Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Supergirl An Origin Story

As I mentioned before, this month is my birthday month and one of the small gifts I got for myself arrived last week.

Supergirl: An Origin Story is written by Steven Brezenoff with art by Scooby Doo artist Dario Brizuela and is a children's book retelling how Kara came to Earth and became Supergirl.

This is a big book, think Tintin and Asterix size. And it is a good story which truly gives us Supergirl's history and establishes her on the planet.

I got this on a whim but am so happy I did. Because after reading 2 years of dark and brooding and evil Supergirl, I was amazed at how easily this book showed me, again, just who Supergirl should be. Any creator who goes to DC editorial and has a pitch for a Supergirl book should be given this to make sure they get just who Kara is. Kudos to Brezenoff for being so pithy and true.

I love Brizuela's art in the Scooby Doo books DC publishes so no surprise I love the work here. I especially like seeing the artist's take on Krypton. It is interesting that we get a DCAU look to Kara here, albeit with a full white shirt. Perhaps this is the look DC is going for in these kids books. It is the same costume that we saw in Supergirl is Patient .

On to the book.

We start out on Krypton with the planet about to explode.

Kara gets put in her rocket by Alura. Kara will have to take care of baby Kal when she lands.

That is one cool looking Alura!

It is interesting that the 'Kara being older than Kal' is now the de facto origin. No more 'younger, born on the displaced Argo'. I miss that.

In standard fashion, the rocket is delayed in getting to Earth.

When she arrives, baby Kal is waiting for her ... and almost 30 years old.

I do like how this scene is sort of like the classic Action Comics #252 cover.

When Superman explains that Kara will have powers on Earth, she gives them a whirl. We read that she struggles with flying and with aiming her heat vision.

One of the things that I like about Supergirl is that she is still learning. So I like that we see she is early on in the hero's journey.

It is also interesting that while Danvers is still Supergirl's adoptive family, the names are now Jeremiah and Eliza.

How interesting that the television show has impacted other media.

They are a nice couple with no children. So no scientist/DEO connection here ... at least for now.

But similar to Silver Age stories, Superman wants her to hide her powers and not be active.

And in her secret identity, we see Kara thrive in high school.

She makes friends, joins the sports team, and other than being bored in Math seems to have embraced her new life.

One day while in school, Kara hears screams and zips into action as Supergirl. She comes upon a mall on fire and helps the firefighters keep everyone safe.

Initially, both the Danvers and Superman aren't too pleased that Kara went into action.

And then Brezenoff made me smile.

"Earth saved us when we needed help. We should help Earth back."

It's that simple. Supergirl wants to help.

She doesn't hate Earth. She isn't angry. She doesn't want to be left alone. She isn't inherently evil.

She wants to help.

Someone should wallpaper DC Editorial with that top paragraph.

From that day on, Supergirl was there to save the day.

Not leave Earth.
Not be angry.
Not be goth.
Not be sullen.

She was there to save the day.

Anyways, great children's book to own if you are a Supergirl fan. Great book to give to children to introduce them to Supergirl.

Happy Birthday to me!


Martin Gray said...

This book looks and sounds great but I really do dislike enormously this business about Supergirl being Superman’s babysitter, it immediately makes her feel less, even though she’s meant to be his protector. She was saved not because of her own value, but to look after the great Superbaby?

And what the heck is wrong with the names ‘Linda’ and ‘Fred’ and ‘Edna’?

Anonymous said...

I'll take the business of her being Kal El's "protector" it simplifies the way too Otto Binderish 1959 "Argo City Fragment" origin which was way too precious from the git-go.
Anyway how the hell did we ever get away from this girl huh? "Earth Helped Us, Now We Must Help Earth" is almost as simple and succinct as "Hope, Help & Compassion for All".


Professor Feetlebaum said...

It's nice to know that a children's book can get Supergirl right, even if the comics can't seem to do so.

The animated costume may be the artist's way of distinguishing Kara from her cousin, even though she never wore it in the comics.

"Kara gets put in the rocket by Alura."

What? No Zor-El in this story?

I prefer the 1959 Otto Binder origin, but I will admit I read that version first, so I consider it the definitive Supergirl origin. Even early on, there were changes. There was no Argo City in Action Comics 252, just "a street of homes" that survived.

"And what the heck is wrong with the names 'Linda' and 'Fred' and 'Edna'?"

Not a thing. It's too bad those names stopped being important when the original Kara Zor-El was written out of continuity back in 1985. I believe that Supergirl, as a character, has been hurt by all the unnecessary changes and inconsistencies over the years.

Anonymous said...

It's telling that a children book is able to get Supergirl right whereas the comics are incapable of.

I find interesting the visuals are a mix of New 52 (Alura's costume) and Bruce Timm's designs.

"How interesting that the television show has impacted other media."

Other media usually has an impact on comics. Jimmy Olsen was named by the same radio serial which introduced Kryptonite after Siegel and Shuster's "The K-Metal from Krypton" pitch was rejected, and the 50's show as well as the Donner films influenced John Byrne's Superman.

I also miss the 1959 origin, even though it needed to be tweaked several times until "The Untold Story of Argo City" established the definitive version.

I also miss the names Linda, Fred and Edna.

I figure out the showmakers thought maybe the "Linda Danvers" name would confuse the audience (even though most of people is aware that Superman has two names), and Fred and Edna maybe sounded dated.

"Not a thing. It's too bad those names stopped being important when the original Kara Zor-El was written out of continuity back in 1985. I believe that Supergirl, as a character, has been hurt by all the unnecessary changes and inconsistencies over the years."

I believe your opinions are facts, Professor.

Read any Supergirl's appearance prior to the Crisis. Anyone. You'll find her background is always the same. All writers are aware that she's Linda Danvers/Kara Zor-El, daughter of Zor-El and Allura, who was rocketed to Earth to save her life, was dumped in the Midvale Orphanage by her cousin Superman, worked as his secret weapon until shortly after being adopted by Fred and Edna Danvers, owned a super-cat named Streaky, is a LLEgionnaire with romantic ties to Brainiac 5, has worked as a student advisor and actress...

Nowadays? There's no consistence. How many times her origin has been changed since Rebirth began?

And I blame DC for this. They killed the character off. They did their best to write her off as irrelevant and replace her with half dozen of confusing substitutes. She are responsible for Kara NOT benefiting from a decade and half of modern storytelling during which she would have attracted new fans. And when they finally caved and brought her back, they knew nothing about the character and they had no idea what to do with her so they changed her origin and personality constantly.

Therefore, there're no solid foundations to build on.

It's kind of like Krypton's lore, which has become completely inconsistent -or non-existent- since 1985 because DC allowed Byrne to throw it in the trash and replace it with his own version. DC blatantly sent the message that you don't need to know or respect Superman's lore since you can change it as you please. Therefore, nothing ever stucks because every writer decides to ignore their predecessors' work and come up with something different instead of building up on solid, firmly established foundations.

Anonymous said...

I think a problem might be that some people think that "the genuinely good, hope inspiring caring for others"-personality isn't enough of a "character". People think that character = having a dark side or issues that messed them up severely.

It's a mistake. Adding that to Kara:

a) Doesn't jingle with her personality and cracks the character into a fractured mess depending on writer. Rebirth Kara and Post-Rebirth Kara are not the same character, but they are sold like one.

b) Actually removes "character". By giving Kara "character" through darkness they are just creating conformity. She becomes more like every other "dark side"-character in the DC-verse. Her spot in the DC Universe is being the light. Look at her teamups with the Batgirls. A Batgirl by herself or teaming with the Bat-family is often a dark tale. Whenever a Batgirl meets Kara, part of the darkness they carry melt away. We see them having fun. We see Girl's Night Out, we see Batgirl Rebirth #1, we see the vampire hunt evening, we see the super best friends of DCSHG. That is her power. That is her place in the DC-verse.

Yes, Kara lost everything. But that loss channels through sadness, not rage. This is why she needs someone to carry her as well when she is down. Someone like Fred and Edna, or Eliza and Alex or Kal or Babs in the Fortress of Solidarity.

That blend of caring for others and being held by those close to her in times of need. That is Kara. There is no need for anger or revenge or an inner darkness in her character. All it does is diminishes her to just another character with a darkness. We have millions of those in the DC-verse. We don't need another.

Anonymous said...

... and saying that she deals with her loss through sadness doesn't make that a default mood. Much as Anj says, her personality isn't sullen. It's a personality of hope. But I do think it's important she takes her time to grieve at times, whether it is at Christmas when everyone is with family or crying out after the Black Mercy dream.

Anonymous said...

Hello from a french of supergirl,

I feel like the writers of supergirl (comic and tv) often forget that Kara grew up and was raised on krypton.

Using an extraterrestrial culture to talk about social issues is the easiest way. And this is the opportunity to make a more "adult" story without being "dark".
The environment ? kryptonians live in cities with a dome of protection following a war, castrophe or the destruction of one of the moons of krypton by jax-ur resulted in a mass extinction ...
Extremist groups? Coup d'Etat of Zod ...
Science ? the new 52 introduced a clone war ...

To face this clash of cultures, Kara needs support. Streaky (with purring), Babs her best friend, her parents Danvers, her cousin Kal with Lois, other parents Kents, Wonder Woman etc ...

I do not understand why this cycle of violence. There are so many themes to discuss with different heroes that it has the material to make a good story. Leave the dark to his universe and give us a more joyful universe.