With this month’s launch of a new ongoing monthly comic book and the debut of the second season of her television show next month, DC Entertainment’s Supergirl is flying higher than she has in quite some time. This December, the character’s profile will be raised even further with the launch of a miniseries from an all-star creative team, retelling her origin story for a new generation.
Supergirl: Being Super will be a four-issue series written by Mariko Tamaki, whose coming-of-age drama This One Summer, illustrated by her cousin Jillian Tamaki, won both Ignatz and Eisner awards for best graphic novel, as well as a Printz Award and Randolph Caldecott Medal in 2015. Art on the series will come from Eisner Award nominee Joelle Jones, co-creator of the fan-favorite Lady Killer and Helheim series, with Sandu Florea and Kelly Fitzpatrick on inks and colors, respectively. Set outside of regular continuity, the series will offer an updated take on Kara Zor-El’s earliest days on Earth.
“I was approached by DC awhile ago, and it was a project that I was interested in,” Tamaki tells Heat Vision about the origins of the series. “Of all the DC characters, Supergirl was always one who’s stood out to me. I was really excited when they approached me.” Jones — who signed an exclusive contract with DC this summer — joined the project after Tamaki was on board, putting the decision down to a simple fact: in addition to liking Supergirl as a character, she says, “I’m a fan of Mariko.”
Being Super will skew away from what people expect from a superhero origin story, with Tamaki citing some surprising influences on her work in the series. “I come from a very John Hughes place, because I’m very old and that’s my starting point for starting to talk about adolescence,” she jokes, adding, “There’s something about taking a weekend in someone’s life and just focusing on what happens in that time. Although, obviously, if you’re writing about superheroes, then about 10 times more things can happen than would if you’re a regular kid living in Toronto, Canada.”
Another potentially surprising influence? Boom! Studios’ award-winning girls camp adventure Lumberjanes, which has already made its presence felt at DC. “I’ve been feeling the influence of that vision of being a girl,” Tamaki said. “It’s hard, in a way; you have so many influences.”
With Supergirl now gaining more fans in mainstream pop culture who haven’t picked up a comic before, Tamaki and Jones realize the potential for Being Super to be a gateway for new readers, although both talked about the need to make a good comic, overruling any impulse to simplify things for newcomers.
“I try to be very aware of the storytelling aspect, so I try to put myself in the position of people approaching comics for the first time. But beyond that, I want to work on something that excites people and create something that people want to read,” Jones says. Tamaki agreed, adding, “Supergirl is the perfect starting point for writing, for me — what it means to be 16 years old. We had a lot of free rein to take the character as the inspiration for our story.”
Supergirl: Being Super launches December 28.