Saturday, March 30, 2013

Nick Spencer On His Supergirl Run

In the aftermath of the Andy Diggle and Joshua Hale Fialkov, other creators who have been editorially squashed by DC Comics have started to come out of the woodwork and fan the flames. One of them was Nick Spencer who lasted one half of one issue on Supergirl, here on  Supergirl #60.

On his blog, Spencer wrote about his proposed story arc. Here is that link:

And here are the major parts of that post and the proposed story.

The idea for the story was pretty simple: Kara learns how to be a leader. She had, to that point, been almost exclusively used as either a solo character, or in a supporting role on a team. I felt like someone wearing that ‘S’ on their chest would find people looking to them for answers when things got bad.

The story beats that really stand out, to me:
I know I wanted to have a scene where the fight gets really hectic, and Impulse runs away, with Kara really calmly and sympathetically talking to her about it, just the two of them, in the aftermath. That was supposed to be the big moment that Kara comes into her own.

The entire team (except for Kara) were gonna get captured, and Kara would go to Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman for advice— and from there, putting together ANOTHER team to rescue them (I forget who all was on that one- Black Alice, Klarion, Shining Knight, Arrowette, I think).

The whole thing would climax at the launch party for the Flyover app, and the last scene was Impulse pulling Damian onto the dancefloor.

So I don't know exactly what here was so objectionable to the editors. My guesses? The villain was to be a Luthor/Brainiac hybrid which might have been being saved for Superman. Or maybe this story, creating a team, losing a team, talking to the Trinity, creating a new team, saving the day was deemed too cumbersome?

With blood in the water, every major comic site covered Spencer's news and used it to prove DC editorial overreach existed back then ... even though there was not as much news of editorial overreach back then. We didn't hear these stories then which makes me think something must have been amiss for this to have happened. Now I do fault DC for giving the reins to Spencer too early if they hadn't heard all the details of his story. Isn't that the role of editors? 

As for that issue, the one thing that struck me about it was that a lot of time was spent showcasing not only 'Alex' (the villain) but his college friends. It seemed overly long and wasted space, almost like Spencer needed to show how pithy and snappy his dialogue could be. Those kids weren't part of the big story so why do I care that one of them has a new girlfriend?

Anyways, given the feeding frenzy against DC (something I am taking part of) I am not surprised to see how many people have come out and said 'I would have read that story about Kara becoming a leader!'

Yeah?? Where were you back then??

Because the truth is, James Peaty's story, which picked up after Spencer left, did just that. So they should go back and get the back issues because there are some great moments in Peaty's story. And the art by Bernard Chang is so beautiful. I have reviewed those issues (Supergirl #60-64) on this site so folks can go to those posts if they want. But let me give you some highlights.

Here is Damien Wayne telling Jaime that he is listening to Kara because she has proven to be a true leader. She has passed his internal test of earning respect. Damien!!

And then in the battle with Dubbilex (the stand in for the Lex/Brainiac villain), Miss Martian admits that she looked up to Supergirl ... was in awe of her.

Best yet, the whole counterattack against Dubbilex has been masterfully orchestrated by Supergirl. Despite all his intelligence and planning, he is soundly beaten by Kara. He was simply 'outsmarted'.

Look at how strong Supergirl looks as she sort of rubs in her victory.

And in the end, Supergirl knows she is ready. She is the leader of her generation and ready to take a place in the majors.

So if you are saying 'I missed out on a great story' because of Nick Spencer's post, go find this arc.

Anyways, hopefully DC gets there act together and lets creators breathe a bit.


Gear said...

I enjoyed this when it was published in the monthlies. I think we all knew there was more to the story at the time when Spencer left. This certainly sounds like an interesting storyline, and it would have been nice to see the continued character development he implies was going to happen. Dan Didio mentioned prior to the reboot that Supergirl seemed too mature, which may be why DC didn't continue in this direction and instead gave us an angry hothead. I always wondered why anyone would expect a character to remain the same after a writer puts them through a series of life-changing events like the New Krypton arc, but maybe that's why I don't write comics.

This arc and the final DeConnick three issue arc at Stanhope College were going to be collected in the "SUPERGIRL Vol 10: Good-Looking Corpse" trade paperback, but that was cancelled so readers will have to either look for the back issues or buy them on Comixology:

Gene said...

Yeah, it is a shame this arc was not released in a trade. Perhaps someday...

Anonymous said...

This is nothing but a sad reminder of how far the current Supergirl is from Spencer/Peaty. Gates incarnation.
Would anyone deign to follow the current Supergirl in a crisis?
Hell no, she has a proven record for choosing the wrong side when push came to shove.
What team would take her on a probational basis now?

Incredible Hulkette indeed...

Firebird said...

Well it's been a long time since I've last posted a response on this blog. I don't often get involved in discussions on the internet as I've been content to simply be an observer to events as they unfold. This story arc written by Peaty was a very memorable one to me personally because if you recall, I first got to meet Bernard Chang when he was working on the layouts for issue 64 at my local comic store and one of my ideas for a scene in the issue actually made it onto the book itself. Getting to take part in but a small piece of the creative process is something that I will never forget and as a fan of Supergirl, I could not have been more happier. Reading this post only makes me miss the former DC universe and the characterizations that were once displayed ever more so. It is truly unfortunate that we have now ended up in this sad state of affairs within the industry and while I still continue to follow Supergirl in the New 52, I feel that much of the joy that we all shared as fans is now lost.

Speaking of which, you're probably gonna hate me for this Anj but I've been attending Wondercon this weekend in Anaheim, CA and I got to witness the premere of Superman: Unbound two nights ago as of this writing. While I won't reveal the plot details all I can say is, you're gonna be in for a real treat!

Take Care!

Gene said...

To follow up on Firebird's post:

Glad to see that you liked it Firebird. Although Bruce Timm is now gone, I think the DC Animated movies will do well under James Tucker.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Peaty say at the time, he was going to salvage what he could from Nick Spencer's original script and stay true to it as much as possible?

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments!

I think Peaty did try to salvage what he could from Spencer's story but my understanding is that there was a rough outline and not much else.

It is a bummer that these weren't put in a trade. They are the end of that Supergirl and show how much she had grown from the hotheaded unlikeable Kara in the early issues.

And yes, right now the Supergirl of the DCnU would not be followed. But by issue 18 of the old series the same was true. She had fought heroes, shot her classmates on Krypton, and brought down Air Force One.

Hopefully a similar renaissance to a true hero is around the corner.

Anj said...

Oh, also ...

Firebird I am jealous. But all the stuff from Wondercon ... the praise from people who saw it, the interviews with the actors (especially Molly Quinn) make me think it is going to be fantastic!

AndNowInStereo said...

In my recent digital comics binge, I read the last two arcs of the old Supergirl series, including this one and DeConnick's. I thought Peaty's was great and loved the characterisation of Supergirl in it.