Interview with writer Mike Johnson on “New 52” Supergirl

Since we have yet to hear anything about the new Supergirl series for the “New 52” reboot, beyond the incredibly vague solicitation copy, I asked Mike Johnson via Twitter whether we’ll be seeing an interview with him and co-writer Michael Green soon. He responded that there should be one out in the next couple weeks on Newsarama. Hurrah! Too late to help make a decision for September orders, sadly, but I am glad we’ll be learning something soon.

Supergirl is one of the many reconfigured characters/books on which we have zero information right now. I had the same gut reaction to the solicit blurb as many people – do not want – but that blurb could mean anything. You can’t sum up a new interpretation of a character in one line. And DC’s solicitation blurbs tend to be rather…awful. The original announcement for the super books described Supergirl with “Supergirl’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman and none of his affection for the people of Earth.” That’s ominous enough, but the official solicitation for the series that came out on June 13 was even more offputting:

Meet Supergirl. She’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman — and none of his affection for the people of Earth. So don’t piss her off!

Let’s ignore the silly “don’t piss her off!” for a moment. That “none of Superman’s affection for the people of Earth” line definitely does not describe the Supergirl of the Silver or Bronze Ages, so this isn’t a case of taking the character “back to her core” (whatever that means). Eddie Berganza and Bob Harras can repeat that mantra all they want, but does anyone believe anything they say anymore?

ComicVine: Part of the revamp is giving characters new identities. I know that in the solicit for the upcoming Supergirl series, she seems like a completely different character…

Eddie Berganza: Well she’s still the same character, we’re just going down to her core. Looking at the characters at their core, looking at them in these new situations that we’re creating and seeing how they would react to other characters. We’re taking everything back to ‘who is this character, how would he or she react to certain situations,’ and that’s really how we developed some of these new directions.

Bob Harras: We’ve also been very conscious of making this reality for the real world. Like, what would the reaction be of people coming from outer space with these powers? It’s not all gonna be welcomed. So that’s the challenge these heroes are faced with and the fact that they continue to be here is the story we’re striving to tell. (Source: ComicVine, June 15)

I’ve known for years that Eddie Berganza has no clue what Supergirl’s “core” personality is, from her characterization during his tenure as super-books editor (the first 19 issues of Supergirl) to the inane things he said in 2007 when sales were faltering and DC was giving lip service to appealing to women. (Something they’re not even trying today.) I’m not reading too much into Berganza’s stock response to the question posed him by ComicVine, because he’s not the one writing (or, hopefully, editing) the book.

Given that the current incarnation of Supergirl has been around for only six and a half years and was just starting to rebuild her life (again) following the end of New Krypton, when DC abruptly pulled Sterling Gates off the book, it hardly seems necessary to “go back” to anything. Maybe the plan is to redo that whole character arc of acclimatizing to Earth, but, um, better than the first time. Hopefully they’ll fast-track all that character development into a couple of storyarcs and we’ll be back to where we are today in a year from now. I just hope to god that we get someone Matt Idelson as the editor, because he really turned that series around when he came on. Nobody wants to go through those rough early years of Supergirl again…

Another place to watch is the website of new Supergirl penciller Mahmud Asrar. Hopefully we’ll start seeing character sketches or pencilled pages as September draws nearer.