Comic Books #24: Supergirl Part III: Not Just Another Superhero
So many of those Superheroes were just too stuffy and straightlaced. I mean, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Superman were cool.... but when there wasn't fighting to be done, they were kind of a drag. I'm not saying I'd like to see Batman get drunk and beat the crap out of Boy Wonder, but I am saying that making a mistake, lowering your guard, and just appearing a little more "human" (for lack of a better term) would've been refreshing.
"Superman, can I have your autograph?"... "I must kiss that gorgeous specimen of super-manhood." Good grief. The ladies were always clawing for Superman. He could do no wrong. He was too perfect.
Supergirl was much more "human". She screwed things up, fell in love despite her better judgement, and could even act vindictive or jealous. The Man of Steel never interested me much - he was never scared and he couldn't laugh at himself. There was nothing self-deprecating about Superman. (Don't say "Clarke Kent" - he was just a douche.)
Check the panel above - Supergirl goes batshit crazy at one point.... a scene that reminded me of Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead II where he starts to lose his marbles. You never saw Mr. Perfect (Superman) do that.
I don't want to paint her as just a wild child either. Let me also say that Supergirl also exhibited some serious emotions, and dealt with situations that were no laughing matter...
Believe it or not, whilst making this post, I actually re-read at least fifty comics featuring the Maid of Steel. One thing I noticed was that her stories gradually became more and more like Superman's and the other male heroes..... in other words, they got to be action based and largely one-dimensional. It isn't surprising that when Supergirl shifted from a more feminine and relatable character to just another action heroine, jumping from one battle to another, the Supergirl comics started to decline and were eventually cancelled.
No, we like Supergirl best when she's NOT acting like the stereotypical hero. Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not saying she was some sort of anti-hero - the type that would become so trendy a decade or so later. By today's standards where seemingly all the superheroes are effed up and overly realistic, she'd be laughably shallow. All I'm saying is that, in 1970, she was often refreshingly "un-superhero-like", if that makes sense.
But, of course, the greatest insight into Supergirl's "humanity" was her romantic involvements. It seemed like every time you turned around Supergirl was hooking up with some dude. No, there was never any sex... not even a hint. But the flames of romance still got hot on more than one occasion.
On a slight tangent, this whole Kryptonian love thing reminds me of the infamous article written by famed science fiction author, Larry Niven called "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex". It's a very odd look into the sex life of Superman, and the particular challenges he'd have to overcome. Interestingly, it was actually the first case of copyright infringement involving the Internet.
At the end of the article, Niven postulates that the only true sexual match for Superman would be Supergirl, but that's his cousin..... so, I'll just leave it at that.