Hope in the Face of Adversity: Corinne McCreery on Supergirl

This might come as a surprise to some, but Corinne McCreery really loves Supergirl [WHAT?! —Ed.]. And it’s no wonder. Supergirl is a beacon of honesty and being true to yourself and passionately fighting for the things and people she cares about, which is a great description of Cori, too. But let’s let Cori speak for herself in our latest edition of Four-colour Faves.

What is Supergirl’s current status in comics canon?

Oh boy. So most recently, in her own series, she’s been on a space road trip with Krypto, trying to discover the secrets behind Krypton’s destruction. That’s come to a head in the most recent issue, and it seems like she’s returning to Earth soon, and that was addressed a little in Leviathan Rising #1, when she found out that her foster parents are missing, presumed dead in the fall out of Leviathan taking out secret intelligence agencies. She’s also been a lot more ragey than I like.

How did you first meet this character, and what have they come to mean to you?

I first met a Supergirl in Adventures of Superman #502. That Supergirl wasn’t Kara Zor-El, but it was my first Supergirl. The first time I met Kara was when I read Crisis on Infinite Earths for the first time, which is a weirdish place to start with Supergirl, though starting with the death seems to be a theme with me and the Super-family.

As to what she means to me? God, so much. To me, she represents hope in the face of adversity. Optimism in the times of hardship. Bravery in the face of loss. Found family and friendships. She’s experienced tragedy on a level few have; not even her cousin understands the depths of her loss, because he lost his planet before he had memories of it. Despite her loss and pain, she works to make the world better for everyone and cares more about others than herself, and she gives me an example to strive toward every day of my life.

Superman and Supergirl share a heart to heart about her survivor's guilt and her decision to find the truth about Krypton
Supergirl #19 (DC Comics, August 2018)

What is your ideal vision for this character?

This one is easy. I want her to be hopeful and helpful. I want her to put others first and protect the defenseless; I want her to understand and confront her anger, without being driven by it. She should always be an ideal to strive towards, but with a supporting cast that humanizes her.

Have there been any moments in this character’s existence that have met or come close to these ideals?

Yes, three of them, but one more than the others. Both the Paul Kupperberg run and Steve Orlando run on the character were great at showing these aspects of her. Marv Wolfman did a fantastic job in Crisis with her, but it wasn’t really her story. But mostly, the best the character has ever been is under the guidance of Sterling Gates. His run on Supergirl in the 2000s is the benchmark for the character, and are the stories that I go back to over and over. And his Adventures of Supergirl series gave her her own motto to rival her cousin’s “I stand for truth, justice, and the American Way.” Kara stands for “Hope, help, and compassion for all.” In just a few years this motto has become cemented in Kara’s character, represented in comics and on television, and that’s exactly how I want her to be.

What if Kara had been the one to arrive on Earth first. How do you feel this story would have gone? Where do you think she might be now?

That’s hard to say. A lot of her character comes from the fact that she didn’t get here first like she was supposed to. Part of what made Superman what he is, was obviously getting raised by the Kents, so in all honesty, I don’t know if the world would have either Superman or Supergirl without the nurture of the Kents. They provided Clark his tie to humanity, and Clark in turn provided the same tie for Kara. Kara was already a good person by heart, so maybe she would have always become the hero she was meant to be, but maybe she would have just quietly raised Kal to be a good person.

Which of Supergirl’s enemies has she learned the most from? How has she grown as a person and as a superhero from battling this particular enemy?

Honestly, the thing Kara has struggled with the most has been a very weak rogues gallery. She’s never really had much of her own, though Sterling Gates tried to change that in his time on the book. So that said, I would probably have to go with Reactron. He’s one of the few enemies that she has faced in multiple incarnations, from the original Bronze Age version, to Gates’, to the TV show version. The one from the Modern Age is probably the one that taught her the most. In Gates’ run Reactron killed her father during the “New Krypton” arc, and processing the trauma and loss that resulted from that was an enormous part of her growth during his series.

Supergirl #40 (DC Comics, June 2009)

How do you feel about her on-screen portrayals and the actresses who have portrayed her?

Gonna go chronologically through the big ones:

1. Helen Slater was a fantastic Kara for her time. She was absolutely the best part of the Supergirl movie. She did the best she could with a very mediocre script and has a rightful spot in the Supergirl mythos.
2. Nicholle Tom is a name you may not recognize, but she absolutely deserves to be listed here. Tom was the voice of Kara In-Ze on the Superman and Justice League animated series. She portrayed a great, often impulsive, Kara, and her send off in the Legion of Superheroes centered episode “Far From Home” remains one of my favorite episodes of the Justice League Unlimited series.
3. I can’t say a whole lot about Laura Vandervoort, because Smallville was never my thing, so even though I knew she was on it, I never really watched.
4. I can’t say enough about Melissa Benoist. She perfectly encapsulates everything I love about the character, and I feel blessed that she has brought Kara to so many people. She has defined Supergirl for an entire generation, and I’m so happy to have her in the role.

There are more, from video games and direct to video movies, and other animated series, but these are the big four to me, and for the most part? I’ve been very happy with what we’ve gotten.

How do you feel about Supergirl’s costumes over the years? Which outfit is your favourite and why?

Oh god, Kara has had SO many costumes. SO MANY, and MOST have been good. The start was simple, and fairly timeless. Just Superman, but a blue skirt instead of red trunks and blue pants. That lasted about ten years, before DC editorial had the brilliant idea of soliciting costume designs from fans, at which point Kara was switching costumes every issue (a few times multiple times in an issue). And some of these were good, but a lot were also hideous.

Supergirl checks out several fanmade costume designs
Adventure Comics Volume 1 #397 (DC Comics, September 1970)

Finally, she settled on a hotpants and bishop sleeved blouse for about another decade, before moving to my favorite: the glorious 1980s costume, headband and all. This is the costume that I think of when I think of Kara. I love the look; it goes back to the skirt, but this time, we finally get what has become the iconic red skirt. But most of all, I love the red shoulders of this costume. Then she died. We got Matrix Supergirl, which is probably the most iconic of all the looks. Red skirt, blue Super top, no red shoulders. More have come after, and all but one have been good in my opinion. Her New 52 look with it’s period panties can stay dead, but the rest have been really solid.

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Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.