I liked her immediately. She was an older, gutsier version of Supergirl. Unfortunately, she was appearing only Sovereign Seven and I had no money (and my sister wasn't shelling out for that series), so I didn't get to see her in action for a while (I wasn't disappointed when I did). In the meantime, I did search online, and found a scan of her first appearance somewhere. She earned my Eternal Fanitude right there.
Of course there's more!
She was just what a teenaged girl living in our society would want to grow up like. Beautiful and alluring (Everybody by that age wants to be pretty) by the traditional standards, but uncompromising, brave, superstrong, supertough, respected by all the old men around her, and able to fly. I'd even go so far as to suggest that Power Girl is why the fear of feminism thing never took hold of me as a teenager.
I like how she was classy, brassy, and outspoken. Her easy banter with some of the guys and her complete lack of fear in drawing the line when it came to sexism. It's tough in a mostly male workplace. You always wonder if they don't trust you to do the job because you're newer than them or because you're a woman. You don't want a hostile workplace, so you let things slide that really do bug you. I loved how she just showed up and laid down the law. It was awe-inspiring.
And yes, her character design did help. At least, Wally Wood's original Power Girl design did. She's busty, slightly chunky (as comic book ladies go), and straight-backed. She stood like Superman. She was definately feminine, though. Her hair and eyes had the softness, and she was shaped that way. (And before you start in on me for liking traditionally feminine characteristics, I'm going to tell you right here I'm well aware of the unrealistic appearance and bullshit beauty standards modern society shoves down our throats and I know that that's what's affecting my assetment. Awareness of this influence, knowing why I like it, just doesn't change the fact that I like the character design). To me, the hole in the chest-fabric worked much better than the simply white costume, because of her body type. With the little window, I get the impresson of a bra.
I get that impression because yes, I'm busty (and somewhat chunky in belly area), a bit topheavy so to speak. Power Girl is probably the ideal for my body type and I like how she looks with the little window costume. Especially the new design (I think Amanda Conners came up with it) with the visible seams on the outfit. It looks like a sports bra to me. And because it's so obviously not spandex, and because of the way the cleavage shows up in the little window, I know that she's wearing an underwire with very tough fabric and a racerback -- the same sort of bra I don't feel comfortable unless I'm wearing. So, yeah, there's a little self-projection here.
I don't think that's all there is to her, but I do think her appearance, like any well-designed comic book character, emphasizes her personality.
Anyway, I've been following the recent round of posts set off by Savage Erik Larsen (No, I'm not telling you where I got that) and found two that stood out to me. One included Redlib's latest anti-Power Girl jibe, which put me in the mood to defend her, and the other was the one Kalinara posted on Power Girl while I was in Mississippi, where one of the comments caught my attention.
"I dunno, maybe you need to talk to more women. :) The thing I dislike was that Wally Wood (I think it was him) deliberately drew her breasts bigger in each succeeding issue just to see if anyone would notice. He was basically taunting editors (and of course completely ignoring even the possibility of female readers). PG's breasts started out as an ARTIST IN-JOKE. I dunno about you but I find that kind of offensive on its face."
Ignoring the first sentence (which actually kind of offends me), we see a rumor I've seen pasted all over the internet, but never seen confirmed. Mr Wood is no longer with us, so everything we really have is second-hand. I asked Cronin over at CSBG to look into it, but he hasn't gotten around to it.
Well, to paraphrase my mother, if you want something done right, do it your own damned self. I've gotten my hands on a few back issues of All-Star Comics form the 70s, and of course there are scans of Power Girl's first appearance all over the internet. In effect, I have samples of artwork from all five issues of All-Star Comics that had Wally Wood drawing Power Girl. I selected the clearest full frontal body shot of Power Girl seen in each issue, and have posted them here for comparison. If you don't believe me DC is collecting these issues into a trade paperback in August.
So anyway, without further ado, I bring you...
(All-Star Comics #58)
(All-Star Comics #59)
(All-Star Comics #60)
(All-Star Comics #61)
(All-Star Comics #62)
(All-Star Comics #63)
(All-Star Comics #64)
(All-Star Comics #65)
(I needed to tilt this one on its side.)
(Once again, the term "Breastrospective" courtesy Chris Sims)
It was particularly annoying in 60, 62, and 65 where she seemed to be at an angle everywhere, but I did the best I could. I think we have enough data. What do you guys think of the Wally Wood legend? Fact or Fiction?