Tagged: Power Girl

Ed Catto: Paul Kupperberg Looks Up Into the Sky!

Supergirl Covers

I have a friend who loved opera and music growing up, and now she sings in the chorus for the Metropolitan Opera. There’s something energizing when you witness someone leverage their passion and turn it into a wonderful and fulfilling career.

And my friend, comic writer Paul Kupperberg, is exactly that kind of person.

PK-SA SGirl NYCCAs a kid back in 1976, Paul was buying comics at My Friend’s Bookstore in Flatbush, Brooklyn. “My ideal book store,” Kupperberg explained. “Carts out front, loaded with cheap books. The counter on the right had all the Golden Age issues. Superman #1 was $100. They used the Howard Rogofsky price list. Behind the counter there were boxes on the shelves. A magical place – we’d go on weekends. We would even work there.”

Even though Superman was his favorite, Kupperberg has had a long experience with the character, Supergirl. “I didn’t come to the Supergirl strip until the sixties,” he said. Supergirl was “one of the first characters I collected.” These adventures were unique as they employed an internal continuity. Certainly more than other DC series at that time. “It was a very different strip for that era,” said Kupperberg.

But by the late 70s and early 80s Kupperberg had the opportunity to contribute professionally to Supergirl’s mythology. “I did stuff for Superman Family. It was an oversized book. I was writing Jimmy Olsen. Marty Pasko was doing Supergirl. He left and I picked it up. Win Mortimer was drawing it – about a year’s worth,” said Kupperberg.

“Then she got her own title. A big deal.”

Kupperberg finally got his chance to fly with Supergirl. Supergirl debuted in her new comic – The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl in late 1984.

UnusualTales1“Julie Schwartz was the editor,” Kupperberg recalled. “and Julie was famous for reinventing characters. Supergirl was, at that point, a soap opera star in New York City. I had a problem with a grown woman as Supergirl. We wanted to push it back, so we sent her back to college. We didn’t say if she was an undergrad or a graduate student. In those days, hard reboots didn’t exist. The idea of totally changing a character didn’t exist. You could bring them back and reinvent them.”

Kupperberg wrote the series for almost two years, until it ended with issue #23.

Due to slow sales, this Supergirl series was cancelled, along with Superboy. But there were plans to combine Supergirl and Superboy into a single, oversized, 40-page comic called DC Double Comics. The two characters would rotate as lead feature and back-up feature.

Plans called for Kupperberg to write the stories. Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson would provide art for Superboy. The revised premise would showcase Superboy’s intergalactic adventures with the Galaxians. “They were like the Legion of Super-Heroes but in the present day,” explained Kupperberg.

Supergirl fans would have enjoyed a real treat. The brilliant Eduardo Barreto was assigned as penciller on this strip. Bob Oskner was to be the inker. The first issue was penciled and lettered.

“Life had caught up with Supergirl,” said Kupperberg. The premise was that she was going to visit her parents on New Krypton, and have adventures on the new planet recently established from the restoration of the the bottled city of Kandor.

SecRom_2Unfortunately, as DC developed the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a company-wide reboot of DC mythology, these two characters were written out of continuity. Plans for DC Double Comics were scrapped.

In the DC mythology, the Supergirl of Earth-2, that alternate earth where the Golden Age heroes still thrived, was called Power Girl. Originally created as a Wally Wood heroine appropriate for all ages.

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths streamlined the continuity, “they wanted to keep her around,” said Kupperberg. Gerry Conway and Bob Greenberger rejiggered her backstory in an issue of Secret Origins where she became the

granddaughter of Arion, Lord of Atlantis. (This was a character that Kupperberg created.) Kupperberg wrote several Power Girl adventures, including a mini-series illustrated by Rick Hoberg.

“I love my Wally Wood,” said Kupperberg. “But Rick Hoberg drew her in human proportions.”

As for the new CBS series, “I’m enjoying the show,” said Kupperberg. “They got it right. They got the heart and soul of Kara correct, and that’s what’s important.”

Kupperberg sees a bit of the DNA of his Supergirl run in the TV show, but concedes there’s no direct influence. One character they’ve used is Reactron. “I came up with him,” said Kupperberg. “So there’s that. That’s cool.”

But he watches it just like every other fan. “Hank Henshaw – when they turned him into Martian Manhunter – I knew it was coming but I was still like: EEEK!”

Kupperberg is very philosophical about different interpretations of characters. He related a story where he and longtime pal John Byrne were bitching about evaluating one of the recent comic versions of Superman. They were saying that those guys aren’t writing the real Superman. But then he realized, “neither were we. The only person who wrote the real Superman was Jerry Siegel. Everyone else is just writing his own version. Sure, we stuck close to the original source material, but <even> we were pretty far from the original. The original Superman was like Bernie Sanders. He was democratic socialist. He was knocking down doors and saving an innocent guy from the electric chair. He was battering down the Governor’s door.”

Today, Paul Kupperberg is involved with myriad ventures. One is Charlton NEO, “a revival of the old Charlton comics in name if not in spirit.” His collaborators include Roger (Daredevil) McKenzie and Mort Todd.

Paul Kupperberg’s Secret Romances is a comic that attracts an A list of comic professionals, including Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Dean Haspeil, John Byrne, Joe Staton & Nick Cuti (on a new E-Man adventure), Rick Burchett and Neil Vokes.

He’s also working on The Scary Squad, a Scooby Doo style team of cosplayers, a Planet of the Apes story for an upcoming anthology, and a trilogy of Atlantis stories. “These are essentially my last Arion stories.”

Kupperberg has always enjoyed writing strong women: Supergirl, Power Girl, and Chian in Arion. “Even my Betty and Veronica” (in the recent Life with Archie series). I like women. I respect women,” said Kuppperberg.

For more information check out Paul’s site http://kupps.malibulist.com.

Mike Gold: Gerry Conway, Freedom Fighter

I’ve been reading Gerry Conway’s new Amazing Spider-Man mini-series (or whatever; contemporary comic book numbering would even baffle the ancient Romans who had no concept of “zero.”) and I’m enjoying it… but not in the way I expected. I expected Classic Conway, which is fine. What we got was a solid Spidey story written in a very contemporary style.

But that’s not this old dog’s only new trick.

Gerry’s been very busy standing up for creators’ rights; obviously, including his own. His efforts have earned praise from Neal Adams, the medium’s worthy and long-time leader in the ongoing battle for creators’ rights. Most recently, he’s been commenting on DC’s latest talent-relations habit where they would bonus comics talent for extra-media use of characters they created. If the creation was at all derivative, DC no longer feels the need (non-contractual obligation based upon decades of precedent) to write a check. For example, Gerry Conway created Power Girl – with artists Ric Estrada and Wally Wood – but, because Power Girl is “derivative” of Superman, no bonus. One would think the character is derivative of a certain soon-to-be-televised Marvel superhero, but that’s a story for a different legal team. DC can define derivative any way it wants, but the end result is that money that once went into creators’ pockets now stays in DC’s.

The fact is, any character created for the DC Universe is derivative at least in part simply because it must exist in the DC Universe and honor the DCU’s laws of physics. The old bonus thing is now meaningless because the creator has no recourse except to complain. There is no incentive to trust DC with your new creation because they feel you’re lucky to walk away with your page rate intact. Maybe.

From this point forward, only an idiot or a newbie would create a character for the company. The DC Universe, perpetually fighting eight decades of staleness, is going to continue to press the Reboot Button like some crack monkey in a lab.

This is hardly Gerry’s first rodeo at the Freedom Fighters’ Ranch. Way back in 2014, Gerry wrote a very impressive piece that was reprinted in Forbes Magazine about how Amazon’s acquisition of Comixology hurts comics creators.

This is so important that I’m actually putting it in a separate paragraph and italicizing it:

What hurts comics creators hurts comics readers, and hurts the entire comics medium.

I must make two disclaimers. First, I’ve known Gerry for, oh damn, almost 40 years. That’s frightening… for Gerry. Second, Gerry Conway has created or co-created the Punisher, Firestorm, Steel, The Deserter (my favorite; sadly, it fell victim to the DC Implosion), Killer Croc, Tombstone, Man-Thing, Killer Frost (if you watch The Flash teevee show, that would be Caitlin Snow) and just under a zillion others. So, yeah, it’s his ox that’s being gored, but when you’re right, you’re right.

And Gerry Conway is right.

By the way, you’ll note I called Gerry an “old dog” up in the second paragraph. For the record, he’s two years younger than I am. So I mean “old dog” in the nicest, Scoobie-Doo sort of way.


Mindy Newell: Sephora Kicks Super-Ass!

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” – Gwyneth Paltrow

“I fought a killer and didn’t even smudge my makeup.” – Rose Pressey, Flip that Haunted House

After a fun time with my grandson – soon to be 14 months old! What’s that saying about time flying? – on Friday at Gymboree, I drove over to Sephora to buy some concealer for my 61 year-old under-eye bags and of course ended up spending too much money on other shit that I probably didn’t need and which I justified by telling myself that I hadn’t splurged on said self in a year so stop worrying and learn to love the bomb, as Kubrick so aptly put it.

Anyway, driving home I got to wondering about what kind of skin care and make-up the superheroes use.

There are dozens – hundreds? – of mascaras that claim to be waterproof (though I’ve never used one that stands up to the pool or the ocean) and that will stand up to the most exhausting and sweat-inducing workouts and ultra-triathlons. There are dozens – hundreds? – of foundations and blushes and lipsticks and eye shadows made by companies, from deluxe department store brands to those found on a drugstore carousel rack, that claim to “lasts all day!,” withstanding everything from a walk in a tropical monsoon in Mumbai to a passionate, epic 24 hour tumble between the sheets. And there dozens – hundreds? – of skin care products promising to turn back the clock and/or replace more invasive products like Botox or Juvaderm or – going all the way – cosmetic surgery.

So what does a superwoman wear while she’s pummeling – and being pummeled by – her equally meta-powered enemy? Surely Superman needs a little styling gel to keep those oh-so-sexy Kryptonian curls and waves mussed in just the right places?

After all, no super hero wants to be seen with puffy, dark-circled eyes and a turkey neck. Doesn’t inspire much confidence in the civilians to be seen looking “tired and drab” when you set out to stop the latest threat to Earth.

WHOOSH! The Flash needs help. Yeah, that – ahem – flashy red suit of his is designed to withstand the friction and wind he creates as he rushes to help, sometimes hitting velocities beyond the sound barrier. But what does he use to prevent the certain skin damage to his wind burned and chapped cheeks, chin, and lips?

Speaking of skin care, here’s some other meta-human types that could some help with their epidermis:

  • The Thing. ‘Nuff said!
  • Iron Man. “What?” you say. “Tony Stark is enclosed in technological armor. He doesn’t have to worry about sun exposure!” Yes, but it gets hot inside that face plate. After a hard day at the office, there’s nothing the man needs more than a really good skin care regimen to cleanse out those pores and remove the layer of dead cells. May I suggest a little exfoliation two to three days a week with an at-home peel?
  • Power Girl: You do a good job covering up, Kara, but you’re forgetting that delicate skin in your décolletage area. I recommend a moisturizer with an anti-antioxidant ingredient (vitamins C and E, for instance) and a SPF factor of at least 25. But stay away from moisturizers containing retinoid or alpha hydroxy acids, because they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and its photo aging properties, especially in the summer or in equatorial climates where the sun is always strong.
  • Starfire: Lady, I know you’re an alien, and that orange skin indicates the presence of melanin which helps protect the skin from sun damage, but really! With that costume exposing more skin to photo aging than Bettie Page on a beach shoot, you are risking looking like a prune before you’re 30! Hey, I’m the first one to say flaunt it if you’ve got it, but – never mind the moisturizer, you must cover up if you don’t want to develop a raging case of melanoma!

If looking delectable and gorgeous is part of the “brand” of taking on super villains, do ultra-women deliberately choose to look their best as they beat the crap out of some megalomaniac with phasers and lasers or even “old-fashioned” dirty bombs and plans for world domination as a subtle means to throw their villains off their games? Think about it. Wouldn’t, say, Arcade, so taken with Storm’s exotic beauty, deliberately lower the level of “play” in his Murderworld so as the woman wouldn’t be too bruised or battered?

Or, on the other hand, would Diana’s Amazonian beauty, enhanced with the understated mineral powder foundation and bronzer, the finest kohl eyeliner, the warmest clay lipstick offered by the cosmeticians of Themiscrya, only work to throw Barbara Minerva, aka the Cheetah, into a jealous frenzy of the nth degree, giving her even more of an excuse to rip her talons into Wonder Woman’s face?

Maybe the Grecian powerhouse should rethink her look when she’s up against women who hate her.

Yeah, if I lived in the alternate realities of Marvel and DC and Image, et. al., and I was a smart marketing or R&D executive at Lancôme or MAC or Estee Lauder or Maybelline or Revlon or Urban Decay, et.al., I’d convince my bosses to develop a line of skin care products and make-up specifically tailored to the super set.

And if it’s good for them, just think of what it would do for us working slobs.

Talk about product placement!


Martha Thomases’ Girl Fight!

Last week, I vented my pique at Marvel’s tone-deaf marketing of the new Spider-Woman comic. Then, on Monday, my esteemed colleague, Mindy Newell, offered a different perspective. Who’s right? Normally, I would say I’m right because I’m the mommy. However, in this case, Mindy has also given birth, and even trumped my creds by being a grandmother. So I’m not playing that card. This also means I can’t just say “Because I said so.” Denied my two favorite debating tactics, I’m going to have to approach this from a different angle. Despite what one might think about feminism and other kinds of so-called “identity politics,” there isn’t a single governing board that determines what is “politically correct.” There are married feminists who take their husbands’ last name, stay home with the kids, and volunteer at the PTA. There are radical lesbian separatists who live in communes and never have to interact with men at all. There are feminists who wear make-up, dye their hair, use Botox and wear high heels. There even used to be Republican feminists. To be a feminist, you must support equal rights and opportunities for all, and respect the right of women to define themselves and their role in the world. See? You don’t even have to be a woman to be a feminist. Being a feminist doesn’t mean one doesn’t enjoy sex. Not even heterosexual sex. It does mean one opposes coercion, rape, and the unwilling objectification of one’s partner or partners. It means one can imagine a woman being the subject, rather than the object, of desire. In other words, feminism is not the same as Puritanism. So, what does this have to do with comic books, I hear my editor thinking? Plenty. For one thing, it means that a comic book cover, like the variant for Spider-Woman #1, is not a feminist image. It is not intended to make women feel empowered, nor to show a woman being heroic. However, that doesn’t mean a feminist can’t like the cover. Manara is a famous artist with millions of fans. Liking the cover doesn’t make them “bad” feminists. As a feminist, I am in favor of pleasure and joy. I like a lot of media that isn’t specifically feminist. I like Power Girl, for crying out loud. I like those inane Silver Age stories where Superman has to “teach a lesson” to Lois Lane for having the nerve to try to do her job and find out his secret identity. And, as a feminist, I’d like to propose a new standard for graphic storytelling, similar to the Bechdel test, dubbed the Willis test by the Jezebel blog. They quote pioneering rock critic Ellen Willis, who wrote this: “A crude but often revealing method of assessing male bias in lyrics is to take a song written by a man about a woman and reverse the sexes. By this test, a diatribe like [the Rolling Stones’] “Under My Thumb” is not nearly so sexist in its implications as, for example, Cat Stevens’ gentle, sympathetic “Wild World”; Jagger’s fantasy of sweet revenge could easily be female—in fact, it has a female counterpart, Nancy Sinatra’s “Boots” – but it’s hard to imagine a woman sadly warning her ex-lover that he’s too innocent for the big bad world out there.” Would Supergirl try to teach Jimmy Olsen a lesson if he tried to find out her secret identity? Of course she would. Would Superman wear a costume that distracted his enemies by focusing their attention on his sexual organs? Of course he would not. Would Spider-Man stick his ass in the air submissively, as a way to demonstrate his web-sticking abilities? I don’t think so. Is this a comic book I would buy for a young girl? Probably not, unless she was taking a class in gender studies and had the vocabulary to talk about it. None of this will stop me from enjoying Power Girl stories (unless Scott Lobdell starts writing them and turns her into Starfire), as long as I still find them fun. Comic books and fun. Now that’s a marketing campaign I’d like to see.

Marc Alan Fishman: The Powerpuff Pituitary Problem

What’s one more  pundit’s perspective on the recent Powerpuff hullabaloo, right?

For those not in-the-know, let me catch you up mighty quick. The Cartoon Network and IDW publish a Powerpuff Girls comic book each month. Recently, artist Mimi Yoon’s variant cover to issue #6 hit the Internet, and soon thereafter, everyone went crazypants. Or maybe it’s more apropos to say crazyintheirpants. If you look at the art for today’s article (above) you’ll see Yoon’s piece.

Are you lighting your bra on fire yet?

It depicts Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles as pin-up inspired… shall we say… more mature versions of themselves, feeling victorious after defeating an oddly gigantic Mojo Jojo. All three look at us, the viewer, with kewpie-doll-meets-smoky-playboy-cartoon eyes. Their outfits true to cartoon scale, but their proportions now in an uncanny valley inches shy of legal jailbait. They exist as true ‘toons; impossibly impossible in every way.

For many a’ person, this is ludicrous, angering, and a smite upon the very Earth. But much like last week’s Wonder Woman crisis, I’m not lighting the torches, nor and I leading the mob towards Castle IDW.

I’m not sharpening the blade to thrust at the fire-starters either. As I read it, said blaze was started by a friend of mine, Dennis Barger, who owns and operates a great store in Taylor, MI. His point is valid: a book clearly aimed at children has little to gain over what might be construed as a less-than-wholesome depiction of the titular (‘natch) characters. He, as a parent and a store-owner, felt that it was a poor choice for a cover – even if it was only a variant cover – and as such sought to spread the word amongst the socially interconnected in order to create discussion. He succeeded. And, it would seem it also vilified him to those looking to stand up for the artist, and the artistic choices made therein. Debate is debate though… and for creating one? I tip my hat to Dennis. He got us talking, as we are all prone to do, about feminism on one hand, and the over-sexualization of children’s properties on the other.

When I saw the cover in question, I giggled. Then I paused. Then I thought “Huh, that really is a bit much, right?” Then I moved on. Arguments abound circle the choices of the artist here. Why age the kiddie property in this manner? What does an image of a Powerpuff Girl, nay, Powerpuff Young Woman do for a li’l lass (or lad) who reads the book? More to the point: How does this art in particular seek to become a commodity, had it not been canceled, and released to the public without any more fanfare than an ad in Previews?

To answer my own questions: The artist was working in the faux-pin-up style that is clearly rendered beautifully, and that style wouldn’t allow the Puffs to be pre-pubescent in order to fit the style. For a little guy or gal, the cover is fantasy: what might Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles look like a bit down the road? Oh, they’re taller.

I’m not much for overly sexualized underclassmen in mini-skirts and mascara. If IDW saw the work and thought that there would be a subset of customers out there who would pursue the book because of the cover, I guess they are entitled to an opinion, and I wouldn’t shake the hand of any man buying the book because of it.

It’s simply an evil that exists for reasons that should shame all of us within the industry. Certainly we can debate the merit of Wonder Woman donning doomed pantaloons, or the need for Power Girl to have a boob-window versus the current feminista costume designs of the newerish Captain Marvel and Smasher. But when that debate turns towards an innocent property like the Powerpuff girls or the oddly matured My Little Pony Equestria license? Well, that’s where gentlemen like Mr. Barger make themselves loud and clear.

Children are the future and we shouldn’t make them feel like they need to grow up faster than they already are. Seeing blossoming buttercups bubble out from a skin-tight spandex suit is simply a dart hurled at a target that misses by a country mile. Had it come out, would it have created a generation of young girls praying for their own set of mosquito bites? Would it have let loose a cadre of boys with ill-fitting trousers chasing those aforementioned lasses skirts? Hardly.

The cover was a wink and a nod towards the adult purchasers of a children’s title. It was a variant cover that any responsible parent – or parent simply not looking to answer several questions they’d rather not deal with – would have purchased the normal cover. The debate is out there, and where controversy is birthed, so too will new bullets be fired into the fray. Common sense dictates to us the truth behind the yelling.

Next time, keep the kids as kids. Let the ‘shippers keep their fanfic fantasies to themselves… or you know… their Tumblr accounts.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell



Mindy Newell: Life…

Newell Art 130408Last week’s column didn’t happen because I received a phone call at about 10 A.M. last Sunday from my mom. My dad was having another “episode,” his third. Meaning his brain was short-circuiting once more. It’s called “complex partial seizure disorder,” for the medically less-literate out there.

No one really knows why this is happening to him; before this started last Christmas Eve, he was in remarkable health for a man of 90. The only drug he took on a regular basis was one of the statins –anti-cholesterol drugs – and that was on a preventative basis. His blood pressure runs about 110/70, his heart rate about 65; his only major medical problem has been the deterioration of his eyesight because of macular degeneration and he was responding remarkably well to the treatment. Yes, he had had prostate cancer, but that was 30 years ago, and when his Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) level rose, he started the androgen deprivation therapy and it dropped to 0.003 or something, i.e., normal.

So this week once again my dad lay in a bed in the ICU at Cooper University Hospital – big kudos to the staff there!!! – only this time he was intubated because the ambulance didn’t take my mom with them and I was driving like a bat out of hell down the NJ Turnpike and my brother (an MD at “the Coop”) was vacationing on Puerto Rico so there was no one to tell the trauma team that my dad is DNR and the protocol when a patient comes in having seizures is to intubate to ensure a patent airway.

Yesterday, exactly one week later, Dad woke up again. He was extubated this morning. He’s very weak, but he knew where he was, and he knew all of us. He also ate ice chips, a cup of Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream, Jello, and a ¾ of a bowl of chicken broth. The plan is to get him out of bed tomorrow. We’re going to take it from there.

So driving home I thought about my dad and this column and I thought about the portrayal of infirmity and illness in the super hero world. I had plenty of time because I again got stuck driving north on the Turnpike between Exit 7 and Exit 8A – a stretch of about 21 miles – in bumper-to-bumper, crawling traffic. It’s a section of the iconic NJ Turnpike that has been undergoing reconstruction for the last three years or so, which makes it prone for Delays Ahead: Be Prepared To Stop alerts, and I swear I think people slam on their brakes just to read the signs. What is it about one fender-bender that causes miles and miles of back-up?


The first picture in my mind was of Silver Age Superman gasping and choking and weakened as the radiation from Kryptonite, usually held or manipulated by Lex Luthor – poisoned him, finally turning him as green as the Wicked Witch of the West, indicating that death was near, just in a few panels. Kryptonite worked fast, unlike what happens to ordinary humans when exposed to radiation. Ordinary humans, exposed to radiation, don’t even feel it at first. The amount of time between exposure and the first signs and symptoms depends on the amount of radiation that has been absorbed. The first thing that usually happens is nausea and vomiting; headache and fever can also occur. After that, an individual with radiation sickness can have a period of remission, in which there is no apparent illness and the individual feels fine. Then the more serious problems start: hair loss, weakness, dizziness, bloody stools and vomit, weight loss, low blood pressure, fucked-up blood counts, cancer….a slow, painful, and debilitating death.

I guess Superman puking and having bloody diarrhea and going bald, getting infections and cancer and dying a slow, painful, and debilitating death wouldn’t have gotten past the Comic Code Authority back in the day.

Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, shot by the Joker in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke (1988), was paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair – but through the talents of ComicMix’s own John Ostrander and his late, wonderful wife, Kim Yale, we watched Barbara go forward with her life: although initially (and realistically) portrayed with a reactive depression, Barbara comes to see that her life is not over. Gifted with a genius level IQ, a photographic memory, and possessing expert computer skills (including hacking) along with graduate training in library sciences, Barbara transforms herself in Oracle, an “information broker” to law enforcement agencies and the super-hero community. She also hires Richard Dragon (co-created by ComicMix’s own Denny O’Neil), a martial artist, to teach her combat and self-defense skills.

Gail Simone took the ball that John and Kim handed her and ran with it in Birds Of Prey…until, after DC’s 52 reboot, Oracle never existed and Barbara was mysteriously back on her feet. This – rightfully, im-not-so-ho – pissed off a lot of fans, because Barbara Gordon as Oracle was the preeminent role model for those living with disabilities. However, Gail has done a magnificent job with the post-Oracle Batgirl, allowing the character to go through PTSD secondary to her disability and recovery – although, as we all know, DC seemed to have a problem with that a few months ago. Luckily, DC recovered from that particular illness.

And now Power Girl, a.k.a. Kara Zor-L, a.k.a. Karen Starr, has breast cancer. Although I’m sure the intentions of the creative team are good and positive and totally above-board (and I do hope none of the creative team has had any kind of personal experience with breast cancer), somehow the cynic in me is smirking. Maybe because Power Girl has always been drawn with gi-normous bubble boobs that burst out of her costume like Mt. St. Helens blowing their tops? It’s like Sharon Tate’s character in The Valley Of The Dolls getting breast cancer. (Google or read the book or stream/rent the movie to get the reference.) It’s saying that the one thing that lifts (pun intended) Power Girl out of the crowd of super heroines are her mammary glands, so let’s mess with those.

It would have been more interesting to me if Sue Storm got breast cancer, or Lois Lane (isn’t she dead?), or even Wonder Woman.

Or what if Reed Richards, or Johnny Storm, or Bruce Wayne, or Hal Jordan, got breast cancer? Men get breast cancer, too, you know. More and more frequently, by the way.

I just hope the creative team does it research. And not just solve the problem of “how do we treat a woman who has breast cancer if she’s indestructible?”

That’s just so comic-bookey.

Breast cancer is real. People can end up in the ICU, hoping to get better, fighting to get better.

Just like my dad.




Power Girl Faces Breast Cancer

Power_Girl_by_Bruce_TimmDC Comics today announced that, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, Power Girl would develop breast cancer and undergo chemotherapy.

In her secret identity as Karen Starr, Power Girl will discover a lump in her breast while taking a shower. It has not yet been explained how her Kryptonian invulnerability will affect her treatment.

In a statement, DC co-publisher Dan DiDio said, “We are proud of our outreach to female readers, and this is our way of showing that we value them, that we care about their well-being. Yes, Power Girl will lose her hair, and the chemotherapy will eat away at her super strength. But instead of defeat, she will keep her mental strength, her determination, and the very things that make her a hero.”

The issue, Power Girl #1, by the Red Hood and the Outlaws team of Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort, goes on sale for $2.99 October 9.  Variant issues with enhanced covers, including one with a pink ribbon that readers can wear in support, will begin at $14.99.


MARTHA THOMASES: Superhero Fashion Inaction

My pal Heidi MacDonald, has done a great job  of covering the critical discussion of DC’s depiction of female characters in The New 52. Thanks to her, I read this awesomely thoughtful analysis by Laura Hudson, and this terrific bit of snark.

So there’s not a lot I can add from a political perspective. Instead, let’s talk about the fashion.

By fashion, I don’t mean the clothes you see on the runways or in the magazines. I mean the choices humans (and, in this case, women) make every day before they leave their homes to go to work, run arounds, or hang with friends.

If you’re a woman with super-powers, and you have a public role fighting crime, or saving people from disasters, it stands to reason that you’d want to wear something eye-catching. That allows you to be seen by people who need your help. It also makes sense that you’d want to wear something form-fitting, because you don’t want a lot of extra fabric to get in the way of the work you’re trying to do. There are many who think the superhero costume was inspired by circus acrobats, and that is certainly an occupation that would require costumes that fit these criteria.

But then what?

Let’s consider Starfire, currently appearing in Red Hood and the Outlaws. I almost didn’t pick this up, because I’m not much of a fan of the current version of Jason Todd, but I looked at the first page, liked the art, and decided to be open-minded. By the time I got to page 7, I was okay.

But then there was page 8.

I’m supposed to believe that Starfire, an alien warrior, would go into battle with almost her entire body exposed, with only her calves truly protected. A woman who, for whatever reason, has enormous breasts, and who wears an outfit that offers them no support, just small metal bandaids over her nipples.

Two pages later, we see Kory again, this time in a bikini. She’s swimming, so the fact that she’s wearing a bikini isn’t surprising, but it doesn’t fit her properly. The ties that should go underneath her breasts instead circle them from the middle. Maybe they have to, because the patches of fabric attached to the ties are too small to cover her if the suit fit properly.

(Perhaps this inability to find something appropriate to wear is related to her new characterization. An alien who can’t tell one human male from another probably has trouble understanding American sizing, or fitting rooms. However, since she makes it clear that, like all her people, she’ll have sex with anyone at any time whenever she feels like it, I’d love to see what the appliance stores are like on Tamaran.)

A costume can be revealing and make sense. When Amanda Connor was drawing Power Girl, I completely believed that Kara was comfortable in her outfit. Sure, it showcased her ta-tas, but Amanda emphasized the seaming enough so that I believed she had the necessary support. There is no doubt in my mind that Amanda did this because she has worn a bra.

A lot of the problems with comic book costumes for women occur because they’re designed and drawn by men, most of whom have not worn a bra. They don’t know what it feels like to run in heels. They haven’t tried to do anything when their breasts might bounce around enough to hurt. And they haven’t heard the things that other men feel entitled to say to women who flaunt their assets (or just try to keep cool in the summer heat).

I used to spend a lot of time decrying that kind of male attention. I really hated being interrupted by strangers and their opinions when I was just outside, minding my own business. “You’ll miss it when they stop,” people told me.

They were wrong. I don’t miss it at all.

If the men who used to hassle me are now distracted reading comics like Red Hood, that’s fine. Let them annoy fictional characters, and there will be no harm, no foul. I only wish DC would market the book accordingly, so I don’t think they want my money.

Dominoes Daredoll Martha Thomases thinks Spandex is just great, especially when it’s part of jeans.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

#SDCC: Mattel unleashes next wave of DC Plasticy Doom (Patrol)!

#SDCC: Mattel unleashes next wave of DC Plasticy Doom (Patrol)!

Folks walking the tiny (ahem) floor at the San-Diego Comic Con this weekend got a sneak peak at the 197 10th and 11th wave of Mattel’s DC Universe Classics line! While wave 10 continues to add another New God to it’s ranks, Wave 11 starts a whole new year of figures you’ll be stomping over kids in Wal-Mart for… That’s right, wave 11 introduces the Green Lantern Corps (and probably the multi-hued combatants forthcoming as well…)!

Thanks to actionfigurepics.com for the tasty info and pic-age!

Behind the glass this year fans got a glimpse of:


• Joker, with Cane, Laughing Fish, Playing Cards, and Giganto-Mallet!

• Batman, 90’s Michael Keaton-Style… with… giant… folding Bat-Computer thing?

• Power Girl, with Giant Bust, and Thighs with Walnut-Crushing-Power!

• Forager- with Shield and Wrist Blaster

• Beast Boy, Doom Patrol Style, with “I Transform into this!” Bird!

• Robotman, Doom Patrol Style, with “Important Device on My Chest” Accessory

• Man-Bat, with “I hope someone cares” Action!

• The Build-A-Figure appears to be none other than the Jack Kirby-esque “IMPERIEX”!


• Steppenwolf, In his Green and Red costumes (gotta love the variants!), packed with various swords and axes of villainy!

• The Question, Vic Sage Style… while the figure doesn’t show if the mask comes off, it too fails to capture the perfect Salmon colored shirt of the hit 80’s book.

• Cyborg Superman, Sinestro Corps Style, albeit with no shown battery.

• Deadman, with “Collar to Put Nightwing to Shame!” Action.

• John Stewart, with Green Constructs of a fist and large gun!

• Katma Tui, with Green Constructs of a beam sword, and shield!

• Shark!, With…. I’m sorry. Look at the picture of this…. this is a waste of plastic.

• The Build-A-Figure appears to be the Mighty Poozer Smackin’ Kilowog!


• “Animal Instinct!” – Includes Grant Morrison’s favvy tiny leather jacket clad Animal Man and everyone’s favorite ‘WTF’ character… B’wana Beast!

• “Sinestro Corps!” – Includes the dentist’s favorite lady in yellow, Karu-Sil (with trusty yellow construct of her playful pups) and the bizzaro-esque Romat Ru!


• Save up your birthday money for the “Gotham City Five- Gift Pack” which includes Two-Face, Super-Friends Costumed “Exclusive” Lex Luthor, Batman and Superman, and Catwoman!

The Many Lives of Terra

The Many Lives of Terra

Two years ago, DC Comics announced that a new Terra series would be coming out, one starring a brand new character using the familiar name. This character debuted in Supergirl #12 and has shown up a couple of times since then, but otherwise has remained largely unexplored.

The series will finally be launching in November. It will be written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and illustrated by Amanda Connor. According to DC, the two-year delay has allowed more time to plan out the series and tighten up the stories. And the art has been given the change to be of a higher quality now.

As Justin Gray explained to ComicBookResources.com, "Time always helps and we try our best to have every project working well in advance. This kind of approach allows us to go back into scripts and tighten up and tie together all of the story elements. With Terra, it was a case of trying to have as much fun with the character and allow that to show through in every panel. Having Amanda with us allows for that to happen … the extra time gave Amanda and [colorist] Paul Mounts the most time to go in and add some extra juice to the book."

Of course, this new hero is the third person to call herself Terra. The first girl with that alias, Tara Markov, became famous when she betrayed the Teen Titans in the now-famous story "The Judas Contract." How will this past connect to our current character, who is noticeably more light-hearted and optimistic than either of her predecessors?

Gray explained, "The challenge has always been to find a way to connect this Terra to the previous and with a few twist I think we’ve done that. You can’t stick too heavily to existing mythology when creating someone new because that lessens them as a character. [The new Terra] needs to stand out as her own girl and she does that … We wanted her to stand in opposition of the existing anti-hero mold and especially from Tara Markov in terms of personality and drive."

Jimmy Palmiotti added, "It’s easy to do dark characters all the time … we wanted to go back to the seemingly old-fashioned values of classic super-heroes and update them at the same time. There is heavy stuff in the series but it is balanced out by the lighter stuff as well. The scenes between Power Girl and Terra, for instance, are light and yet very revealing between them."

Power Girl isn’t the only one who will guest-star in Terra. The new hero has a high level of knowledge of the world of super-heroes and will be running across folks like Doctor Mid-Nite and Geo-Force AKA Brion Markov, brother of the original Terra.

Gray elaborated, "The reason [Terra] knows so much ties directly into who she is and why she exists. The previous incarnation  of Terra went a little crazy because she didn’t know everything about herself."

Palmiotti, Gray and Connor will also be working together on the all-new Power Girl ongoing series and have promised that the opening story-arc will serve as an introduction for readers who have not been following the character’s recent adventures or don’t know her whole history. The co-writers explained, "We are setting up her life as a civilian, as a super-hero, and the people and world around her that impacts her daily life."

So be on the look-out for the new Power Girl and Terra books coming soon.

And if you’re curious about the previous incarnations of Terra, keep on reading and we’ll give you the rundown.