- For other uses, see Supergirl (disambiguation)
Supergirl is the superhero name of Kara Zor-El, cousin to Superman. She was created by writer Otto Binder and designed by artist Al Plastino in 1959, and she first appeared in Action Comics, in whose first issue Superman himself was introduced. The character first appeared in comic books and later appeared children's cartoon animation, film, television and video games.
Born and raised in the Kryptonian population of Argo City, Kara Zor-El was sent by her parents Zor-El and Alura In-Ze (married name Zor-El) to Earth to save her life and meet her cousin Kal-El (in modern versions to look after him). As a teenager an and immigrant, Kara has to learn to fit in a completely different culture while she copes with their family's loss and tries to become a hero.
Supergirl's birthday is September 22nd.
- For detailed biographies by continuity, see:
- Supergirl's Biography (Post-Flashpoint) - Supergirl's biography from the post-Flashpoint universe (marketed as the New 52)
- Supergirl's Biography (Modern Age) - Supergirl's history from her return to the main continuity in 2003 to Flashpoint
- Supergirl's Biography (Pre-Crisis) - Supergirl's history from 1959 to Crisis on Infinite Earths
After positive fan reaction to Supergirl, the first recurring and most familiar version of Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, debuted in 1959. Kara Zor-El first appeared in Action Comics #252 (May 1959) written by Otto Binder, who had also created Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel's sister and female spin-off. Like Supergirl, Mary Marvel was a teenaged, female version of an adult male superhero, wearing a costume that was identical to the older character other than substituting a short skirt for tight trousers. Otto Binder also created Miss America, a superhero who shared little other than the name with her sometimes co-star Captain America. The story that introduced the character, as published in Action Comics #252, was drawn by Al Plastino.
Reaction at the D.C. Comics offices to Supergirl's first appearance was tremendous, with thousands of positive letters-of-comment pouring in. The first published letter-of-comment in the August 1959 issue of Action Comics was from an eleven-year-old reader from Garland, Texas named David Mitchell. The same Dave Mitchell would go on to become a well-known Miami radio personality.
Supergirl's personality varies slightly depending on the incarnation, but she usually keeps several core traits: her kind-hearted although short-tempered nature and her struggle to adapt to an alien environment. This is due to her youth and her upbringing.
Kara is a kind-hearted, optimistic heroine whose personality is defined by several factors: her leaving Argo after spending most of her formative years around Kryptonians, her youth and her need to establish herself as her own person rather than Superman's apprentice and sidekick.
Kara lived in Argo City during her first fifteen years of life before being launched into space. More of an immigrant than her cousin, she struggled to adapt to a very different culture. She felt alienated and very lonely during the first years, but she eventually learnt to love Earth and its people thanks to her cousin and her foster parents.
Due to her youth and inexperience, her teenager self was sweet and innocent to the point of naiveté, but also short-tempered and aggressive, and more proactive than Superman. Being a rookie hero, she often failed and made mistakes which she had to learn from.
When Kara reached adulthood she ditched her initial innocence and became a more confident, mature woman who wasn't afraid to flaunt her sexuality if necessary. However, despite of her greater maturity, Kara still had a very short fuse and little patience for bullies or fools, and was pretty snarky. Unsurprisingly, genocide was one of her hot buttons, going as far as to slap her cousin when he refused to fight an army of genocidal aliens
Kara was an insecure, fierce, impulsive, compassionate and sometimes immature teenager. At the beginning she came across as an angry, bratty girl due to suffering from undiagnosed Kryptonite poisoning when she landed on Earth as an effect of spending thirty years trapped in a chunk of Kryptonite. Her illness messed up her brain, making her prone to wild mood swings and odd behavior until it was correctly diagnosed and the poison purged from her body. Once free from false memories and mood swings plaguing her, Kara showed she was a troubled girl and lacked confidence but she was nice and well-meaning.
Having survived both the destruction of Krypton and Argo City, Kara had a huge case of "Survivor Guilt" and suffered from PTDS . Sometimes her considerable self-loathing and guilt manifested as a split personality called "Dark Supergirl" until she managed to forgive herself.
Kara was a kind, sweet, compassionate girl when she still lived in Krypton. However, the circumstances of her arrival on Earth (being placed in suspended animation by her father and waking up two decades later to find herself stranded in an alien world long after her planet was gone) soured her character. For a long while she was depressed over her situation, feeling alone, friendless and unable to fit in Earth or somewhere. She was still a good girl at heart that tried to help people, but after several months of endless battles and conflict she was downcast and above all very, very mad. So mad that she became a Red Lantern.
However, her time in the Red Lantern Corps served as a catharsis which helped her pull through. After losing her Red Ring Kara was still troubled but she was more optimistic and good-natured, and she made a real effort to fit in, make friends and become a hero. When she starts working for the D.E.O. she has become the kind of hero who will beat criminals up but also try to help them.
Powers and Abilities
Supergirl possesses Kryptonian standard abilities. She is incredibly strong, fast and nigh invulnerable, and possesses the capability to fly. Her eyes can emit bursts of heat, while vision ranges from the microscopic to the telescopic and is also capable of a broader spectrum than human eyes, able to see x-rays and radio waves. She can hear faint sounds amongst a bustle of noises by concentrating. She can also inhale and expel large amounts of air with which blowing away or freezing a target.
Her abilities stem from Earth's low gravity and yellow sunlight absorbed by her body. In enviroments with no yellow sunlight, she eventually depletes her stored reserves of energy and loses her powers. Supergirl can also be damaged by the radioactive element known as Kryptonite and magic, since magic ignores natural laws.
In other media
- Superboy Vol. 1, #80
- Supergirl Vol. 2, #1
- Convergence: Adventures of Superman Vol. 1, #1
- Adventure Comics Vol. 1, #411
- Adventure Comics Vol. 1, #424
- Adventure Comics Vol 1 #397
- Supergirl Vol 2 #12
- Supergirl Vol 2 #21
- Superman Vol 1 #309
- Supergirl Vol 5 #34
- Superman/Batman Annual Vol 1 #5
- Supergirl Vol 7 #2
- Supergirl Vol 6 #2
- Supergirl Vol 6 #7
- Supergirl Vol 6 #26
- Supergirl Vol 6 #28
- Supergirl Vol 6 #36
- Action Comics Vol 2 #51
- Supergirl Vol 7 #2
- Supergirl: Life and Times of Kara Zor-El - a history of the original Supergirl
- Supergirl Comic Box Commentary
- Supergirl at DC Wiki
- Superman Homepage - Supergirl Special Report