Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures - Production art... Part 9

So... Here we are again.

As promised, here is the start of the Supergirl artwork.

It has been a crazy week. I've been working on multiple projects at once. that's unusual for me. Subsequently I'm very tired. But that's not what you want to hear, is it? No... You just want to know about Supergirl.

One thing Eric and I knew as soon as we got the job was that Supergirl had to be played large, emotionally speaking. Her excitement and her stress, all had to be bigger than life. That way, when we would bring her emotions down to a quieter level, it would have more impact. More gravity.

It also goes along way to showing her age. I've heard it said that realistic teenagers are portrayed as sullen and surly. I don't think that's realistic at all. Can teenagers be surly and sullen? Sure. But not all the time and not all of them. And most importantly, it's not how teenagers see themselves.

That's a pitfall as an adult writer. When you start thinking that how you see things is how things actually are. The way a teenager interacts with me and how a teenager interacts with their peers are two different things. I may not be a teenager now, but I was one once. And I have a memory that can border on the photographic. I recall my teenage years vividly, as if I were watching them play out in front of me. And I must say, not everything should be recalled with such clarity.

Point is: Teenagers aren't just overcome with negative emotions. They're overcome with positive emotions as well. They're easily excitable and easily embarrassed. Imagine you're just as you are now, but you've never known sorrow or joy. You feel those things for the first time, you can barely contain yourself. It's overwhelming and amazing and horrible. That's being a teenager. And so we attempted to instill this in the character of Supergirl.

When we first meet Supergirl, she's still 12 years old. We wanted her in 8th grade, but still not quite a teenager when she debuts on Earth. Some people (mostly those who did not read the book) suggested that this was an attempt to make the character more "kiddie". Not the case. We brought Supergirl back to her roots. If you read her earliest adventures, she is portrayed as 15. But she acts significantly younger than any 15 year old I've ever known. A modern audience would have some difficulty accepting a 15 or 16 year old girl acting as young as Supergirl was when she was introduced. So we felt we could remain truer to the origins of the character by making her a bit younger.

I also didn't want to bog the story down with a tiresome exploration of teenage hormones. Frankly, it's been done to death. And if the character were older, I think it would have been necessary to make it a focus. As it was, I included the "Buzz" poster in issue 5 for multiple reasons.

1: Peter David told me I should put Buzz in somewhere. I am not going to argue with him.

2: Having this bit of Earth culture hanging over Linda Lee's suggets an acclimation to Earth culture that was utterly absent in issue one.

3: Having a pop-star poster on the wall suggests that teenage-girl hormones aren't absent. They're simply not the focus.

Going back to the choice of age, it was a surprisingly difficult choice. I felt 12 was a little young for 8th grade, until I did the math and realized that I was 12 at the very start of said school year. So I thought, why not have her birthday in September (as is mine), so she becomes 13 just after she starts school?

A little research turned up the fact that Supergirl has an official birthday, and it's September 22nd. Serendipity is awesome.

About the art: This is a good example of how drawing comics isn't just about on model imagery or marketable design. It's not just about drawing someone being punched by someone. It's about acting. The character must show the emotion and energy of the scene. That's more important and more sophisticated a story telling device than explaining the feelings through text. So in the majority of the above images, that's what Eric was focusing on. Acting.

I included one image that doesn't really fit the rest. Supergirl floating with her hands on her hips. It's the image that DC chose to use to announce the series. To be honest, Eric never intended that drawing to be publicly released. certainly not in any form other than perhaps this after the fact examination. It was off model within a few days of it being drawn and was not our favorite shot. But, as the book did well, we can't really complain.

Wednesday: More behind the scenes of the Pre-Teen Powerhouse! The truth behind why our Supergirl wears tights! Some other stuff I have yet to think about because I'm tired!


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