Two Newsarama interviews with the writers of Earth 2 and Worlds’ Finest reveal more details about the reboot of Earth 2:
DC Women Kicking Ass has been running a series of posts today called “Saying Goodbye to Helena Bertinelli”. Fans and pro writers talk about their memories and love of the character in the following posts:
- Part 1: Taking Charge
- Part 2: Cry For Blood
- Part 3: Hush
- Part 4: Huntress vs. the Predators
- Part 5: Greg Rucka
- Part 6: Teacher
- Part 7: Faith
- Part 8: Devin Grayson
- Part 9: Gail Simone
DC could have chosen to have both Huntresses in this new universe with its multiple Earths. Instead, we’re losing both. The new Helena Wayne bears little resemblance to the Huntress of the Bronze Age Earth 2.
“Helena Wayne has been taught how to be the perfect Robin,” said James Robinson, writer of EARTH 2. “Assured as a detective, fighter, scientist, pilot and all around crime-fighter she’s been groomed by Batman to be the perfect caped manhunter (or should we say manHuntress) when she grows up.”
“Before coming to the main DCU Earth and taking up the mantle of Huntress, Helena Wayne fought crime alongside her father as the Robin to his Batman on Earth-2!” said WORLDS’ FINEST editor Wil Moss. “But how did she come to be on this Earth? And why did she decide to become Huntress? You’ll get some clues in next week’s HUNTRESS #6, but for the real scoop, pick up WORLDS’ FINEST #1!”
If you thought for a second that Helena’s mother, Catwoman, would be allowed to live past her daughter’s debut as a superhero this time, you don’t know DC very well. Of course Selena Kyle is dead. Again.
“Who will Batman kill to save his own daughter?” asks EARTH 2 editor Pat McCallum. “Right out of the gate that should tell you we’re dealing with a different kind of Dark Knight here. More ruthless, dangerous…the costume is familiar and yeah, there is a Wayne under the mask, but we’re looking at a man desperate to save the only family he has left. EARTH 2 is about to become a very bad place to be a bad guy.”
I can’t say I’m enthused about Helena being trained to be “the perfect Robin” by her father. That’s not how being a Robin works, and it goes against everything Robins mean to Batman – being a Robin is not simply about being a child sidekick. It’s something that’s borne out of tragedy or some form of parental failure or loss. It goes against everything we know about Batman for him to impose that life on his own child.
I like the Bronze Age Huntress a lot, but distilling these two characters into one is a huge step backwards. Not satisfied with disappearing the fantastic Helena Bertinelli to bring back Helena Wayne, DC seems hellbent on eliminating any opportunity for an older generation of women on Earth 2 to shape the next generation. By killing off the Amazons, Lois Lane, and Selena Kyle, DC has artificially created a situation where Wonder Woman, Helena Wayne, and Supergirl/Power Girl’s primary bonds must by necessity be with the men in their lives.
There’s something very off about replacing such an independent, self-sufficient female hero as Helena Bertinelli with a version who has been retconned into being her father’s sidekick. Bronze Age Helena was heavily linked to Batman, but she operated independently. How much more interesting would it have been this time around to explore a relationship between Selena Kyle and her grown daughter as she navigates her own path of vigilante-heroism in a post-Batman Gotham?
It would have been a heck of a lot more interesting than killing off Catwoman to give Batman yet more manpain.
Kevin Maguire’s early, rough sketch of Earth 2′s Supergirl, based on the Earth 2′s Superman costume (Maguire did not intend this for public viewing and was surprised when DC published it on The Source)
Remember what I said about this costume (as rendered by George Perez on Worlds’ Finest#1) being perfect if it had pants? Yeah. No pants for Supergirl on any Earth, apparently. Huh.
“Superman’s cousin loves her adopted world with a passion, seeing how the people of Earth have adopted her and taken her to their hearts,” said EARTH 2 writer James Robinson. “She is the definitely brightest light among this first group of Earth 2 heroes.”
“Meet the Earth 2 Supergirl, aka Karen Starr,” said WORLDS’ FINEST editor Wil Moss. “As readers of MISTER TERRIFIC already know, Karen has been busy since she arrived on the main DCU Earth, creating a successful company and dating the brilliant Michael Holt. But what are her true motives behind those actions? How did she get here? And what incident prompts her to take up her new identity of Power Girl? Find out in WORLDS’ FINEST #1!”
So Power Girl isn’t Power Girl, she’s pre-Crisis Supergirl. What the frick? The whole concept of Power Girl is that she’s not Supergirl. HOW DO YOU SCREW THAT UP?
In this universe something tragic happened that caused Kara to cut her hair, change her outfit and beginning calling herself Power Girl on Earth 1. We know it was something grim and tragic because she’s described as the “brightest light among this first group of Earth 2 heroes” and the descriptions for Earth 2′s big three has been a parade of tragedy:
- Earth 2 Character Designs — Superman
- Earth 2 Character Designs — Wonder Woman
- Earth 2 Character Designs — Batman
What made Power Girl unique as a person is gone. In the Bronze Age, Power Girl’s rough-and-tumble, super confident personality wasn’t a result of anything bad happening to her. That was just the way Supergirl turned out on the Golden Age-esque Earth 2. And that was cool (even if the way Paul Levitz wrote her often came across as a stereotypically cliched male impression of feminism). That Power Girl no longer exists in this new universe. “Power Girl” is now just a new identity that an alternate Supergirl takes on. That makes me incredibly sad.
I can’t even begin to articulate how angry I am at DC’s wholesale destruction of Earth 2. It’s like DC’s showrunners ran through a checklist of stupid cliches of How To Give Your Characters Maximum Angst and patted themselves on the back for their Bold! Fresh! Hip! approach, when all they did was crib from Women in Refrigerators. Lois Lane: dead. The Amazon nation: dead. Selena Kyle: dead. These are not groundbreaking ideas guys! Read a freakin’ Elseworlds, or any run from Wonder Woman EVER. Killing off popular, viable female characters to give male characters an excuse to be dicks and make Wonder Woman an angry, alienated caricature is not cool or interesting or new. It’s old and boring. And it makes me not care about Superman or Batman or Wonder Woman. It takes some serious effort to make THOSE characters unpalatable.
Like most people I’d hoped that Earth 2 would be a refuge from the awfulness of the New 52. Now we know better. Didio and Lee never had any intention of honoring the heroic, hopeful spirit of previous DC eras.
DC is having a “you can’t handle the truth!” moment. In the face of conflicting survey results, they dismissed their online survey because it revealed a much larger percentage of female readers than the in-store and digital samplings.
In a Publishers Weekly interview with DC’s Vice-President of Sales and Marketing John Rood, The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald asks some hard questions that reveal some very interesting answers.
The survey was released in three different forms. In the online survey 77% of respondents were male and 23% were female. That sounds a lot more accurate than the 93 % / 7% breakdown of the statistically meaningless in-store and invite-only digital reader surveys (seriously: meaningless). Yet DC chose to publicize ONLY the 93/7 number because they believed them to be more “accurate”. When faced with large numbers of women they couldn’t ignore, they literally wrote us out of the press release.
John Rood: The in-store and the online exclusively —group 1 and group 3—those were both 93-7 in male/female skew. The middle survey, online only which was open to any self-identified shopper, was 77-23 male/female. So was there a glut of activity specific to wanting to register certain feedback? I can’t say whether females found their voice in that survey or whether they had specific female related issues to report on, but this is something that stood out.
Notice how Rood automatically assumes the online survey is the “skewed” one, rather than questioning whether the in-store survey that only took place on Wednesdays in September is all that representative. DC just can’t wrap their minds around the idea that female readers make up a large percentage of their readers.
Rood is correct in that women have a lot more incentive to make our voices heard than male fans — DC constantly ignores and belittles our existence. Rather than dismiss the online survey results out of hand (which they did when they initially publicized “93/7″), they could have questioned the other surveys which resulted in such an extreme skew.
Many more people responded to the online survey in part because it was the only one they heard about. One commenter only participated because she heard about the online survey from the female-focused DCWKA site — she was never told about it by her comic shop.
To me one of the biggest issues DC has had with the whole campaign has been the lack of a forward facing PR and advertising person who understood the ability to focus to audiences on a large spectrum. I took part on the survey because I found the link information through here, it wasn’t supplied by my comic shop.
DC doesn’t know we exist because the industry doesn’t consider us in the first place. They’re so surprised by our high participation in an online survey that they chalk it up to a sex-driven mobilization focusing on so-called “special” interests, rather than realizing that, hey, it’s 2012 and the internet is a widespread mode of communication that’s far more effective than sampling comic shops which the majority of people don’t even know exist. Rood even noted that both the in-store and online surveys drew a high percentage of self-identified “avid” readers, in contrast to the digital survey, so again, why so quick to dismiss the online survey as less valid?
So those who identified as female and took the survey online voluntarily were three times higher than those who took in a store.
And as for the question around “why?”, another question could be, “are women not buying their comics through the direct market? Are they getting their comics in other ways? Mail order? Were the shops we selected diverse enough?”
Many people only go into a comic store every few weeks to pick up their pull list of comics. (I seldom went on release day because I wanted to avoid a crowd.) By only polling on Wednesdays, DC guaranteed a large percentage of “avid” readers.
John Rood on the study’s accuracy:
Publishers Weekly: One of the things people noted right away was that only 5% of the survey was new readers. Were you surprised? Do you think it’s low or high? Are you satisfied?
John Rood: I think the study is not indicative of the actual system wide performance, in light of the fact that I would imagine that avid fans are more apt to participate in a survey in the first place than a new fan, whether that survey is through the in-store recruiting, or the website that was solicited to the in-store and digital shoppers, and the digital buyer list we targeted specifically. Of those three samples I think you would get greater compliance from passionate ones. I don’t think that 5% is an absolute. I think it’s interesting that self-identified new fans were right at 4-5% regardless of the three samples. It was very consistent.
Rood calls this a “hastily gathered survey and relatively short survey time” which kept them from “getting a better sense of individual intent, history and change in behavior”. At the end of the interview he says that DC will be doing another survey in 2012 “for sure”. That’s good to hear.
(I am amused by how Power Girl looks like Trixie Belden in this sketch. I loved those books growing up :)
George Perez, via Facebook:
Hey all, with the color cover of WORLD’S FINEST finally released in the solicitations, I just wanted to say something that I’ve already stated in reply to another post. I had nothing to do with the designs of any of the costumes here, with the exception of some minor tweaks to the seams in Power Girl’s costume. (Also, the color shown is not the final version since there are some corrections that need to be made before the book’s actual publication.
I just wanted to give a shout out to my friends JC Marie and Margie Vizcarra Cox for being my cover girl models for the new WORLD’S FINEST #1. I couldn’t have asked for two more delightful muses!
More regarding George’s models for Power Girl and Huntress:
Just finished the cover for WORLD’S FINEST #1, which is now being colored. Since I can’t show the cover until DC releases the image, here are some rough character studies [link to image on Facebook] showing the two lovely young ladies I’ve asked to be my inspiration for the likenesses of Huntress and Power Girl. The Huntress is inspired by my dear friend and cosplayer supreme Margie Cox and Power Girl is based on another friend named Jana who models professionally under the name JC Marie. I am grateful that they both agreed to do this and I hope I will do them justice in the series. — with Margie Vizcarra Cox.
I googled JC Marie and Margie Cox and, well. I believe the euphemistic industry term regarding what JC Marie does is “glamour model”. Or in the real world, “softcore porn photography”. About that pandering to the male gaze problem that superhero comics have? Yeah…
Kevin Maguire, via Twitter:
@akosiJepoii: Is that really Power Girl’s new costume? Please say Nooooo
@maguirekevin: My understanding is it’s still going to be tinkered with, but, yeah. Sorry.
- Twitter, Feb 12/12
@maguirekevin: Lots of folks hate the new Power Girl costume and I get it. Had I free reign, I’d have done it different… - Twitter, Feb 12, 2012
@maguirekevin: …but I hope people will judge the book more on how she’s played rather than how she’s dressed. - Twitter, Feb 12, 2012
@dcwomenkicknass: Who designed the new Power Girl costume, Cully or Jim?
@maguirekevin: Me. Within parameters, pants, cape, no boob window, no sleeves. I wanted it to look “connected” to the Earth-2 Superman design
- Twitter, Feb 12, 2012
@impoliteopinion: no, @scottmarshall, @maguirekevin did away with an iconic look in order to give her a terrible look reminiscent of the early 80s.
@maguirekevin: @impoliteopinion @scottmarshall Your anger,however, is mis-directed. I didn’t decide how she should look. I gave them more than one design
- Twitter, Feb 14, 2012
Hat tips to Laura M., Sue and the commenters at DC Women Kicking Ass
DC has released the cover of Worlds’ Finest #1 by George Perez, which answers the question of whether Power Girl will be getting a new costume.
Power Girl and Huntress jumping through a portal…but who are that alt-universe Supergirl and fem-Robin behind them? Cover identities they’ve used on another world, or their true identities on Earth Two? What’s going on?!
I like the mysterious alt-universe Supergirl’s costume a lot more than Power Girl’s new duds. That Supergirl looks amazing. The alt-universe Robin (Helena?!) is, uh, interesting. But Power Girl? Meh. My reaction is lukewarm.
What I like: the white unitard with the high collar and seaming details. Love it. That’s Power Girl. I’m very happy they ditched the boob window.
What I dislike: 1) The super-esque shield, with the attempt to integrate a stylized “P”, in Superman and Supergirl’s colours. Power Girl doesn’t do chest symbols. 2) The gold gloves and boots. I have no strong opinion on their design, what I don’t like is that they’re gold instead of blue. Those aren’t Power Girl’s colours.
This outfit doesn’t shout “Power Girl” to me. There’s nothing to tie everything together into one cohesive, iconic design. It’s not a bad costume; it’s just not her. (It’s basically a better version of Supreme‘s costume.)
They’re on the right track with the white leotard. They got that part right from Joel Carroll’s great Power Girl redesign:
Substitute Amanda Conner’s awesome bright blue zippered gloves and matching boots for the thigh-high boots and pirate-style cuffs, and this is the look DC should have gone with in creating a slick, non-boob focused update for Power Girl.
What really interests me on this cover is that amazing alt-universe Supergirl costume: who’s that? Can we have that costume for Earth-1?! If she’s wearing pants, I’m sold. Love the gloves! But does this mean that Power Girl actually Supergirl on her own world? Please no! That would destroy the integrity of the character, whose defining feature has always been that she’s not Supergirl. I also really hope that Helena Wayne is not actually Robin on Earth-2. That would make the Huntress…her dad’s sidekick? Oh no :( I really hate the idea of Power Girl being just Supergirl and Huntress being a Robin on another planet.
So many questions.
WORLDS’ FINEST #1
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by GEORGE PEREZ, SCOTT KOBLISH and KEVIN MAGUIRE
Cover by GEORGE PEREZ
1:25 Variant cover by KEVIN MAGUIRE
On sale MAY 2 · 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US · RATED T
• New ongoing series featuring POWER GIRL and HUNTRESS of Earth 2!
• PAUL LEVITZ teams with amazing artists GEORGE PEREZ and KEVIN MAGUIRE.
• Discover why these two heroes are stranded on our Earth – and what it means for the heroes of the DC Universe.
Here is the variant cover to Earth Two #1 also shipping in May. Those are some truly terrible costumes.
EARTH TWO #1
Written by JAMES ROBINSON
Art by NICOLA SCOTT and TREVOR SCOTT
Cover by GREG CAPULLO
1:25 Variant cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale MAY 2 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
• First issue of an ongoing series from writer JAMES ROBINSON and artist NICOLA SCOTT!
• Who are the heroes of EARTH 2 – and what befell them?
• Starring ALAN SCOTT, JAY GARRICK and many others!
• You may think you know Earth 2…but this is DC Comics – The New 52, where anything can happen!
• Don’t miss the extra-sized debut issue!
Ironically the copy promotes the JSA’s Alan Scott and Jay Garrick, but the cover shows the JLA trinity. Hopefully the regular cover shows the actual JSA members from, you know, Earth 2.