue, subtract 10 from the result. If you roll this result consecutively, you must kill either Supergirl or the love interest immediately.

Martin Gray said...

Ha, brilliant, so true.

Thomas Hayes said...

Anj, you should have a Blogger label for these by now. You've covered about eight writer changes by my count since 2008! ;)

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

The intention here isn't to trash Perkins/Johnson. Just to point out that every time it feels like a writer is just about to get us the Supergirl we want, we start anew.

I am glad I'm not alone in feeling a bit frustrated. In particular, thank you anon for the d20 analogy. We have seen all those.

I hope we aren't going to see anything resembling Joe Kelly's run any where near this Supergirl.

And thanks again to Tony Bedard.

Anj said...

Thomas - I should have a tag ... like 'bold new direction'.

Since the beginning of this blog, here are the main Supergirl book writers.

-Old DCU-
Puckett
Peaty
Gates
Spencer
Peaty
Deconnick

-New 52-
Johnson/Green
Johnson
Hannah
Nelson
Lobdell
Bedard
and now Perkins/Johnson

Bartiemus said...

Lobdell or why we can't have nice things.

I re read the trades Vol 1 and 2 and issues 17- 19

I have faith that Kara won't go back to being all angry again as Mike Johnson does write a Kara that cares. She uses her brain to think her way out of things and is more than just fists.

I just wish she would stay on Earth The Superman Doomed cross over was a perfect time for her to step and fill Supermans shoes in the aftermath.

Having read today's issue I'm really gutted that Tony Bedard is not staying on. But in Mike Johnson I trust.

Jay said...

I have absolutely nothing against Bedard personally, and at the same time am concerned about this abrupt turnover in regards to internally...y'know, having some semblance of a plan. With that said though, the latest of issue of Supergirl was completely bland despite liking her acting like a hero, and the entire plot was centered on something that according to the Doomed storyline thus far, shouldnt' have even happened! Just a monumental plot hole.

So I'm welcoming a new team at this point.

Anonymous said...

sigh. Seems like you shouldn't listen to or read about anyone's future plans. It seems like its always I'm going to do this... BAM off the book, or I'm going to do that BAM unnecessary cross-over, etc.

Wish the right hands at DC had some sort of knowledge about what the left ones are doing.

Anonymous said...

I dont understand, so what will happen to the Blaze subplot. I was looking foward to that. I liked jonhson but its to soon for a creative team change. At least Lupachino will do pencils, I love her art.

Anonymous said...

Tony Bedard knew he was off the book months ago.

iopy said...

I wanted to find out about Blaze, see Kara make a home on Earth, be there when Kara explains what happened to Siobahn, learn what her roomies were up to, see her reactions to what happens to her Red Lanterns partners in the Atrocitus war. There were plenty if hints, plot points, and foreshadowing that was reviving my interest in the book.

Is all that lost? Does it all go the way of Sanctuary, the other World Killers, her friend stuck in stasis in Kandor, Simon Tycho? Skallox may be a traitor, Zilius Zox may be dead, these were beings who opened their arms to Kara and welcomed her. Bleez and Gardner are going to war. Will there be no mention? Even a bit of concern? I didn't want the Red Daughter arc, but I went along and enjoyed it. Are all those things just to be forgotten? DC, did I make a huge mistake checking my cynicism at the door and buying a ticket to the Red Daughter dance?

I don't think I've ever read a comic that put so many interesting things on the table and then just walked away from them. I welcome the new creative team and wish them well, but it's getting harder and harder to get invested in Supergirl stories when they just keep doing this.

Anonymous said...

Any wonder why Supergirl fans are dizzy and disoriented?

Dr. Thinker said...

If I was rich, I would sue DC Comics for 9 zillion dollars.............

Anj said...

Thanks for continuous discussion.

iopy - I am so with you on this. It is hard to stay invested when things continue to just switch tracks.

The thing is Bedard had a bunch of great ideas percolating and I fear they are gone. The relationship with Guy and Bleez ... I fear they are gone. Off planet in a school? Any relationship with Superman is gone.

Things might be great in the new direction. But things seemed great right now.

Risky.