The flagship character of DC Comics is Superman, and he always will be. Debates can be made about which characters are more popular, but the Man of Steel was the original superhero, and his status as the standard-bearer for DC is undisputed. With the man himself being reserved for feature film adventures, including some new entries building up to the formation of the cinematic Justice League, it’s likely that Superman will largely be left out of DC Entertainment’s recent expansion across the medium of television.
Still, it’s not surprising that the iconography of that classic “S” wouldn’t be too far behind DC’s new TV efforts, even if Superman himself won’t (or can’t) be included. With that, news has recently surfaced of a new “Supergirl” TV series being developed by producer Greg Berlanti, who is one of the creative minds behind the CW series “Arrow” and “The Flash.” Supergirl herself was also recently cast, with actress Melissa Benoist (“Glee,” Whiplash) stepping into the lead role.
Still, though, some people may not exactly know who Supergirl is, and that’s what comic book nerds like me are for. The “Girl of Steel” has quite a legacy within several iterations of the DC Comics Universe, and if some are worried that she wouldn’t be able to support her own show, don’t worry: she’s more than up to the task.
Who is Supergirl?
Answering the question of who Supergirl is requires some clarification, since depending on the era of the comics you’re talking about, you could be referring to several different characters. The shape-shifting alien that posed as a female Kryptonian after Superman was killed by Doomsday? The new being created from the merger of that alien with another human woman? How about Cir-El, the Supergirl of the future who claimed to be the daughter of Superman and Lois Lane?
No, the show will probably be featuring the original incarnation of the character, who first appeared in Action Comics #252 from May of 1959. Born Kara Zor-El on Krypton roughly 15 years before the birth of her cousin Kal-El, Kara was sent to Earth ahead of her cousin with the hope of being able to care for the infant as he matured on a strange, new planet. Unfortunately, Kara’s craft was caught in a meteor storm and was slowed down considerably. The end result was that she arrived on Earth while remaining in hypersleep aboard her ship, but she got there years late. When she arrived, Kal-El had already become the world’s greatest hero, and she was now the lost child in a strange world.
The 2003 comic book story that revised her origin to that version is a definite recommendation. Written by Jeph Loeb with beautiful artwork by the late Michael Turner, “The Supergirl from Krypton” from Superman/Batman #8-13 helped to redefine the kinds of stories told with the character. It also served as a successful launch pad for her own title, which persisted until DC Comics swept through their titles catalog with their “New 52” initiative in 2011. Besides Loeb’s run, a very memorable run on the Supergirl title was written by Sterling Gates with artwork by Jamal Igle, and helped keep the title’s quality high until DC decided to take their universe in a new direction.
Can She Support a TV Series?
In a word: absolutely. Given her status in the DC Universe as one of the few remaining Kryptonians without having had the benefit of growing up on Earth, her character is very entertaining since, unlike her cousin, she’s less-than-familiar with Earth culture and customs. While she can, and has, engaged with several regular members of Superman’s rogues’ gallery, she’s also equipped with her own enemies that she faces off against on a relatively regular basis. While it should prove interesting to see how she’ll be able to carry her own TV series once the series begins, there is no shortage of source material for the show’s creators to draw from, since she’s developed quite a unique legacy apart from her more well-known relative.
“Supergirl” will likely see its debut on CBS this coming Fall. For more info on the character and the show as we get closer to its premiere, keep an eye on GeekNation!
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