DigestCast #4 – Supergirl

It’s the fourth episode of DIGESTCAST, and Shag and Rob welcome Dr. Anj to discuss BEST OF DC #17: THE MANY LIVES OF… SUPERGIRL, featuring six titanic tales starring the Girl of Steel!

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26 responses to “DigestCast #4 – Supergirl

  1. Not to get all proprietary, this is MY Supergirl – especially the one of the era of 70s Adventure Comics and the adult Linda Danvers of Sumerman Family. She truly did die in the Crisis, and in spite of the many reboots, and the TV series which I do love – we have never gotten this era of the Maid of Might back. Good show, gentlemen.

  2. Great show! One of my favorite elements of this online comic community is encountering people with a real love for a character that I’ve never taken to. I’ve always wanted to like Supergirl, but my defining moment and memory for her is still Crisis 7, which tells me she hasn’t made a lasting impression. However, listening to Dr. Anj talk about her history and his love for the character totally sparked a new interest in her. I think I’ll pick up some issues of her current book. (Plus, Orlando’s Midnighter series was great, so I like his work.)

    Additionally, his affection for a secondary character makes me less self conscious about my love for Mockingbird. I guess we all have our offbeat characters that we follow.

    Thanks for a great show!

    Sean

  3. Well Perez is Jewish as were the creators of Superman so he could be using the cover page hand gesture that way.

    1. Brilliant show, you three gel nicely, with Anj especially good in the role of visiting expert.

      I’m with Gord, this is my Supergirl too, the perky, loyal, never-say-die doll who’d change costumes at a moment’s notice and boys with less than that. And then there’s her lifestyle, boy, did she change cities a lot! Mind, she almost always found her way back to a college life of some sort… was she afraid of growing up (writers de-aging her helped there, as Anj said) or simply destined for academia? The only time she really gelled for me outside of college was when she was in Adventure Comics and San Francisco … the super-fun Nastalthia helped (look at her, and look at Lena Luthor off the tellybox, surely there’s a visual influence there).

      The diverse roommates thing was de rigueur in the early Seventies, Lois and Diana also had a set. Ah, where are you now Kristin Cutler, Julie Spence and Marsha Mallow?

      Anj, John Albano didn’t design Kara’s classic poofy sleeved outfit, though he did write its first appearance in Adventure #410… I can see why you got there, though, as the reader who did had the similar name of John Sposato.

      And if I may refer to Sontaron’s comment above… George Perez is Jewish?

      1. Hm last time I use my phone for commenting on here silly auto correct. that was suppose to be: Well Perez has Jewish Background as were the creators of Superman so he could be using the cover page hand gesture that way.
        I know his family was Catholic but he has said he had less to do with his family and Porto Rico and more to do with where he lived in the South Bronx which had a high population of Latino, black and Jewish population (at the time he was a kid more than a 1/3 of the South Bronx population was Jewish) and several of his friends were jewish. So yea should have been more precise and also not used my phone to type it out…

  4. It seems to me that Plastic Man’s act was actually just basic obstruction nothing as tricky as the hidden ball rule. His foot is clearly in front of First base so he is blocking the way to the base he doesn’t have the ball nor does he need to be there to receive a throw to himself. “Obstruction is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner. “

  5. Great show fellas! I remember my mom brought this digest home for me from the drugstore located in the strip mall where she worked. I read Supergirl in Superman Family, but a book on her own…I was dubious. But I actually really dug it, because I’ve always been such a nut for comic history and the evolution of characters that the theme of the book really got me. And yes, the artwork from the 70s stories was VERY nice, and I did appreciate it in ways I didn’t quite understand at the time. And of course, Anj is right…Linda/Kara was OFTEN drawn in a state of undress in those Superman Family issues. I think her and Black Canary must have been trying to outdo one another in the lingerie department back then.

    Rob, you are totally right about Supergirl’s “slippers” being the bane of every Mego fan’s existence. I gave up looking for a set, and just went with a repro set of Wonder Woman boots. Done and done, and totally comic accurate as well. And Supergirl’s hot pants suit is still my favorite. Very unique look.

    As always Anj was a great guest, and I totally get why he took to Supergirl.

    Chris

  6. Thank you for this episode, gentlemen. I don’t have a lot of history with Supergirl in print, and enjoyed learning about the evolution of her character through your discussion of this digest.

    I also have to add my endorsement for Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade. Like Shag, I picked this up for my daughter, and found myself enjoying it just as much as she did.

  7. Thanks for another fun and informative episode. I would be especially interested in knowing more about the connection between Otto Binder’s work on Supergirl as compared to his earlier Mary Marvel stories for Fawcett. I assume they had the same tone but I’ve read relatively few of the Mary Marvel solo stuff (has any of it been reprinted?) Did the fact that Billy Batson and Mary were twins have an impact on the relationship between Cap and Mary?

    When you look at Binder’s work on the Superman mythology, it’s hard to think of another writer who had as big an impact on the Man of Steel: He co-created Supergirl, Krypto, Legion of Superheroes, Phantom Zone, Kandor, Jimmy’s signal watch and Elastic Lad identity, Beppo, Titano, Lucy Lane, Brainiac, and wrote many of the early Bizarro world tales!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oY_NyJeEQWA

    Count me in as hoping for an Archie Superhero Comics Digest episode. I never knew they existed and you can find copies that are relatively affordable over on ebay.

  8. Great episode, guys! Apologies for being pedantic, but a couple of notes regarding name pronunciation of creators. I read an interview Steve Skeates gave in either The Charlton Spotlight, Back Issue or Alter Ego (I think), where he set the record right on how his name is said. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I recall him saying that it’s pronounced “Skates”, Now, because Rob and I have made plans to record something for Steve’s 75th Birthday in January, I checked with someone who knows Steve–Mort Todd–and he confirmed that it’s pronounced “Skates.” BONUS: Tony DeZuniga. My friend and fellow historian Jason Sacks (Twomorrows’ American Comic Book Chronicles) corrected my mispronunciation–hey, it’s a tough one–but, he told me it’s “Dee-Zoo-Knee-Gha.”

  9. Another great show, gentlemen. I remember having this one, and liking it well enough, even though it was never one of my favorites. I do recall some of the bits from the stories you mentioned, like Khrushchev being all mopey about Supergirl and thinking it was all a capitalist scam, or that completely bonkers story that has Supergirl going under cover and throwing herself on a grenade (and looking at the gallery page, I remember I liked the art in that story best).
    All of you mentioned that it was nice that Supergirl got her own digests, and I don’t disagree; however, it reminds me that with the digests, as with the treasury books, Wonder Woman again got the short shrift – there was not a single digest dedicated to WW (nor to Aquaman, if memory serves).

    As for some of your questions for me in the “letters to the editor” section: I live in Croatia now, and Archie comics are not sold here – not even in translation. They just never caught on in this part of Europe (although here and there, I’ve occasionally come across old battered-up Archie digests from the U.S. in the few comic shops that exist here, and sometimes in used bookstores). American super-hero comics, mainly Marvel, do get released here, and they are sold mainly at newspaper kiosks, as well as comic shops. I never read those, because they’re translated, and while I have no problems with the language, I prefer reading them in their original English (seeing Spider-man or Wolverine with Croatian word bubbles is like coming across the Simpsons on some satellite channel dubbed into German – there’s just something wrong about it…).

    By the way, the Marvel pocketbooks I was talking about were the ones published in the late ’70s, in color, with pretty good reproduction values – in fact, they were a bit sturdier than the DC or Archie digests and printed a slightly thicker and higher quality paper stock. There were three Spider-man volumes, reprinting ASM #s 1-20, two Dr. Strange volumes, reprinting all except the last two stories by Lee & Ditko from Strange Tales, one FF volume, reprinting the first six issues of their series, two Hulk volumes, the first one reprinting issues 1-6 of the quickly cancelled first Hulk series, while the second one reprints a run of stories from Tales to Astonish that includes the introduction to the Abomination among other things, a Captain America volume, reprinting his resurrection story in Avengers #4 and some early appearances in Tales of Suspense (the only one I didn’t have back then) and a Spiderwoman volume that collects the first eight issues of her series. There were also a bunch (five or six) Conan books that reprinted the early stories by Thomas, BW Smith and Gil Kane, of which I had two.
    And as for the pronunciation of my name (and no, it’s not, unfortunately, an acronym for something cooler): the first name is just Ed with an ‘o’ on the end, and in fact, you can call me Ed, that’s what everyone not in Croatia does. The first syllable of my surname is pronounced like bow, as in bow and arrow, and the second syllable, rhymes with star.

    1. Yea here in Denmark in grocery stores about the only thing you can find are Disney mostly Donald Duck (Anders And in Danish) the other thing that you sometimes see is the newspaper comics strips from the States collected into a book and translated.

      1. Neither Disney nor Archie are big in the UK … I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve seen an Archie comic outside of a direct sales shop. ‘Too American’, I guess.

        1. The Disney stuff is popular here as well. But the most popular comics in these parts – and by that I mean not just Croatia but all of the former Yugoslav republics – are Italian comics like Zagor, Martin Mystere and Alan Ford. Anyone who reads comics here loves these, and it cuts across all age groups, from teenagers to people my age (i.e., middle-aged) and older. And, naturally, French comics (from Asterix to the SF/western stuff by Moebius or Bilal) are also quite popular.

      2. Noted Disney Duck writer/artist Don Rosa, who lives in Louisville, KY (and whose wife was my 8th grade social studies teacher) often marvels at how well-loved the Disney ducks are in other parts of the world, yet so neglected here in the US.

  10. I love this issue of The Best Of DC. It’s a nice overview of the different eras of Supergirl. When I started reading Superman Family Linda was already at the New Athens school so it was great to see her previous jobs.
    I also liked when the digests would feature something other than Superman or Batman (although I love both of those characters). DC Special was great at this! In the 24 issue run only 4 issues were devoted to one superhero – 2 issues for Green Lantern and 1 each for Green Arrow and The Flash. And The Flash issue even had team-ups!

  11. Fine show guys with a great guest and selection! I had 3 copies of this particular digest and gave one to Melissa Benoist at C2E2 in 2016 telling her this book had some nice stories with different careers Kara had. She initially thought I’d want her to autograph it, but she smiled, asked again if I wanted to part with it, and graciously accepted it when I told her to take it. (I should have realized though that the others who came to see her would also give her gifts too as she slid the digest under the signing table and into a large bag already filled nearly to the brim with a lot of other varied items including drawings of her and homemade crafts. Oh well.) I was able to get a nice picture with her holding my copy of Action Comics #252 though in a less awkward moment.

  12. Another great episode by Rob, Dr. Anj, and adult film star Max Shagwell!

    My most distinct memory of buying this issue from my neighborhood supermarket was running into my elderly 7th grade teacher at the store, who asked me what I was doing. “Uh, I’m a collector,” I nervously replied, which was the first time I recall telling an adult I was a “collector”, as opposed to a “reader”. The teacher then responded tersely “I meant what are you doing for the summer.”

    My only disappointment with Best of DC #17 was that they didn’t reprint my team-up with Supergirl, as originally published in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #3. Look forward to the next episode!

  13. Loved the episode.
    I don’t know much about Supergirl’s history. I appreciated dr. Anj’s knowledge that he dropped on us.
    Also a weird coincidence I had listened to the episode last week and this past weekend we went to a friends cabin up near pinawa manitoba Canada. As I was settling the kids in the room they were using I noticed they had some Archie digests on a shelf in the room so I look through the pile and fine to my amazement the very digest you talked about Supergirl suffice to say I read it that night. It was a fun read.
    Keep up the great work.
    Billy.

  14. I commented on this one already, but hit a wrong button and lost it.

    Supergirl is one of my favorite DC characters, but also one of the hardest struck by my lingering prejudice against Pre-Crisis stories. I got a Jim Mooney drawn issue of Dazzler in a 3-pack as a kid, and ever since then I’ve had an aversion to his style. Too sanitary, saccharine, and apologies for the throwback chauvinism, too “girly.” And I bought 5/6ths of Meet Misty off the stands, so maybe it’s more an issue with middle aged dude’s take on girlishness? I bought the recent Silver Age tpb because the price was right and I figure it shouldn’t take too many of these to collect all those short strips, but also because I know I could never read Mooney in black & white. As it is, barring a special project, I’ll probably just keep that trade on the shelf as a matter of posterity. I also have a strong dislike of Carmine Infantino, especially his post-Silver Age work, so there’s the lion’s share of Supergirl’s first thirty years rendered radioactive to me. If I had to plunge into that material, I’d very much prefer a condensed sampling like this.

    When I hear about Superman’s controlling ways over Kara, I tend to flash back to that infamous Larry Niven essay. I suspect part of Kara’s suffering was a manifestation of Superman’s repressed urges. Sure, he’s an alien, but he was raised in a patriarchy and it shows.

    Tony DeZuniga was my least favorite of the Filipino Invasion artists, but Bob Oksner is always swell, and the unique combination works very well. I think Supergirl handles the weird and the supernatural better than her cousin, as demonstrated in their story.

    Those bootie slippers are terrible though, as is the lighting trim on the trunks. It’s too bad they didn’t get a Mike Sekowsky story in there.

    As I recall, Archie has its own Marvel Unlimited style app with their super hero catalog available, which might be cheaper in the short run than buying the actual digests.

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