Friday, July 31, 2015

30th Anniversary Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 - Creators Thoughts

With today being the last day of July, I am ending my 30th anniversary review of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. Throughout this month I have reviewed the issue, the decision to kill Supergirl, an immediate response to her death from someone supposedly in Supergirl's fandom, the merchandise generated by the issue, and finally how the death of Supergirl rippled forward into future incarnations.

Over the course of this month's review I have also talked about my own feelings about the death of Supergirl.

In the immediate aftermath, I was upset. DC had felt that Supergirl was expendable.

In the years after, I have softened, realizing that this moment was a crucial moment in comic's history and it is Supergirl's moment. It gives her current incarnations a sense of legacy, that when she dies it will be saving the universe.

I appreciate Crisis for what it has done for her as a character and a legend.

I thought I would reach out to some of the more recent creators who wrote Supergirl after the Crisis. And wanted to hear their thoughts about the Crisis and Supergirl. I want to extend a huge thanks to Landry Walker and Mike Johnson sending me some Supergirl love!

Landry Walker:
In many ways, Crisis was my introduction to Supergirl. I was familiar with the character but hadn't invested myself in her previously. I know that in many ways this will be an unpopular opinion, but Supergirl's death in Crisis defined her in a way that other heroes were largely lacking. Her willingness to throw everything into the fight, her optimism in the face of adversity. I read the story of her death over and over, and in doing so became a fan, not just of Supergirl, but also of the finite nature of the heroic journey.

In this way, the story has affected my writing. I was maybe 14 years old at the time, but I was already growing tired of the infinite carousal that is a comic characters life. Supergirls' death (for me) did not weaken her or diminish her. It defined her. I could step back and look at the entire history of the character  - much in the way we might with a character of Greek myth. And like any great mythological hero, her story is one tinged with both elation and tragedy. Carrying that with me, I now look to endings of stories to determine their quality. And stories that don't end, like the endless cycle of reboot and relaunch that is mainstream comics, rarely interest me either as a writer or as a reader.

Mike Johnson:
I confess: when I was a kid, I wasn't a Supergirl fan. To this obnoxious little boy, girls were annoying cootie-laden creatures that secretly terrified me. I wasn't NOT a Supergirl fan. She didn't seem to annoy Kal-El too much. But it wasn't until CRISIS #7 that I really appreciated how great a character she was... and by then it was too late. I think CRISIS caused a whole generation of readers to grow up. We'd never seen good vs. evil on that scale before. We'd never seen sacrifice like that. And there was no greater sacrifice than Supergirl's. Eventually I grew up, cooties actually began to seem like a good thing, and by then I was a die-hard Kara fan. When I lucky enough to have the opportunity to write her adventures years later, I went back and re-read CRISIS #7. It hits as hard today as it did then. But, like all iconic characters, Kara has endured. She always will. 

Thanks to Landry and Mike for their comments.

And thank you all for sticking with me this month as I remembered and revisited Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 on its 30th anniversary. It has been interesting for me to sort through my own feelings about this issue as I reviewed it. 

Would love to hear anyone's last thoughts about this issue as the month closes. 


Martin Gray said...

Thanks for a great month of posts, and what a fine way to end the series.

I see the point of view about the death denying Kara, and it giving her a legacy but dang, I wish she'd died then came back the following month - she'd still have shown her wonderful qualities, but come back with a greater gravitas; the heroes would respect her more, seeing her as the fabulous heroine she was rather than simply 'Superman's cousin'.

I do like the Supergirl's we've had since then - Mae, Linda, Kara, Kara, Andromeda ... but not Cir-El, that'd be asking too much - but no one has the quality, the history, that the original had.

ROB ASTOR said...

You've done a wonderful month full of tributes to Supergirl. I've never cared much for any of the newer versions since Kara's heroic death. For years, I stopped reading comics all together because of the constant re-writes and re-boots.

I was first introduced to her in the late 1970s when Superman found a way to enlarge the bottle city of Kandor. I followed stories up through her magazine and right into the Crisis On Infinite Earths.

My first reaction to seeing that cover was, "No! They can't do this!" There were so many other wayside characters they could have killed. However, the impact of her heroism set a standard that even Superman hasn't lived up to considering he died and then came back after battling Doomsday.

It would have been nice if D.C. had not re-booted in 1986. I would have loved a few flashback stories. From time to time, I pull out the old stories and read them again. And every time, Kara's death hits me on an emotional level that could be equated with a living person.

Thanks for creating your blog and sharing so much with all of us fans. Keep up the great work!


Uncle Screensaver said...

According to Amazing Heroes, her death was on July 28, 1985. 30 years later, Supergirl is Kara Zor-El and even has a TV show and I'm elated, and yet, Crisis #7 hasn't lost its impact. As much as I love that Kara is "still" around, I will always miss the original. The original Kara Zor-El will always be more than just a literary character; as silly as it may be, to me she'll always be a best friend, family even. Her death and her erasure from continuity is an awful thing, but at the same it *has* given her a lasting legacy - better one than none at all. (Friends of mine who have read her death feel it, and see why I am passionate about the character.) Kara "shows" her detractors at DC by "living" on today in many forms. Her smile and strength inspire many more thanks to comic book creators today, children books, and television. Kara will get even more push with DC SuperHero Girls, what with webisodes, TV special, dolls, and more, but I do hope she'll still be an inspiration to many boys as girls. In any case, in my opinion, it will always be "Supergirl's Cousin ..." I love Kal-El but no super hero is better than the original Kara. Thank you Anj for letting there be a place that lets Kara and Supergirl shine.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see your blog has enabled you to get into contact with past Supergirl writers to contribute to this COIE Death of Supergirl anniversary. Although I don't think I'm quite at the stage with mainstream comics as Landry Walker is, the weary cyclical nature of DC & Marvel is starting to get to me. It makes sense he saw a lot of significance and a solid end to Supergirl's career in her ultimate sacrifice against the Anti Monitor. Great to see how her some of Supergirl's writers in the last decade or so have interpreted her demise at the hands of the Anti Monitor and by extension the DC editorial staff/executives.

Thanks to this blog and my own further reading into Bronze Age and Modern Age Supergirl comics, I've seen a lot more to Supergirl's character and why she means so much to the fans. Though I'm still a Superman fan first and foremost, Supergirl was definitely made into his equal by this iconic moment.


Anj said...

Thanks for great comments.

This month has been a bit of a labor of love for me. It also has been a sort of psychotherapy for me to unpack all my feelings about the issue, chew on them again, and then putting them down on paper.

Thanks for joining in!