Thursday, February 16, 2012

R.I.P. Power Girl

As many of you know, I dabble in comics from time to time. With DC's New 52 launch, I've picked up a few books with the intention of long-term reading: Batman (excellent), Catwoman (on the fence), Wonder Woman (good until they changed creative teams), and Animal Man (amazing). Around the same time, IDW started publishing a reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and it is WONDERFUL. Then, even more recently, IDW started a new Danger Girl series. So you could say I'm down with the comics right now. But for the previous two years, the only comic I read was DC's Power Girl series.

This is PeeGee as drawn by Amanda Conner, who as far as I'm concerned is the only artist who should be allowed to do so. This picture illustrates everything I like about the character: she's brash, tough, willing to punch first and ask questions later, and she has a unique body type among all the DCU women. Power Girl is a little heavier than your average Starfire or Black Canary. Her breasts are bigger, her hips are hippier, her figure is more hourglassy. And, for the most part, she's always been portrayed like this.

Her costume has always been pretty consistent, aside from some bizarre and ill-advised changes, like this one:

That is HORRIBLE. I cannot unsee it, and there's a similarly terrible costume that's white and gold and it's a full body suit and I'd rather not talk about it. I blame the 90's. But the traditional Power Girl costume has been a white one-piece bikini, blue boots, blue gloves, a gold shoulderpad, and a red cape.

Oh, and a "boob window." Although she hasn't always had it (scroll up a bit), Power Girl's costume usually includes a hole where Superman's symbol would be, displaying her not-inadequate cleavage. I certainly don't mind this, and most readers probably don't, but unfortunately, Power Girl has come to be defined by this "boob window" almost as much as her short blonde hair and color scheme. And it's been the source of some amount of scorn: Power Girl's cleavage gets an undue amount of hate, especially in the face of characters like Starfire:

And Catwoman:

Power Girl's suit seems downright conservative by comparison, but her rack is bigger, she's bigger, she gets an undue amount of hate.

Look away, kids! It's a healthy-looking woman with superpowers!

Anyway, the point of this post is that after Power Girl's solo title disappeared after 27 issues and DC did a "soft reboot" of the DCU, Power Girl was nowhere to be seen, presumed dead. Ironically, she had survived all the previous reboots, and in fact one of her major story arcs (in JSA Classified) basically makes fun of all her origins and powers. But she survived through it all, and we were sad to see her supposedly go in the New 52.

Spoke too soon.

She's back--or rather, some version of her is back. She and Huntress will be starring in a new series out in May called World's Finest. That's supposed to be Power Girl on the left.

Say it with me now: What. The. Hell.

She suddenly looks like June Cleaver. Her entire costume has changed from the iconic colors and, yes, cleavage, to something about as generic as you can get. They've exchanged her striking blue boots and gloves for gold boots and gauntlets. I'm not sure how her cape is staying on. This is the most shabbily designed superhero outfit I've seen in a long time. Now, just to refresh your memory, this is what Power Girl has looked like for about fifty years:

Oh my gosh, she's been with Huntress before, too. But whereas Huntress' costume and color scheme have been largely unaffected, Power Girl drew the incredibly short stick. My working hypothesis is that, in an effort to expand its readership to, I dunno, more women (?), DC decided to cover up everybody's favorite Earth-2 Supergirl, shrink her down to a more waif-like form, and halve her cup size. Oh, and give her a haircut that would look dated in 1965. And in the meantime, DC is doing this to their other superheroines:

If you couldn't figure out who that last one is, I don't blame you: it's Harley Quinn. No, I'm NOT kidding. Figure THAT one out. Now then, what's especially vexxing is that all of these character redesigns are a part of the New 52, so three of the DCU's characters are getting really sexed up, but Power Girl, who for whatever reason got a lot of flack for having cleavage, is being scaled back WAY too much. See why I'm confused? I'm confused. Yeah, close the "boob window," but why are you changing HER ENTIRE COSTUME? It's no longer iconic--it's unbelievably generic. None of that costume says "Power Girl."

I'm incredibly disappointed that my favorite super heroine is getting the shaft because of overcompensation on DC's part, and it's unfair to her. Power Girl is big, beautiful, and proud of it. DC is doing the character an incredible disservice, and I am very disappointed. Rest in peace, Power Girl, you deserved better.

Sidenote: My Art Evolved (!) friends are you to give me grief if I don't list some image credits. I'm FAR too lazy to searching through comic archives to see who the illustraters were for the comic art here, but thanks to Glendon Mellow, we know the grey-background Power Girl is by DeviantArt's own known as Pat the Wanderer. The bottom picture is my favorite picture of Power Girl EVER, and it's by the incomparable Bruce Timm.

So credit where credit is due.


Unknown said...

Credit: good start, but you only get a C- for the effort. Tineye and Google image search are you friends! No fix it!

Glendon Mellow said...

Tsk tsk. That grey background Power Girl took like two seconds to find with a Google reverse image search.

By Pyrotech07.

Zach said...

Thanks, Glendon. I have no idea what a "reverse image search" is, or what Tineye is.

This is why I hate dealing with image credits. I know it's important, I know I should do it, but it's not the first thing on my mind.

*razzin' frazzin'...*

Glendon Mellow said...

Both and Google Reverse Image search allow you to upload images to see where online their being used. Great tools for artists if their worried about misuse of their artwork online.

Google Reverse Image Search allows you to drag the image into the Google Image Search bar where you would normally type. Then it gives you results.

I don't mind some aspects of the new costume: while I don't think super heroes and heroines need to be too prudish, I'm happy to see the days of thigh-high bathing suit superheroine costumes go away. I always found the peekaboo window on Power Girl's top to be a bit of overkill considering the size of her breasts.

I don't know why they changed her colours to gold instead of blue on her gloves and boots. It seems unnecessary.

I don't read a lot of DC but I have the similar feelings you do about Ms. Marvel. I love her iconic costume, but it's such a product of male fantasy, it's a bit silly for the commanding, strong ex-military to be sporting thigh-high boots and a swimsuit. At least with full body leotard (like say, Spider-Woman) the women and men are on similar footing.

Cole Stevenson said...

It was already hard for me to read post Palmiotti/Gray/Conner run, becuase the other team make it very serious and dark instead of light and refreshing like Palmiotti/Gray/Conner run

...then the reboot happened, and poor Karen got the most awful outfit ever

Oh well, anyway all the new outfit of the new 52 are really bad.

Now I really don't want to see Cassandra Cain in this reboot because that will hurt too much for sure.

Anonymous said...

Are they retiring the character? Good riddance. I don't like her- she is like a Barbie doll with a cape.

Anonymous said...

Dear sweet Jebus, idiot whankers that found Power Girl's outfit offensive need to grow the hell up. Yeah, Glendon, this means YOU. You obviously missed the half dozen times this Blogger pointed out that the other female heroes are getting sexier, more revealing outfits while PG is being forced into coveralls and a cape.

And a Barbie Doll??? Again, the author made the valid point that she is anything but the typical tall, slender yet busty heroine. PG had hips and would be considered voluptuous.

Now, to those of you who take offence by animated women wearing revealing outfits.....DON'T READ THESE COMICS, COME OUT OF THE CLOSET AND TURN TO TAME COMICS!!!! Disney still has them on the market, maybe look into Archie or something.