Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Promises, Promises...

So I turn to the last page of my DC comics this week and instead of seeing Dan DiDio's usual "why DC is so great" diatribe, I find a bit about Supergirl by Eddie Berganza. :O

You can read it here. :)

It seems that DC is indeed concerned about the general anger and dislike towards the Supergirl book and character! :O So much for ppl saying that nobody listens to angry fanmail or blogs! XD It's clear this is a response to that.

So I read it and my first time reading it sounds a bit like an apology and sorta "plz plz read our book". Which is I guess better than nothing XD

But then reading it again I think it sounds like a BACKHANDED apology. :O Sorta like the difference between "I'm sorry I'm being a jerk" and "I'm sorry you think I'm being a jerk."

Sure, some of you may not be keen that we didn't go straight into America's Sweetheart mode with her, but, hey, we know that's what she will eventually become.

That's defining the argument to suit his purposes. >.<;; I, for one, have never argued that she should be America's Sweetheart (whatever that means e_e). It sounds like I'm hoping for her to be America's Next Top Superhero. It sounds like "yah, you guys want her to be a Mary Sue, but WE actually want her to be an interesting character".

Maybe this is cynical, but the way he's singling out women as the people who dislike Supergirl, it's almost like he's telling the male readers, "hey if you're unhappy with what we do, blame those GIRLS". >:|

But maybe I'm just reading too much into it! XD I try to hope for the best but part of me is a little "once bitten, twice shy" with the comic industry >.>;;

For us, it's the hero's journey that's interesting. I compare this to what's being done with Clark on SMALLVILLE.

Oh that's a good way to prove quality storytelling. Compare yourself to Smallville. >.>;;; The Smallville hero's journey for Superman has been HORRIBLE. And honestly, I rly dun think that a hero's journey needs angst and relationship break ups, etc... Smallville is a teen drama. I do enjoy watching it (sometimes, depending on the episode XD) but it's not rly a superhero show. And if Kara is gonna go that route... ugh. D:

After a very serious conference call that involved Joe, our amazing penciller Ian Churchill, and my then Assistant Editor Jeanine Schaefer (she was pivotal in giving us a woman's point of view on the character—like, can Supergirl gain some weight, please?), it was decided to have Kara just try to be a real teenager.

And how's that working out for you? >_>

But I'm annoyed that you feel that a "woman's point of view" was necessary to know that Supergirl was emaciated. Like, SRSLY, without her help you wouldn't have known!?

I know MANY MANY MANY guys who had a problem with Supergirl's look. This is what I mean when he's acting like it's just us gosh-darned feminists mucking things up. :| This speaks volumes about what's going on behind the scenes that they need to bring in a "woman's point of view" to tell them the obvious!

It also makes it sound like that all guys agree with them and it's just women who would notice the problems. Thom Wade would disagree with you I think.

We were gonna make Kara a typical teenager, which meant she wouldn't listen to the grownups (in her case a guy named Kal) and wouldn't appreciate being given chores (killing Kal for her dad, Zor-El). She'd just be a girl trying to find her place in the world.

Uh yah. "Typical teenager". So I was an atypical teenager b/c I wasn't mean to everybody and b/c I wanted to help ppl? So teenagers who read superhero comics wanting to be superheroes who save ppl and are good ppl are ATYPICAL teenagers!?

Again, this is a stereotype. When they think "girl" they think the girl they're staring at at the mall and who they ASSUME her personality. They think 'hey she looks superficial and a shopoholic, she prolly wouldn't want to save ppl'. The average teenager is NOT Paris Hilton! The average teenager is NOT what you see on the OC or on TV in general! >:O If the various Robins can be good responsible teenagers who just want to do good, why can't Supergirl?

But again, this is just saying "hey we're doing GOOD writing, but if you want lame writing, that's fine, whatever YOU want, idiot fans who know nothing". That's what it sounds like. :\ It's "we're doing nothing wrong, but we'll give you philistines what you want."

Now, she has a new love interest in Power Boy, a "hero" that Ian designed, keeping in mind the great attributes that are usually associated with female characters…and the reason most women don't like the super-hero genre. Like the chest window of his costume? His constant posing? Yes, he's a mimbo, but he'll be a lot worse to Kara when issue #15 hits.

Honestly, why does she NEED a new love interest? Is she Nightwing? XD Srsly tho, if this is their idea of a "clever" turnaround on the bimbo thing, it fails. I dun like Power Boy. If he's supposed to be female cheesecake, he fails. And honestly, two wrongs dun make a right. I've always believed the solution to treating women poorly, is not to treat men poorly too, it's to treat both genders well! But yah... he's not a mimbo. How is he ne more of a mimbo than Superman? Maybe if he had the bare legs or chest or something... Now Aquaman in his beard days.... mmmmmmmmmmmm

:D

He'll be a lot worse TO Kara? Umm... I know that that issue has him holding her cape in a "I just beat her down" way. So... plz plz plz dun have an abusive relationship. Even if you have Kara go nuts and smack him down... plz dun do that. I'm tired of abusive relationships being a staple of writing women's characters (as Thom Wade so satirically pointed out).

Then things heat up for the last daughter of Krypton with #16, when Joe is joined by new artist Ale Garza (as Ian will eventually be going on with Joe to one of my other books) and co-writer Mark Sable for a story arc that runs through issue #19, which will delve further into the fragments of Kara's past and give us a new understanding of the character.

This is finally where the admission that something isn't right with the book shows up. Ian Churchill is being reassigned, and they're giving us a co-writer! THIS is what we want to hear, that there are changes. If Ale Garza draws Supergirl like he drew her story in the Holiday Special, I'll be pleased. But this HAS to include the writing to back up the art. That is CRUCIAL. But I hear that some writers write for the artists. Given Churchill's drawings, I can understand if writers get flustered about how to portray Supergirl XD I just hope that we dun get more of the same, and Supergirl still ends up as some horny fantasy girl (Garza's art on Witchblade worries me). :|

I HOPE I'M WRONG THO!!

I know it sounds like I picked on it a lot. But I'm glad that at least they've admitted there's a problem (even if they're acting like we're just nuts for wanting a better Supergirl). And I appreciate that they're listening to fans and happy that we ARE getting our msg across. :)

The last part sounds like a beg for us to buy Supergirl tho. I feel that ppl should still be skeptical until they PROVE that things will be different. We're not gonna buy just cuz you say "in 10 issues she'll be wonderful, WE PROMISE". Give us changes now, not "gradual changes that will conveniently ask you to buy 20 issues to see".

Also, it sounds like she's gonna be an annoying prissy beauty contest winner at the end when they say "America's sweetheart". MY Supergirl isn't nebody's sweetheart. She's just her, a decent, good person. She's lost her home, she's lost her family, and she finds herself in helping people on her adopted planet. :) She's not perfect. She might be silly sometimes, but she still comes thru in the end. She doesn't try to kill ppl or fight heroes or act like a jerk all the time to everybody.

As my sister said, Supergirl is basically about a bad person. XD It's not about a villain, just a bad person.

She's right.

Kara doesn't need to be America's sweetheart. Just a good person.

Let's get that message out. And let's let DC know that it's not just women who dun like Supergirl but men AND women. :)

At least this msg from DC is a start (not a great one, but it's better than nothing). But words mean nothing if there aren't ACTIONS that follow. Hopefully they will deliver. :) As for the message, I'm glad that they've noticed the dipping sales, but I reject their arguments about why the book isn't broken.

I'm HOPING that this is a sign that things will change for our beloved Kara Zor-El. ^-^

In closing:

So, ladies, I hope you'll come out to the stores and give SUPERGIRL a shot.

-E


Enuf talk E. You want our money? It's time to put up or shut up. Give us the Kara we want, not the one you think we want.

-A(mi-cat :3)

12 comments:

GiantKillerMantis said...

I've never found Supergirl that interesting. On the JLU cartoon she was funny. I haven't read her new book, though I almost bought the issue that Amanda Conner drew b/c AC's work is awesome. Are there any good Supergirl stories you'd recommend?

F_Samson said...

this didn't sit well with me either. i'm sure berganza didn't mean anything malicious, but i guess there's a reason why he's an editor and not a writer!

ale garza is a much better choice than churchill (do his characters seem flat to you?) and i liked Grounded so maybe mark sable will be able to save joe kelly's ass. maybe. i'll continue to read supergirl and see how it plays out based on the new creators.

Ami Angelwings said...

Hi Giant! I've always liked the concept of Supergirl but I've never felt they've gotten her rly right. :|

Currently I recommend Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes but that's more an ensemble book than about her in particular. :O

For previous Supergirl stories, I recommend "Many Happy Returns". :) But for the current Supergirl, I recommend nothing. :(

Ami Angelwings said...

Hi Samson!

I saw Garza's work on the Infinite Holiday Special, and I thought his Supergirl was very cute and well drawn. :)

Churchill's characters are all the same and they all have the same faces. :( Also their eyes have this distant look in them. :|

I have heard good things about Mark Sable, so I'm hopeful that Sable and Garza will do well together.

Also since they said that Churchill will be leaving to join Kelly on another assignment, that might mean that Sable will do the majority of the writing. :)

Thanks for reading Samson! :D

Thom said...

Thanks for the mention! :)

I am with you on this. I would like to see the character live up to the potential (But I say that about Booster Gold, too, so what do I know).

The Fortress Keeper said...

Well said.

Actually, the JLU Supergirl wouldn't be a bad model for DC to emulate.

(Although JLU often handled DC characters better than DC ... )

Mark Sable said...

Hi Ami,

I'm Mark Sable, the writer who will be co-writing Supergirl with Joe Kelly from issues 16-19. I came across your blog post (read: I’m vain and googled myself) and I thought I would respond.
As fsamson mentioned I wrote a comic called GROUNDED that came out from Image last year. You can read the first issue for free here:

http://www.imagecomics.com/onlinecomics.php

(yes, I know I’m shamelessly self-promoting but I’m not asking you to buy anything, and it might give you an idea where I’m coming from).
First let me say that my opinions are my own, and not representative of DC, Eddie Berganza, Joe Kelly or any of the talented editors, writers or artists who have worked on the book.
With that out of the way, it's obvious that, like me, you care about the portrayal of women in comics in general and Supergirl in particular. Therefore, although I disagree with you in some respects, I thought your blog post deserved a thoughtful response.

Let’s get to it:
1) I don't think it's fair to categorize Eddie's column as a "backhanded apology". I think we owe him the benefit of the doubt that he genuinely wants women to read Supergirl. For a long time many comic fans have (rightly) complained that comics needs more female readers (and creators, editors etc.) I know personally I want my female friends and family to be able to enjoy my work as much as my male friends (not to mention feel just as comfortable walking into a comic shop to pick said work up).
I think DC is putting their money where their mouth is in this regard- starting Minx, the new line aimed at women, bringing in a respected female author on Wonder Woman etc. Now that Eddie is sincerely reaching out...I think the very least we can do is take him at his word and give him a chance.
2) I do think you are reading to much into the column by saying Eddie is “singling out girls” as the ones that are unhappy that Supergirl is not “America’s Sweetheart” (although to be fair I understand how the paragraph might read that way).
In my admittedly limited experience, with certain Supergirl posts on the net, there seems to be male criticism of SG for being too “slutty” that I think verges on sexist. Here are some examples from message board posts:

“How sexual should 16 year old girls be? I know some 16 year old girls do it, but they are not supposed to until they are 18 at least. Now is Kara going to be one of those naughty 16 year olds, or is she going to wait until she's the right age before getting serious with the opposite sex?”

“Seriouslly, by the way SG acts by now, i wouldn't be surpriced if around issue 25 she get pregnant and does not know who the father is. I really prefer a softer SG and not a wild ****-like teenager.”

“I am just not into it. With the tatoos, and dressing like a hoe all the time. She shouldn't wear the "S"

“The "S" is a great weight to carry and it meas "S"uper not "S"lutty.”

Now, I think it’s perfectly legitimate to debate at what age it’s appropriate for teens to have sex, and when it’s appropriate or not to depict it in mainstream comics. But you have to wonder whether the posters would be asking these same question about a male superhero. I doubt that anyone said Superboy’s “S” should stand for slutty when he slept with Wonder Girl (and remember, Supergirl hasn’t done more than kiss anybody as far as I’ve seen).
My point is that, while I can’t speak for Eddie, it seems more likely he’s responding to guys who on the one hand like that Supergirl wears revealing outfits, but on the other hand wish that Supergirl was as pure as the driven snow.
3) I wouldn’t worry too much about Supergirl becoming Smallville. The issues I’m writing are most definitely SUPERHERO stories more (although I think they are very CHARACTER-DRIVEN superhero story…not just people getting punched). I tend to look at her much more as Buffy than a young Clark.
4) I take issue with you statement that we needed “a woman’s point of view to tell (us) the obvious”, because it implies that Jeanine Schaeffer was only brought into the conversations about Supergirl because she is a woman. As far as I know, Jeanine was brought in because she’s one of the best people DC has on the editorial side, regardless of her gender (the fact she just got a big promotion speaks volume about here talent).
I also really hope it doesn’t sound like only women at DC care about the portrayal of women in comics. I know that I personally care a great deal about it. In fact, one of my next comics from Image (called HAZED) is a comedy about sororities, eating disorders and body image (think Mean Girls or Heathers set in college).
As far as Supergirl’s weight goes, from what I’ve seen from Ale’s art (he drew her in DCU’s Infinite Crisis Special and the cover to issue 16 which is in previews for April) I think people will be pleased.
5) I think you raise some interesting points in regards to the question of what a “typical teenager” is.
I agree with you that typical teenagers are not what you see on the OC or TV in general. For example, they are usually played by 20-30 year old actors. I know with GROUNDED I made sure that Paul Azaceta, the artist, drew teenagers that actually looked like teenagers.
You’re right, typical teens are not like Paris Hilton (thank god). But typical teens (or adults for that matter) also don’t read comics, let alone fly around, and they aren’t put into situations where they have to save people’s lives every month.
My impression of what Eddie meant by typical is that, like most teens (or adults), Kara has been going through a period where she’s making mistakes. It reminds me a lot of the 6th season of Buffy. I remember when I first watched it, I wasn’t happy – how could she be sleeping with Spike, he tried to rape her! But as I got a little older, I went through some of the same things Buffy did – making bad relationship and career decisions etc.
Buffy came out of that season a hero, and I can tell you that Kara will come out of my issues a hero as well. She’s someone who carries some tremendous burdens – not only the responsibility of “The Big S”, but the fact her dad sent her back to kill Superman (something my issues will deal with directly). Those are pretty tough things for someone of any age to deal with, and I think that she’s going to prove herself to be even MORE of a hero for overcoming those obstacles. It’s cliché but the greater the challenge, the greater the hero.
6) Finally, I totally understand why you are skeptical and feel like it’s up to us to prove to fans that we can give them the Supergirl they deserve. I know you want change immediately, but bringing in new creative teams takes time (the alternatives are to have SG not come out, or be delayed, or start with a new #1…). And while it may sound convenient that the new Supergirl is taking 20 issues to come, I can only say that my first issue with Joe (16) comes out in April. I really hope you will at the very least give that issue a change, because I genuinely think you’ll enjoy it.

Mark

P.S. I know that I didn’t address everything, but believe it or not this post took me HOURS, literally…I keep thinking I could have written a comic in the time it took (don’t worry, I’m kidding, I spend a lot more than a few hours on my comics). I hope the effort I put into this underscores how much we DO care about fans like you.

Ami Angelwings said...

Hi Mark! :)

Wow, I didn't know nebody that worked in DC actually read a blog from someone like me XDD

I appreciate you taking the time to write to me. :) However, I still stand by how I feel about the letter. Eddie may have meant other things, but they didn't come across. All nebody can rly get from it is what he wrote and how he wrote it. :\ Sadly I dun have the ability to be behind the scenes and know what's rly going on. :\

As for the women's POV, it's b/c he said it, that I mentioned it. If he hadn't pointed it out like something important, I wouldn't have brought it up. :|

I never was a Buffy fan actually. :( While I did watch the show, I never rly liked the character at all. :\ And while the "typical" teenage girl may not read comics. I didn't read comics as a teenage girl either. Yet, given the chance to be a hero, I would. I've had trauma in my life complete with a horrible father that I lost and have mixed feelings about losing like Supergirl. :| So that's why she means a lot to me, and that I wasn't wracked by horrible guilt that made me mean to everybody.

I just think it would mean more to show that somebody can be a good person and still do good things without going thru the obligatory "bad girl" phase. :\

However, as I said, I am HOPEFUL, and YOU are a big reason for this. I'm interested to see where you take the character, and while I may be done with Kelly and Churchill, I'll give your run on Supergirl a chance. :) I dun need change NOW, but I would like to see at least a semblance of a change. :) Something to say "hey things are gonna be different".

Neways, ultimately, it's about whether ppl enjoy the book or not. I'm just one girl, so if a lot of women like it and I dun, then I understand why nothing would change. But if ppl dun enjoy the book, then regardless of whether it's being misinterpreted or not, I think that's all that matters. :\

And right now, honestly, and I appreciate that you, as a writer, take the time to read your fans thoughts, I do not enjoy the book or the character at all. I just dun. And I WANT to. If Supergirl didn't mean something to me, I wouldn't be writing about her, or still buying the book. :)

Neways, I appreciate you commenting here. :) I look forward to your run on Supergirl. ^-^

- Teh Ami

Matthew said...

Mr. Sable.

You want more people to read Supergirl?

Go to www.girl-wonder.org, and listen t the people who post on their message boards.

Mark Sable said...

Ami,

I tried posting a response before, but either it didn't take or you haven't approved it (if it's the latter, I apologize if I'm being repetitive).
Thanks for the nice words. I'm glad my presence on the book makes you hopeful, and I hope I can deliver a Supergirl you're happy with.
Matthew - thanks for the site recommendation, I posted there and I'm awaiting a response. If nothing else, this debate has opened my eyes to a lot of new bloggers and boards I might not have otherwise been aware of.

Mark

notintheface said...

Jeez, maybe Didio should have had MARK write that open letter instead of EDDIE?

ryan_cf said...

Mark, whatever Eddie's column was meant to be, a lot of readers rolled their eyes. It's one thing to promise quality work which will address concerns, but it's another thing to actually execute.

By coming online and defending Eddie, I'd say you're sticking your neck out there to actually deliver where he has not.

It's not just about the Hilton-ized revamp of Supergirl, or the desire to walk away from decades of a well-established version of Kara Zor-El's personality. It's been about quality of story-telling for many readers. And that's where the writer (ie: you) comes in. (I'll leave the costume decisions to Berganza and the DC brass.)

And, honestly, the column raises some questions about whether or not Eddie or DC are capable of even understanding the complaints.

Yes, I was one of the dozens of irritated bloggers over the weekend. And given my usual readership and the sudden spike in comments and readership I received, I don't think I'm alone here.

http://www.filmfodder.com/comics/archives/2007/01/berganzas_bizarre_plea_for_sup.shtml

You can continue to deliver the status quo on Supergirl and continue to watch numbers slip away, or you can see if all of these loud-mouthed bloggers are willing to put their $3 where their mouths are.

As a new writer you have an opportunity here. Supergirl was selling 100,000 copies.

How are you going to make your mark?