Thursday, October 30, 2014

Letters To Lois 4--Kissin' Cousins?!?

From the incredibly fruitful letters page in Lois Lane #24 (1961):

They've received requests for an "imaginary" marriage between Superman and Supergirl?!? EWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not to mention, if Lois is too old for a relationship with Jimmy, well, there's certainly a greater age gap between Kal-El and Kara.

And not to mention, EEEEWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!


SallyP said...

Well, it's good enough for Shelbyville!

Anonymous said...

Well, Superman has considered it!

Martin Gray said...

I thought loads of people in the US got hitched to their cousins. Linde Lee Danvers, Jerry Lee lewis - hmm ...

Sina said...

Yeah, history is filled with people who've either married their cousins (like Franklin Delano & Eleanor Roosevelt) or are descended from cousins marrying (like Albert Einstein), whether distantly or closely and, tbh, as far as I know, anything outside of your 1st & 2nd generations is genetically "okay", or at least negligible in terms of inherent risks & etc(ie: anyone within two generations of yourself, mother, father, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, son, daughter & all their associated "great/grand" prefixes)...but don't quote me, for frak's sakes, :P

Back to the comics at hand (and I could be wrong again) but I understand that this was actually one of the main, albeit *unstated*, reasons exactly why Kara was terminated with such spotlight, showcase & spectacle, & with such an obvious fan-fare of finality, in the now-famous 'Crisis On Infinite Earths #7'...because it'd become all-but-blatantly-obvious that writers were seemingly setting Supes up to retrench his roots with his (distant?) cousin as one of the only viable means of repopulating their race (I mean, it was their duty as Kryptonians...right?), nevermind that they constantly used words like "love" in a familial context, which could very easily become construed into something much more *intimate*, and they were tired of skirting around the issue :)

And of course, I know they wanted to streamline the entire Superman mythos at the time, but why else would they feel the need to eliminate someone who'd been a bona-fide star in her own right for many, many a decade up until previous when, realistically, Kara had been introduced in 1959, a full three *YEARS* before Spider-Man was even a blip on the comics radar, and now all of a sudden, she's given a heroic send-off of the first magnitude by sacrificing herself to save the entirety of Existence itself in defence of her beloved cousin and with absolutely *zero* chance of her ever coming back to life? The writers even semi-acknowledged this *in* the Crisis issue #7 by having Superman wanting to willingly abandon his policy against killing in reaction to her death...powerful stuff, that.

Either way, I've always liked Supes best as a down-home corn-fed country boy from the sticks who is human through & through, genetically as well...just because they're Kryptonian doesn't mean they're not human, who was raised to believe the best in humanity by Ma & Pa Kent and strove to become a symbol of that humanity to others by using his powers & abilities for good, and not this "alien in a strange world trying to repopulate his homeworld/oh my god, he's a God"-type crap :S

I mean, even if they really wanted to, they could've just invented some kind of science-fictiony doohickey that purposefully extracted their DNA & elegantly scrambled their genes *just enough* in a sterile, test-tubular laboratory (instead of a taboo-breaching relationship) for Kara & Superman to be the new "mother" & "father" of a new generation of Kryptonians...with the kicker being that, because they were *born* directly into our galaxy, instead of being transposed here through space, time & other unknown cosmic forces and energies along with other bells and whistles courtesy of Jor-El's scientificky space-magicks and untested voodoos that got him expelled from his council's homeworld like Kal/Clark was, then this generation of Kryptonians were 100%, totally, effectively & functionally...human, with no "super" special powers and/or etc. That way, Superman once again becomes 100% unique (Kara too, because I've always liked the origin in which she was sent first to be his guardian but got sidetracked on the way) and a one-of-a-kind, unrepeatable icon instead of a "how can we introduce other members from Krypton if the have the same-or-better powers than Superman" conundrum :D

...but that's just me :D

Martin Gray said...

Great post, Sina, but I think that IS just you ... I've never heard this 'Kara had to die because otherwise she and Kal would've have to get together' theory. I read every Superman Family comic for years and there wasn't a sniff of them shagging. Supergirl was constantly dating guys, Superman would flip between Lois and Lana - can you cite any examples at all?

There didn't seem ANY in-story urgency to repopulate Krypton - heck, Supergirl's birth parents lived with the enlarged Kandor community on Rokyn - there's thousands of original Kryptonians right there.

Sina said...

Examples? Not specifically, no :( I've always been a Marvel zombie & only know handfuls of DC lore, but the link up there with Superman telling Kara how "unlawful" it would be if they "married" combined with the letter from a fan-reader that led to this specific post are exactly what I was talking about...writers & behind-the-scenes creators dealing with Q&A re: "are Superman and Supergirl going to 'get married'?", ignoring it, denying it plausibly while avoiding headaches from it all.

She was never given the treatment others of her status held, like a place in the 'Superfriends' cartoon (can't you see her being best friends with Marvin & Wendy while bringing softer lines & tones to the Saturday-morning-friendly show?) or even a membership in the one team in the entire world that seemed like the most obvious place for her in every respect: The Teen Titans (?!?!!?!?!)... mostly because of the weird issues that arise once you explain that hey, "she's Superman...but female" & the immediate, logical thought processes now challenging their previously-held understanding of Superman himself as the "last son of Krypton" who was sent to Earth from a dying planet & is the only surviving member of his kind & none of that helped out in the *least* by the rationale that she's Superman's "cousin", lol :P

I mean, you can almost *hear* Supes in that two-panel link above saying "No, Kara, we can't be married. It would be wrong, it would be so, very, wrong. It would be...naughty, so very naughty", etc. etc. etc. especially with the way he's grabbing her chin with his thumb :P and that's the kind of unacknowledged subtext they were looking to get away from with the elimination of Kara in 'Crisis', IMHO.

TBH, I don't know much about her since then, tho.


I know that she went out a true hero and, to DC's everlasting credit, they've never brought her back in any manner whatsoever, nevermind in such a way that tarnishes her legacy & memory like they eventually did with 'Crisis Superboy', who also went out a hero alongside Old Superman in the Crisis finale by willingly leaving this place of existence for one of perpetual peace but was brought back retarded & whiny because he was "supposed" to be the one (to get his own book, to be the star, I don't know, whatevs), nevermind that the subtext was that Superman as a Boy & Superman as an Old Man were ritualistically saying "goodbye" to the one, true Superman, leaving him as the one, the only & the true "Superman", which is what the editorial staff of the time was trying to do and etc...but I think that some people just don't "get" the concept of subtext, I think.

I know that there've been other "Supergirls", including Kara's Earth-Other doppleganger aka: Power-Girl/Karen Starr (who was introduced ten years before Kara's death & has a different secret identity/civilian name) & an alien shape-shifting matrix unit that honoured the original Kara's memory by taking her form & identity & etc. but they are most emphatically 'Not-Kara's, & all other versions of her are also systematically removed from the Superman Family line of thought to the point where I don't think even Supes himself uses the term "cousin" or "family" when referring to Karen Starr/Power-Girl, etc. (although he did & they did refer to each other as such in the earliest days when she was first introduced at least).

Even in Alan Moore's 'Last Superman Story Ever Told', the futuristic Legion Of Super-Heroes brings her back to him (to say goodbye, as it turns out) after she's already been killed in our timeline (via time-travel loopholes and such), and it's enough to make the "Man Of Steel" break down & cry...seriously, the subtext is thick enough to spread on toast :P

Sina said...

PS: "You grew up beautiful, Kara. Let's go this way...where the light's better." :)

Sina said...

Sorry, I have a habit of coming back to old posts if & when something wildly relevant pops up at a later date :P jus' bear with me here, is all I'm sayin' etiquette-wise :D

Apparantly, Action Comics #260 from the very height of the Silver Age in January 1960 falls smack-dab into the middle of this whole "Superman/Supergirl" courtship/mashup thing :S

In short, Supergirl (pretending to be 'Mighty Maid') very publicly courts Superman so that he can leave Earth for her "home dimension", thus saving the Earth from aliens revenging on Kryptonian Kal.

...and yes, that is the plot :)

To be honest, even with the clean-cut haze of the early 60's establishment censorship in full effect, absolutely *nothing* here is as sweet & innocent as all that :D

Putting aside the easy-to-misconstrue innuendo/allegory of "crossing a dangerous barrier"(in this case, a dimensional one), Supergirl comes on to Supes rather goddamned *hard* right from the get-go with the lines, "I wanted to learn first-hand if you're as wonderful as (they say)...I('m) not disappointed!", then as Supes shows her the "scenic wonders of this world", she *THINKS* to herself (in a self-enclosed/contained *thought-bubble* to no one else but her, no less), "His eyes are beautiful!" and even the Rock of Gibraltar takes a back seat to her fascination with Supes as she asks him, again with no one around but the two of them, to "tell me about yourself, Superman...tell me about your mind, the heart behind the (muscles)!"

When Supes decides to openly start showing his affection for her with other people around as *witnesses*, as necessitated by the plot, remember, the aliens? then they take off for some giddy, high-in-the-sky flight maneuvers that end with him kissing her (over Milwaukee, apparently...anything special about that, what am I missing here?) and the just gol-dang sheer *LUCK* that, whoops, it's good there's a helicopter here for someone to take pictures of us making it look like we're in love and pretending to kiss, in such a far-out-of-the-way place like *THREE MILES OVER FREAKING MILWAUKEE*!!!

Afterwards, there are public proposals on the beach, *very* public as jealous Lois is invited as a witness to report it for the Daily Planet and complete with hot-dogs and lemonade. There are also engagement/farewell parties for them "all across the globe", indicating a considerably lengthy passage of time at least (quote unquote: "in the hours that follow"), with the last one being in Japan before Supes heads back to Metropolis for their final send-off.

At which point, of course we learn that it was all a ruse to make the aliens *think* Supes was leaving Earth for a plausible reason so they wouldn't attack him and it out of revenge for all things Kryptonian.

...seriously :)

The kicker is that even Supergirl *herself* doesn't know the reason why she's been asked to put on a disguise and pretend to be romantically involved with her cousin until the very end of the entire issue! You'd think that questions like, "But why did we perpetuate the hoax? And why are we in this underwater cavern?" would be ones that you'd ask when your cousin *first* asks you to put on a disguise and pretend to be in love with :P

And later, when (Warning: Warning: Danger: Subtext: Warning) Supes brings Kara back to her home at the orphanage, she outright *begs* him to let her come out in the open, as it were, as she's "tired of mild, secret adventures" and doesn't want to be a secret fact, that was Kal's actual term for her, his "secret weapon" that "no one but ME knows...exist" :)

Subtext, subtext, subtext...and all straight out of January 1960, to boot (ie: this wasn't a reboot, revamp, revision or retooling imposed by later writers upon earlier stories) :D

Sina said...

As a bit of icky-stickiness to the whole thing, Supes ends by telling Lois that "she was only 15", thus too young to be married...while thinking "It's true, Supergirl is only 15!" the woman he was seen photographed passionately kissing high above Milwaukee (again, what?) was rejected not because she was related to him, but because she was *too young* :)

My opinion, they probably could have/should have just done away with the whole "cousin" bit and introduced her as the daughter of Jor-El's colleague (who was sent first, yada yada, etc) and just made her a straight-up rival for Supes' affections to compete with Lois, Lana and the rest of the etceteratii...but as it stands, it does make for some interesting dynamics all on it's own, doesn't it?