Thursday, March 14, 2019

Back Issue Magazine: Elseworlds Finest & Barbara Kesel

I am a big fan of TwoMorrows Back Issue magazine, basically subscribing to it out of my LCS. As a amateur comic historian, I love these looks back at themes, comics, and creators from my history.

The latest issue covers all the alternative realities that comics have given us in the Bronze Age, from Marvels What If? to DC's Elseworlds and a ton of other imaginary tales. I love the concept of Elseworlds and What If? so this issue was in my sweet spot. Definitely worth getting and reading.

As always, whenever I stumble across a Supergirl specific nugget, I try to share. As Supergirl has had roles to play in some of the storylines which fit this issue's theme, I wasn't shocked to see her mentioned.

Specifically, the Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl comic got some significant coverage within the Elseworlds article.

Can I say that this issue has been one of the books I have wanted to do a dedicated review of since I started the blog. And yet, somehow, I have never been able to get to it. Part of it is how long it is. It would be hard to cover in one post. And yet, I think it would be cheating a little to cover it in two posts. That said, I recently split each issue of Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds into 2 posts given the dense nature of those stories over on The Legion of Super-Bloggers site. So maybe I shouldn't be overthinking it.

Regardless of my review, I love the issue and if you don't have it, you should seek it out.

And perhaps this TwoMorrow coverage will spur me on a little.

Certainly this is a true Elseworlds comic.

Rather than building on a single change like some Elseworlds ('What if Kal landed in Russia?', 'What if the Kents adopted Kal?'), this is a truly different place with some heroes being similar and others quite different.

This is a world of Batgirl and Supergirl, not Batman and Superman.

No surprise that Matt Haley and Tom Simmons like 'drawing girls'. There is a definite cheesecake feel to their art no matter where I run across it.

But I do like the point writer Barbara Kesel brings up. This was the era of thongs and boob windows. And yet, the gorgeous title heroes are in full body suits. Okay, I admit it looks like body paint. But still. This is the same way that, at least to me, Harley Quinn was way sexier in her full harlequin uniform instead of the booty shorts and bustier.

The description of the 90s as the female costume era of 'two band-aids and a cork' is brilliant!

The Justice League looks very different with it being mostly women, minorities, and aliens. Not a white man up there (unless the guy in the Flash costume is caucasian underneath).

While it might be easy to imagine something like this now hitting the stands, for the time it was pretty out there.

I wish I had hard numbers to report about sales but my gut told me it was a best seller. Certainly it seems to cost a bit more than other Elseworlds when I see it in the wild. And it spawned a couple of action figures to boot.

And I like the naughty tidbit that Babs black bikini was added to the story to show she didn't go commando in her bat-suit. She would have predated the Brian Azzarello reveal by decades!

And I also thought the women in the last scene was Kesel so glad to be corrected.

I was a bit bummed that Supergirl:Wings, the other Supergirl specific Elseworlds didn't get mentioned at all in the article. But these books were coming out fast and furious back then. No article could touch on them all.

I will do my best to finally cover this book in its entirety. There is a nice twist at the end that makes it well worth it!

And thanks again to Back Issue for its stellar comic coverage!


Anonymous said...

The concept "Elseworlds" is another piece of evidence that killing the Mutliverse just because it was (supposedly) too confusing (for WHO?) was a bad idea. I mean, three years after COIE, DC started to publish stories set in alternate universes!

"Two band-aids and a cork". Heh. So true.

I really love "Elseworld's Finest", even if Batgirl was channeling the most asshole and insufferable side of Frank Miller's Batman. Even so, EF came out thirteen years after COIE #7 and ten years after The Killing Joke. Who could imagine back then that the Maid of Might would return and the Dominoed Daredoll would get her cowl back? And yet still, defying all odds, they were teaming up again in this story.

As a fan of both characters and their sadly scarce team-ups I'm deeply grateful for this history, in spite of its flaws, and I like rereading it several times.

I look forward to read your review, whenever it comes out.

Anonymous said...

Would you characterize some or most of these as official or unofficial Elseworlds?

Bombshells / Bombshells United
Convergence (sort of)
DC Universe Online: Legends
Gotham City Garage
Infinite Crisis: Fight for the Multiverse
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Three
Injustice 2
Justice League 3001 (not sure which Supergirl this is)
Justice League Power Rangers
Justice League Unlimited
Man of Steel (movie prequel)
Scooby-Doo! Team-Up
Supergirl Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade
Supergirl: Being Super
Superman Adventures
Superman & Batman Generations
Superman Family Adventures
Tiny Titans
Trinity (Supergirl as Interceptor)

Plus some anthology stories like "Should Auld Aquaintance Be Forgot" ("Linda" apparently giving Deadman advice)

I think there's more :).


Anonymous said...

Oh, in case that wasn't clear, some version of Supergirl appears in each of the titles I listed in the previous comment, many of them quite awesome.

Anonymous said...

Other anon - I know that Bombshells was covered for a while, until it kind of lost the thread. And Anj has covered (and enjoyed) the Scooby-Doo Team Up stories with Supergirl. But I'm not sure about the others.