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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s certainly not Superman! Meet Supergirl! The blonde heroine, who flew into comics in 1959. Created by Otto Binder  and Al Plastino, she first appeared in Action Comics alongside Superman. Despite her younger appearance, Supergirl is actually Superman’s older cousin. Born to the House of El, Kara Zor-El is Kal-El’s cousin, she and her cousin are survivors from Krypton, Superman’s ill-fated home planet which was destroyed, (most writers credit it to a nuclear chain of reaction). Kara was just a teenager when she was handed the responsibility of caring for her baby cousin, Kal, as they were sent off to Earth in an attempt to survive. Kal arrived but Kara only made it to earth years after Clark became Superman and still as a teenager due to suspended animation (No escaping puberty there!). Superman took her under his wing to train her, but she was never a sidekick. Like the “S” symbol representing hope they both bear, Supergirl was Superman’s secret weapon for when things looked the bleakest. Over the years, Supergirl became known as one of the most powerful female superheroes rivaling even her cousin’s strength. Even though she could compete with the boys, Supergirl’s femininity was always one of her defining traits. Despite her popularity, she was killed off in 1985 when she committed the ultimate sacrifice. But worry not! You can’t keep a good girl down and certainly not one like her! Supergirl has gone through many changes over the years, even possessing multiple identities a one time (she even has an alternate, much older version that goes by the name Power Girl). She, along with other DC superheroes, went through a revival in the New 52 reboot, once again going with a new look but the same, classic backstory and spunk readers knew and loved. Although her New 52 run ended in March 2015 after four years, Supergirl battling a new type of villain: Television Critics.

 

Premiering October 26 at 8:00/7:30c, Melissa Benoist will be starring in CBS’s newest series, Supergirl. The show features co-stars such as like Jeremy jordan, Chyler Leigh, and David Harewood.  Kara, unlike her New 52 counterpart, arrived at a much younger age and was taken in by Danvers and lived with them as their adoptive daughter. Now living on her own in National City and holding down a job as an assistant, Kara must choose between having a normal life or becoming the hero she was destined to become. Although Superman is active in Metropolis, he will not be the main focus of the series and will only be mentioned by name or in very small cameos.  Like the writers, his character seems to want Kara to be in the spotlight and make the choice to become a hero on her own. However, Supergirl is not without her critics. After all, the heroine had her own feature movie back in 1984, which was considered to be a flop. The trailer playfully pokes fun at the possible skeptics. Often her title has been considered ‘belittling’ due to the word ‘girl’ being tagged on at the end. In the series, Kara’s boss claims Supergirl as her own, seeing an opportunity for hero press. Kara storms into her boss’s office, demanding to know why Supergirl can’t be called ‘Superwoman’ and her boss’s response is certainly aimed at those who might have a problem with the show. “So if you perceive “Supergirl” as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?” her boss gloats, rendering even the angered Kara silent. The show also pokes fun at her wardrobe (or lack of) throughout the years. In the trailer, Kara can be seen trying on different outfits. After entering the room in a crop top and tight shorts, she refuses to fly in the outfit and is seen returning to her classic costume. Show Kara seems to display the spunk that her comic book fans love. However, she still has high expectations to live up to.

 

Many of her fans have high expectations for this show, and not normally the ones that tend to come with superhero shows or shows coming from other beloved elements of media. Supergirl represents something much bigger. The lack of female heroines as the main protagonist lacks greatly in superhero movies. More often than not, they are featured as sidekicks or like Black Widow, not always part of the main team (for instance, take the Avengers merchandise, she isn’t feature in most of the toys because they are considered boy toys). This show brings hope for many female comic book readers. Superheroes have proven to be excellent role models and it’s time we have female superheroes represented on the screen that young boys and girls alike can look up to. The show’s possible success could mean great things for the future. Producers, currently “reluctant” to create a female-centered superhero movie, might change their minds if audiences embrace Supergirl. While Supergirl might not be the effigy of feminism that Wonder Woman has become over the years, she has taken a mantle up for this generation, one these two writers eagerly await. We, like many of her fans, encourage you to take a chance on this show and hope that Supergirl will finally be the hero we need and deserve.

 

 
I'm a Writing Arts major at Rowan, and I love stories. I love telling them, I love reading them. I hope to contribute to creating good storytelling for others to enjoy, whether it is as an editor or author. Being part of writing communities, like HerCampus or my campus literary magazine (Avant) is just so rewarding.
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