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Author Topic: What if Supergirl landed first
MrSquicky
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I was watching an animated movie where Supergirl showed up and Superman was trying to train her.

It got me thinking how different the world in the comics would be if Supergirl landed in, let's say the 40s and Superman came aping 40 years later. Having an unparalleled god who was also a woman living among us would have made the 20th century a much different time.

I'd love to see someone with the chops and iconoclastic bent take this on.

What do people think?

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Heisenberg
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But how many cities would end up destroyed because of PMS?
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dkw
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Is the above the kind of "humor" that you were thinking wouldn't develop in the alternative scenario, Mr. Squicky? Because I could get behind that world.
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Lyrhawn
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Interesting.

Are we assuming that she landed exactly where Clark did, and was also raised by the Kents?

If we're assuming gender is the only variable, then let's assume she didn't come of age and make herself known until the late 50s.

I think, globally, some cultures would adapt better than others. I think in the Western world, women's rights, the modern gender parity movements, all get advanced dramatically, by decades. Especially if Supergirl decides to take on an activist stance on women's rights.

If you look at the status of women and how it changed through the 20th century, I think you'll find that the post-war 40s/50s era cemented a new place for women. It clearly wasn't the same place they were in in the 20s/30s and during the war years. Supergirl would likely enter during a period of entrenched feelings on gender roles (rather than a period of change). Her appearance would upset the balance and force an era of change much, much faster. Perhaps most interesting is the issue of spontaneous change vs. slow build change.

Women in the 60s and 70s slowly built a movement. They slowly recognized leaders and institutions that brought the issue to the forefront. But if you dropped a culture bomb on society that forced immediate change without these structures, I really wonder how men and women would react. I don't think we've ever had that in American society. The closest example I can think of is the post-Civil War South, where change came swiftly with no support structures in place .

She'd also have to vie with Hillary Clinton in the modern era on who the most powerful woman in the world is.

Well, her and Oprah.

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theamazeeaz
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They're always looking for secretaries...

http://www.blastr.com/2013-6-4/little-known-sci-fi-fact-originally-wonder-woman-was-jsas-secretary

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MrSquicky
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Sorry for being away so long. I've got kids now, so my free time per day can generally be measured in minutes.

I think whatever formulation you take with this would be really interesting. From a certain perspective, Superman is the epitome of rich, white, male privilege. The time frame that he supposedly grew up was full of widespread, obvious injustice that he was not at all concerned about. He was the champion of an extremely unjust status quo. He didn't care that black people were being killed for trying to vote, that women were systematically abused, or that the "American Way" included screwing around and causing misery in other countries to the benefit of U.S. corporations.

The way I see it, Supergirl (I'd expect she'd be called Superwoman in this reality) would be much more aware and interested in the plight of the powerless. Women's rights would be the first advance, but I'd expect there to be many more areas where she'd become an advocate and symbol for the relatively powerless.

My mind comic has her growing up into her mid teens on an egalitarian Krypton, but the trip to Earth leaves her with amnesia. She lands on the Kent's farm in the early 40s and they take her in. It takes a little time for her powers to really come in (she needs to soak in enough yellow sun radiation), so she makes her public debut close to the end of World War II.

During the war, women were working all over the place with a lot more independence that they had ever had before. This got walked back a lot when the war ended and the soldiers came home, especially in relation to jobs. This time the turmoil would be occurring along with the emergence of a literal Super woman.

All major steps in woman's rights were followed by a backlash. I think this would be the biggest backlash yet, as the assumption of male supremacy would be seriously damaged - consider a Rosie the Riveter "Yes we can" style poster with Superwoman flexing with one hand and something like lifting a tank with the other. Also, during this time in my story, Supergirl is young yet and operates without a lot of subtlety in the beginning. She also begins to move into pursuing and rallying others into pursuing racial and economic justice.

I see this resulting in a bitter struggle that ends up with a major, perhaps worldwide schism, with Superwoman's faction on one side and a conservative, male centric side with a strict hierarchical, military rule that are centered on an intense hatred and fear of her on the other.

Some 40 years later, Superman lands in this male centric side. That's the opening in my mind comic. A military squad investigating the crashed pod, finding the S blanket, and then "Thank God! It's a boy!"

I think in the hands of the right people, this could be a fascinating story. I also think you could do some really cool things with the art styles to convey perspective, with the MEN side having the more idealized male and hyper sexualized female representations in the art itself.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting idea that I had and I read the plea for more content here, so I thought I'd share. I have more controversial stuff, but like I said, I don't really have the free time to do them justice.

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JanitorBlade
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That *is* a very interesting idea. I don't know why this idea came to me, but maybe Mrs. Kent while perfectly happy to raise Superman to be a hero might feel very different if she was raising a girl. And there is a bit of a struggle for Super Girl to please her mother (Maybe father too) who wants her to not pursue a job as a hero.

Super Girl rooms with Lois Lane in college, they become best friends and so she Lois everything about her origin. Lois Lane is of course cool with it, and they've been friends for years, making a not so subtle commentary on how dumb Clark Kent's decades long attempt to keep his identity secret from Lois was.

But those ideas were maybe more interesting to me at first pass.

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ElJay
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Mr Squicky, the thing I don't like about your timeline is that it's setting them up to have to fight. Superman would be raised on the militaristic-men side, and would grow up not just with the "normal" sexism Clark Kent did but specifically raised to reassert male dominance over the upstart Superwoman and her "side." That doesn't sound like a superhero fight anyone would want to watch, or write.

But as an aside, there's an alternate universe comic where Superman lands in Soviet Russia. I don't remember the name, I borrowed my brother's copy, but I remember it being a neat take on the story.

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Thesifer
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What if instead of Supergirl landing first, Supergirl was actually the first Superhero in Action Comics (IRL)... I wonder what kind of actual societal changes that would have had, and whether or not it would have even been possible, sold copies etc. in 1938.
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Xavier
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My first thought is that everyone would just say "Of course, she's an alien, I bet their men are even stronger!" But then its not common knowledge that Superman is an alien in Metropolis, is it?

Also I am a big fan of this comic. While the assumptions there aren't necessarily accurate, it is certainly true that fighting crime and saving people from burning buildings (etc.) is probably not the optimal usage of his powers. Maybe "Superwoman" would do better with them. Someone with that power-set and the will to do so could probably end all war, for instance.

(I also dug the comic Invincible where Atom Eve goes to Africa to better use her powers.)

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JanitorBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by ElJay:
Mr Squicky, the thing I don't like about your timeline is that it's setting them up to have to fight. Superman would be raised on the militaristic-men side, and would grow up not just with the "normal" sexism Clark Kent did but specifically raised to reassert male dominance over the upstart Superwoman and her "side." That doesn't sound like a superhero fight anyone would want to watch, or write.

But as an aside, there's an alternate universe comic where Superman lands in Soviet Russia. I don't remember the name, I borrowed my brother's copy, but I remember it being a neat take on the story.

I think it's called Superman: Red Son?
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ElJay
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Tha sounds right.
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