I grew up as a Marvel kid. The only reason I picked up DC books was because I was in it for the pretty boys: Dick Grayson, Kyle Rayner, Tim Drake, and you know what I’m going to stop there before this turns into a thousand word essay about the Robins (but keep an eye out for that in the future). It wasn’t until much later when I really gave in to the whole DC Universe. When I first started working at Comics Unlimited I had a very basic knowledge of DC, I knew the main players and I roughly knew the big events but most of what I remembered was actually from the Justice League: Unlimited cartoon. Lainey sort of handled all the Crisis questions while I made a name for myself as a cauldron of X-Men facts. But being at the shop as a hungry comic fan is sort of like putting an alcoholic in a bar, there is so much to consume and so little time. People who love gin aren’t going to turn down a free beer.
After back reading an embarrassingly large amount of Batman solely for everyone but Bruce, I moved on to Green Lantern. This was both an incredible choice and a terrible mistake. Geoff John’s run was phenomenal, absolutely worth the 7 graphic novels I had to catch up on, however it set way too high a precedent for what I expected out of the rest of the universe. I found heroes that instantly became favorites (Huntress, Kilowog, Etrigan, and Black Canary) and I discovered a few titles that completely stole my heart: Secret Six, Blue Beetle, and Power Girl.
Oh, Karen Starr. You have won me over in more ways than I could count. She reminded me so much of Jennifer Walters (Marvel’s She-Hulk- cousin of Bruce Banner) and I was smitten. She was confident, smart, strong, and her beauty was almost a hindrance instead of a crutch. I don’t know how calm I would have been if I was not only from a different planet, which is fairly common for DCU, but from an alternate universe that was also destroyed. Talk about abandonment issues. AND it’s not as if this universe’s version of her had died, nope, Kara was still very much alive and doing her own thing. I probably would have locked myself away for a couple years, rocking back and forth in fetal position and then reemerged looking like Sirius Black after escaping Azkaban. Writers knew they had to distinguish Karen from Kara by making her look and act older, but in the land of comic books a “more mature” figure turned slutty real fast. Luckily, instead of ignoring it or making her change costumes, they played it up. They wrote her as a self-assured woman who wouldn’t tolerate anyone treating her other than the powerful hero she was; basically she was DC’s Beyoncé. She was…Kara Fierce*.
Karen didn’t use her sexiness to get what she needed like Poison Ivy but she didn’t disregard it either, like it was a dirty secret. She wasn’t ashamed of her body and anyone that tried to make her feel like a one-dimensional object was subject to a swift ass-kicking. How could you not want to devour a book like that? Her solo book was brought to life by the adorable winning combination of Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Amanda Conner. Each issue was laced with humor, action, and oceans of emotions. I’ll admit when they left the book after a year, I did too. Even though I loved Karen I was still pretty new to this universe and I couldn’t stand the idea of a new writer mucking up this perfect book. Oh boy was I wrong, Judd Winick and Sam Basri took over and managed to keep the fun, light-hearted nature of the book and blend it seamlessly with the much darker storyline going on in Justice League: Generation Lost. I couldn’t believe it, Karen was still Karen. It was like running into an old friend that moved away to college.
Now here is when I might offend some people, just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I instantly want to read mostly female superheroes. Maybe because I grew up with such an awesome mom, I just didn’t need any other ladies to look up to. I never poured over magazines full of airbrushed models and hated myself for not looking like them, I just saw them as breathing mannequins showcasing things I wanted to buy. Also, I am massively boy crazy. I want to read about boys, not because boys are better but because I want to look at their butts. Not every woman in comics is amazing and that’s why people saying Power Girl was only as important as her cup size upsets me so much. I’d bet that 3 out of 5 idiots that put that negative shit in the universe have probably never read a book about her but saw someone else say it on a YouTube comment and thought it was funny.
People who go out of their way to say stuff like that do it for attention and while I’m on the clock it’s not my place to correct them. If I’m at Best Buy and I overhear some assholes say that Lara Croft is just a bouncy bimbo I would probably call them assholes. I’m required to tolerate a lot of things at my store but smack-talking the closest thing DC has to Beyonce? Oh hell no.
*I refer to Karen Starr in the past tense because I am ignoring the New 52 version of her. Same goes for Jaime Reyes. Both of their books got canceled before the relaunch and then we never saw them again. RIP.