Monday, May 13, 2019

Amazing Heroes #91: Supergirl's Obituary

A couple of months ago I stumbled upon Amazing Heroes #91, a special post-Crisis issue of the premier comic magazine of the time.

The book is a treasure trove for a Crisis fan like me and I have been a mining it for retrospective looks at Supergirl's death and the review of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7.

Another thing I liked about the book was that the had an obituary section for all the heroes and villains who died in the series. What could be better than one last eulogy for Kid Psycho and the original Dove. Let's face it, they probably weren't mourned enough when they died. There wasn't time.

But that obituary section included all the big names as well.

And that included Supergirl.

One thing about these obituaries are that they are a little bit comic history and a little bit 'Who's Who' style history.

It is funny to read this detailed history in one setting as it highlights just how bonkers the last 15 years of Supergirl's continuity was. That said, the article doesn't poke fun or ridicule the history. It just reports it. After all, Supergirl had been around for nearly 30 years. She was bound to have a few wrinkles in her storylines.

Enjoy the article written by Mark Waid, Supergirl fan extraordinaire.

 It is always interesting to hear some perspecitive on the Lesla Lar storyline which led up to her historic reveal to the world in Action Comics #285. It is impressive to hear it documented as being 9 parts long, an insane length of a story for that time period, especially in a back-up feature.

But the most intriguing portion is the part which details her story in the 70s through the end. What a crazy set of paragraphs detailing her life as news team member to student to guidance counselor to actress to student again. Whew. When you read the stories you know those are crazy life changes. Reading them laid out in an obituary seems to highlight it.

It is a shame that Waid had to include the marriage to Salkor. I wish that story was forgotten and not commemorated.

Anyways, Supergirl's death in Crisis remains a key moment in comic history. I am glad that Waid was able to showcase her history in this manner, maybe educating some fans who only knew her from her death.


Anonymous said...

Mark Waid is of course "One of Us" a Supergirl fan in other words. Along with Alan Moore (of all people) who made brief but effective use of Kara Zor El in his "grief counseling" story "Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel" which ran around this time. Later on he'd heavily homage Kara in the form of "Suprema, The Sister of Supreme!" during his run on that Image Book...

DC claimed there was no real fan outcry over Supergirl's death, thats a lie, they just didn't listen thats all, remember that the next time you are trying to get a multinational corporation to do right by a favorite character.


Anonymous said...

Even though I think he is past his prime, I miss Mark Waid writing Superman and other DC characters.

I'd definitely prefer it if Supergirl's "marriage" was not mentioned, but I guess it was inevitable since Waid was trying to cover her life's important points.

Unfortunately, that obituary shows how badly the reboots have messed Supergirl up by stripping her from her history. You can easily tell the main events of the life of Superman or Batman. Supergirl, though? She keeps being rebooted and her history keeps being ignored.

At the very least, you could tell the main events of Pre-Crisis' Supergirl's life: She was born on Argo City around fifteen years after Krypton's explosion and was sent to Earth when she was fifteen. She met Superman, adopted the name Linda Lee and was dumped in Midvale Orphanage. She met people like Miss Hart, Streaky and Dick Willson (Malverne). She joined the Legion of super-Heroes. She was adopted by Fred and Edna Danvers and changed her surname. Her existence was revealed to the world after being plagued by Lesla-Lar's schemes. She met Lena Thorul and Comet, found out her parents were alive and went to Stanhope. San Francisco, Nasthalthia Luthor, Starfire, Vandyre University, New Athens, New York and Secret Hearts, Chicago. Her death in the Crisis.

Prime Earth Supergirl, though? Which are her life's milestones? Her current run ignores or contradicts her history nearly every issue. For instance, according the latest issue's flashbacks she watched Krypton exploding even though her origin issue clearly shows she was put to sleep before being blasted into space.

Martin Gray said...

Good old Waidy, can't he come and write Kara for a while? I hated the Salkor story, but it happened and, as Anon says, had to be mentioned. A forgotten husband - what a terribly Silver Age idea to be dumped on her post-death.

I'm trying to remember that lettercol in DNAoS #1... I don't remembering DC saying they were discarding her past, just writing her younger. Maybe not mentioning the likes of Nasty, but not saying she hadn't existed.

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

I would love to read Waid on Supergirl. We got a bit of it in his Legion run. But I'd love to read his take on her in a solo book.

I don't think they said anything outright in Daring #1. Paul Kupperberg basically decided the best way to deal with the 'de-aging' was simply not to mention it and hope people rolled with it.

Anonymous said...

"DC claimed there was no real fan outcry over Supergirl's death, thats a lie, they just didn't listen thats all"

Marv Wolfman claimed there was no backlash, but after Ordway stated otherwise, Wolfman suddenly remembered the existence of angry fans.

Kara is name-dropped in Alan Moore's "The Jungle Line". So Moore always included her in his stories.

"A forgotten husband - what a terribly Silver Age idea to be dumped on her post-death."

Cary Bates' Supergirl stories include stuff like Adventure Comics 388 or the entirey of Volume 2. It's like he thought a Supergirl story MUST include bad romance.

"Paul Kupperberg basically decided the best way to deal with the 'de-aging' was simply not to mention it and hope people rolled with it."

I'm not sure I liked the idea of her being de-aged, but at least her wasn't wiped out... then.

Anyway... I'm not following DCeased, but the second issue's cover is a homage to COIE #7:

As you are surely aware, it isn't the first time that Arthur Suydam makes a zombie-themed COIE homage:

Professor Feetlebaum said...

There wasn't much said about Supergirl's de-aging in Daring New Adventures #1, but the subject came up in issue #4, and the person who wrote the page (probably E. Nelson Bridwell, though it's not credited) went into some detail as to why it was done:

"It was Paul's contention that the character of Linda/Kara worked best in the college environment. Placing her in the standard work situation kept leading to too many instances where Linda was forced to go through the old Clark Kent routine of "How do I create a diversion/come up with some lame excuse to sneak away and change?"...Another point that bugged him was that it was silly to have a 24-25 year old person running around referring to herself as a "girl"...But due to copyright and trademark consideration...she had to remain SuperGIRL."

The writer goes on to say that another factor in the decision to make Kara 19 was that she was beginning to catch up age-wise to her cousin Superman, and was now only 4-5 years younger. The writer concludes. "The bottom line, of course, is that the decision to make Kara 19 (although her age is never referred to in the story itself-it's just an assumption left open by circumstances) was purely arbitrary."

It's somewhat similar to what Schwartz did when he replaced Jack Schiff as editor on the Batman titles in 1964. The characters of Batwoman, Bat-Girl, Bat-Mite and Ace the Bathound were quietly "retired". Nothing was made of their absence-they weren't killed off or written out of continuity, they were just gone (and could be brought back any time at all, if readers requested). As of DNAOS #1, Kara was now a college student in Chicago. There was no indication that her history had been erased, and readers could still consider it all part of her overall continuity.

Martin Gray said...

Thanks Professor, I really appreciate the research.