Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Back Issue #84: All Supergirl

Last week, a true treasure appeared in my folder at the local comic book store.

Back Issue #84 came out, an issue 100% dedicated to Supergirl in the Bronze Age. Given the 30th anniversary of Supergirl's death in Crisis on Infinite Earths, it makes perfect sense for this issue to be published. And it is chock full of great stuff for any Supergirl fan.

We start out with the cover, an obvious homage to Adventure Comics #397 where Kara peruses a bunch of costume variations.

The inside of the magazine has great articles about her stories in the Bronze Age, the movie, Superwoman, merchandise from back then from podcast friend Chris Franklin, an Alan Brennert interview from Aquaman Shrine's Rob Kelly, a brief look at Matrix ... it is all good. Any Supergirl fan should purchase it from TwoMorrows.

Just a couple of samples, a mere scratching of the surface.

After reviewing pretty much all of Supergirl's stories from her Adventure Comics through Daring New Adventure and talking to a ton of the writers from those books, there is a nice summation at the end of the article.

It is clear that each writer basically tried to wring Supergirl into a shape that fit their vision. Thus we saw the all the professions, all the locales, all the personality quirks. And yet, it is all of that sort of change which actually grabbed me as a kid. It felt like Supergirl was trying to figure things out. For me, it made her relatable.

There is a very fun comic in the middle by Karl Heitmueller Jr. focusing on her costume changes. I love it.

In the coverage of Crisis on Infinite Earth #7, there is a portion dedicated to fan reaction.

After being a sort of forgotten part of the DCU, it was interesting for me to see just how much backlash there was to her death. There was no internet then. I didn't read a lot of fanzines back then. So seeing how much ill will it brought about was interesting.

"Some heroes appear bigger or more important when they pass away - that is exactly what happened here with Supergirl."


And then there is Rob Kelly's Alan Brennert interview. The classic story 'Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot' is touched upon. I love hearing how Brennert disliked Supergirl's sacrifice (and even existence)  simply being forgotten. So I love that he decided he needed to repudiate it. And, after vilifying Dick Giordano a bit for his role in Kara's death, it was fascinating to hear how he grabbed to story to draw himself.

And I love the hand-wringing from the current creators who were told Supergirl could not be referenced. Hearing how they tried make this vision be an astral projection of Power Girl made me chuckle. Interestingly enough, it was Giordano who shuts them up with the simple statement 'guys, it's just a nice Christmas story'.

I love Back Issue. And I love this issue in particular.


Anonymous said...

Dang it Anj, you broke my wallet! I've never heard nor seen any issues of Bac Issue until now. I got to looking at... well, back issues of Back Issue and there are so many that I want to pick up. This one being at the top of the list. So thank you for highlighting this series, but not for crushing my wallet with the awesomeness.

Anj said...

Totally worth the money!!

Martin Gray said...

Ha, you deserve a commission - what a brilliant issue.

Anonymous said...

Michael Eury's frontpiece sets a good tone for the issue admitting that as a young fan he missed Supergirl after COIE #7. And I glad to see that there was pushback from the fans after her death despite DC's insistence to the contrary.

Too bad there wasn't room for a consideration of the TV and comic book appearances of the STAS Supergirl...I count that as the "match to the fuse" so to speak.

Good issue long past due.


Pops Gustav said...

Thanks for promoting the issue, I agree that it turned out great (even if I'm not exactly objective).... one little correction... the Prince Street News comic strip is by KARL Heitmueller, not Kurt. It's a common mistake. I know that because it's me.

Anj said...

So so sorry about this. Will edit.

Thanks for great strip! Love it!

kcekada said...

I'm definitely getting this -- just not sure of the format. I like getting the printed version -- and downloading the digital version. But I really dislike that cover -- and emailed TwoMorrows saying as much. I don't think it was a good idea to use a group of very stylized indy artists to illustrate the cover. And the only actual appearance of a Bronze Age Supegirl is the small one in the top corner. Surely they could have found some unpublished or little-seen illustration by a more classic-oriented artist -- or commissioned one?!!

Martin Gray said...

In its original context, the cover being homaged is a classic, but I agree with Kirk, this is wrong for this Back Issue. It's not representative of the contents, and looks amateurish in the worst sense of the word. A previously uncoloured Jim Mooney illo, or entirely new but stylistically similar work by someone such as Howard Bender would have done nicely.

Pops Gustav said...

I'm sorry that Kirk and Martin disliked the cover, especially since I'm the guy who put it together. It's all subjective, but I think "amateurish in the worst sense of the word" is a bit unfair, especially considering the fact that most of the artists involved in the jam are respected professionals, some of whom have been working in the comics industry for decades.

Martin Gray said...

Ach, I did sound meaner there than I meant to, apologies, Pops. I should have stopped after 'contents'. I just wanted something more representative of the Bronze Age art styles than a gag homaging one moment in time.

Anonymous said...

I find interesting how Wolfman presumes 90% agreed with him despite of loud negative fan reaction. Since he didn't value the character, he assumes no one else did, and quickly dismisses any evidence suggesting otherwise.