CBS's Supergirl series debuts October 26, and DC Comics is rushing to get a Supergirl comic book on stands to take advantage of the extra attention and potential for increased popularity. The publisher has rush-solicited DC Essentials: Supergirl #1, a reprint of the "New 52" Supergirl #1from 2011, for publication on October 21. Priced at just $1.00, retailers have until September 28 to place orders.
I am thrilled that the character is getting such promotion and publicity right now. And while I think the New 52 Supergirl had its ups and downs, there is no doubt this is a dynamic first issue with beautiful art by Mahmud Asrar.
But there certainly is a lot to nit pick about this decision.
One, this is a rushed announcement and solicit, almost as if DC didn't recognize the show premiere as an opportunity. And you might think that an ongoing book, a show prequel issue, a digital series ... that anything might be the right promotion.
Also, the tone of the initial New 52 run ... the alien Kara, with no friends, who remains distant to Superman and doesn't want to be a hero ... is about as far away from what we have seen of the show. There is a disconnect tonally here.
But rather than write another 1000 words, wailing and gnashing my teeth, complaining at DC's blighted efforts with the character, I will instead give a short list of other comics that I think could also be considered 'Essential Supergirl' and might fit in a bit more with the efforts of linking the comic to the show. In chronological order and with links if I have reviewed the issue here:
Action Comics #285 (Jerry Siegel/Jim Mooney) - This is a pretty big issue in Supergirl lore where Superman finally reveals her existence to the world. No longer will she be the secret weapon. She had done her job, training to use her powers, and doing her own secret heroics. Now was the time for her to be recognized as the second Kryptonian hero of the world. You see how earnest she is in her desire to help. And we see her save the world on her own. If you want an essential from the Silver Age, this is it.
Superman #376/Daring New Adventures #1 (Paul Kupperberg/Carmine Infantino) - An extra-sized issue as it includes to Daring preview from Superman. The preview story is Supergirl talking to her cousin, discussing her desire to go back to school, to be her own person, to become the hero she should be. The first issue shows her work/social life as well as nice action against Psi. This is 'girl power' at its finest. This is a young hero ready to step into the light and help people. And she is a young woman dealing with life and love as well. This feels like the show.
Supergirl #5 (Peter David/Gary Frank) - Matrix had just linked with Linda Danvers, a mortal girl with dark inclinations. And this amalgam was still trying to figure out what it was. Was she alive? Did she have a soul? Was she good? She met an odd sort of reflection in the suddenly sentient Chemo. There are hard philopsphical questions asked. This was a young woman trying to define herself as a hero. And it is a stand alone issue in an otherwise long form book. Matrix might not be Kara. But writer Peter David injected pure Supergirl-ness into this book.
Supergirl #34 (Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle) - This was the beginning of the Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle run, and it also was a shift in direction for the character. After nearly 3 years of anger, bitterness, high school massacres, vanishing skirts, and panty shots, Gates and Igle rehabilitated the character. She needed to redefine who she was. She might not be perfect. But she wanted to do good, be a hero, and strive to be better. She was growing, maturing. And part of that was adopting the Linda Lang identity. If there is one run (or one issue) that the show seems to have imprinted on, it is this one. I mean Linda in the show looks just like Linda Lang.
Superman/Batman #62 (Mike Johnson and Michael Green/Rafael Albuquerque) - Something of a left field pick but it has a Bat-family member which might lead more people to read it. Green and Johnson wrote the New 52 Kara but this one is much more classic in approach as the retell an early adventure she had with Robin. And in this story you see the gamut of Supergirl's emotions, all displayed as she strives to bring good to the world and save people. It is a brilliant microcosm of the character and how she thinks and what she tries to do. And it is beautifully rendered.
Supergirl #33 (TonyBedard/ Emanuela Lupacchino and Jeff Johnson) - It might seem odd to pick the last issue of a multititle arc (Red Daughter) as the Essential. But the issue again highlights the parts of Supergirl's character that I love. The fierce need to fight for justice. That love of Earth, her home. And she finally rids herself of all the negativeness of the earlier issues, set up perfectly in the form of a Red Lantern ring.
So those would be my essentials. Those would have been my choices for DC. And, of those, I would have picked the Gates/Igle Supergirl #34 would far and away have been my choice to market the character in conjunction with the show.