Wednesday, April 2, 2008

You've Come a Long Way, Kara

Yesterday we discussed Superman's hideous attempt to cut off Supergirl from everything she loves because of a trivial little mistake.

But as I alluded to, this was only the tiniest part of Supergirl's travails that issue (although it was the part that made the cover). After getting the cold shoulder from Superjerk, Kara returns to Stanhope College, only to find someone is dancing in her cabbage patch. Someone has been controlling her Linda Danvers and Supergirl robots, and also using mysterious powers to cause all of her attempts to help people to backfire.

Who's dissing the Maid of Might in her own crib? Why, it's the mysterious Topar!! And wait until you get a load of his reason why:

Is that Mr. Game & Watch from Nintendo?Uh, what???

Topar, do you want to take this up with Wonder Woman?Oh, Topar, that is so not cool. Really, next you'll be berating her cow mouth and whore's heart.

Fortunately, the Co-Ed Crime Buster figures out (somehow) that Topar must be a robot, an boy, does she know how to deal with robots:

Every 60's DC superhero was required to have a U-shaped electromagnet handy, just in caseAnd Topar's secret origin:

Uh,'re trusting this douchebot?Wha???

Oh, Jor-El, if you had spent a little less time programming sexist robots, and more time saving Krypton...Okay, that's actually a good plan, Jor-El. So, how'd it go?

Amazingly enough, I've never read this storyWAIT A MINUTE!! Tangent Rant!! You mean we had, in the Silver Age, a super-powered Kryptonian robot who, having trained Superboy, went to travel the stars to find and train other super-youth?? Why, oh, why, was this never ever ever followed up by a story in the Legion of Super-Heroes????? It would have been sooooo perfect....

Rant over. Back to Topar's deal. When he looked back at Earth to check up on Kal-El, he saw that Kara had shown up. And...

Note to 21st century artists: see, you can draw a female superhero without showing her butt cheeks
Topar, troglodyteBut were programmed by Jor-El. Does this mean that
a) Jor-El was a sexist bastard who didn't think that girls could handle super-powers?
b) Jor-El was a shitty programmer?

Really..."emotionally incapable of performing super-deeds correctly?" Fortunately, Supergirl triumphed over Topar's plan, and Topar acknowledges her worth and heads off back into space (hello!! He's a robot!! He can live for 1000 years easily!! He can test/train Legionnaires!! hello!!).

So, remembering that we're grading on a 1969 curve, should we be
a) upset that a figure who represents the wisdom of Krypton doubts the competence of female heroes, and in a particularly offensive and sexist fashion? ("Emotionally incapable?" Sheesh!)
or b) glad that Supergirl proved herself, and changed the sexist robot's mind?

Given that relative youngster Cary Bates wrote this story, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and see this as a victory for least as great a victory as could have been possible in a DC book published in the 60's. Let's assume that Bates meant to say that Topar spoke not just for Jor-El, but DC's old guard editors, who just loved to portray their female heroes as emotional wrecks who were far more easily distracted and defeated than their male counterparts. So all the offensive twaddle Topar spouts is the just standard old guards' viewpoints, which he (via Kara) proceeds to shoot down.

So when Supergirl overcomes her blunder, passes Topar's trials, and gets Superman's forgiveness, in context it's a resounding victory for women, and the first step in Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency. Hey, wait a minute...


Anonymous said...

Thanks to the internet, I have found one way it "tested" Superboy (If I'm remembering right).

Brainwashing a girl into having sex with him.

That is one horribly sexist robot.

snell said...

Now I HAVE to find that story...