Friday, March 6, 2015

new Supergirl costume is fairly Supergirl-riffic

this is it, there's no turning back now

Sometime in the next several months, CBS is slated to bring Supergirl to the small screen.  Look, I'm a Helen Slater guy from way back, a casting decision I will always support even if Supergirl, as a movie, has... complications.

In the comics, I'm really a fan of only a few eras of Supergirl, if by Supergirl you mean Kara Zor-El and not Cir-El, Matrix/ Mae or Linda Danvers (but, look, I will always support Linda Danvers, and I'm irritated she's mostly forgotten, because today's fangirl community would love her as some sort of Supergirl).

Straight up, I'm a Silver-Bronze Age Kara Zor-El fan when she was portrayed as bright, perhaps naive, but eternally optimistic teen and college kid.  With a flying cat and horse that she sometimes dated.*  If Supergirl isn't trying to see the best in everyone and trying to save the day while she basically fights with identity issues Clark Kent doesn't spend too much time pondering, she isn't really Supergirl.

real Supergirl is perky as all living hell

Of course, that Supergirl was killed off in 1986 as part of Crisis on Infinite Earths (30 year old spoilers.  Sorry).  It was pretty traumatic, really.  It was like killing off Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.  You'll notice the list of other Supergirls above, and that was DC's flailing to have a Supergirl in the DCU, but trying to keep the "Superman is the only Kryptonian" rule intact that made Superman comics an occasionally tortured mess back in the 1990s as they tried to reintroduce popular concepts, like, say Krypto.

Finally, in the mid-00's, DC buckled, swept all the other Supergirls under the rug (even after Peter David provided them with a way to introduce Kara Zor-El proper into the DCU) and had Kara Zor-El land on Earth.

My Supergirl is a Supergirl who isn't afraid of some reasonably priced spicy chicken

I was elated.  It seemed like DC was going to just walk out of the corner they'd painted themselves into and restore a fan-favorite concept.  The first issue sold over 100,000 copies, which was a lot at the time.  It would soon drop to somewhere closer to the 12,000 range.

But...  this was Dan Didio and Eddie Berganza's Supergirl.  And, apparently, they wanted Supergirl to be as unpleasant as a character as one could imagine, and the comics went from "what is this?" to "this is awful" in about a year.  Kara was loaded with an asinine backstory, given Wolverine-like spikey crystal points she could get stabby with, she took down Air Force One, she fought with everyone she talked to, and was maybe sleeping with Captain Boomerang Jr. at one point.

And all throughout the series, it felt icky and kind of misogynistic.  But Editor Eddie Berganza kept insisting that (a) this is how real girls act, and (b) no, no..  you like this, you're just not realizing it.  You can read my prior thoughts on the topic here.

I'd want to point out, Sterling Gates did wonders to restore Supergirl prior to the New 52, and made the title one of my favorite in the DCU line prior to the revamping.  With the New 52, I dropped the title after two issues and never looked back.

To be honest, I was 90% sure that when DC went to put Supergirl to the small screen, we were in for either the Dead-Eyed Michael Turner version of Supergirl in her mini-skirt and belly shirt acting like a numbskull, or we were getting the just as erratic Supergirl of the New 52 in her absolutely terrible costume that's in the modern comics.

So, while I have not seen two seconds of film from the new show, I'm at least cheered a little that the Supergirl we are getting is in something resembling her more traditional costume, and they managed to do it without showing leg and allowing for up-skirt shots.  Sure, the designer couldn't help themself and the costume doesn't allow for yellow in the S, but... okay.

Even the make-up and hair choice is understated and tilts toward natural rather than the "I'm headed out to the club" look we've mostly seen in the comics for a decade.

All in all, it doesn't give me pause or force me into rationalizing anything the way those first shots of Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman had us all doing (and I was really pulling for Palicki, who is talented and should have had better material to work with).  But the Palicki Wonder Woman is also a cautionary tale for how this can go at a Big 4 Network.  That pilot, if you ever see it, is terrible.  Like, Aquaman on WB terrible, if not worse (Palicki... also in that Aquaman pilot).

So, yeah, I'd like to see the reds redder, the blues shinier and bluer, but it's also not a trainwreck from the first publicity still.  But this is something I can see little girls (or boys, I'm not judging) sporting on a Halloween not that far in the future.

Well, she is just cute as a button

As always, I'm cautiously optimistic.  If the CW's Flash and ABC's Agent Carter have taught me anything, it's that these shows don't necessarily need to be disappointing and/ or terrible. So, we'll see.  I'm hoping for a Mary Tyler Moore Show mixed with superheroing sort of thing, but we'll have to see.

*comics are complicated

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