BreakingModern – Easily the most anticipated new show of this television season is Supergirl (Mondays on CBS). But why? Kara Danvers (nee Zor-El) isn’t exactly a powerhouse A-list character. Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and Raven have more fanboy cachet than Krypton’s mighty moppet.
As it turns out, Supergirl is the right show at the right time. It represents a tipping point for comic book culture (in general) and female superheroes (in particular). Superman may rule the multiplex. But Supergirl is ready to bend TV prime time around her little pinky finger.
Girls are now reading superhero comics in unprecedented numbers. And comic book companies have taken notice. Five years ago Marvel didn’t publish one single comic with a female lead. Shame on them. But today, the company publishes 17 such books. That’s a tremendous seachange in an industry that historically panders to boys almost exclusively.
Taking advantage of the moment, DC Comics (the publisher of Supergirl comics) has launched an ambitious media blitz featuring its rich catalog of super heroines. DC Super Hero Girls represents an impressive partnership between Warner Bros., DC Entertainment and Mattel to reach girls 6-12 with toys, books, graphic novels, digital content, animation and apparel. According to an article in USA Today: “The initiative is intended to tap into the current strength of superheroes and female empowerment in pop culture.”
The DC Super Hero Girls universe is on the cusp of a global rollout. Currently, a handful of animated teasers are available online, Mattel previewed the various action figures recently at New York’s Comic Con, Random House is already hyping the first novel in its ongoing Super Hero High series (Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee, available March of 2016) and creator Shea Fontana has been tapped to create an original graphic novel to be released next summer. It’ll be interesting to see how the marketplace reacts to this surge of content aimed directly at girls.
Says Diane Nelson, president, DC Entertainment and president and chief of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment: “Girls want to experience the strength, action and optimism of super heroes too, and DC Super Hero Girls is part of our strategy to offer a diverse array of strong female characters in a fun and action-packed universe, and through a world of epic storytelling on a variety of entertainment platforms.”
USA Today reports that DC plans to put its Super Hero Girls everywhere kids are (including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram). Plans also include TV specials and direct-to-video content. Mattel will chime in with “action dolls” and LEGO will offer construction sets. Supergirl (and super girls) will be everywhere in 2016.
“We’re making sure our content reflects strong female characters,” says Nelson in conclusion. “I hate to even say it’s a long-term strategy — it’s just what we should be doing. We believe our audience is getting broader all the time, and we want to make sure there’s something for everyone.”
All Screenshots: Eric Searleman