“Look! Up in the sky…!” No! It’s not him!
Secret Origin Saturday is back… after our brief one week sabbatical. This week we’re back in the DC Comics universe to take a look at SOS‘ first female super hero and we’re looking at one of the best… the Maid of Might herself, Superman’s Kryptonian cousin, Kara Zor-El, Supergirl!
As a life long comic book fan, I graduated from the more juvenile material of Richie Rich and Archie to the more sophisticated and mature super hero fare of DC Comics and Marvel starting with The New Adventures of Superboy. Superboy would become my entry into the Superman mythology and ignited my passion and interest in anything relating to the Man of Steel and his universe. This of course would extend to his cute cousin, the lovely Supergirl. Now Supergirl has had many incarnations and versions and certainly many, many costume designs. Growing up reading the comics of the late 1970’s and early 80’s, “my” Supergirl would be what fans now refer to as the “Hot Pants Supergirl.” This look may be regarded as dated but it still remains a personal favorite of mine and very often what I think of first when thinking about the Girl of Steel.
We see her here in all of her “hot pants glory” on the cover of The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1. Launched in 1982, this might be the very first regular series starring Supergirl that I ever followed. Before this book, Supergirl mostly guest starred across the various books in the Superman stable of comics.
As I read Supergirl’s “new” adventures, I also read many of her early appearances as well. I was a voracious devourer or Silver Age DC comics and reprints of the material of that era. This would be my gateway to many of Supergirl’s earliest stories as well as her Legion of Super Hero appearances.
This week on Secret Origin Saturday, we feature the Supergirl of my youth. This is the Supergirl I grew up with complete with all of her Silver and Bronze Age trappings. Now let’s look at this week’s Director’s Cut Commentary…!
In Panel One, we see Supergirl’s birthplace, the surviving Kryptonian colony of Argo City. Those of you who saw last week’s sneak preview will note that this in not the same drawing of Argo City. I did in fact redraw it. I simply wasn’t happy with the first version. It looked flat and dull to me.
Which version do you prefer? Was I right in scrapping the earlier Argo? Please let me know in the comments below.
In Panel Two, we see the future Supergirl in the newly born form of baby Kara Zor-El. She’s being held by her parents, Zor-El and Alura. Zor-El of course is the brown-haired brother of Jor-El, father of baby Kal-El, the future Superman. In Silver to Broze Age lore, Zor was always depicted as essentially an identical clone of his brother, Jor, who in turn was a dead ringer for his own son, Kal. Zor, however, was set apart from most of the male Els by his head of brown hair which still retained the famously iconic El family “S” curl. Zor is also wearing the typical head band worn by most male Kryptonians of the Silver and Bronze Age. Yes. That is a toy Mr. Myxzptlk in Baby Kara’s crib.
In Panel Three, we witness Kara’s rocket carrying her to safety following the disastrous destruction of the domed city. In Bronze Age lore, Supergirl’s parents would survive the destruction of their domed home by fleeing to another dimension. Years later, they would reunite with their daughter and eventually they would relocate to a “New Krypton” along with the denizens of the shrunken bottled city of Kandor. By that point, Superman had discovered a way of reversing Brainiac’s shrinking ray and he restored Kandor to its normal size in the classic Superman #338 featuring one of my all-time favorite titles, “Let My People Grow!”
In Panel Four, we see Supergirl’s arrival on Earth. The image and pose are an homage to Action Comics #252 featuring Supergirl’s first comic book appearance.
Superman is present although he’s “off camera!” I thought Superman’s first appearance on Secret Origin Saturday should be a little more substantial than a cameo on his cousin’s page. Don’t worry! The Man of Steel is on the list!
Panel 5 shows Supergirl in her brown haired secret identity, Linda Lee. Later after she is adopted by the Danvers family, she takes on the name Linda Lee Danvers. Throughout the Silver Age, Linda’s brown hair was depicted as a wig. Later in the Bronze Age, I believe it was in the Daring New Adventures of Supergirl series described above, Linda acquires a special comb… I forget if it was alien or “just” magical… but when Linda combed her hair with it, her hair would transform from brown to blonde and vice versa. I’d think no matter how super-fast you are, having to comb your hair before flying into action would slow down your changing out of your secret identity far more so than simply yanking a wig off your head.
In the final big panel, we see Supergirl in all her glory. I’d considered showing her in my beloved “hot pants” look but I chose for something a little more iconic and timeless. Supergirl is accompanied by Comet the Superhorse and Streaky the Supercat. I’ve always loved the Super Pets and one of them is definitely on my list for Secret Origin Saturday! Look for him very, very soon. No. Not next week… but SOON!
Speaking of next week… Secret Origin Saturday remains in the DC Universe for an episode that is… MAGICAL! Words… even magic words!… are not enough! Come back and see for yourself!
As always, leave any suggestions for Secret Origin Saturday in the Comments below! See you next week, Everybody!