Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Supergirl Covers

A few weeks ago, I read this excellent (and old) article that featured the images Comic Book Resources had dubbed the "five most iconic Supergirl" covers. I enjoyed the article, and mostly agreed on the covers... but one of the quotes included in the article inspired me to write this blog entry. Under an image of the current Supergirl, CBR blogger Brian Cronin wrote "People might not be a fan of the Jeph Loeb/Michael Turner Supergirl, but their take on Supergirl was pretty much the most popular Supergirl has been in comic books since her very early Silver Age appearances." I was at first surprised by this, but then realized that this article had been written prior to Sterling Gates's defining Supergirl run that served to transform Kara Zor-El from a thinly written superhero with no direction (both creatively and as a character) to character that is believable as a hero and as a teenage girl.

So I've decided to, in honor of the end of the current on-going Supergirl series, to pay tribute to the covers that feature the modern Kara Zor-El. Even though Supergirl will continue publication in September, starting with a new #1, the new character design (pictured below) and solicitation for the first issue make it seem as if Supergirl, at least as we know her, is coming to an end.

The new Supergirl costume is complete with the odd armor that Superman also wears. The boots have no knees, she has the same collar that a lot of the heroes are rockin', and she has no skirt. The design isn't bad... it's just different. I hope for the best. But for now? Let's celebrate what has worked for the last two years.

5. Perhaps one of the most recognized images of our current Supergirl is Adam Hughes's cover for Supergirl & the Legion of Superheroes #23. It's a bit cheesecakey for my taste, but there is no denying that this is an iconic image of the Maid of Might.

4. Amy Reeder, perhaps the best cover artist to tackle Supergirl, contributed this cover to Supergirl #57. What I love about this cover is how Supergirl isn't sexualized at all. Even excellent covers like the previous entry tend to show a bit more of Supergirl than needs to be shown, but Reeder excels at showing our hero as what she is... a teenage girl with way too much on her shoulders, an inconceivably large legacy to live up to, and more power than she knows what to do with. The hair might be a bit out of control, but this image is just gorgeous.

3. Interior artist Jamal Igle's cover for Supergirl #53 was the beginning of a more confident Supergirl. The sly smirk and the knowing eyes were showing readers what was to come in the Supergirl title.

2. Amanda Conner. She's one of my favorite comics artists, period. She made Power Girl, a character who has long been a ridiculous example of how women are made into nothing but eye candy in comics (I mean... a boob window? Seriously?), into a character that you can't help but feel for. She only drew one Supergirl issue, but a lot of her sketches from Comic Cons have been made public. It was very hard for me to pick my favorite of her Supergirl images (I almost settled on a comic strip featuring Supergirl and Krypto), but her design for this Supergirl bust just takes the cake.

1. The best Supergirl cover is from Amy Reeder, who contributed this cover to Supergirl #60, in a month when DC asked its artists to design covers that are simple, iconic, and speak for who the character is at his or her core. When I first reviewed #60, I wrote this of Amy Reeder's cover: "SUPERGIRL #60 is brilliant. Even if the issue had been horrible--which, let's just say it wasn't, for those who like to skim (also, hey, stop skimming!)--the cover is iconic. Supergirl, with the pink S behind her, stares out at the audience with a slight smile; after Gates' character defining run, Supergirl is in a good place. She's confident in herself, which just demonstrates how far she's come from the mess of a girl that arrived on Earth in Superman/Batman. The smile and calm look in her eyes on the cover of January's Supergirl #60 perfectly and subtly shows that Supergirl has finally earned the S; the symbol that she has constantly struggled to live up to. That's the art of Amy Reeder for you. Now, I'm just waiting for DC to throw her on interiors."

And what more needs to be said?

Just 'cause.

LATER: Honorable mentions.

TOMORROW: Supergirl #67 review.

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