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Spinner Rack: Linda Danvers — Movie Star! (Part 2)




Posted by Joanna Sandsmark on 11/20/2013

Last month, we started a doozy of a tale titled "Linda Danvers — Movie Star!" found in the back of Action Comics #372.

As a quick reminder, Linda Danvers went to a taping of “The Date-Mate Show” and found herself as one of the contestants. She chose a man who turned out to be Brand Burton, movie star. He decides to take her to Hawaii for the weekend so she can watch him film his newest movie. They hop on a flight and watch Supergirl fight a Navy spider. (If you haven’t read Part One, now would be a good time. It’s worth it for the spider alone) Ready for more? Excellent.

They land in Hawaii and transfer to a smaller plane that will take them to the remote island where the crew is shooting. Linda is already transfixed by the beautiful scenery. She's acting as though she's never been to Hawaii before. It isn't like she couldn't have gone there in about a second flat and met them all at the airport. It’s better storytelling to let us live vicariously through Linda Danvers, who is on an adventure she’s never had as Supergirl.

Suddenly, the small plane is engulfed in a tropical storm. It spins out of control and is headed down. "This bird won't answer the controls!" I'm assuming the pilot said that because the word balloon is simply pointing to the plane. Inside the plane people are flying around because no one has their seatbelt fastened. Lynda sees the stewardess falling out of an open door. She figures the other passengers are too dizzy to notice her changing into Supergirl so she switches costumes, finds the falling stewardess (who has passed out) and deposits her on a seat in the plane. Then she grabs the plane, takes it out of the storm and quickly changes to Linda after flying through the open door.

As usual, someone is instantly accused of being Supergirl. I find it interesting that superhero comics always assume that everyone knows about secret identities. I think that's a bit of a leap. If I lived in a world that had a Supergirl in it, I would assume she lived her life as Supergirl. Why would I presume that she lived part of her life deeply disguised? Why would she tie herself down to just one part of the world? Why would she constantly change her clothing and look, depending on what was going on? Why not just wear the super costume and be herself? I don't think it would occur to me, as just a member of the public, that a superhero would need a profession and time off. It makes sense once you think about it, but it is not necessarily the first thing you would think about. And what about those superheroes who do live out and proud? How do they survive without a secret identity?

The group in the plane definitely feel that Supergirl has a disguise. They accuse the stewardess of being Supergirl, to her bewilderment. She categorically denies it. Brand, however, is not willing to give it up so easily. He knows something happened on the plane and suspects that Supergirl was involved.

When they get to their location, Brand introduces Linda to Zita Monroe, his leading lady. Linda says, "I've heard so much about you, Miss Monroe." That sounds nice enough, but Linda is actually thinking, "Especially about the mean temper she's been displaying since her last three pictures all laid eggs!" Why Linda, you nasty cat, that was pretty edgy for Ms. Goody Two Shoes. I wonder if Supergirl isn't a little jealous?

At this point, Brand drops a bombshell. "Zita, I want you and Linda to get to know each other. I'm giving her a big part in my new movie!" That's right. You heard him. He's putting Linda into the picture. And no cameo — he distinctly said "a big part" So the dream comes true. Linda Danvers is going to be a movie star! All in a weekend. A part that hadn’t been cast? And they’re already in the middle of filming? Except for the time Brand took off to be on a dating show. Yes, that’s exactly how Hollywood works. Movies are made spontaneously in a single weekend. Shall we move on?

Brand’s "leading lady" isn’t so keen on the idea. She reminds Brand that's she has the title role as "Queen of the Islands"! Brand calms her down, saying that he is giving Linda the supporting role of Lanui, the island witch doctor and enchantress. Well, this will be fun! Linda is lost in wide-eyed excitement ("Me in a romantic movie part! Fab!"). Zita looks like she's ready to spit nails. And Brand is trying to calm down his leading lady. (Note: Zita is wearing two large yellow flowers over her ears. They look like a combination of Princess Leia and big, yellow headphones. I suppose they’re supposed to make her look islandy.) Linda wanders off and Brand apparently made the decision to make things worse. Instead of calming Zita’s fears, he talks about how beautiful Linda is and that she will probably steal the picture and make it a hit. Yes, Brand, there's no better way to make a jealous woman stop being jealous then discussing how amazing the person is of whom she is jealous.

Linda comes out of wardrobe looking a great deal like Supergirl. She still has the brown wig on, and she is wearing a lei and some sort of flower crown, but she is also wearing a blue dress, approximately the same length as Supergirl's. It has a yellow snake curved in an "S" shape on the chest. Brand then hands her a red cape with that yellow snaky S on it. They might as well have told her she was playing Supergirl. Even as a child, I thought that was a bit much. I didn't see why Linda's costume couldn't have been a normal costume without it looking exactly like Supergirl's. There is just no need for it, other than the fact that all super characters had to wear costumes whether they were their real costumes or clothing that looked identical. It happened to Superman all the time and Supergirl follows suit.

Filming begins with Linda and Brand doing the Boogaloo in front of a fire. Zita watches them dance while thinking, "Brand used to look that way at me! GRRRR! How I'd like to get back at that little snip!"

"Snip?" Is that a real thing? OK, I looked it up. It's real. It means a small or insignificant person, which makes perfect sense here. I learned something. I guess I never looked that up when I was little. (I was one of those kids who always looked up words I didn’t know.)

Brand tells Linda that in the next scene she has to walk across a bed of fiery coals. He reassures her, however, that her feet will be protected "… by heat-proof nectar from a rare, fragrant jungle flower the native witch doctors use! One of them is squeezing it now." Well there's a setup if I ever saw one. Sure enough, in the very next panel Zita switches gourds, giving Linda water instead of the heat-proof nectar. When Linda pours the water on her feet she realizes something has gone wrong. Naturally, she tells the readers in a thought balloon that her super-feet are invulnerable and she would pour the nectar on for show, just in case we weren't paying attention. She immediately realizes it should be fragrant and therefore figures out it's only water. She is unsure who did the switcheroo, but she knows there was evil intent.

To the amazement of Zita, Linda walks easily across the coals. By the way, these hot coals are actually blazing with fire. You can't really see any coals, just fire. The next panel is really quite wonderful. It solves two problems. The first problem is how did Supergirl get away with walking across fire without any explanation for her being able to? Zita checks the gourd and decides that a few drops of nectar must have been left in the gourd when she poured the water in (except that she didn’t pour water in; she clearly switched gourds. Guess that one slipped by the writer and editor. The story needs this bit of misinformation, so pretend I never mentioned it). It was nice of her to “solve” that question for us so that Supergirl could use her X-ray vision and discover who the bad guy was. She immediately realizes that only the person who switched gourds (yes, the word “switch” was used) would go back and check the water gourd. Therefore, we now have a character making excuses for Linda and we know who the villain is. Nice to have all that wrapped up in a single panel because now we can move on to more story.

Right before the "continued on second page following," we get a teaser of more fun to come. Brand tells Linda that she's a "born star" while Zita listens from behind a palm tree. She doesn't look too happy to see Linda being treated so well and it certainly appears there will be some shenanigans while they shoot publicity stills on water skis tomorrow. One of the things I loved so much about the story when I was young was Linda's wide-eyed delight. Despite everything that the leading lady throws at her, Linda keeps her cheerful disposition and her only desire is to do well on camera. The real questions are: A) Can she keep that lovely disposition? B) What will Zita do next? C) Will Supergirl get tired of Zita’s attempts on Linda Danvers and exact some revenge? I think you’d better come back next month for the thrilling conclusion of "Linda Danvers — Movie Star!"

If you'd like to learn more, including a detailed bio and more information about Joanna's books, please visit her website.

This is a guest article. The thoughts and opinions in this piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.




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