This is my third post on the subject of Supergirl and her upcoming show. In related news a comment of mine was read on the SupergirlRadio Podcast. I'm MithrandirOlorin.
The title of this post probably seems to most people like stating the obvious. But Supergirl has her haters out there, and I've been reminded lately of arguments I had years ago on IMDB with one annoying hater who was really attached the original Post-Crisis no other Kryptonians rule. I love the Crisis to Crisis era Superman, but my biggest problem with that era is how it screwed over Kara.
These arguments were had back when the Leob Supergirl was just starting in 2006-7. This person insisted Supergirl, particularly the Kara Zor-El version, was not a popular character in-spite of the endless number of women who cosplay as her and create fansites for her, and cited as his proof that all of her own solo comics were canceled relatively shortly, the Linda Danvers version of the Matrix Supergirl (one who was not a Kryptonian) lasted the longest.
His logic failure was that a character doesn't get their own solo comic until they've already proven themselves popular. Even Superman and Batman proved themselves in Action Comics and Detective Comics first, yes they were always the main selling point/cover feature but they were still anthologies and hypothetical you could hate them and still like something else.
Spin Offs can fail because some characters don't work on their own as well as they do as supporting characters. But other times the creative team decides to change everything when giving one their own comic rather then naturally and organically continuing the stories that were already working. Supergirl started collage twice during the Bronze Age, things like that created hurdles every time she had a new start, but still her solo adventures did do well.
Supergirl first got her own comic in the 70s, but before that her own solo adventures had already been the chief selling point of Adventure Comics since the late 60s, and she'd been the cover feature on a number of Action Comics also.
That first series "cancellation" was really it being merged with the Jimmy and Lois Lane comics to create The Superman Family. The Superman Family had Jimmy Olsen's numbering because his numbering was the largest, and back then many newsstands weren't really interested in trying to sell low numbered comics. The vast majority of the Superman Family comics had Supergirl and her adventure in that issue as the most prominently featured on the cover. It was the Lois and Jimmy style stories DC wanted to fade out with the merger, because since Comic readers had gotten older and it wasn't the Silver Age anymore those kinds of stories were becoming out of fashion.
Supergirl's second solo comic came in the 80s, it lasted 4 years or so till the Crisis came. DC constantly cancels comics in-spite of their popularity when one of these revamping events comes along, it happened to Gotham Central and the Cassandra Cain Batgirl after Infinite Crisis, and it happened to the Stephanie Brown Batgirl after Flashpoint. DC makes a lot of bad decisions when time to revamp comes along. In 86 they made some good decisions too, but the more recent ones have just been all bad.
Kara was gotten rid of because they decided to throw out the Baby with the Bathwater, yes other people somehow surviving Krytpon's destruction had gotten out of hand, but Kara stood on her own merits and they should have realized having a last Daughter of Krypton didn't undo Superman being The Last Son.
The Linda Danvers series from the 90s and early 2000s did better then the other non Kara Supergirls (including other versions of the Matrix) and to some people at least better then many of the Post-Crisis Karas because she was given the Secret Identity (Linda Danvers) and other aspects of the Pre-Crisis Supergirl.
The reason why acceptance of all the modern takes on Kara Zor-El have been mixed at best is because they never give her anything about the Original Pre-Crisis Kara besides being blond and Superman's Cousin. I want Supergirl to be modernized like Superman is, but you can do that while also keeping the Danvers and Midvale, and Dick Malverne and Lena Thorul and Jerro and her villains and so on. Superman's modernizations bring the supporting cast with, but Supergirl's don't. Sadly it looks like the new TV show is more of the same here, they are using the Danvers name but that's it, they're instead surrounding Supergirl with the left over Superman characters that Zach Snyder isn't using.
There are plenty of things I like about the new 2005 and up takes on Kara, Superman Unbound especially. but all their failings I feel revolve around refusing to surround her with updated versions of her Pre-Crisis supporting cast and civilian life. I would include those, and maybe throw in some characters created for the 90s Linda Danvers also.
Critics of my premise may say that Supergirl's supporting cast was basically just Superman's or Superboy's gender flipped. Only to the extent that every Superhero's supporting cast uses Superman's as the template, we just notice it more for other S shield wearing characters. So many Superhero love interests are reporters that in the 90s the DCU had a View stand in made up entirely out of them. The Daily Bugle is basically the Daily Planet if Jimmy Olsen was the Superhero and Perry White was against the Superhero.
The cast for the new Supergirl show looks like Superman's gender flipped way more then that cast of Pre-Crisis characters I mentioned above. They're simply promoting Cat to Perry and Jimmy to Lois.
Many people don't realize how many interesting villains Pre-Crisis Kara had, here is a short list.
1- Lesla Lar: an evil Kryptonian from Kandor that looks just like Kara, tried to replace Kara as both 'Kara' and Supergirl.
2- June Moone The Enchantress: magical witch. This character has become popular outside of Supergirl, she'll be in the upcoming Suicide Squad film.
3- Black Flame (Zora Vi-Lar): an associate of Lesla Lar.
4- Brains: leader of "The Gang" who fought Supergirl in the 80s.
5. Tor-An: a Phantom Zone villain who seduced Kara while posing as her High School teacher.
6. Kryotonite Kid: a kid made of Kryptonite.
And my favorite
7. Nasthalthia Luthor: a female relative of Lex Luthor. I suspect the Alex character will turn out to be her.
The two from Kandor could easily be reinterpreted into Phantom Zone villains, if you want to avoid the Kandor absurdities.