Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Action Comics #252: "The Supergirl From Krypton!"

Download Action Comics #252

Supergirl, or Kara Zor-El, first appeared in Action Comics #252 (May 1959), in a story called “The Supergirl From Krypton!” written by Otto Binder, who would go on to pen a number of Supergirl stories, and drawn by Al Plastino (although Jim Mooney would become the artist most associated with the early Supergirl).

The story begins with Superman spotting a rocket crashing to Earth with his telescopic vision. He expects the inhabitant to be dead when he reaches the rocket, but to his surprise, the perky blonde teenager inside is not only very much alive, she’s wearing a costume like his and appears to know all about him. Her story, as she tells it, goes like this:

When Krypton exploded, a large chunk containing Argo City drifted into space, surrounded by a bubble of air (later changed to a protective dome so as to be slightly more plausible). When the ground turned to kryptonite, as every piece of the doomed planet eventually does, scientist Zor-El (brother to Jor-El, Superman’s father) laid down a sheet of lead to protect the survivors. Years passed, and Zor-El and his wife Allura2 had a baby, named Kara Zor-El in the patriarchal, vaguely Russian Kryptonian tradition.

When Kara was fifteen, a meteor shower pierced holes in the protective lead covering and exposed the Argonauts3 to deadly kryptonite radiation. Thinking fast, Zor-El and Allura used their telescopes to discover the whereabouts of their nephew Kal-El, then sewed Kara a costume resembling Superman’s and placed her in a rocket, which they sent to Earth in the nick of time.

*courtesy of It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Supergirl!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Superman #123: "The Girl of Steel" (The First "Super-Girl" Story To Test Reader Response)

Download Superman #123

She started as a wish.

In Superman #123 (August 1958)1, Jimmy Olsen is given a magic Native American totem that grants its owner three wishes once every hundred years if rubbed under a full moon. (This sort of thing happened to Jimmy on a daily basis back then.) Naturally, Jimmy’s first wish is for a female companion for Superman. And lo, the beautiful blonde Super-Girl appears (note the hyphen). She winds up being more of a hindrance than a help to Superman, however, and after sacrificing herself to save Superman from a giant chunk of kryptonite, she begs Jimmy to wish her out of existence, which he tearfully does.

This wasn’t the first time a female character with Superman’s powers showed up in a one-off story. That distinction probably goes to Action Comics #60 (May 1943), in which Lois Lane dreams she’s Superwoman after a blood transfusion from Superman gives her superpowers. But Super-Girl was created specifically to test reader response to the idea of a young female sidekick for Superman. It must have gone over well, because less than a year later, the first “real” Supergirl appeared.

*courtesy of It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Supergirl!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Four Star Spectacular #3: Supergirl Co-stars with "Superboy in Argo City"

Download Four Star Spectacular #3

Written by Cary Bates and illustrated by Jim Mooney, "Superboy in Argo City" was originally presented in Action Comics #358, which was Mooney's last ish as penciller, after eight consecutive years. That's probably more trivia than you wanted to know ;-]

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