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 Introduction

A lovely blond super-heroine who functions periodically, from May 1959 onward, as Superman’s companion in super-heroic adventure. She is in reality Kara Zor-El, Superman’s first cousin, the daughter of the Kryptonian scientist Zor-El and his wife Alura. Born and raised on Argo City, a city of the planet Krypton which survived the death of its native planet when it was hurled into outer space, people and buildings alive and intact, by the force of the cataclysm that destroyed Krypton, she was, at the age of fifteen, launched toward Earth in a small rocket ship by her father Zor-El when the city faced extinction due to Kryptonite poisoning. Origin

Most of what is known concerning Supergirl’s origin is contained in the Supergirl custom essay in Action Comics No. 252. In May 1959, a small rocket ship crash-lands on the outskirts of Metropolis and a teen-aged girl, clad in a costume clearly modeled after Superman’s, emerges smiling and unhurt from the wreckage. As Superman listens in amazement to her story, the girl explains that she too is Kryptonian, although she was born on floating Argo City long after the planet Krypton exploded. When, years later, after his young daughter had become a teen-ager, the scientist Zor-El realized that Argo City’s entire population would, within about one month’s time, succumb to deadly kryptonite poisoning, he began desperately racing against time to construct a rocket ship to carry his daughter to another world. It was while scanning the universe through a “super-space telescope” in search of a suitable world to which young Kara could be sent that Kara and her mother discovered Earth, became aware of Superman and his exploits, and realized that Earth’s greatest hero was a Kryptonian like them. Kara’s mother decided to send her teen-aged daughter to Earth, clad in a costume that would make her easily recognizable to Superman as a fellow native of Krypton. And so, soon afterward, Zor-El placed his young daughter inside his small rocket ship and launched her toward Earth, while behind her, on Argo City, virtually the entire population lay dead or dying of kryptonite poisoning. The Secret Identity

She assumed the secret alternate identity of Linda Lee, an orphan at the Midvale Orphanage, concealing her blond hair beneath a brunette wig and functioning as Supergirl only in secret, at Superman’s insistence, until such time as she could learn to use her super-powers properly.

Supergirl’s alternate identity is a closely held secret, but it is known to Superman, to her foster parents the Danverses (Act No. 285, Feb 1962: “The World’s Greatest Heroine!”; and others), and to the Legion of Super-Heroes, of which she served as a member until resigning her membership at the age of twenty-one (S No. 152/1, Apr 1962: “The Robot Master!”; and others).

On occasion, while living in Midvale, Supergirl makes use of a Linda Lee Robot to protect her secret identity (Act No.276, May 1961: "Supergirl's Three Super Girl Friends"; and others). Other robots are eventually constructed, once an old Superboy Robot tape is accidentally used to program a Supergirl Robot, causing it to appear at the Smallville Orphanage and re-live false memories of Superboy's life . (Adv No. 396/2, Aug 1970: "The Mystery of the Super-Orphan") The Costumes

Supergirl’s red, yellow, and blue costume, which was originally fashioned by her mother Alura prior to her flight from doomed Argo City, is a female counterpart of Superman’s own.

After entering college, Supergirl later wears a number of alternate costumes, presumably made from the same material. She finally settled on a look consisting of a blue blouse with a small red "S" emblazoned on the upper-right, a short cape, red hotpants, and a decorated yellow belt. Initially, the shoes were very low with rolled tops, but in the mid 1970's she abandoned them in favor of her original Superman-style boots. Around that time, she also removed the fringe from her pants. She continued to use this costume until 1983. (see pic below)

In 1983, Supergirl changed her costume for the final time, adding yellow trim to her boots, a red mini-skirt, and a red headband, a symbol of her citizenship of Krypton. The Superpowers

On Earth, like any Kryptonian survivor, Kara acquires super-powers identical to Superman’s. The Vulnerabilities

Like all Kryptonian survivors, Supergirl is vulnerable to green, red, and gold kryptonite. She also can fall prey to Kryptonian diseases (such as Virus X), loses power under the influence of red and orange suns, and has no immunity against magic.

Presumably, like Superman/Superboy, Supergirl can be held by specialized barriers and containment fields, such as the Phantom Zone or the Iron Curtain of Time. The Woman herself as Linda Lee Danvers

After exchanging her colorful Supergirl costume for ordinary Earth girls’ clothing and concealing her blond hair beneath a brown, pigtailed wig, Kara registers at the Midvale Orphanage in the Metropolis suburb of Midvale, employing the alias Linda Lee. Someday, promises Superman faithfully, the world will learn of her existence, but “for a long time to come,” he adds, “you’ll live here quietly as an “ordinary” girl until you get used to earthly things!” (Act No. 252: “The Supergirl from Krypton!”).

Adopted by Fred and Edna Danvers, she attended Midvale High School as Linda Lee Danvers, graduated in 1964, and then went on to attend Stanhope College on a scholarship, graduating in 1971. Presented to the world by Superman in 1962, she has since that time, performed super-heroic feats openly as Supergirl, while retaining the secrecy of her dual identity.

As an adult, Linda has had several jobs, working at various times as a teacher, guidance counsellor, and politician.

Linda Lee Danvers has lived in Midvale, California, Florida, and New York before finally settling in Chicago, where she rents an apartment at 1537 West Fargo Avenue (DCCP No.86, Oct 1985: "Into the Valley of Shadow...!"; and others). The Woman herself as Supergirl

It is only as the newly arrived orphan from space concludes her narrative that Superman realizes that she is his cousin, the daughter of Zor-El, his father’s brother (see Jor-El). Overjoyed at having encountered a kinswoman from his native planet, Superman advises her that she can use her super-powers to aid humanity, as he does, but that first she must undergo a prolonged period of training so that she may learn to use her powers wisely.

In the texts, Supergirl is alternatively referred to as the Girl of Steel. Action Comics No. 285 describes Superman and Supergirl as “the two mightiest crusaders in the entire universe” (Feb 1962: “The World’s Greatest Heroine!”). Superman, who has dedicated a room to Supergirl in his Fortress of Solitude (S No. 142/3, Jan 1961: “Flame Dragon from Krypton”), has described his cousin this way:

Physically, she’s the mightiest female of all time! But at heart, she’s as gentle and sweet and is [sic] quick to tears, as any ordinary girt! I guess that’s why everyone who meets her loves her! (Act No. 285, Feb 1962: “The World’s Greatest Heroine!”).

Supergirl is fully aware that her cousin Superman is secretly Clark Kent. According to the Supergirl story in Action Comics No. 270, she has also been entrusted with the secret identities of Batman and Robin (Nov 1960: “Supergirl’s Busiest Day!”).