Wednesday, January 8, 2014

GONE AND FORGOTTEN : THE PUA WHO NEGGED SUPERGIRL


The Girl of Steel’s solo adventures – in Adventure Comics and elsewhere – were an interesting (if typically, sad to say, unentertaining) mix of stock superhero story formula and lovelorn romance soap opera comic. The arguable bottom-line financial advantage of giving Supergirl a solo feature in a monthly book was, after all, that she attracted female readers to the Superman franchise, and by this point DC has established its mix of superhero/romance in the pages of Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane – so, in brief, when romance reared its ugly head, embarrassment should follow.

Lacking a recurring beau, though, Supergirl ended up with a minor parade of single-issue lotharios and would-be paramours, including; a cursed centaur, a Phantom Zone criminal, a power-thieving super-mobster, some guy named Jeff who had a chili dog moustache (immediate disqualification), a hunky athlete who liked to disguise himself as a sea monster and rob yachts, a polka-dotted muppet who was secretly Mister Mxyzptlk and a seemingly perfect match in an alien boy hero who turned out to actually be a female hero using science to masquerade as a boy on her endemically anti-feminist world and neither lady ended up being “into it” (so pack up your deviantart portfolios, fellas, that question was answered) – among literally dozens more.

That first panel is nothing but sexts.
In Adventure Comics vol.1  No.388 and No.389 (Jan-Feb 1970), Supergirl (and her alter-ego of Linda Lee Danvers) ends up meeting KIMBOR, an intergalactic bad-boy who was freed from hard labor on a prison planetoid by Superman’s Coluan nemesis, Brainiac.

The baddie who bottled Kandor finds his mind turning more and more to Supergirl and, like the boy who yanks on his classmate’s hair in order to deal with the confusing emotions and urges of pre-adolescence, mistakes affection for aggression and decides to copy the head-turning, heart-throbbing Kimbor into an identical up-blowing, collateral-damage-making robot bomb with which to destroy Supergirl. (Kimbor manages to switch himself out with his robot duplicate in what’s meant to be a twist in the story but which ends up actually not accomplishing much except padding pages, so let’s not bother with it beyond this).

If I make a joke about Brian Wood right now, is it libel? 
Adopting the Earth-identity of Kimberly O’Ryan - because having frat boys exclaim “That’s a GIRL’S NAME!” was essential to Brainiac’s convoluted plan – Kimbor zeroes in on Supergirl in both of her identities. Intent on using his inescapable charms to destroy the Maid of Steel by basically being a huge, sexist asshole to her all the time, Kimbor’s in great company with at least a couple of 2013’s most notorious comics professionals and half the guys at Cons in general.

Kimbor’s hot-and-cold running abuse proves effective, with both Linda and Supergirl falling over themselves to gain Kimbor’s non-existent approval. In fact, Kimbor seems to be following, letter-for-letter, the steps recommended in the Pick-Up Artist Community, despite having debuted in a comic some twenty-five years older than the movement (Brainiac’s from space, maybe in space they’ve already figured out peacocking).

It's uncalled for to cap off this much inane bullshit with a pun.
So Kimbor “Approaches” (Step 1, visiting the Stanhope Supergirl Fan Club where Linda is hanging out because of some weird ego issues which this story kind of underlines), “Raises status” (Step 2, by savagely negging the poor girl), and then speeds up through Step 4, “Establish Physical Contact” by trying to get her blown up.

Kimbor’s negging largely consists of outright abuse and insults, sometimes violent arguments, he even hauls Linda in front of a speeding car so that she gets splashed with mud, right after he sticks her with an expensive dinner tab. The champions of the PUA technique are guys with names like “Mystery” and “Style”, so they already sound like third-string supervillains … late Nineties villains, mind you, but who knows, maybe these guys are the modern-day Legion of Doom, providing the Legion of Doom headquarters blares Smashmouth and reeks of Axe.

"You're going to jail for treating women exactly like comic books taught you to treat them!"

Ultimately, when Kimbor dumps Supergirl, the action turns a little convoluted as it begins to justify the cover illustration; Supergirl takes Kimbor to outer space, inside a giant fake space-dragon, shows him a garden of stone statues, reveals that those are all her ex-boyfriends and she turns them to stone to punish them for breaking her heart, starts to turn Kimbor to stone, whereupon Brainiac reveals himself for some reason I dunno, and then Supergirl admits that the last four pages of nonsense was, indeed, nonsense and just hauls Kimbor to Earth jail for being a dick. A blow against the patriarchy if ever there were one!

Luckily, it appears Kimbor learned his lesson, or at least so it seems from this open letter apology he made a few years later:
First and foremost and without any conditions I would like to formally and publicly apologize for offending a fellow comic book character.
I am also sorry because if I had realized my failed attempt at humor had offended Supergirl in the moment that I made those statements, I would have certainly apologized in then and not have left her to feel victimized in the hours and days that followed.
I am particularly saddened because I was completely blown away by not only her talent as a superhero, but more importantly by the fact she was using her talent to speak so openly and freely about her own life experiences and how they informed the superhero that she is today. 
Finally I am sorry that my presence on the planet caused her experience to be anything other than a celebration of her work. Supergirl deserved more than that.
Seems legit! 

3 comments:

Casanova Frankenstein said...

Maybe I have dyslexia, but everytime I read "PUA" my mind sees "POS".

Casanova Frankenstein said...

You are a writing machine! Keep it up!

neofishboy said...

... and in my past life running the beer department at a grocery store, I see "POS" and think "Point of Sale".

"PUA" makes me think of the MST3K episode "Pumaman" for some reason.

And yeah, those other guys are dicks.

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