Monday, September 19, 2011

Supergirl Sneak Peek On The Source

Over on the Source blog, DC has been posting one panel from their upcoming books, accompanied by a quote from the comic.

Last week, they had their promo post for Supergirl here:

The quote is 'The dream isn't over.'

As many know, I have wavered with my enthusiasm for this title. I have tried to maintain some sense of optimism and hope around this new Supergirl ... optimism in the face of promotional material and interviews which make me think that DC and the current team are going in the wrong creative direction with the character.

I don't think this panel makes me feel better about the book. And most of that unease is about the logistics of the new costume.

I like the idea of a leotard like uniform. And I like the idea of the more regal appearing high collar on the cape.

But all along I have been wary of the shrinking width of the bottom of her outfit. And I have never been a fan of the kneeless boots. And this panel crystalizes my concerns.

It is a nice action-filled panel, a sleek and tough looking Supergirl ripping the head off of a mecha while debris flies everywhere. And that should be the focus of this panel. The action.

But it isn't.

First off, the lack of knees in the boots has always looked a little off to me. This is the first time I have seen what they will look like from the side and they just don't look right. They certainly don't look functional or comfortable. But the boots are just a minor quibble.

It is really the bottom of the leotard, the lack of coverage on this teenage girl, that is simply distracting. How high is the costume going to be cut? How thin is the lower costume from behind? Is it a thong? Is there a reason why the costume is cut like that outside of the prurient delights of some readers?

But the basic question is 'is that consistent with Supergirl?'

Perhaps worst of all is that it is simply distracting. As I said, I should be looking at this battle-ready Supergirl as she destroys the battlesuits that are attacking her. But instead of focusing on the action aspects of the panel (as seen in the cropped panel above), I was immediately drawn to the sheer amount of skin being shown. I keep wondering why Supergirl would be in something like that. Or, more importantly, why DC thinks that she should look like that. And as a result, I am not drawn into the dynamics of the panel. Doesn't this panel bring you in more, the taut arm holding the wreckage, the look of determination on Kara's face.

Comics work best when the story and the art mesh, become a creative 'one' where each complements the other. Here the art is distracting to whatever action tale is being spun. When I saw this panel, I thought of Mike Deodato's run on Wonder Woman where the titillation of the art simply overwhelmed any story that William Messner-Loebs was trying to say.

This isn't Witchblade. This isn't Bomb Queen. This isn't Empowered. This isn't Grimm's Fairy Tales. Or the new Suicide Squad. Or the upcoming Voodoo. Or any of the other titles where this would fit into the story; there are plenty of them. This is Supergirl, about a teenage girl on a hero's journey. The question is do we need Supergirl to be thematically or visually with the books on that list. Or is there room for something else.

And it just makes me wonder if we are going back in time to the earliest issues of the last volume, where style seemed to overwhelm substance, where there seemed to be too much sizzle and not enough steak. When Supergirl was unlikeable and hardly heroic. Remember that? It didn't work.

"The dream isn't over?" You're right. It suddenly feels like a recurring nightmare. I can only hope that the book is better than this PR material is hinting at.


Dr. Thinker said...

DCnU = Epic Fail! Enuff said.

If I was one of the writters for DC comics, I just put Flashpoint and the so-callled reboot as a not happening in my corner.

Martin Gray said...

Ye gods, it's no wonder DC isn't putting out Cosmic Adventures in the Ninth Grade if that's how they wish to present Supergirl. At first glance she really does look as if she's baring all down below. She looks cheap, and ridiculous ... didn't I say all along that the new costume is awful?

So, would we ever see an editor's sister in something like that?

Outsider73 said...

Great post, that echos many of my thoughts on the new supersuit.

Ayhe said...

I agree with you, and I am wondering what´s going on with these Dc guys...they should had taken this task to the Project Runway show and I believe there would had nicer ideas for her costume ;)

I did another alteration for her costume, not a big one , but I think it would be more acceptable:

What do you think? ;)

Martin Gray said...

That's better, Ayhe, but it's still a case of putting lipstick on a pig - the overall design is simply hideous. If I saw a woman dressed like that I'd assume she'd had some kind of breakdown (see also power Boy's boob window).

Ayhe said...

I certainly would think the same Mart :)
I hope the costume will be improved after the first couple of issues.

Nikki said...

The Knees is the new midriff. Seriously, we've seen how many wild Supergirl costumes over the years? We should be zen! :D

What matters is that the girl underneath is intact, I don't care how she's gift wrapped unless she's going Starfire.

mhunt said...

... on Supergirl's new costume, I don't like the bootm of the leotard and the boots. I prefer knee high boots and the bottom of her leotard to be just blue, no red diamond.

On how small is her costume from behind, I think she'll be well covered but it's true, from this panel, the artist should have drawn part of the leotard doing on her back because true, it gives the impression the suit is smaller on her back.

You'll have to point to the artist for this as Jim Lee design sketch has a much lower cut on the leotard and therefore suggests she's well covered.

And you just inspired me to draw my modification on this costume. :)

Hal Jordan said...

I didn't see it that way, AT ALL. Then again, I've seen a lot of gymnastics, figure skating, beach volleyball, and swimming and diving over the years. So it didn't even occur to me to *look* at her visible hip (*gasp*) in the first place.


Hal Jordan said...

@Martin "So, would we ever see an editor's sister in something like that?"

In a bathing suit? Yeah, probably.

And people realize that Kara's not like 12, or something, right?

Diabolu Frank said...

Just as the weird, nonsensical but unique boots were starting to grow on me-- this? No. Stop. Enough. Sexual Chocolate Amanda Waller, Burlesque Harley Quinn and Cutey Honey Supergirl make it look like the DCnU's views on women come from a men's room stall.

Also, a quick shout out to Empowered. That whole series is a hilarious and wonderfully plotted commentary on this sort of thing.

Martin Gray said...

Aha, DC has released a few preview pages.

Now this has me hopeful again, Kara sounds anything but the pissy teen. And she has an intelligent smile - counts for a lot, that.

Hal Jordan said...

Where did the idea that she would be "pissy" ever come from in the first place?

There's a large spectrum when it comes to characterization, and it doesn't boil down to just "pissy" or the "sweetest girl in the world who loves her cat."

But she should definitely be alien. And I think that's what they've been getting to this whole time.

Gene said...

Thanks for the link to the preview Mart. I too have a little hope with regards to the personality of this Supergirl, but I still DISLIKE the costume.

I'm not a fashion designer, but I feel that I could design a better costume than the atrocity she is wearing now.


Coloman said...

Yeah, I read the preview pages too, and her personality didn't seem too far removed from what we've read in her book before. Color me optimistic, but I just got excited about this book again. Not only does she smile but she has a bit of a sense of humor about her.

Actually, looking at the way it's set up, it's almost as though they want to keep the trauma she suffered from New Krypton as backstory/a new arc without allowing New Krypton into the new verse. And, come to think of it, what if the 'hidden origin' is not tied to Darkseid (who it seems is already tied up in Justice League anyways) or some evil clone thing, but to how Krypton blew up?

Anonymous said...

AMEN on that post, Anj! Totally agree with you, there, on everything: the bottom part of the outfit just irks me to no end.-ealperin

Bliss said...

(long time reader, love your blog, first time commenting)

I really like the preview pages, and I'm letting myself be optimistic about this series. I do think the bottom is weird, and too high cut, but I think it's better than the mini skirt and midrift. I think it's likely they'll change it up in a year or so, because the red crotch shield is just glaringly bad.

Anonymous said...

One of the things I"m trying to do in the lead up to the relaunch is not let the costume dictate my attitude towards the character. Lord knows though, DC is not making it easy to form an independent critical judgement at least where Supergirl is concerned. ON the other hand, costume shouldn't dictate good character-bad character, let other people make that mistake...


mathematicscore said...

I'm actually not that bothered by it, and am intrigued by the preview pages take. There is certainly still potential to go either way, but I'm at least on board for an issue or two, which is more than I can say for Batgirl, Suicide Squad, or a number of other "relaunches."

Would I like her lower half to be as well covered as her top half? Probably. At the same time, nudity is not as evil a thing as it is sometimes made out to be, so there is a fine line to walk before outrage. Supergirl (and Wonderwoman) have almost always showed leg in the past, and I recall reading somewhere that this was planned by WMM in part to indicate her athleticism and health. If the characterization and stories are strong, and avoid sexualized violence, then the relative lack of covering will get a pass from me.

Altering The Wall, on the other hand, gets no traction here.

Anj said...

I feel like an absentee landlord. I am sorry I haven't been part of this great conversation.

I agree that great stories trump everything and if Supergirl is written the right way, I can probably look past the costume.

I understand that women on the beach and doing gymnastics might also wear less clothing ... that doesn't mean I want Supergirl to. And I still feel it is distracting, and pandering.

I think people worry she would be pissy because the very solicit says 'don't piss her off'.

I keep hoping that this team will do her right.

Anj said...

The preview pages are very interesting and do fill me with a bit of hope.

My guess is Zor-El has had Kara in a VR like 'dream state' which is why she is confused. I hope Zor-El isn't the 'Kill Kal' psycho from before.

2 more days and we get to read it!

Hal Jordan said...

"I think people worry she would be pissy because the very solicit says 'don't piss her off'."


First, don't feel like an absentee landlord. Are you kidding me?! If it weren't for you, we wouldn't have these great discussions, these excellent columns, or any of it! We should be thanking you on a more regular basis. :)

As to the quote above, I think all that means is that she is not someone to be trifled with. I didn't read it as if she were "pissy," just that she's frustrated by her situation, and she's not going to take any crap from anyone until she figures out what's going on.

Then again, maybe we're saying the same thing, and have a different definition of "pissy." :)

Anonymous said...

Hmm those first few pages are encouraging. I agree with others though the costume could use some work. Of course I'm less concerned with that then I am with the character itself.

Hal Jordan said...

You know, it would be AWESOME if those were the LAST pages! :)

I love starting in media res.

mathematicscore said...

Re: pissy

I would agree with Anj (if I have it pegged right) that a Supergirl whose main push is "look how lame and backwards earth is" will get old mighty quick. A Supergirl adjusting to a strange world and making the best of her situation could be pretty interesting.

KINGRPG said...

She is beautiful and so cute, I love Supergirl.

Anonymous said...

I have never understood this approach to the character, if she is soo alienated, why does she stay??? I mean alone of the alienated teens of the universe, Kara Zor El can leave and start again anywhere she chooses. her cousin's ties to Terra Firm are understood but if she is throwing tantrums and thumbing her nose at the local primitives, what is her motivation to even wear the costume?
A real kid would run away given her level of power...


Hal Jordan said...

I think there's a big difference between "throwing tantrums and thumbing her nose at the local primitives" and being frustrated by the backwardness of Earth and also devastated over the loss of one's entire world.

And where would she go? At least on Earth she has a relative, her only tie to her life that is now totally gone.

She will stay, she will be a heroine, she will save people and grow up (well, not really -- it's comics :) ). But this is as good a place as any, really.

But I know that if I were dropped in 1300s France, with no indoor plumbing, no baseball, no tv, no internet, no comics, no antibiotics, no real medical care, no cars ... etc ... I would be plenty frustrated.

Anj said...

But I know that if I were dropped in 1300s France, with no indoor plumbing, no baseball, no tv, no internet, no comics, no antibiotics, no real medical care, no cars ... etc ... I would be plenty frustrated.

The question in my mind is 'how will the lost Legion' respond.

They'll probably feel like they are in the 1200s.

But will they get frustrated? Or still try to rise above.

I have a sudden calm about the title. I think Supergirl will be fine. We'll find out tomorrow.

Hal Jordan said...

Yeah, we will definitely find out tomorrow. And the preview was wonderful, to me anyways.

I don't think that being frustrated and rising above it are necessarily mutually exclusive. A complex character can feel both at the same time.

She can save a little girl from getting hit by a bus at the same time that she rolls her eyes at the fact that she even needed to do it in the first place.

I really can't wait until tomorrow. And between Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Catwoman ... wow.

Anonymous said...

Her costume IS detracting- I think the first thing most male observers are going to notice is her butt.