Tagged: Supergirl

Mindy Newell: Review Redux


Cat Grant: One time at a party, Paul McCartney swore to me that he and Yoko were the closest of friends. He was more convincing.

Cat Grant not accepting Kara Danvers’ statement that she (Kara) is not Supergirl

Rey: There are stories about what happened.

Han Solo: It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side. The Jedi. They’re real.

Listen Up! Spoilers Abound, So If You Don’t Want To Know, Don’t Read This Column.

A few weeks ago, four days before Christmas to be exact, I said that I loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and had problems with Supergirl.  While I still love Episode VI of a saga that took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there are two things that bother me. Silly things, to be sure, but just enough to pick at my enjoyment a teensy bit:

I miss the 20th Century Fox fanfare that opened all the other Star Wars movies.

Composed in 1933 by Alfred Newman, head of the studio’s music department, the extended version – which is the one that became so integral to the films – debuted with The Robe, the first film to be shown in Cinemascope. But it had been phased out by the late ‘70s by the then-struggling-to-survive studio when its savior, George Lucas – who had always loved the logo, the sweeping spotlights, and the fanfare – insisted on its use in his “little space opera fantasy.” Then, when John Williams developed the theme to Star Wars, he used the same key as the fanfare, and has said that it was meant to be an extension of Alfred Newman’s work.

And so, ever since May 25, 1977, all of us have felt their heartbeats quicken, felt goose bumps prickle their skin, and felt the hairs on the back of our necks stand up in anticipation and salute as those drums, those trumpets, those sweeping spotlights acted as a clarion call to that galaxy so far, far way where an epic adventure happened such a long time ago. It became such an intrinsic part of the Star Wars universe that it’s now part and parcel of the soundtracks of the first six movies

Seeing a Star Wars movie introduced by Sleeping Beauty’s castle – a “side effect” of Disney’s ownership of the franchise – just ain’t the same, folks.

The only pilot I want to see flying the Millennium Falcon is Han Solo – with Chewie at his side, of course.

Seeing the Falcon in action again after 30+ years, soaring and doing loop-de-loops and evading TIE fighters, was almost like a religious experience, except for one thing – it wasn’t Han and Chewie at the controls. I can’t really explain it, I know it’s kind of dumb: after all, Lando Calrissian flew the “fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy” in Return of the Jedi – but I’ll tell you a secret: I always objected to that, too.

Just to get the bad taste out of my mouth, I’ll tell you what I did absolutely love in The Force Awakens:

The climatic scene between Han Solo and his son, Ben, now known as Kylo Renn, on a catwalk stretching across a seemingly bottomless abyss inside a technological marvel.

A perfect callback to the climatic scene in The Empire Strikes Back, as another father – Darth Vader, once known as Annakin Skywalker – confronted his son, Luke, and revealed truth to him as they faced off on another catwalk high above a seemingly endless abyss inside another technological marvel.

Also a few weeks ago, in the same column (four days before Christmas to be exact), I listed some of my complaints about Supergirl. Well, with the advantage of having watched new episodes of the series, I take back much of what I said:

“We met Aunt Astra and we know right away that she’s evil. She might as well have had a mustache to twirl. We shouldn’t even have known who she was – tease us, fool us. Mix us up. Maybe sometimes she’s good, sometimes she’s bad, maybe she’s somewhere in the middle. What’s her relationship with Kara? And since we’re supposed to be identifying with Kara, that should have been her deal as well.”

It’s almost as if the writers read my column, although of course that’s incredibly egotistical of me, and besides, I’m pretty sure that Astra’s back story and relationship to Kara was already in the show’s “bible.” It turns out that Astra is a villain depending on what side of the argument you hold to – is she an “eco-terrorist,” or an “eco-hero?”  Some argue – as Astra does – that desperate times call for desperate measures, that the needs of the many outweigh needs of the few, or the one. And her relationship with her niece, Kara, is becoming way more complicated as truths about Kara’s mother are being revealed.

“Kara was stuck in the Phantom Zone for years. And this hasn’t had any lasting affects? No emotional or psychological hang-ups? No anger issues at her cousin for dumping her in some strangers’ laps and flying off? No PTSD from seeing her parents, her civilization, her planet from being blown to kingdom come? Did the Danvers even attempt some sort of therapy? She should have trouble forming relationships, she should have trust issues, jeez, let’s see some anger.”

Confrontations with her Aunt, with her sister, Alex, with Cat Grant, with James and with Winn, with Maxwell Lord, with General Lane, and even her hologram mother…

The perky girl is still perky and kind and bubbly, but she’s letting the spunk and anger out, too. You go, SuperGRRRL!

“How many times and in how many ways can Kara talk about proving herself? This fast became a one-trick pony that quickly wore out its welcome and became a whine that is repeated in each and every episode as expository statements to her sister, to Jimmy, to Winn, to Hank…hey, Kara, take a tip from Yoda: “Did not you see Strikes Back the Empire Does? Do, or do not. There is no try.” Seriously, I’m waiting for somebody to tell her to just shut the fuck up already.”

She ain’t whining no more. Well, no so much, anyway. She’s absorbing Nike’s words of wisdom. Just Do It.

One thing that does piss me off big time!:

J’inn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, a.k.a. Hank Henshaw, used his morphing ability to impersonate Supergirl and paid Cat Grant a visit as Supergirl just as the real Kara walks into her boss’ office, thus convincing Cat Grant that Kara Danvers isn’t the Kryptonian Maid of Steel.

No! No! No!

The sad and hackneyed use of a friend of the superhero impersonating said superhero so that said superhero could be seen at the same time and in the same place as said superhero’s secret identity – Batman impersonating Superman to throw Lois Lane off the scent, for instance – oh, come on! That went out back in the 1960s, for cryin’ out loud!

I’m holding on to the hope that Cat Grant is only playing dumb.

Dennis O’Neil: The Times They Are…


So where are we and how’d we get here? An easy one to answer: we’re in the first week of 2016 – that’s SIXteen and don’t forget it when you write your next check. That’s the where and you can add a “when” to it. How’d we get here? Short answer: Continued breathing.

It’s not exactly tradition, but it is a widely practiced custom, to get in a reminiscent mood and look back at the twelve months just passed and comment on them. So here we go, peering into the rear view mirror, and…

Not a lot to see. For us, it was a quiet year, maybe the quietest in decades. Not much travel, not much shooting off my mouth in public. We stuck pretty close to Nyack, and we could do worse; nice town, Nyack, which is probably why we’re still here. The year before last – that’d be 2014 – was a monster, and so a placid stretch may have been in order. We are, after all, no spring chickens.

We lost some people because that’s what happens. We can’t change that, but we can remember and grieve,

The 2015 pop culture scene was pretty chipper. I did nothing as a participant, but I don’t mind sitting in the audience, especially since our local 21-plex has installed luxury seating. There were the usual spate of profitable movies crowned, as I write this, by the new Star Wars flick which has earned, thus far, a billion and a half dollars – that’s billion with a B – and I wonder which country SW’s creator, George Lucas, will decide to buy. (George: we had a good time in Argentina. Just a suggestion.)

On the tube, we had a classic yin-yang situation in the two female heroes who made their video debuts: Supergirl (= bright and cheerful = sunny yang.) Jessica Jones (= dark and grim = shadowy yin.) This is okay. It’s a big venue, with plenty of room for everyone.

The rest of the comics-derived heroes seem to be doing all right, and there’s another posse of them heading our way. I have to admit I never expected to see Hawkgirl on a tv screen but hey, Shiera, welcome to my living room and next time, bring your husband Carter along (unless in the television continuity you aren’t married, in which case Carter can come as your boyfriend. Always happy to greet boyfriends, especially if they have wings. And are you guys still from the planet Thanagar?)

By the way, I’m aware that she’s sometimes known as HawkWOMAN; either name is fine with me.

But what’s this? Somehow, we have crept out of 2015 and into 2016, morphed from reminescers to anticipators or even prophets, and that’s not us. Prophecy is a game for either con men or industrial strength optimists and this former spring chicken, being neither, will pass. Just let my brain soften a bit and maybe I’ll try it.

Joe Corallo: Moving… Pictures

Suicide Squad movie

First column of the new year. We’re already over 1% through the year. How’s it treating you so far?

Switching gears from last week where I was reflecting on 2015, I’ve been thinking about what we have in store for us in the year to come. Upon pondering what’s awaiting us over the course of the next twelve months, I realized that we may not be moving forward as fast as I was hoping. Particularly when it comes to the movies.

I’m starting with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as it’s still making money and hasn’t even opened in China yet. This may be considered a minor spoiler, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and any plot detail revealed may cause you to succumb to an unimaginable rage, then I suggest you skip to the next paragraph. Anyway, the opening scroll of the movie reveals that the major plot point is that our heroes need to find a straight cis white guy, Luke Skywalker, to save them all. Sound familiar? And while the new main characters are a more diverse crew, they’re still not only serving to find previously stated straight cis white guy, but the movie gets hijacked by another straight cis white guy, Han Solo, the moment he comes on screen. Not quite the kind of progress you’d hope to see in a movie that was billed as being diverse.

How about the superhero/geeky movies coming up? Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is about a couple of straight cis white guys who are up against a straight cis white genius with a straight cis white woman tacked on as an afterthought. That’s not to say it won’t be a good movie or we shouldn’t give it a chance, but that doesn’t change those facts.

DC may be offering us more diversity with Suicide Squad. Will Smith as Deadshot, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller do give me hope that we will be seeing a more diverse cast in a superhero movie, possibly the most diverse yet in the Marvel and DC universes big budget films. However, this could just as easily end up being primarily about The Joker and Harley Quinn. Will Smith did indicate that Deadshot and Joker would both be pursuing Harley Quinn, so Deadshot may have a significant role in the film. However, this may also indicate that we’ll have a straight Harley Quinn as opposed to her bi comic counterpart. Not to mention the heteronormative nature of a love triangle involving two men going after one woman who is only allowed to enjoy one of them intimately.

As for Marvel’s offerings, we’re looking at Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange from Disney and Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse from Fox. Starting with Captain America, we do have the introduction of Black Panther into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Falcon and War Machine will also have roles in the film, in addition to Black Widow and Scarlet Witch. That being said, the movie is being carried by Captain America, a straight cis white guy, protecting his friend Bucky, a straight cis white guy, primarily from Iron Man, a straight cis white guy. Noticing a pattern?

The Doctor Strange movie, from what we know of the casting and plot synopsis so far, is that it will be about a magical straight cis white guy that needs to stop another magical straight cis white guy.

Deadpool is about a cis white guy, but this one is supposedly pansexual. We’ll see what this ends up meaning. It could be an actual representation of a pansexual character. It could also easily be used to have Deadpool jokingly hit on guys while only having a more realistic interest in women. I’m hopeful, but I’ll believe he’s pansexual in the film when I see it.

X-Men: Apocalypse, while having some diversity in its cast, doesn’t mean it’ll be about diversity. These movies tend to revolve around Xavier and Magneto, two straight cis white guys. Cyclops and Jean have been recast and brought back into the fold of the X-Men movie franchise. A straight cis white heteronormative relationship is just what the X-Men franchise needs! It’s not like Storm could have ever had an interesting relationship in the comics that could translate to film. To be clear, she has, and I was being sarcastic. Also, casting Oscar Isaac, a Hispanic actor, to play the Egyptian villain Apocalypse is a bit troubling too.

As I was saying earlier, none of this means that these movies will be bad. This may very well be the best slew of superhero movies yet. However, they are lacking quite a bit in the diversity department. Having slightly more diversity in the cast of a movie while still having straight cis white guys moving the plot forward and taking up the majority of the screen time is really missing the point.

The point being that we need to be exposing ourselves to people of different backgrounds, points of views, and people who have had radically different life experiences than we commonly see depicted in media. We don’t get that by having them walk on screen or onto the pages of a comic. We get that by having them be an integral part of the plot, or better yet, the focus of the plot. A radical concept, I know.

The comics and the TV series are doing a bit of a better job this year. Shows like Supergirl and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., comics like Midnighter, the new Black Panther series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates starting this year, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, and many other examples exist that show that we’re continuing to make some progress in both of those mediums. That said, out of the 11 oversized 50th issues DC has coming out in a couple of months, eight of them star straight cis white guys, two of them star straight cis white women, and one stars a bisexual white woman.

The movies really do need to step up their game in the diversity department. It may be too late for 2016 already. We do at least have the Wonder Woman movie coming out next year. Let’s hope for better luck in 2017.

Dennis O’Neil: Time Out Time


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…


The weather oracles out here say that we can expect some sleet mixed with tonight’s rain and if that happens, if we’re blessed with the “wintry mix,” we should cherish it because we may not see it again, not this year. Mighty hot winter. I would like to snort a little fire and and decry global warming, but I’m no meteorologist (and neither is your friendly neighborhood politician) and so I can’t say with any authority that global warming is the sole cause of the soaring temperatures we here in the northeast have been liking/hating. But surely the climate change is in the mix somewhere.

After tonight’s sleet, if it comes to pass, nothing more of its kind is in the forecast.

A month or two ago, we bought me some heated gloves. They’re still in the wrapping.

Meanwhile… what we have here is a bardo week – an interval. All our favorite television superheroes are having winter rests and the new entries are yet to debut. There isn’t much I can add to the dialogue. We’ve been pleasantly surprised with Supergirl; the maid of might seems to have found a comfortable niche between fantasy/melodrama and old fashioned charm and every week she gives us a pleasant hour. The other costumed heroes are holding their own and that’s righteous enough for me.

And on the cinematic front, the big movie, the one we have been anticipating as though it is the Second Coming, set box office records from the get-go and is still setting them. Looks certain to earn more than a billion dollars very early in its run. Yay, I guess. I almost wish I didn’t know that and I could look at the movie, when I get around to it, as just a movie. As disclosed in last week’s column – and admit it, you were thrilled – I saw the first Star Wars before it opened, knowing almost nothing about it, and that’s a good way to experience entertainment. Though its true that for most of mankind’s involvement with storytelling, the listeners knew the ending of the story being told before they heard it, so novelty isn’t a requirement, just something that’s occasionally nice.

Next up, and at last: Superman v Batman. That probably won’t shake the Earth, but who knows?

Later: lots and lots and lots of superhero flicks, including Suicide Squad, based on comics by our own John Ostrander.

And about those comics: Yahoo’s news column recently listed all the comics that would be available in the coming week which, once again, demonstrates that our oft-maligned medium has gained full parity with all the other media. It’s also given me a venue in which to be damn lucky and that’s no bad thing to be grateful for as one year folds into another.

Mindy Newell: Two Reviews


I loved it.


Melissa Benoist, whom I first saw on Glee, packed up her beautiful singing voice to play Kara Danvers, nee Kara Zor-el, bears no blame for the general snorrrrre that is the hallmark of the show. Neither do any of the following: Chyler Leigh as kick-ass secret government agent-who-also-happens-to-be-Kara’s-Earth born sister, Alex; Mehcad Brooks as no-longer-cub-reporter-now-Pulitzer-Prize-winning photographer Jimmy Olsen, David Harewood as Hank Henshaw-Director-of-same-secret-government-agency-which-makes-him Alex’s boss-and-who-also-happens-to-be-J’on J’onzz the Martian Manhunter; Jeremy Jordan as lovelorn-for-Kara-and-not-yet-revealed-to-be-son-of-supervillain-The Toyman techie Winslow “Winn” Scholl, Jr., or Calista Flockhart as Ally McBeal-all-growed-up-and-head-of-her-own-media-empire Catherine (Cat) Grant.

No, the cast is fine. Especially Flockhart, whose Grant started out as a total caricature of Miranda Priestly (who herself was a caricature, albeit a sophisticated one, of Vogue’s Anna Wintour), but now is the only one demonstrating any of that all important ingredient for a successful television series recipe: character growth. But this isn’t the Ally-McBeal-All-Growed-Up show. It’s supposed to be about an alien millennial woman finding her adult footing with the albatross of an older, famed celebrity cousin slung around her neck. And, oh, yeah, she’s got super-powers.

As to the star of Supergirl: I watched her performance as Marley Rose, the anorexic and bulimic transfer student in the 5th and 6th seasons of Glee – and I say that poor Melissa Benoist is, im-not-so-ho, is being extremely short-changed.

By whom, you ask?

It’s the writers.

Ali Adler (Chuck, Family Guy), Greg Bertlanti (Arrow, Flash, Dawson’s Creek), and Andrew Kreisberg (Arrow, Flash, Fringe, The Simpsons, DC’s Green Arrow and Batman Confidential comics, and his own Helen Killer for Arcane Comics) certainly have the credentials and the writing chops, at least on paper. But what they’re doing with my childhood idol – oy!

Seriously, guys, just what the hell are you doing? Your Kara Zor-el Danvers is just the perkiest thing to occupy the small screen since Gidget. No, strike that. She’s just the sprightliest young woman to take up an hour on the boob tube since The Flying Nun. (The fact that both characters were played by the young Sally Field is just coincidental and absolutely not meant to be detrimental to Ms. Field – only to say that it could just be possible, who knows, that young Melissa goes on to mature into the outstanding actress that is Sally Field.) It’s like watching a living, breathing Barbie doll come to life. There is no Kara Danvers – just a one-dimensional mock-up, a fashion illustration in the New York Times, a walkway model at the Paris fashion shows. Nice to look at – but where are the guts?

Holy shit! The Giants are tied with the Panthers, 35 – 35, and there’s 5 seconds left!… 43 yard field goal attempt by the Panthers. Time out called… back in play… Shit! Fuck! Goddamn It!

Okay, I’m back.

Here’re my problems, in no particular order, just as they came to me while eating dinner and jotting them down. Although the first one is a big, big, big one, and from which all the others flow:

  • Everything is given to us on a plate. There’s no mystery, there’s no buried treasure, there’s no smoking gun. There’s absolutely nothing to hook the viewer into caring about Kara’s story now that we’ve seen her in the costume, which is what everybody was waiting for in the premiere.
  • How many times and in how many ways can Kara talk about proving herself? This fast became a one-trick pony that quickly wore out its welcome and became a whine that is repeated in each and every episode as expository statements to her sister, to Jimmy, to Winn, to Hank…hey, Kara, take a tip from Yoda: “Did not you see Strikes Back the Empire Does? Do, or do not. There is no try.” Seriously, I’m waiting for somebody to tell her to just shut the fuck up already.
  • We met Aunt Astra and we know right away that she’s evil. She might as well have had a mustache to twirl. We shouldn’t even have known who she was – tease us, fool us. Mix us up. Maybe sometimes she’s good, sometimes she’s bad, maybe she’s somewhere in the middle. What’s her relationship with Kara? And since we’re supposed to be identifying with Kara, that should have been her deal as well.
  • Kara was stuck in the Phantom Zone for years. And this hasn’t had any lasting affects? No emotional or psychological hang-ups? No anger issues at her cousin for dumping her in some strangers’ laps and flying off? No PTSD from seeing her parents, her civilization, her planet from being blown to kingdom come? Did the Danvers even attempt some sort of therapy? She should have trouble forming relationships, she should have trust issues, jeez, let’s see some anger.
  • What is Supergirl’s mission? Why should we watch it? Arrow is dark, fully noir and chiaroscuro. Flash is honorable, open, fantastical and rococo. Both shows dive into their characters’ lives; neither are afraid to explore the depths of the human experience while staying within (or despite) the parameters of their genre. Both are slowly building universes, borrowing from their comics’ origins and inventing new ones. Both shows know what they’re about. What the fuck is Supergirl about?

I could go on. And on. And on. But most of all it seems to me that the writers, or the suits behind them (which is probably the more likely scenario) are afraid, like they’re gingerly walking on a bed of nails, or handling a hot potato. They want Supergirl to be a role model, but they are afraid to let her be one. The most popular, the strongest, and the best role model young girls and women have had on television was another young woman with super-powers whose job it was to slay the evil dark things, and whose friends ranged from gay witches to werewolves to vampires to demons. She killed a god and had a sister made from her own blood. And her best friend flayed a man alive. Oh, and she had an adult male hanging around her all the time. Her name was Buffy Summers and the show was Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it became the hit of the 90s, winning critical acclaim and fans who will never let it go.

So why Adler, Bertlanti, and Kreisberg seem to be afraid of doing the same with Supergirl is beyond me. I suggest they sit down and watch all seven seasons of Buffy, then sit down again and take notes. Maybe call up Marti Noxon or Jane Espenson or Drew Goddard or Joss Whedon, get some advice, ask them to go over the scripts, maybe even have them do some ghosting.

Jeezus. Call me. Or Gail Simone. Or Kelly Sue DeConnick. Because the show needs help.

And not just the kind that Jimmy can signal for on his wristwatch.

Molly Jackson and the Mystery Quota

Mystery Quota
A couple weeks ago, Jessica Jones premiered with much fanfare. The internet vomited up so much detail about the character you would have thought Alias had been Marvel’s biggest selling book since Amazing Spider-Man. Fans are tripping over themselves to talk about Jessica and her abusive relationship with Kilgrave. But another, more disturbing line of conversation has emerged: the competition between female superhero shows.
Yes, people are taking to the Internet now saying Jessica Jones should and will get Supergirl cancelled. Because those two shows are exactly alike, have the exact same audience, and must compete as per the laws of the Internet.

Oh wait, none of that is true. But sadly, this type of fear mongering will always continue.

In geek culture, we are taught from a young age, that things we love will get cancelled by the network, the creative team will get taken off the book they made big, our childhood loves will be rebooted into a steaming pile of crap or our favorite character will get ret-conned into an asshole. Just because we have suffered through that kind of trauma doesn’t mean we need to succumb to it. Right now there are geeks who are saying Supergirl should be cancelled because Jessica Jones is a better show. I’d surmise that each has their own place in entertainment. I’d also like to point out that I don’t think Netflix shows can be considered anything similar to network television due to the differences in distribution. The entire show structure has to be thought out better since viewers are more likely to binge watch. Though, that is really an argument for another column day.

My point, long and rambling as it is, is that geeks seem to need to compete against other geeks, like we are all fighting for a limited spot in the geeky quota. Yes, the quota does seem to show up on occasion. In comics, we’ve seen a limited expansion of diversity on creative teams and in characters. At DC Comics, they were even told to stop “Batgirling” a.k.a. stop exploring new things.

Entertainment as a whole has stuck with the basic “meat and potatoes” idea. But when a new idea takes off, it does explode with similar stories and genre exploration. I don’t see why superheroes, which is having an amazing renaissance in television, would be any different. Would it be great if there was more? Of course. But that is no reason to take two slightly similar shows and say one can’t be on the air because another show is. Then we wouldn’t have 30+ different cop shows on TV. (That is an entirely arbitrary number. I was going to count but it already seems like a lot. That’s probably closer than TV would want to admit.)

Show the entertainment companies what you love and you might get to keep it. Just don’t knock other creations in the process.

Dennis O’Neil: Our Superhero Posses

Flash Arrow Supergirl Archie

For rent: Secret laboratory. Ideal for mad scientists, superheroes and their posses.

Now, about those posses: time was when superheroes operated pretty much alone, or with a sidekick, who could be anyone from the original Green Lantern’s cab driving Doiby Dickles to Batman’s intrepid though preadolescent Robin. Oh, there were other continuing characters in your basic superhero saga – think Jimmy Olsen and Commissioner Gordon – but when it came to doing the daring deeds the folk in the costumes usually flew solo.

Then things evolved and –

Almost certainly, a lot more people will see Supergirl on television this week than ever read one of the Maid of Might’s comic books. She’s plenty super – give her that – and as bonuses, attractive and charmiing, but she doesn’t fight evil by herself. No, she’s allied with a brainy group of colleagues who hang their doctorates in a secret lab. And if we scan the videoscape, we see that Supergirl has peers. The other two television title characters most like their comic book inspirations, Arrow and the Flash, also have lab-dwelling cohorts who can always be depended on to have the information the good guy/girl needs.

Structurally, the three shows – Supergirl, Arrow, and Flash – are virtually identical. And, again structurally, they’re pretty close to Archie Andrews, that teenage scamp, and the gang at Riverdale High. The biggest difference is that the Riversiders have no laboratory, but nobody’s perfect.

There’s a lot to be said for adding pals to the superheroic landscape. They give the hero someone to talk with, thus allowing readers/audience to eavesdrop on vital exposition (though sidekicks can do this, too, and if you don’t believe me, ask Dr. Watson.) Supporting players can also provide story opportunities. And they can add texture and variety to scenes. And the occasional comic relief. And, by their interactions with the chief evil-queller, they can add depth to that individual’s psyche. But mostly they can serve the same function as those stool pigeons and confidential informants served in the old private eye and cop shows, the scruffies who always knew what the word on the street was: they can quickly and efficiently supply data that enables the hero to get to the exciting part, usually a confrontation.

Finally, the pals and gals give the hero what seems to be absolutely necessary: a family. It’s usually a surrogate family, to be sure, and it may not be much like your family, but it has a familial dynamic and it allows the audience to experience, by proxy, what might be missing from their real lives: a secure knowledge that there are people who can counted on, who will always forgive you and have your back. And such nearests and dearests have to hang out somewhere, so why not a secret laboratory?

And while they’re there, they can supply the location of that master fiend, the one with the purple death ray and the really atrocious table manners.

Tweeks: Supergirl Review

Supergirl premiered on CBS Monday night setting a Fall series record of 14 million viewers. It was an undeniable teen hit with both boys and girls. And of course we watched it too.

But as critical fans of all things being superhero-y while female, did we enjoy it? Duh. But was her costume Tweeks Approved too? How does this show stack up against Agent Carter? Considering the middle school pressure to blend in would we keep their superhero powers a secret? Watch our review to find out the answers.

Mike Gold: My Short Attention Spam


I hate being bored, so over the years I’ve managed to shorten my attention span to the point when the good stuff runs out, so do I. Therefore, from time to time I have a little to say about a lot of things. For example:

Bill Finger CreditDC / Warner Bros finally gave credit where credit has long been due: appending Bill Finger’s name to Bob Kane’s as the men who made Batman a Day-One success. It is marvelously ironic that the first time I’d seen the “Created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger” line was on Cartoon Network’s Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 3: Magical Friendship, which, for the record, I enjoyed – certainly a lot more than the second one. Hawkman vs Robot Chicken? Priceless. Anyway, Bill’s name is supposed to be deployed in similar fashion on all future Batman stuff, including their electronic comics (left). It’s about time. And lawyers. And egos.

Red_Wolf_1_Young_VariantI’m looking forward to Marvel’s upcoming Red Wolf series, even though it clearly indulges in usually needless future-continuity winks such as Sheriff Steve Rogers and Mayor Wilson Fisk. Nonetheless, I’ve always been amused to see the standard Marvel heroic fantasy from the standpoint of earlier times – 1872, in this case, or World War I or whathaveyou. Our ComicMix pal John Ostrander has written more than a few of these for Marvel and they always conveyed a sense of fun. Same thing with Howard Chaykin. Red Wolf might be a little-remembered Marvel character – as was the Phantom Eagle – and I have no doubt there likely will be some sort of SHIELD reference. OK, that’s part of the fabric of the Marvel Comics Universe and sometimes it’s difficult to by-pass the opportunity to get cute. If this new series is half as much fun as Skottie Young’s variant cover (right), it’ll be completely worthwhile.

Hey, Supergirl teevee producers! If you actually say the word “Superman” on your television show, just who is going to sue you? Warner Bros? Well, actually, I know one producer who wound up being sued by his own company, so I shouldn’t be quite so sarcastic. But, hell, I am who I am. After a while going so far out of your way to not say “Superman” takes the viewer out the story. If you don’t want to say Superman, you shouldn’t be allowed to use the Big Red S. It was very conspicuous by its absence. And annoying.

WonderWomanCoversOn the other hand, I’m surprised I’m enjoying Gotham so much this season. I was ambivalent about it after the end of the first season, but two weeks into this season ComicMix columnist Marc Alan Fishman said I should check it out. He was right: the show improved significantly, particularly with respect to Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon. Of course, the addition of Michael Chiklis to the cast as Gordon’s boss also added to the fun. The story itself ebbs and flows and is too often carried by bravura performances by Chiklis, Sean Pertwee and Robin Lord Taylor – not to mention Carol Kane, who is a national treasure. But it’s fun.

Ed Catto did a wonderful tribute to Murphy Anderson in this space a few days ago, and I second each of his statements. I’d like to bring to your attention his work on a different piece of our modern history. The very first issue of Ms. Magazine featured a story abut Wonder Woman, a worthy idea for the start of America’s first mass-market feminist magazine. The cover featured one of the best Wonder Woman pieces I’ve seen. This cover (left) was penciled and inked by my old friend, Murphy Anderson. Of course we will miss him, and of course he left us with a lifetime of wonderful artwork. A true master of our medium.

Dennis O’Neil: It’s A Bird.


Outside my window summer is melting away and when it’s finally gone, what will be uncovered? Well, cold weather for one thing – I think we’re on pretty firm ground there – and if the weather pundits are right, it’ll be damn cold weather. Which will make it a match for that melting summer, a brute of a season with the hottest July ever recorded.

Is something going on?

So here’s what might happen: I might go to the park and meet a guy who’ll tell me that the sky is pink with big yellow polka dots and I’ll say no, the sky is blue. And he’ll say that he’s no scientist, but the third cousin of a fella he knows says that the sky is pink with yellow polka dots and that, by golly, is plenty good enough for him.

Don MartinLet us forge ahead.

The end of summer brings the new television season. The big news is The Return of Colbert, less than two days in my future and already in your past. So you may know if Colbert’s debut at 11:35 has satisfied all the expectations and justified all the publicity. (If you don’t know, you probably don’t care and that’s okay.) I watched his previous show on Comedy Central whenever I wasn’t traveling and I’m rooting for him. He’s one of one of our valuable jesters, one just a handful of entertainers who speak the truth to power.

The week’s other big TV news is big news to me, but may not be big news to you. On Thursday (the day you’re reading this blather?) Longmire returns. The weekly show was cancelled after three seasons but good ol’ Netflix has rescued it and we get to enjoy more of Walt Longmire’s travails. This is the one best cop shows ever, though if we’re being picky I guess we should call it a “sheriff show.” Mari and just finished watching all the previous episodes and are eager for more.

What am I forgetting?

Oh yeah: Superheroes! They’ll be well-represented, with all last year’s crop not only returning, but being augmented by new actors playing superdoers. Watching these programs has become one of those unacknowledged rituals that help form a marriage and, that aside, we generally like them.

The newcomer is Supergirl, who first appeared in the comics in 1959 as Superman’s cousin, another survivor of the Krypton community. (Where do they find a stadium big enough for their reunions?)

Judging from the infinitesimally tiny bit I know about the show, the title character will be played as a wholesome, girl-next-door, kind of like what she was (is?) on the printed page. Okay, no problem. We’ve seen plenty of the superhero-as-tormented-vigilante. Now let’s see what you television guys can do with wholesome.

Anything else?