Drawn to Comics: Have You Seen the Supergirl First Look Yet!?!?

by rory midhani

by rory midhani

Hey! Let’s talk about that Supergirl preview! Melissa Benoist, formerly Marley Rose of our beloved(?) Glee, will be starring in a new DC Comics TV show coming to CBS this fall. When CBS first announced that they were going to make a Supergirl show, I was pretty excited. I love Supergirl; she’s a great example of someone who’s girly, and wants to be that way, but is also one of the strongest superheroes in the DC Universe. The real-life show went in a different direction than I did in my dream casting; they have her working as an assistant to media magnate Cat Grant, while I had her in her college years at Ivy University. I did pick a former Glee actress for one of my two leads, though.


Anyway, onto the first look! This thing was gloriously long, like over six minutes long. I wasn’t really expecting a lot from this show. Constantine and Gotham weren’t exactly great (or female-friendly) shows and I never got into Arrow, so the only DC Comics TV show that I’ve really enjoyed is The Flash. I also didn’t know how I felt about Marley Rose being cast as Supergirl — I mean, she wasn’t even blonde! But this first look was my everything. I’m not gonna lie, I was totally crying by the end of this thing. And at the middle of it.

Nerdy Kara and manly James Olsen via CBS.

Plain Jane Kara and manly James Olsen via CBS.

I’ve seen some people criticize the sneak peek for being too girly or too much like a “chick flick” (which, ugh, I hate that that term has such negative connotations). People have complained that Kara’s too worried about going on dates and getting flustered by hot guys and what clothes she’s gonna wear, but that’s always been a hallmark of Supergirl stories; they’re about a super powerful alien girl trying to learn how to live life as both an average young woman and a superhero. People have also been making negative comparisons to The Devil Wears Prada, because I guess everyone hates that movie now? Others have pointed out that it has a lot of similarities to that SNL Black Widow movie trailer. For Black Widow, a deadly spy who’s been living a deadly serious life since she was literally a child, taking this tone would be ridiculous, but for Kara Zor-El it fits just right. Also, Kara isn’t any more clumsy or unsure of herself than Clark Kent usually is.

There’s another moment in the preview where Cat Grant, played by Calista Flockhart, has named the new superhero Supergirl, prompting Kara to ask why it’s not Superwoman instead. Cat replies by saying, “I’m a girl and your boss and powerful and rich and hot and smart. So if you perceive Supergirl as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?” Now, for me, I loved this; it made me cry. I’ve seen others talk about how the problem isn’t that “girl” is feminine, it’s that it’s infantilizing, which I totally get. But I also definitely think that Girl Power has its place, and that if this show wants to embrace that, that’s awesome.


The first look we got at the new Supergirl.

That costume looks so much better than it did in the first, really dark, image that we saw of it. The show echoes back to that scene in Man of Steel where Superman tells Lois Lane that it’s not an “S” on the shield, and it’s really awesome seeing how proud Kara is to wear that symbol. And she wears tights under that super short skirt that she flies around in! How great is that?

I feel Benoist is absolutely totally perfect in this role. She has so much spirit and enthusiasm and youthful exuberance, just like Supergirl should. More importantly, she has the perfect mix of being a total nerd as Kara, but being a totally confident and strong hero when she’s Supergirl. She might be the best casting I’ve ever seen in a TV show based on a comic book. Chyler Leigh, who plays Kara’s adoptive sister Alex, keeps on having really bad luck on airplanes; maybe she should just stay in one place for a while. Also, how cool was it seeing Dean Cain (the former Superman) and Helen Slater (the former Supergirl) as Kara’s adoptive parents?

Young Kara with the Danvers, who would adopt her. Via Screenrant

Young Kara with the Danvers, who adopt her. Via Screenrant

I would like to see some women of color, though. This show looks like it takes place in a city similar to New York or Chicago or some other large American city that has a huge number of POC. They did change the very white Jimmy Olsen into James Olsen, who is black, and the leader of the Department of Extranormal Operations is also black, but I just want to be able to watch women of color on TV shows that aren’t produced by Shonda, you know? It would also be nice if queer women get on this show other than being a part of a joke when Kara is trying to “come out” as Supergirl to one of her friends. Just once I want to see this scene play out with the secret-teller saying, “well, yes. I am a lesbian, but that’s not what I’m trying to tell you.” Those are pretty much the only complaints I have, and those could turn into non-issues a few episodes in, depending on what other cast members are introduced. So I’m dang excited for this thing to premiere.

Supergirl and her sister, Alex, visiting the Department of Extranormal Affairs. Via Screenrant

Supergirl and her sister, Alex, visiting the Department of Extranormal Operations. Via Screenrant

I am so freaking pumped for this show about a woman learning to embrace her strength and stop hiding who she really is. It looks like it could surpass iZombie as being my favorite comic book based TV show. When Rachel Platton’s “Fight Song” starts playing, and the screen says, “It’s not a bird, It’s not a plane, It’s not a man, It’s Supergirl,” and Kara’s on screen being generally super, I had so much pride and girl power welling up in my chest that I started crying again. Supergirl’s got some stiff competition, though, as ABC recently announced a second season for Agent Carter, whose star Hailey Atwell has said that she not only has brought up the idea of adding women of color to the cast, an idea she says was welcomed, but has voiced her support for Bisexual Peggy Carter. Obviously, that second one is just a (really wonderful) dream, but we’ve got to get a queer superhero on TV some day, right?

New Releases (May 20)

Lumberjanes #14 (Boom!)

Angel and Faith Season 10 Vol. 2: Lost and Found TPB (Dark Horse)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #15 (Dark Horse)

Convergence: Wonder Woman #2 (DC)

Mad Max Fury Road: Nux and Immortal Joe #1 (DC)

Jem and the Holograms #3 (IDW)

X-Files Season 10 #24 (IDW)

Kaptara #2 (Image)

Shutter #12 (Image)

Velvet Vol. 2: The Secret Lives of Dead Men TPB (Image)

Wytches #6 (Image)

A-Force #1 (Marvel)

Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 (Marvel)

Star Wars #5 (Marvel)

Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.

If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com

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Mey Rude is a fat, trans, Latina lesbian living in LA. She's a writer, journalist, and a trans consultant and sensitivity reader. You can follow her on twitter, or go to her website if you want to hire her.

Mey has written 572 articles for us.


  1. This is likely the first DC Comics show I’m going to watch. It looks fun! And my fiancee really likes Supergirl so she’ll be watching, too.

    In other comics news, I’m super excited for A-Force. But I’m a sucker, and will get excited for just about anything with Carol Danvers in it, and will get even more excited for teams of women kicking ass and taking names. I’ve also never read anything with She-Hulk but I’ve heard a lot of good things about She-Hulk so my interest is piqued.

    Unrelated: has anyone read/would recommend Black Widow?

    • I’m so freaking excited for A-Force! I think it’s gonna be really, really great!

      I read the first I think about 10 issues of Black Widow? It wasn’t really for me, but it had super gorgeous art and I think if you like Black Widow or if you like spy/assassin stuff you’ll probably like it.

  2. I’m currently living somewhere that has TERRIBLE internet so I haven’t even bothered watching the Supergirl preview yet, but it’s killing me that I haven’t! It sounds like it’s everything I wanted it to be! I can’t wait to watch a DC property that’s not agonizingly dark and broody (to be fair, I’ve only seen the first episode of The Flash so that may be good too). And I think Melissa Benoist is adorable and really talented, but didn’t really get to showcase that on Glee. I’m going out of town later this week and this is FIRST on my list of things to watch as soon as I’m in a hotel with high speed internet. (Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video is second)

  3. My problem with the Rom-Com feel of “Supergirl”: I get everything that you’re saying about Kara being awkward and trying to fit in, but I was looking at this show as being something of a preview of the “Wonder Woman” movie that is upcoming. I wanted something where they treated her story with gravitas (NOT grittiness) and power. When “Superman” does the Clark being awkward and everything, it lasts only a few moments, and it’s primarily to illustrate how he’s hiding as his secret identity.
    Let me boil it down for you. After the seriousness that they’ve treated the “Batman” and “Superman” movies with, how would you feel if “Wonder Woman” was a Rom-Com? Personally, I would be spitting nickels.

    • Well, yeah, rom-com would be an awful formula for Wonder Woman, but I’d say Supergirl is almost as far away from the modern characterization of Wonder Woman as she is Black Widow.

    • I dont know.. Clark Kent, in Smallville, is suuuuuper awkward at times. And when he is not Superman, his biggest struggle is trying to make Lana fall in love with him. At least in the first couple of seasons. Im excited about watching Supergirl evolve into a more mature and independent woman throughout the series.

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sure the Wonder Woman movie is going to be very much not a rom-com. And I think next year when Marvel’s Jessica Jones comes out on netflix she’ll also not be anywhere near this “girly” or awkward or bumbling when a guy is near. It’s like another commenter said, since this is the only female super hero show we have right now, we only get one version of a female superhero, and so once we get more, we’ll start seeing more diverse stories and characterizations and tones.

        • I don’t think so? I mean, it is based on a comic, and Liv does use her powers to fight crime, but she doesn’t wear a costume or have a superhero name, so I say no, it doesn’t count. It’s really close, though.

    • Guess that depends on what type of adaptation you prefer. I’m in the camp that hates the Nolanverse with a passion but loved (early) “Lois & Clark” and the (first two) Christopher Reeve movies. I welcome the shift away from the Nolanverse that “Flash” and “Supergirl” represent. This new show is exactly what I’d like to see in a Superman TV series. But the fanboys would scream bloody murder if that type of happy, lighthearted adventure show were to cycle back around for the “serious” male heroes.

  4. Ok, my first reaction was :”Whoaaa! Look at the production value!!”
    But I must admit, that I was a bit miffed at the girliness.
    Like, can’t a woman be a superhero without being as cliché and unthreatening as possible?
    Can’t she be in a non subservient job and self affirming and kick ass?
    But you’re right. Supergirl is Supergirl and it’s her story.
    The trouble with underrepresentation of female superheroes is, that she can’t be everything to everyone.
    It’s super empowering (yeah,pun) for people to see, that they can like pink and rom coms and still wear a cape and fight villains.
    Supergirl is not She-Hulk, which would’ve been my kind of jam,but she doesn’t have to be.
    Thank you for pointing out that they were just staying in character for her. I’m really going to be able to roll my eyes less and enjoy the show more!

  5. For some time I been wanting to ask what you all think about Sunstone, the BDSM queer graphic novel by Stjepan Šejić.

    I’ve been following the webcomic since 2012, but now you have Top Cow releasing the volumes, veeery slowly (a new volume every 3 months). A long wait every time, but totally worth it.

    • I haven’t read it personally, but I do know lots of women who read it and love it and highly recommend it.

  6. “I’m not gonna lie, I was totally crying by the end of this thing. And at the middle of it.” <-- Same, Mey! Same!

  7. Yes, yes and yes. Literally everything you said. This article is perfect and summed up all my feelings completely! <3

  8. I also really love that apparently this is going to be a show about sisters too? Because I feel like there isn’t enough of that, and it’s one more kind of female relationship that can be about more than the men in their lives. And I am biased because I have a sister and I enjoy thinking about us in these roles. Obviously I am Supergirl in this scenario though, sorry sister mine.

  9. I’m sorry, I can’t. I don’t read comics to cry or feel like I’m in a chick flick. That’s what chick flicks are for?

    I will continue to wait for Captain America Civil War.

  10. I am SO excited for this! This is exactly what I want from this show! I’m so sick of the grittiness and seriousness that currently seems to permeate a lot of comic book stories, regardless of medium, and this appears to have a lot more in common with The Flash than Arrow (though, I have to admit, I loved the first season). Personally, I’m a lot more invested in, and familiar with, the Marvel universe, but Supergirl just looks like so much fun! My only concern is how tight it will me tied to the Man of Steel movie… I had such high hopes, and walked out so defeated…

    Now, if we could only get the recent She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel runs onto the silver screen, I’d be so happy!

    On an unrelated note, does Kara remind anyone else of Blake Lively in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, or is it just me?

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