Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tony Bedard Discusses Supergirl In Secret Origin

We are a couple of months away from Secret Origin but we are learning more about what to expect from the title. Over on Comic Vine, Tony Bedard started to shed some light on the Supergirl story in the first issue. Here is the link:

As always, it is well worth reading the entire interview. It is relatively brief. And has been the case, Bedard says all the right thing. And while that doesn't always translate to doing the right things, at least he isn't saying the wrong things. I have read enough of those interviews.

Here are some things that stuck out for me:

CV: Is there a different feeling writing this version of Kara compared to when you did Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes?
TB: In the New 52 version, we've really played up how difficult it is for Supergirl to fit in on Earth. Superman had the advantage of growing up here, but Kara's personality and outlook were forged back on Krypton. She never expected to become a superhero on what to her is a pretty primitive world. So where the old Supergirl was much more comfortable with her role, this newer version of Kara Zor-El is still trying to figure out what to do with the power she has. It's been tricky, because she's usually fed up and frustrated by her encounters on Earth, which can come off as grumpy or whiny. The old Supergirl was universally beloved and accepted. This new one has more of a Peter Parker challenge: getting the public to trust her. She'd settle for just feeling like she belongs. But with the events of the upcoming Red Lanterns crossover and her joining the Justice League, Kara has a lot of opportunity to turn her life around and earn that S on her chest.

It is great that Bedard recognizes that the isolated Supergirl who has been 'fed up' can be perceived as grumpy and whiny. This is true!

But the old Supergirl being 'beloved and accepted'!? That is the old old old Supergirl! Matrix? Not so much. Certainly the last incarnation with Loeb and Kelly was in a similar position until Gates rehabilitated her. But I will be happy to have this Supergirl eventually come close to being beloved and starts acting the part of the hero.

CV: What do you like about her?
TB: I like that in her New 52 incarnation Supergirl isn't as defined by her relation to Superman. That is, she's not trying to be like him and follow his example. She has her own reasons for wanting to use her powers for the greater good. That's the focus of this new SECRET ORIGINS story -- not just recapping her origin and powers, but setting up how Supergirl stands on her own merits rather than basking in the glory of her cousin.

Again, we are talking about the old old old Supergirl, and even then it is the older stories of the old old old  Supergirl that defined herself via Supergirl. The Daring New Supergirl was her own person. Matrix didn't either. Even Gates' stories had her on her own. So this isn't necessarily new.

I don't mind Supergirl being her own person, separate from Superman. But they should have a loving relationship with each other.

CV: Obviously, you can't give everything away, but what's different about the new 52 origin of this character?
TB: A lot if this has already been established in the SUPERGIRL monthly, so it's not giving away too much. We do see young Kara preparing for "the Trials" Krypton's rite of passage that Kara never actually got to take. I think it's neat to see more of her relationship with her mother, who wore the pants at Casa Zor-El. The title of the story says it all: "Daughter of the House of El."

Certainly in the last incarnation, Alura was the stronger more extroverted personality of Supergirl's parents. That Alura seemed to be in charge there. That Alura was alive and commanding and sometimes overbearing. It will be interesting to see how the memory of this Alura effects Supergirl.

Also, we have seen glimpses of this version Alura before. Certainly she had some confidence and strength ... she shot Zor-El. But in other scenes she has seemed more like an overbearing mother, trying to have Kara dress conservatively and possibly agree to an arranged marriage. Luckily those scenes have been few so Bedard has some license here.

CV: What do you think long time fans will like about this book?
TB: I tried for a more positive, upbeat feel for Supergirl that I think lines up a little more with the vibe that Supergirl had in her previous incarnations. We see her performing a rescue as only a Super-character can. And I think it's always fun to get another glimpse of Krypton and its culture which shaped Kara in ways that Superman might never really understand.


Bedard addresses long time fans!

I am glad that he is moving more towards a more classic Supergirl here, a young hero finding herself.



Anonymous said...

The problem with New 52 Supergirl is that she's somehow (despite not being a different person) turned into being a Stephanie Brown to her former self. So now there's a group of newer fans who really love the grumpy aggressive Kara and will complain if she gets shifted too far over to a positive mindset.

Also, there's the issue that the current Kara's personality doesn't really lend itself well towards becoming more upbeat. The reactions and points of view of the character we've seen protrayed so far don't meld very well with her finding a place on Earth, becoming a hero and putting the S suit back on. Why would she? I think it would be much more in-character for her to leave Earth altogether, join up with a Lantern Corps (not Red, but one of the others) and either spend her life travelling the galaxy or settled down on a planet much more advanced and Krypton-like.

If I woke up on a planet that was akin to 11th century Earth, and I knew there was a planet nearby I could live on that was more like 21st century Earth, I'd move right away! :P

I think the New 52 writing/editing team have painted themselves into a cover where they're doomed to either continue upsetting old fans, or upsetting new ones AND forcing Kara to break character.

A few character-building moments, followed by a significant time-skip, might solve the problem.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't help that sales are dropping either...the book has wandered in tone and content since the reboot...if the writer's can't the answer the simple question as to why Supergirl would want to act as a heroine on Earth, then chaos and stunt driven writing will rule the roost until the book is canceled. It seems to me a simple question, but literally it knocks the DC creatives for a loop...sad and soon tragic in a manner of speaking.


Anj said...

Surprisingly, the easiest explanation for her need to be a hero in a New 52-like universe was her attitude in the animated movie Unbound.

There she states that something horrible happened to her world, she feels great pain, so she vows nothing like that will happen on her new world. Simple, right?

Molly Quinn killed it doing that role.

Gear said...

It's possible that there are a group of fans that love the current version of Supergirl, but it seems that there aren't enough of them buying the book. Sales numbers are as low as they were just before Flashpoint, and that volume had 67 issues under its belt. Compare this to the other books with a female lead, Batgirl and Wonder Woman, and it's obvious there's a problem. The book at 21k is in trouble, and DC knows it needs to try something different. And the difference between how Supergirl is portrayed and how more successful books portray their leads is pretty obvious.

The Red Lanterns crossover has the potential to get Supergrl exposure with readers who may not already read Superman family books and provide enough character development to get her to the point where she can be more than a whiney child. Supergirl as she is now could never be a member of a team like JLU, or even really have any friends as nobody could stand to be around her. An angry brat who can't get along with anyone can't maintain stories for very long unless you turn her into a Kryptonian Incredible Hulk.

I'm hoping that the Red Daughter series can bring more readers on board while giving a good in-story reason for her changing into a character worth spending $2.99 on every month. Because at the current rate of sales decline the book won't be here this time next year.

Anj said...

I think you are right Gear, the book is selling less and less. If you look at the actual table in ICv2 (which I will comment on next week) there are plenty of DC books down around there.

Finding the right audience for this book is the key. And changing course now is advisable. The question is, will people come to look at the new direction. DC has been doing a good job trumpeting it, and putting it on display in Red Lanterns, JLU, and Secret Origin will spread the word.

But like you, I fear that in a short time the main title will be gone.

AndNowInStereo said...

Yeah, a large number of DC books have dwindling audiences. Soule's Swamp Thing, Andreyko's Batwoman, Animal Man as it enters its final issues, even the rave-reviewed Green Arrow are all in the low 20k mark now.

Secret Origin hopefully offers a way in for new readers, which are what DC is not holding onto right now, so having Supergirl in issue #1 is very good indeed. I hope TB has something good for that story!

elknight20 said...

So.... Basically, he's making Supergirl a mix of Linda Danvers/ 70's to 90's Kara (being her own hero while adding in a dash of classic Kara flair? Interesting! :D