The advantages of webcomics

If DC decided to reboot its comics online, it would be a good thing. Not only will they fight piracy they will find a far wider audience as they could discover stuff on their own. I think that’s something both DC and Marvel misunderstand.

 

Or rather superhero fandom. What if those outsiders are perfectly capable of finding things for things? It’s not like they hate comics, many more of them don’t have time for it.

 

They do when they feel like it. Observe the popularity of newspaper strips. Also if DC was honest in targeting wider audiences online, it’d have to be this up to date with what most of them are interested in.

 

Which means not only a new paradigm but also new influences. Turning The Flash into a detective drama is a good place to start, especially when it’s used to pre-empt a more successful webcomic.

 

Despite the popularity of superheroes, crime novels are perennially popular and might even be a easier sell to non-fans. If the Flash webcomic featured Detective Barry Allen, it’s going to win a lot more people who aren’t that into superheroes to begin with.

 

Now that’s something DC will find profitable.

She’s lost control again

As I’ve warned before, the presence of Superboy would cause the Supergirl programme to self-destruct based on why Supergirl tends to get marginalised real easily and made redundant by similar characters.

 

From a certain standpoint, she’s not only stuck in Superman’s shadow but is also joined by similar characters like Miss Martian. No doubt that she fought a Starfire but the Starfire many people recognise is an awkward but good-hearted alien woman like her.

 

One might get the weird impression that on television Starfire out-Supergirls Supergirl at least when she was presented on the Teen Titans cartoon and again why it took so long for Supergirl to show up in the TT stories at all.

 

Much less actually join them. It says a lot about the problems with Supergirl and why nobody bothered to come up with a permanent solution to make her do a Nightwing.

 

Out of all the characters, shouldn’t it be Supergirl who’s got to become her own person? She has yet to defeat her personal demon of redundancy, which has haunted her from the start.

 

If she doesn’t defeat it, it’ll continue to haunt her as it’ll destroy the programme for good.

Something’s not right

Mike Smith’s anti-Supergirl essay continues to be weirdly relevant because it not only addresses Supergirl’s problems but also the new programme writ large.

 

He made a number of good points like her backstory being similar to Clark’s but more complicated (which is why she took a longer time to appear onscreen than Batgirl, Black Canary and Wonder Woman did).

 

Almost every Supergirl story and scenario can be easily replaced with another character. I swear both Matrix Supergirl and Kon-El were cut from the same cloth and if Kon-El appears on Supergirl, he’ll be another person for James Olsen to latch and overprotect.

 

She also tends to get marginalised easily which is why she took a long time to appear outside of comics. That’s also the same reason why Superboy has so much continuity problems.

 

It’s like writers can’t make up their minds so they habitually rewrite their personalities and histories only to rehash prior problems. They might as well be made redundant by Superman himself.

 

That’s partly why Supergirl has declining ratings as people are starting to see it for what it really is. It also would’ve been better if it had a male lead because it feels like a ripoff.

 

Due to the problems with redundancy, it’ll cause the programme to sabotage itself when Superman and Superboy finally show up at all.

The problem with Winn Schott

The only character more annoying (and depressing) than Supergirl is Winn Schott. I’ve been saying all along that Supergirl needs to be her own woman to avoid being in Superman’s shadow for long.

 

Not only that, she has yet to fight her greatest foe which is redundancy. Because you could replace Supergirl with another similar character and it wouldn’t change much.

 

She can be more than that which is why her battle with redundancy is the greatest Supergirl story never told. She continually confronts or is surrounded by similar characters.

 

With Winn Schott one can only go so far with the love triangle angle. If they’re serious about it, they should make Winn Schott the misogynistic bad boy who sees and treats Supergirl as a plaything, then abuses her if she refuses his.

 

This never happens which is why we’re stuck with a lovestuck asshole who has yet to be a nasty badass. Which sucks.

 

Then again there are some Winn Schotts that are done right, which says a lot about what should be done about him. Not to mention he was going to be evil.

 

Again this never happened and we’re going to stick with the mopey asshole.

Power limits

When it comes to writing powerful characters, they’re not easy to pinpoint and pin down. Even if it’s not scientifically accurate but as long as they have set limits like say the Flash can only run fast but only at Mach 1 and can never go through walls and make whirlwinds.

 

That means he’ll just evade and track down enemies as well as being careful when running because he’s going to accidentally cause roadkills if one observes those at all.

 

Green Lantern can only summon green objects and Superman can’t fly and has no heat and x-ray vision. I’m guilty of this myself but then again writing about less powerful characters says a lot about the plot and characterisation themselves.

 

When it comes to very powerful characters, you have issues with plot devices and deuses ex machina. Make them more limited and that gives them a real reason to think through things and have something much better to do.

 

It leads to characters who are able to make use out of what they have and have them take time to solve problems, which is more organic than if they’re very powerful.

 

That’s somebody most superhero writers don’t bother doing especially if the characters are that limited to begin with.

Messy and messier

Considering that Supergirl’s greatest foe is redundancy in that she gets marginalised by a very similar character as well as her stories being derivative of Superman.

 

One might say that she has the same dilemma as people who are related to celebrities. Unless if they too surpass their predecessors the way Drew Barrymore and Michael Douglas do these days, they’ll forever remain in their counterparts’ shadow.

 

They can be better than their better known relatives but they’ll never surpass them in power and fame. That’s where Supergirl and Superboy are at. They can be better than Superman but they’ll never usurp him.

 

Once Kon-El shows up and turns out to be James’s brother, unless if it’s written carefully we’re going to get redundancy in action and where Supergirl’s going to get marginalised.

 

Maybe not necessarily marginalised but when Superboy catches everybody else’s attention we either change her or omit her. Not that I have anything against Supergirl but something they’d have to be careful about if they’re going to introduce Kon at all.

A Mess

I have a feeling that what will ultimately ruin Supergirl is the introduction of Superboy and Superman because it would make either one of them redundant. It’s going to prove Mike Smith’s point that almost every Supergirl story is just a Superman story with another one written onto it.

 

When the Daily Planet shows up at all, it’ll only cement his all the more. While the idea of a female Superman isn’t bad but just like with a junior Superman there’s the potential for redundancy.

 

Whenever there’s redundancy, there are cheap gimmicks like killing one of them off. Or have Kon-El turn out to be James Olsen’s brother and then have Kal-El show up for real and it’s screwed.

 

Maybe not necessarily but the inclusion of very similar characters can bog down the stories. The Flash is getting crowded with Reverse Flash, Jay Garrick and Wally West.

 

To make matters worse, there’s no incentive to differentiate from each other because it has to be done carefully. Barry gets to be a detective and Jay’s the superhero, which is elegant enough.

 

But add Superboy to Supergirl and it feels messy when it’s about Superman in drag to begin with.

Winn Schott

I may never get why do some people like him when in real life, he could be unlikable due to his jealous. Similar things could be said of Supergirl and why haven’t they started dating people they could actually have a chance with.

 

Consider this, Supergirl’s unable to win James’s affections and Winn’s unable to win hers. Yet at this point, both of them have yet to date other people since she rejects Winn.

 

Not to mention that writers were going to make a villain out of Winn, which would’ve made him more interesting and less annoying. If he wasn’t interested in dating Supergirl whilst wanting her approval, he’d be alright.

 

Better still if it’s Superboy wanting her approval without being that interested in dating her in the first place. Winn making her costume and wanting her to date him sounds creepy and desperate enough.

 

He’d actually be more interesting if he’s gynophobic and misogynistic rather than pining for somebody who’s not that into him. Oh and make him more interested in robot women at that.

 

Sadly they made him suck by making him a sidekick and missed out how much cooler if he’s really evil.

New Coke and Rebranding

Rebranding certain brands, especially if they have a problem, isn’t anything new. While there are successful attempts like say toning down Abercrombie and Fitch after it has been sexed up or reclaiming Burberry from the chavs, there are those that failed like New Coke.

 

I don’t know much about New Coke but Supergirl’s in a similar position in that she feels like a gimmick. To bring up New Coke, Coca Cola changed the formula to a very successful brand and it failed.

 

That’s where the Supergirl programme’s at. It’s like they changed Superman into a woman and you’ll understand why Supergirl’s ratings are declining.

 

Then there’s the risk of storytelling redundancy. Considering that both Superboy and Supergirl don’t sell as much merchandise as Superman does, they not only dilute the brand but are inevitably made redundant by Superman himself as well as Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane.

 

Brand dilution is what happens when the brand gets spread too far it looses its uniqueness as well as spreading way too many brands. That’s also why superhero fatigue’s a thing due to brand dilution.

 

When one dilutes the brand too much, it harms it. It loses its intended association. Observe Superman and Flash. Add very similar characters and they lose their uniqueness.

 

If someone does something drastic to the Flash franchise by making Barry Allen into a punk detective who’s nicknamed Foxy and Bart into a darkness making character called Phantom Lad whilst Jay Garrick remains the Flash, that would not only save the brand but also prevent the two Allens from becoming redundant themselves.

 

That’s something both The CW and DC should learn because that’s what’s causing problems for their own programmes. Superheroes like Flash and Superman should be unique and not be tainted by many other, albeit similar characters.

 

Otherwise we’d get something like Supergirl’s floundering ratings or why the Flash brand failed to be interesting to anybody else on the scale of Spider-Man and Superman.

New Coke

Rebranding certain brands, especially if they have a problem, isn’t anything new. While there are successful attempts like say toning down Abercrombie and Fitch after it has been sexed up or reclaiming Burberry from the chavs, there are those that failed like New Coke.

 

I don’t know much about New Coke but Supergirl’s in a similar position in that she feels like a gimmick. To bring up New Coke, Coca Cola changed the formula to a very successful brand and it failed.

 

That’s where the Supergirl programme’s at. It’s like they changed Superman into a woman and you’ll understand why Supergirl’s ratings are declining.

 

Then there’s the risk of storytelling redundancy. Considering that both Superboy and Supergirl don’t sell as much merchandise as Superman does, they not only dilute the brand but are inevitably made redundant by Superman himself as well as Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane.

 

Brand dilution is what happens when the brand gets spread too far it looses its uniqueness as well as spreading way too many brands. That’s also why superhero fatigue’s a thing due to brand dilution.

 

When one dilutes the brand too much, it harms it. It loses its intended association. Observe Superman and Flash. Add very similar characters and they lose their uniqueness.

 

If someone does something drastic to the Flash franchise by making Barry Allen into a punk detective who’s nicknamed Foxy and Bart into a darkness making character called Phantom Lad whilst Jay Garrick remains the Flash, that would not only save the brand but also prevent the two Allens from becoming redundant themselves.

 

That’s something both The CW and DC should learn because that’s what’s causing problems for their own programmes. Superheroes like Flash and Superman should be unique and not be tainted by many other, albeit similar characters.

 

Otherwise we’d get something like Supergirl’s floundering ratings or why the Flash brand failed to be interesting to anybody else on the scale of Spider-Man and Superman.