Subject 14: Power Girl AKA Kara Zor-L AKA Karen Starr
With so much talk about modern variants climbing in value, it's hard not to include Power Girl in some of these conversations. Love her or hate her, PG has a cult following – there's no denying it. Say what you will but I have no problem with cheesecake mixed in with strong female heroes. I don't know about you, but white dudes in spandex gets old after however many decades. If you haven't noticed by now, I'm all about strong female comic characters, team-ups…and fighting, lots of fighting. Power Girl does all those things.
For people who don't know, Power Girl is Earth 2's cousin of Superman. So other than her appearance and being from Earth 2, she's a lot like Super Girl, only stronger and more mature. Power Girl is more powerful than the current Superman in current Earth 2 continuity. She's thrown Darkseid a beating, so she's no chump or damsel in distress.
With the unlikelihood of Power Girl making it to the DC/WB Cinematic Universe anytime soon, a more likely option might be on the CW. With the JSA and Legion of Doom slated to appear on Legends of Tomorrow and the groundwork for Earth 2 being established on the Flash, Power Girl could make an appearance someday on a CW show. Maybe not this season but I can see her showing up there before a feature film. With Supergirl now on the CW, there's plenty of ways to effortlessly include Power Girl in that world.
Power Girl's origin has changed or has been retold more times than I can keep track of. Also, Power Girl appeared in so many books I pretty much have given up trying to read them all. Justice League Europe, Justice Society…if Justice is in the name, she probably shows up at some point. As a collector, you'll have to draw a line someplace but don't let this necessarily be that line. Find all the Power Girl appearances if you want. There's something like 1,300 comic issues she appears in. So have fun with that. If a book is missing that you think is important, please comment at the bottom.
All Star Comics #58. This is the first appearance of Power Girl. The JSA was just a bunch of dudes in spandex and capes prior to Power Girl showing up in All Star Comics #58 and #59. Her costume design has changed over the years but always seems to circle back to the original design, the one with the “boob window” exposing her cleavage. Funny side note: right on the heels of Power Girl, the Huntress shows up 10 issues later, which is a little strange now that I think about it. Batman's daughter, Superman's female cousin and a bunch of dudes…sounds like the recipe for some super drama!
Showcase #97-99 (1978). This is the first time her origin was explored. It's done in a nonlinear fashion inter-spliced with flashbacks across the 3 issues. Showcase #97 was one of the first old school Power Girl appearances I tracked down after ASC#58.
Power Girl Vol 1 #1-4. This is her first mini series. I've tried to read it several times… but the art is so hideous I have to divert my eyes. Makes it kinda hard to read it if you can't look at it. I've yet to make it past issue two.
Secret Origins #11. I think this is the second time PG's origin is explored. Half the book is a Hawkman story and the other half is Power Girl. It's not particularly interesting.
Justice League Europe #1-68. I'm actually not sure if she's in all 68 issues. She does appear throughout the series… at some point I'll actually get around to reading these.
Birds of Prey #42 (2002). This is one of several Power Girl appearances in the series. It stands out to me since it's pretty much a solo issue and she's on the cover. Warning: she's drawn very muscular in this issue.
JSA Classified #1-4 Power Girl and the Helena Bertinelli version of the Huntress don't really have the history together that the Helena Wayne version of Huntress does. So this makes JSA#3 interesting in itself for fans of either character. Also PG's powers go haywire at the end. The second printing cover is not particular sought after as I find enough of them in dollar bins. Regardless, it's one of my favorite variants, not to mention covers in general.
Issue #1 and #2 both have Adam Hughes second print covers. I “think” issue #1 also has a third printing variant by Amanda Conner, which plays into the issue #3 second printing joke. Issue #4 has a brief Helena Wayne appearance in flash-back. Issue #4 ends on a cliffhanger that continues in Infinite Crisis #2.
Justice League America #10. Power Girl is in a bunch of the JLA issues. I know she's on the cover of #10 and it's drawn by Michael Turner. Power Girl fights Super-Girl in #45. Beyond that you're on your own figuring these out. I just can't read everything.
Infinite Crisis #2 (2005). There's a Jim Lee cover… I'll level with you guys, I can't be bothered to read anything with Crisis in the title. Power Girl is in issue #2 and on both covers for the issue. It's a 50/50 split cover A and B.
Superman Batman #27 (2006). Power Girl and Huntress team up, except they don't. Batman is in Huntress' body and Superman is in Power Girl's body. Hoorah! Just what nobody asked for! It made me really sad, I hate bait and switches like this. It has nice Kevin Maguire artwork at least.
Power Girl Vol 2 #1-27. This is the second series to bear Power Girl's name. Issues #3-6 have ratio variants by Guillem March, which seem to be getting harder to find on places like eBay. Here's a rough estimate of the print runs for the variants.
Power Girl Vol 2 #3 roughly 35k copies. Variant roughly 3,500 copies.
Power Girl Vol 2 #4 roughly 32k copies. Variant roughly 3,200 copies.
Power Girl Vol 2 #5 roughly 29k copies. Variant roughly 2,900 copies.
Power Girl Vol 2 #6 roughly 27k copies. Variant roughly 2,700 copies.
Just for the heck of it, I took an issue (Power Girl #17) which was a Batman appearance and compared it to the final issue #27. I found that the print runs between those issues were negligible. The title seems to have pretty much leveled off sales-wise by issue #17. While the final issue is harder to find, and with the white cover, even more difficult to find in higher grades. The print run is not really why it’s “HTF”, rather that most are tucked away in private collections. So just something to think about when it comes to what “Hard to Find” really means and why.
Wonder Woman #41 (2010). Power Girl and Wonder Woman fight because PG is hallucinating that WW is a demon or something. Anyways, they team up and Power Girl eats some hot dogs.
Harley Quinn Vol 2 #11 1:25 Variant. I love this variant. It's not so much because it's a boob joke, more of a trying to fill your hero's shoes…or in this case tights. It's a great moment for both of them.
Harley Quinn Vol 2 #12 1:25 Variant. This issue is the prequel to the Harley and Power Girl Miniseries #1-6, sorta. More like that the mini series tells the story that gets skipped over because of Harley Quinn Vol 2 #13 which is Power Girl figuring out Harley‘s been lying to her and she's had amnesia the whole time… I think she shows up in issue #10 also, but it might be a cameo.
World's Finest #1-26. If I tried to break down these issues, I'll be here forever. The short version is Huntress and Power Girl are stuck on the New 52 earth and are trying to get back to Earth 2. Power Girl's powers go haywire, which seems to be a recurring theme with her if you hadn't noticed. They also meet up with Batman and Superman for a crossover in issues #19-21 and Batman Superman #8-9. Tyler Kirkham does interior and the cover for issue #26. If his name is familiar it's because he's the artist behind the recent Deadpool Back in Black #1 cover you've been hearing about.
Earth 2 World's End #1-52. Again, too many issues to list but Power Girl appears throughout. I haven't read these in a while but the only issue that sticks out in my mind is #24. She fights Darkseid and has one of the greatest lines of dialogue, ever!
She fights Darkseid a second time towards the end of the series with some help.
Earth 2: Society #1-?. This was my favorite book for a while, the first 11 issues are cool. Sadly I'm a few issues behind…maybe more like 5. Anyhow, Power Girl's featured pretty prominently in this series…I think her powers go crazy in this series too, shocker.
Earth 2: Society #3 1:25 variant. About 1,100 copies. With the book selling under 30k copies, the smart money's on even less copies. Let's face it, many shops probably didn't order 25 copies. I think Society is on issue #16 at the time of writing this, selling under 16K copies a month according to estimates.
Over the years I've heard about an on running gag between the artists that would draw Power Girl. The gag was to see how big they could get away with drawing her chest. Now I realize some readers are not going to find that very PC. Personally, I think it's funny and it's a story worth repeating…the story, not that artists should do that. But let's face it, the window in her costume design probably makes it hard for some artist to resist.
One artist that clearly can't resist is Frank Cho. Cho has been under constant fire lately due to his cheesecake take on female characters. What Frank Cho does isn't out of hate or contempt… OK, maybe at this point there's a little contempt…definitely some trolling and a dash of OUTRAGE! It's humor people, chill out and lighten up.
Fans, collectors and critics should remember: cheesecake, sexism, whatever..it's part of why there are female superhero comics at all. Most female characters were love interests or “women in refrigerators“. It's not right or wrong, it's simply how things used to be. Rome wasn't built in a day and change won't happen overnight…but things are changing and they have been for some time. Superhero comics have been primarily aimed at young males with disposable income for as long as anyone can remember. Those young males happen to like cheesecake and Power Girl's boob window.
And so I'll leave you with that to ponder…
Till next Week!
Harley Quinn #15 Frank Cho variant. This variant cover it's Cho's first sanctioned artwork of Power Girl for DC.
It's also helpful that Power Girl makes her first appearance in a DC Rebirth title this issue. I'm pretty sure the Harley Quinn title is kinda it's own thing and not necessarily part of the Rebirth continuity.
Still, with rumors that some stores have stopped ordering the cover B's for DC books. Who knows how hard it might be to get later down the road. Not to mention the polybag isn't going to help for folks looking for a 9.8.