First Published: November 2007
Contents: Superman #123 (August 1958), #139 (August 1960), #140 (October 1960), and #144 (April 1961); Supergirl stories from Action Comics #252 (May 1959) to #282 (November 1961); Supergirl stories from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #40 (October 1959), #46 (July 1960), and #51 (March 1961); Supergirl story from Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #14 (January 1960); Supergirl story from Superboy #80 (April 1960); and Supergirl story from Adventure Comics #278 (November 1960)
Key Creator Credits: Otto Binder, Jim Mooney, Al Pastino, Curt Swan, Jerry Siegel, and others
Key First Appearances: Supergirl/Kara/Linda Lee Danvers, Zor-El, Alura, Dick Wilson Malverne, Miss Hart, Streaky, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Invisible Kid, Jerro, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac-5, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Triplicate Girl, Fred Danvers, Edna Danvers
Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2
Overview: Introducing the Maid of Might, Supergirl! When Krypton exploded, one of its cities, Argo, shot off into space on a solid asteroid chunk. Years later, the asteroid was slowly transforming into Kryptonite, which would kill the Kryptonians. Following instructions shared by his late brother, Zor-El launches his daughter Kara in a rocket aimed at Earth. Arriving on Earth as a teenager sporting a costume matching her cousin’s uniform, Kara quickly starts to acquire the same powers that all Kryptonians receive under a yellow sun. Dubbed Supergirl, Superman hides Supergirl in the Midvale orphanage as his secret weapon, giving her time to learn about Earth and her new abilities.
Many of these stories feel like Superboy stories that were rewritten for Supergirl, such as dealing with Kryptonite meteors, uncovering dishonest circus carnies. stopping floods, or disabling runaway robots. Likewise, she also gets counterparts to match Superman’s friends – Dick Wilson is a boy in the orphanage that thinks Linda is Supergirl, Jerro becomes Supergirl’s beau in Atlantis, and Bizarro Supergirl shows up trying to help out, but does everything wrong.
Where Supergirl differs, making the biggest jump in her character story, is her encounters with the Legion of Super-Heroes. It takes a couple of visits before she can finally join the team, in Action Comics #276. At the end of this volume, Linda Lee is adopted by Fred and Edna Danvers, moving her out of the orphanage and creating a new set of stories to be told in Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2.
Why should these stories be Showcased?: Well, my opinion of the majority of the DC Silver Age should be pretty clear by now. That said, I like these stories. These read better than the various Superman, Jimmy Olsen, and Lois Lane stories of the same era. I also find these more interesting than the Wonder Woman stories of the time. This is a good introduction to a female character, albeit one created as a female duplicate of a popular male character. It will take some time before Supergirl can move out of the large shadow cast by her cousin. This is one volume I look forward to sharing with my daughter soon!
Footnotes: Superman #123 and the Supergirl story from Action Comics #252 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 1.
The “Mighty Maid” story from Action Comics #260; the “Old Man of Metropolis” story from Action Comics #270; the “Untold Story of Red Kryptonite” story from Superman #139; Superman #140; and the “Orphans of Space!” story from Superman #144 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 2.
The “War Between Supergirl and the Superman Emergency Squad!” story from Action Comics #276 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 3.
The “Three Super-Heroes” story from Action Comics #267 and the “Supergirl’s Three Super Girl-Friends!” story from Action Comics #276 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1.
The “Lois Lane’s Secret Romance!” story from Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #14 and the “Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl’s Pal!” story from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #40 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Family Vol. 3.
The “Jimmy Olsen, Orphan” story from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #46 and the “Girl with Green Hair!” story from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #51 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Family Vol. 4.
If you like this volume, try: tracking down Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade miniseries from 2009. This has been collected as a trade paperback, but it might be easier to find these six comics in a back issue bin. Written by Landry Walker with art by Eric Jones, this is a fun look at the origins of Supergirl, told for the Johnny DC audience. Once again, Kara travels to Earth, where she discovers that her cousin is Superman, protector of the planet. Kara is enrolled in middle school, so she can learn about her new home. She becomes best friends with Lena Thorul, who is secretly the sister of Lex Luthor. Of course, if you wear a big red S on your chest, you should also expect visits from Bizarro and Mr. Mxyzptlk, only in Kara’s case, she still has to contend with homework and middle school drama. This is a fun read for all ages and genders!