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9 Facts You Didn't Know About Supergirl

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With her successful new TV Show, the Maid of Might is experiencing a surge in public awareness as never before. Supergirl’s been kicking around in the comics since 1958 and she’s gone through many incarnations and transformations. Let’s take a little dip in the Girl of Steel’s history and find out some of the most surprising trivia.

  1. Jimmy Olsen Wished the First Version of Supergirl into Being Using a Magic Totem

    The first time the name Supergirl was used was in 1958’s Superman #123, though the name had a hyphen in it. Jimmy Olsen found a magic totem and naturally the first thing he wished for was a female version of Superman so his old friend could have someone to super-bang. Most people keep their weird erotic real-person fic to themselves, Jimmy.

    It didn’t work out the way Jimmy hoped, thanks to the fact Supes was sort of an asshole who didn’t know how to handle working with another superhero. He also flipped out and screamed at “Super-Girl” when she accidentally revealed his secret identity she didn’t know he even had, leaving her in tears.

     Despite this, Super-Girl chose to sacrifice herself to save Superman from a Kryptonite meteor. Clark had exactly zero emotional reaction to this, instead worrying about damage control to his secret identity.

    The whole little story seems to have been done to gauge how the public would like a cute girl Kryptonian who DIDN’T die horribly a few pages about being introduced. The reaction to “Super-Girl” must have been favorable, because only a year later, the non-hyphenated version appeared.

  2. Superman Dumped Supergirl in an Overcrowded Orphanage 5 Minutes After They Met

    In 1959, Kara Zor-El made her official debut in Action Comics #252. Much like you see in the TV show, Superman discovered a rocket and saw his long-lost cousin had also survived the destruction of Krypton. However, in the Supergirl show, Superman placed Kara with a loving family he knew personally and let her decide what to do with her powers.

    In the original comic, Superman literally shoves Supergirl away as she sobs over finding a remaining family member to be with in the wake of her tragic loss. “NOPE. Sorry can’t look after a kid. Didn’t sign up for that shit. Um I mean…I have a lot going on right now, the apartment’s pretty small and uh…it would compromise my secret identity somehow! Yeah! That’s it!”

    So he drops her off at the nearest orphanage. Not just any orphanage either, but explicitly an overcrowded, messy and completely broken down one. The tiny room Supergirl gets to live in is such a wreck she has to fix it with her superpowers:

    What’s more, Superman forbids her from entering a crimefighting career until she’s “ready”, telling her she must live “quietly” in the orphanage for a “long while” and “get used” to her powers. She’s his “secret weapon.” She can’t even let herself get adopted because REASONS. He literally tells her to keep her pretty mouth shut and live a grim and completely isolated existence straight out of Annie, forbidden to use any of the talents he so freely flaunts. 50’s Superman was like…the Vernon Dursley of superheroes or something. 

  3. Poor Supergirl had Superman Totally Perving on Her

    From Action Comics

    A list of early Supergirl stories is starting to seem like a list of ways Silver Age Superman was a horrific monster. But we’re not done yet. In addition to callously brushing off her doppelganger’s death and condemning her to life as an unwanted orphan, Superman also saw fit to inform his fifteen-year-old cousin he would totally hook up with her, alas, marrying your cousin is illegal on Krypton, the dead planet from whence they hailed. Pedophilia, apparently, isn’t. He…even made out with an adult version of Kara. 1960’s Superman comics were some sick stuff. 

  4. Supergirl Was Adopted by Wonder Woman’s Mom

    From Supergirl (vol 1)

    Supergirl eventually managed to defy Superman’s abusive stranglehold on her enough to get herself adopted and living a relatively happy life. However, she continued not to have much luck with the men in her life, to the point where she decided to GIVE UP ON THEM ALL TOGETHER.

    While traveling across the ocean trying to find a single area untouched by the male gaze, she ran into Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons aka Wonder Woman’s Mom. After Kara saved her from some randomly attacking shark-men, Hippolyta out of the blue offered to adopt her and make her an Amazon. Kara eagerly accepted, totally down for living a life free of men on an island of hot women. Sadly, this did not lead to superpowered lesbian adventures. Eventually Kara realized men weren’t all bad and maybe she shouldn’t isolate herself on an island and blablabla BORING.

    However, even as she left, Hippolyta made it clear was still considered an Amazon and member of the family, so she was free to taste the paradise of Paradise Island the next time a dude screwed her over. Which knowing Kara’s luck, would likely be within two days.

  5. Supergirl Dated a Horse

    From Action Comics

    I’m serious when I say Supergirl should really have just stayed on Paradise Island. If she had, she would have at least spared herself from dating a horse.  Yes, Supergirl had a pet called Comet the Super Horse and she dated him.

    Technically, Comet was a  superpowered centaur who was transformed into a full horse by a curse and thus essentially became Supergirl’s animal sidekick . Due to the spell though, whenever a comet passed through the sky he could become a fully human dude. During these times he would call himself Bill and DATE HIS OWNER, SUPERGIRL. And she had NO IDEA she was dating her pet horse. That’s messed up.

  6. Supergirl was Once a Goop Creature Who Dated Lex Luthor

    From Action Comics

    Anyone who is the least familiar with comics canon probably knows that much like her first Jimmy-Olsen created incarnation, Kara ended up sacrificing herself to save Superman, the dude who stuck her in an orphanage. At least this time she also saved the world too. After that DC Comics rebooted their continuity with “Crisis on Infinite Earths” and Supergirl was erased from the new continuity. Since they believed having another survivor from Krypton cheapened Superman somehow, the head honchos of DC were determined not to reintroduce Kara in the new “Post-Crisis” world. However, they still wanted a Supergirl, and thus the Matrix was born.

    No, this Supergirl was not the living incarnation of the 1999 movie, but that might have been less complicated. Instead “Matrix” was a protoplasmic creature created by a “good” version of Lex Luthor from an alternate dimension. She had shapeshifting powers, so she eventually decided to become a young blonde girl in a feminized Superman costume, as you do. Confused yet? Don’t worry, it’s going to get even MORE convoluted.

    From Action Comics

    After Matrix’s home dimension was destroyed, Clark, significantly less of a dick these days, adopted the girl and sent her to live with his parents. She ended up falling in love with Lex Luthor’s son, who was actually Lex himself. See, Lex had gotten cancer from constantly wearing a kryptonite ring, therefore he decided to clone a younger version of himself, transplant his brain into that body and pretend to be his own son. Comics, everybody!

    Eventually Matrix broke up with Lex when she found out he’d secretly created an army of Supergirl clones out of her DNA. Nothing will turn a girl off faster than that.

  7. Supergirl Became an Earth-born Angel Chosen by God

    From Supergirl (vol 2)

    DC eventually decided Supergirl being a goop monster wasn’t working, so they changed that for the 1996 Supergirl series. In it, Matrix happened across a dying cult victim named Linda Danvers and fused with her in an attempt to save her life. Apparently when a person sacrifices themselves to save a person who is truly “beyond hope”, these two people can combine and become a LITERAL ANGEL WALKING THE EARTH, Now Linda and Supergirl became one person (no longer a goop monster) and also got nifty flame powers.

    From Supergirl (vol 2)

    Honestly, as complicated and weird as the origin was, I remember really enjoying this series as a teenager. If you read it from the beginning, it was fairly easy to grasp what was going on. Linda was a good character, there was an exploration of religion that’s kind of rare to see in comics and God was literally a little kid named Wally who walked around in a baseball bat and made sarcastic remarks. It was pretty fun.

    From Supergirl (vol 2)

    Though in hindsight, there were a few really weird and uncomfortable parts- like the return of Comet the Superhorse, only instead of being a literal horse, she was Supergirl’s lesbian friend Andy who could sometimes shapeshift into a horse-like sort-of superhero dude and Supergirl was attracted to this person…but still totally straight you guys, really! 

    From Supergirl (vol 2)

    Also, Andy eventually gets kidnapped and graphically tortured for several issues. Part of the torture was it basically being hammered in how shitty her life had gotten since she’d discovered she was gay. And then she hooked up with her torturer. This won a GLAAD award, somehow?

    There was also an entire issue about how it’s totally wrong for black people to stage a protest when a racist comes to speak at their school because free speech is what’s really important, you guys. (The free speech of racists, not black people, apparently). 

  8. Supergirl Actually Married Superman in One Universe and Had a Kid

    Don’t worry, Superman’s pedophilic incest dreams didn’t come true. It was Linda who ended up marrying Superman. In yet another really confusing (but interesting) storyline that I’ll do my best to explain.

    Remember our original Kara Zor-El, who was erased from the timeline? Well, a villain interfered with time and that caused Kara to be rocketed to in the Post-Crisis timeline where Linda was Supergirl rather than the Pre-Crisis 1950’s world full of incest and orphanages from which she hailed.

    From Supergirl (vol 2)

    Linda ended up befriending Kara and tried to figure out how to get her back to her own world. However, she quickly discovered Kara was fated to die if she went back to her own timeline. Linda decided secretly go to the other timeline and take Kara’s place, thus sacrificing herself to spare Kara. And so she did- she disguised herself as 1950’s Supergirl.

    Our good old 1950’s Superman eventually realized Linda was not, in fact, his cousin and thus there was nothing to keep him from hooking up with Supergirl like he’d always dreamed! (At least Linda was an adult). For some reason, Linda agreed to marry this orphan-abandoning dreamboat and they ended up having a little Supergirl named Ariella.

    From Supergirl (vol 2).Contradictory to all her previous characterization, Linda decided to truly embrace the 1950's lifestyle and trade in fighting for child-rearing, even though she didn't want to, just to keep her man happy. Uh. Okay. 

    Of course, Linda’s plan to die in Kara’s place failed and she had to return to her own timeline. After this she became really depressed and quit superheroing forever. Yay.

  9. The 2005 Version of Supergirl was Creepy Underage Fetish Fuel and It Was a Huge Deal When DC Finally Stopped the Endless Panty Shots and Gave Her Shorts

    From Superman/Batman

    After Linda left, DC decided it was time to officially reintroduce a new version of Kara for modern audiences. And how best to connect with the youth? Let’s have her arrive on Earth NAKED, depict her as googly-eyed Barbie doll who’s missing half her internal organs and have Superman’s mom buy her a thong.

    From Superman/Batman. Totally something I see a 60-year old woman who lives on a farm buying a girl she just met.

    Eventually DC Comics realized that maybe constantly sexualizing a 15 year old girl was just a LITTLE creepy and decided to give her some body mass and cut down on the underage underwear flashing by giving her some shorts.

    It was a huge relief to me, a teenage girl myself at the time. I’d always wanted to enjoy Supergirl but without constantly getting creeped out. I actually thanked artist Jamal Igle for giving her shorts at a Heroes Con panel. This simple statement spawned a whole mess of internet op-ed articles and also pissed off a 40 year old man so much that he confronted me later, pointed angrily at his tattoo of Supergirl Classic and snarled “SHE doesn’t wear shorts!”

    Yeah, and she also dated a horse, dude. Sometimes you just have to let the past go.

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