Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2

Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2

First Published: November 2008

Contents: Supergirl stories from Action Comics #283 (December 1961) to #321 (February 1965)

Key Creator Credits: Jim Mooney, Jerry Siegel, Leo Dorfman, and others

Key First Appearances: Jax-Ur, Comet the Super-Horse

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 1

Overview: Forget her status as a secret weapon, Supergirl is introduced to Earth as it’s newest protector from Krypton. Working with Superman, she helps patrol the planet during all of the numerous times that Superman is called off into space; called into the future to assist the Legion of Super-Heroes; or called back into the past for whatever reason. 1960s Superman comics – nothing else like it!

The books in this collection fall into some story groups. First up is the introduction of Comet the Super-Horse. Unlike everyone else with the “Super” in their name, Comet does not hail from Krypton. Instead, he was a centaur from ancient Greece. He petitioned the witch Circe to make him into a man, but another sorcerer interferes and tricks the witch into making him into a full blown horse. Unable to change him back, Circe grants Comet superpowers, including immortality. (Because when you are forced to be a horse, everyone wants to live forever.) Arriving on Earth, he meets Supergirl and finds that he can communicate with her telepathically. (Seriously, don’t think too hard about this one….)

The next set of stories deals with Lena Thorul, a resident of Midvale and the younger sister of super-criminal Lex Luthor. Lena has developed ESP, so it’s a challenge for Supergirl to keep her identity a secret from her friend. Lena wants to become an FBI agent but is afraid that her brother’s history will keep her out. When her family connection is revealed, she buys a one-way ticket to Africa and becomes a Tarzan-like jungle girl. (I cannot make this stuff up, people!)

Another set of stories deals with Supergirl’s parents, Zor-El and Alura. We all thought they had perished in Argo when the kryptonite radiation killed off the residents of the floating city in space. Turns out, they managed to exile themselves into the Survival Zone, which is very similar to the Phantom Zone, just without the criminals. Supergirl finds a way to rescue her parents, but now faces a dilemma of having two sets of parents. What is a girl to do? The first thought is to have her birth parents move to the bottled city of Kandor, and live with their fellow Kryptonians. However, Alura’s health starts to fail, as she is suffering from heartbreak over her missing daughter. So, to heal her birth mom, Supergirl convinces her step-parents, Fred and Edna Danvers, to trade places with her real parents, and the three Kryptonians become a super-team family. But then Edna is exposed to an evil spore and attacks Supergirl. Realizing that Kandor is not the best home for them, once again the Danvers exchange places with Supergirl’s parents. 

The volume concludes with Supergirl graduating high school and enrolling in Stanhope College. Unfortunately, some of Supergirl’s sorority sisters are a little catty, and Linda must find ways to outwit them to protect her identity.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: Oh boy, where to start…. I gave Volume 1 a lot of praise for telling positive female stories, especially with it being a DC Silver Age collection. This volume falls short on all marks. The various story arcs might have worked better in a romance comic, but these stories are all from Action Comics, the home of Superman and his family. We finally see Supergirl revealed to the world, and then her storylines dive down into mediocrity. Ugh! I know this book is a product of its time, but it has a hard time holding up 50 years later.

Footnotes: Action Comics #285 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 3.

The “Superman’s Super-Courtship!” story from Action Comics #289 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1.

The “Monster From Krypton!” story from Action Comics #303 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 4.

If you like this volume, try: the 2009 Power Girl series, initially done by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Amanda Conner. 2009. Power Girl was introduced in All-Star Comics #58 as the Earth-2 version of Supergirl – see Showcase Presents All-Star Comics Vol. 1 for Power Girl’s debut. Over the years, she served as a member of the Justice Society, Infinity, Inc, and even Justice League Europe. It was probably easier to use her in a story rather than Supergirl, as the big red S shield on Supergirl’s costume carries a lot of baggage with it. The one downside to Power Girl is her longevity; her origin has been changed multiple times due to one crisis or another. She became a hard character to work with, given all of the changes to her back story. Flash forward to 2009, and Power Girl earned her own monthly comic. This is one of the best runs using the Power Girl character, focusing more on the present rather than reliving the past. Most of this series has been collected in trade paperbacks, so give this a look.

Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 1

Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 1

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!