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Author Topic: Timeline: 1st Appearances of each Supergirl, etc.(3rd Draft)  (Read 2853 times)
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Lorendiac
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« on: October 29, 2005, 03:15:14 AM »

[NOTE: I'm honored that previous drafts of this ended up as a sticky, but on the other hand, some of the last version evidently got truncated when I tried to post the Second Draft as a cut-and-paste "edit" to the First Draft at the top of the old thread. So this time I'm starting a new thread with the Timeline split in half, two smaller posts in succession, which will hopefully work better. I suppose that makes the Sticky version obsolete, and I'm sorry about that.]

[SPOILER WARNING: Although I don't know how much of a shock it was to the readers, material in this post refers to a recent "revelation" in the pages of the just-released JSA Classified #4 regarding Power Girl's newest origin story. If hearing a quick summary of it bothers you, you might want to postpone the pleasure of reading this entire post. There wasn't really room to mention a "Spoiler Warning for JSA Classified #4" in the thread title; sorry about that!]


1. Introduction: Why I Wrote This
2. The Timeline of First and Final Appearances
3. Short Lists of The Different Users of Each Relevant Name



1. Introduction: Why I Wrote This

In various online forums where I hang out for comic-book-related discussions, people keep asking perfectly reasonable questions such as:

"Who is the current Supergirl? How is she different from the last Supergirl? (And the one before that, and the one before that?)"

"Just how many Supergirls have there been in the comic books, anyway?"

"Why so many?"

"Are they all related to Superman?"

The problem is that there's no simple "sound bite" of an answer that can honestly and accurately answer such questions in one minute or less, even if you actually have all relevant facts at the tip of your tongue (which I certainly didn't when I started writing this).

For instance, if you start trying to delve into these subjects in a way that is not just shallow and superficial but really meant to clear things up, then you've got to talk about the differences between Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis continuity if you're going to make a clean sweep in explaining just how many Supergirls there have ever been, and why the one who held the job for over a quarter-century is no longer with us.

And since Power Girl started out as a parallel-world analog of the Silver Age Supergirl about thirty years ago, shouldn't she at least get an honorable mention in any in-depth discussion of The Many Supergirls even though she's never claimed the name "Supergirl" in her life? What about the various females who have called themselves "Superwoman" instead of "Supergirl"? Mightn't a fan who wants to know about the Supergirls appreciate having the Superwomen sorted out for him as well, at no extra charge? What about Kara of Argo City in the Superman Versus Aliens miniseries ten years ago, who never called herself "Supergirl" but was obviously designed to strongly remind us of the Pre-Crisis Supergirl who was also a Kara from Argo City, even if it was a different Argo City on a different planet?

You see how quickly such things can escalate? In April of 2005, I started typing out a piece explaining, from memory, what I thought I already knew about the various Supergirls, Superwomen, etc., Pre- and Post-Crisis. The early version was sadly incomplete because I knew I didn't know everything, but it was only a rough draft. I had a vague idea that eventually I might end up with a more "comprehensive" discussion of the subject, and after I had written and posted it, in the future I could simply post a hyperlink to it whenever newcomers on my favorite comic book forums started asking such questions as I listed above.

In early June of 2005, I got involved in an online discussion that somehow prompted me to dig out the old material on my hard drive and start sprucing it up, researching the subject further, splicing in new material, and organizing things into a comprehensive timeline showing the sequence of First Appearances of each relevant character in chronological order. In several cases, I mention Final Appearances as well, if there was an obvious "Final Appearance" for a particular person. (In some cases, the First and Final Appearances "in continuity" were one and the same!)

Who is a relevant character? I decided to do my best to cover any female character who has ever been connected with Superman continuity while doing one or more of the following things in at least one DC comic book story that was supposedly "in continuity" at the time it was published (even if it was later retconned away, explicitly or implicitly):

A) Calling herself Supergirl
B) Calling herself Super-Girl
C) Calling herself Superwoman
D) Calling herself Power Girl
E) Calling herself Kara

Obviously there are some characters who fall into more than one of those categories. And out of the goodness of my heart, I've even thrown in a couple of characters who didn't quite fit any of the above categories, but were strongly suspected by the readers to be mysterious versions of one "Supergirl" character or another. You'll see what I mean as we go along. [Note for the 2nd Draft: I have also thrown in one "Supergrrl" for good measure.]

I should mention that for my purposes I am ignoring people who strike me as mere temporary "impostors." If there was once a story in which an actress played the role of "Supergirl" in a TV show or movie, or a Silver Age story in which Lex Luthor built a robot double to impersonate Supergirl for a few hours (and I have no idea if that ever happened or not!), then I'm not counting that at the moment. (The Supergirl Robot that Brainiac 5 built in Superboy #204 has been brought to my attention, but for the moment I'm leaving her out of the Timeline as well. I do mention, below, the first appearance of the very first Supergirl Robot of the Silver Age, and I figure that will have to do.)

On a similar note:At this time, I have no intention of going into the details of any variation of "Supergirl" or any similar character who has ever been presented to us in movies or television shows. Likewise, I am ignoring anybody who only existed in Imaginary Stories, Elseworlds projects, stories that were presented as dream sequences, or other "out of continuity" printed material, and thus has never interfaced with characters of the mainstream DCU timeline. Sticking to "comic book continuity" characters is enough for now!

I interpreted "First Appearance" to suit my own purposes. If someone is supposed to have been the "same character" all along (both before and after Crisis, for instance), but got a huge retcon or reboot that replaced one origin story with a radically different new one, then I usually treat the first mention of the new origin story as essentially being the First Appearance of a new version of a character. Likewise, my Timeline doesn't mention the first appearance of reporter Lois Lane because she didn't meet my criteria when she first appeared, but I do list two later comics as both being First Appearances in Continuity of the "Lois Lane as Superwoman" concept one way or another. That includes the story in which she first believed she had superpowers that justified her wearing a red and blue costume and calling herself Superwoman, and a later story in which for the first time she really had superpowers that justified her wearing a red and blue costume and calling herself Superwoman.

2. The Timeline of First and Final Appearances

CAVEAT LECTOR (Let the Reader Beware): This is only a Third Draft of the Timeline, and may not be the Final Word on the subject. At this point in my First Draft, I said: "I have done the best I could, but I feel certain I have not done it perfectly. Please speak up if you know of a relevant fact or character I completely overlooked, or if you spot a clear mistake in my quick description of a particular character or story. In many cases I am dependent upon online summaries of stories I have never read, and I am painfully aware that my efforts to paraphrase second-hand information leave plenty of room for error."

Many readers took me at my word and offered constructive criticism regarding characters they felt I should add or things I should modify in the existing text, and much of their feedback was reflected in the Second Draft, which was much longer than the First Draft as a result of all the new stuff I had to write in those cases where I decided people's suggestions were apt.

This Third Draft, however, is only slightly longer than the Second Draft. The obvious flaws and omissions seem to have been identified and fixed by now. I've only added a couple of brand new entries to my Timeline this time around; mainly because of Power Girl's origin story having changed once again!

The call for constructive criticism is still in force if you think I've missed something that would improve this Timeline. However, I have no idea when I will feel it necessary to post a Fourth Draft, so you may have a long wait before you get to see the results of your feedback. Possibly something will happen during the months of "Infinite Crisis" that will deserve some special attention in a new version of this Timeline; possibly not!

And now, on to the main event!

THE TIMELINE

1947. Superman #45. Lois Lane is convinced she has gained powers comparable to Superman's by magic. (She hasn't. Superman was moving at super-speed to do her stunts and make it seem that way. Long story.) By the end of the story she voluntarily relinquishes the powers she thinks she has because they seem to be out of control and are thus hurting her social life with men who are afraid to get too close to her. But during the story, she had indeed called herself Superwoman and worn an appropriate costume.

Note: There was a previous "dream sequence" story in 1943 in which Lois had dreamed she got a blood transfusion from the Man of Steel and became a Superwoman, but as a dream, that "Superwoman" appearance was basically "out of continuity." This story, on the other hand, was apparently the first "in continuity" story in which any female character wore a costume and publicly called herself Superwoman, powers or no powers. So I count this as the First Appearance in continuity of a Superwoman, even if the "powers" were fake.

1949. Superboy #5. Superboy meets this really neat blond girl who calls herself Lucy Regent and is an incredibly skilled athlete. Although she has no powers, at one point she wears a costume modeled on his and calls herself Supergirl as part of a show the two of them put on together at a festival. Superboy is quite smitten by her, it seems, but unfortunately it turns out that she is actually Lucy, rightful Queen of Borgonia, and the story ends with Lucy staying in her native land to take up her duties as Queen after a villainous usurper has been defeated with Superboy's help. (Lucy was never been heard from again in any other story, so this was her First and Final Appearance.)

Note: I have learned from feedback that this story must have happened on Earth-1 (even though Earth-1 as a concept would not be mentioned in any comic book until the story "Flash of Two Worlds" in 1961) because it was eventually decided at DC that all the Superboy stories were Earth-1 material by default no matter when they were published; the Earth-2 Superman had reached maturity before creating a costumed identity for himself and surprising everyone with his superpowered feats (as shown in the original Superman story in Action Comics #1.)

1951. Action Comics #156. Lois Lane temporarily receives powers which prompt her to create a Superwoman costume for herself (again!). The costume she came up with was very similar to one that Kara Zor-El later wore as Supergirl. Lois even wore a blond wig to disguise her hair color - going for a secret identity, apparently, which she had not bothered with in her previous "Superwoman" adventure in the story I mentioned above. This was apparently the First Appearance of any costumed female calling herself Superwoman and wearing an appropriate costume "in continuity," and actually having superpowers to go with the costume.

I am told that Lois Lane and Lana Lang each got superpowers (always temporary!) in various other stories in the old days, but I'm not clear on how often the Superwoman name was explicitly used, and I have not heard that it was ever used by Lana.

1958. Superman #123. A trial balloon story written by Otto Binder. Jimmy Olsen uses magic to wish a "Super-Girl" into existence, but it doesn't work out so well and he finally wishes her back into oblivion (apparently to "save her life" after potentially lethal exposure to Kryptonite), and she's been gone ever since. She appeared to be a blond teenager and wore a blue and red costume, modeled on Superman's of course, and quite similar to one of the variations that Supergirl ended up wearing later. Favorable response from their readers persuades DC it's worth the trouble to create a more permanent character along similar lines, to be officially added to Superman's supporting cast as a cute young female version of himself.

Note: I am told that for many years afterward, whenever this story was subsequently reprinted in other comics, the color scheme of the magically-created Super-Girl's appearance was modified. Her formerly blue-and-red costume became orange-and-green (or yellow-and-green? - I have conflicting information from different sources) and her blond hair became red hair, quite similar to that of Jimmy Olsen. Presumably this was done to accentuate the fact that she was a different person who should not be identified with the Kara Zor-El Supergirl, but frankly, it sounds like overkill to me. A quick little caption from the editor warning people that this was a different, one-shot character in this reprint story would do just as well, wouldn't it?

I've also heard that more "modern" reprints have preserved the original red-and-blue-costume-with-blond-hair color scheme. I don't know where those "modern" reprints occurred, however. Possibly in one of the Superman Archives volumes?

1959. Action Comics #252. The first story about the character who is still fondly remembered by such nicknames as "The First Supergirl," "The Original Supergirl," "The Silver Age Supergirl," "The Classic Supergirl," "The Real Supergirl," "The Real Kara Zor-El," and so on and so forth. (Some of those nicknames for her totally overlook the brief literary career of Lucy Regent in 1949, but nobody seems to mind. And anyway, my understanding is that Lucy never expressed the slightest intention of becoming a costumed crimefighter; wearing a costume that resembled Superboy's was just Show Biz and not any sort of serious commitment to a new lifestyle! So Kara Zor-El could still qualify as the first superhero to ever use the name "Supergirl.")

This story is written by Otto Binder. Kara Zor-El is rocketed to Earth from Argo City (a Kryptonian city that survived the explosion of the planet but has now perished anyway). When Superman first meets her, she is already wearing a blue-and-red costume modeled on his own, except that instead of blue shirt and blue pants with red shorts over the pants, she basically wears a blue dress. Over the next 26 years or so, she will change her exact look from time to time, but always maintaining a strong resemblance to Superman's traditional outfit.

She wants to call herself Supergirl. She is a blue-eyed blond; Superman's cute little cousin he never knew he had. (She is the daughter of Zor-El, who was the brother of Superman's daddy Jor-El, you see.) Superman ends up helping her create a secret identity as Linda Lee, a brown-haired girl (when wearing a wig) who was recently orphaned in a natural disaster, and checks her into an orphanage. In a later story, her "secret identity" name changes to Linda Lee Danvers after she is adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Danvers.

Note: It appears that various Pre-Crisis stories, sometimes via dialogue spoken "in continuity" and sometimes in events that were depicted in certain "Imaginary Stories" of the Silver Age, nailed down the idea that Superman fully expected that someday Supergirl would naturally change her alias to Superwoman when she felt the time was right, just as he had previously made the transition from Superboy to Superman at his own pace. This change never actually happened as a permanent condition "in continuity," however - it was merely anticipated. And below I will list at least one case where Kara was referred to as Superwoman very briefly, with no lasting impact. (There may have been other cases after that one.)

1959. Action Comics #256. First appearance of a lifelike Supergirl Robot. It becomes important to have one after a fellow orphan at the Midvale Orphanage named Dick Wilson (later known as "Dick Malverne" after he was adopted) captures a "Supergirl" on film and even suspects a connection with Linda Lee. Superman hastily creates a Supergirl Robot to give Linda an alibi and then to reveal itself as a robotic device in order to "disprove" that any flesh-and-blood "Supergirl" exists at all!

(In the early years of Kara Zor-El's activities as his helper, Superman's firm policy was to keep her existence a secret from the general public.)

Since the robot wears the same costume and answers to the name of Supergirl, with the real Supergirl's knowledge and consent, I figure it deserves a quick entry on this Timeline.

Note: I have no idea how many robot doubles of Supergirl and/or her secret identity (Linda Lee, later Linda Danvers) the Earth-1 Superman ended up manufacturing over the years. I don't know how many of them "died" in the line of duty, either. I don't know how often anyone else tried to manufacture a Supergirl robot for reasons good or bad - although I know of one sad case including Brainiac 5. But I figure if you've seen one Supergirl robot, you've seen 'em all, so I'm only mentioning the first appearance of the first Supergirl Robot and that will just have to be enough.

1960. Action Comics #267. First appearance of Kara Zor-El as a mature Superwoman "in continuity," although only for a brief time. Supergirl is invited to try out for membership in the 30th Century Legion of Super-Heroes. She successfully performs the task which is set for her, but in the process she is exposed to a piece of Red Kryptonite which causes her to physically age to look like she's twentysomething years old, apparently. Full-grown. She refers to herself as having become "a Superwoman." The key point here, from the point of view of the Legionnaires who were testing her, is that no matter how impressive her performance, she's obviously disqualified for membership at this time because of her new adult status. Their club has a strict age limit, you see. She can try again next year, however. After she returns home to the 20th Century, the Red K effect wears off and she reverts back to her juvenile self.

One would think that the Legionnaires would be aware of the very temporary effect of Red K after the times they had previously worked with Superboy. One would also think they would realize that just because Supergirl (temporarily) looked very mature for her age didn't necessarily mean her age had actually changed. On the other hand, the first publication of this story stated the Legionnaires testing her were the lookalike-children of Legionnaires whom her cousin Kal-El had adventured with in his Superboy years, so perhaps the kids weren't as up-to-date on the technicalities of Red K as their parents would have been. (At any rate, their status as second-generation Legionnaires was later retconned away and has apparently been changed with rewritten dialogue in subsequent reprints of this story - the version of the Legion that Supergirl ended up successfully joining in a later story, after the next time she went through a testing procedure, was the exact same version as the one that Superboy hung out with in his spare time, not a second-generation Legion offset by a couple of decades.)

1960. Superman #140. The first Bizarro-Supergirl makes her debut. Her First and Final Appearance, as it turns out - at the end of the story she dies from exposure to Blue Kryptonite. (Blue K is what you get when you use the duplicator device that creates Bizarros
on a piece of Green K instead of on a person. The Blue K acts on a Bizarro Kryptonian's metabolism the same way the Green K acts on a regular Kryptonian's.)

1962. Action Comics #289. Superman meets and falls in love with Luma Lynai, the Superwoman of the planet Staryl. But it all falls apart. Probably just as well, because physically Luma was the spit'n'image of Superman's juvenile cousin Kara, except taller and fully mature, and that could have gotten very weird after Kara was a grown woman and looked exactly like her cousin's wife.

You see, Superman had said something to his precocious cousin Kara about how if he ever married, he would like it be to someone much like her, although of course Kal-El and Kara could never marry because Kryptonian Law forbade matings between first cousins.

(That last part was probably the key point of the speech, if not of the entire story that DC was offering us: To hammer home to the Silver Age fans the point that there was a strong legal/cultural Kryptonian taboo that guaranteed that Superman had no intention of ever getting romantically involved with Supergirl, his first cousin, not even after she finished growing up. Genetically speaking, a very sensible policy, I might add, and one that I believe is also reflected in the laws of at least some parts of the United States, and probably in various other places around the world).

Kara is determined to play matchmaker, however, and takes the part about how he'd like to someday marry someone like herself way too literally (I suspect Superman was talking about psychological characteristics rather than physical ones) and decides tt's a good time to use the Supercomputer in the Fortress of Solitude to somehow search the rest of the universe for qualified candidates to become her cousin's spouse. Judging by results, she must have input roughly these parameters for the search: "Humanoid female, my skin, my hair, my eyes, my facial features, my superpowers or very similar ones, superheroic activities, but several years older than I am, old enough to get married." (Modest, wasn't she? Only a near-copy of herself, except with a different genetic background and already a full-grown woman, could possibly be worthy of the great honor of marrying Kara's cousin! Sigmund Freud would have a field day with this scenario!)

So the computer finds what Supergirl describes as a "Superwoman duplicate of me," and Superman dutifully takes his cousin's advice and flies off to meet Luma Lynai (who even wears an S-emblem, though not identical to his, on her chest and on her cape by a wild coincidence). They get along splendidly and fly back toward Earth to get married - except that it turns out to their mutual horror that yellow solar radiation is poisonous to Luma, whose own metabolism is super-powered because of the orange sun of Staryl. Superman actually offers to emigrate from Earth to Staryl so they can stay together, but Luma bravely insists Earth needs him more than she does, and that is the end of another fine romance.

As far as I can tell, Luma never actually was featured in another story, although she was subsequently referred to in flashbacks and such on a few occasions, so this was for all practical purposes her Final Appearance as well as her First.

1964. Justice League of America #29. We meet the Earth-3 Superwoman, a member of the Crime Syndicate of America, blue eyes, black hair, who is presented to us as the evil analog of Wonder Woman. No relation to any version of Superman; she simply is superstrong and happens to use the adjective "Super" in her name.

1966. Action Comics #336. The second Bizarro-Supergirl makes her debut. This one is different from the run-of-the-mill Bizarros. As the story begins (continued from a previous issue), the real Supergirl has been rendered ugly by a villain and is experimenting with various things that might be able to reverse the effect. When she uses the Bizarro-creating duplicator on herself, what she ends up with is an atypical Bizarro Supergirl. The new Bizarro-Supergirl a) looks like a lovely teenage girl, just as the original Supergirl normally would, and b) speaks English with decent grammar, unlike other Bizarro characters, but c) is rather dim-witted. This was apparently both the First and Final appearance of this particular Supergirl knockoff.

1969. Adventure Comics #387. First appearance of a parallel-world Supergirl who apparently looks something like a werewolf (as does every other human and Kryptonian in her universe, evidently).

On Earth-1, the Silver Age Supergirl takes a serum that is meant to confer immunity to Kryptonite radiation, but it has some unpleasant side effects. She ends up looking much like a werewolf - hairy wolfish face, hairy hands. By an astonishing coincidence, Supergirl's analog in a parallel universe has been having the same experience in reverse - the serum she gulped down has made her lose all that body hair and now she looks like a freak, by local cultural standards. A fortuitous explosion permits the two of them to meet and compare notes. Somehow, it all works out in the end (thanks to the efforts of the scientists, both named Dr. Sanford, who had brewed the original serums) and both Supergirls end up looking "normal" again. This was the First and Final Appearance of the Wolf-Faced Supergirl (to coin a new name for her).

1975. All-Star Comics #58. Power Girl first appears and, I gather, soon afterward becomes a member of the JSA on Earth-2. Her Kryptonian name is Kara Zor-L (which is pronounced exactly the same as Kara Zor-El, as near as I can tell). As far as the basic origin story is concerned, she is essentially the Earth-2 equivalent of Supergirl, with a few modifications. Kara Zor-L was launched from a doomed Krypton in a spaceship at the same time her cousin Kal-L was, but for some reason her vessel took decades longer to reach Earth than his did, with her in suspended animation during the trip. As a result, she was still a very young woman in the 1970s, at a time when he was definitely getting middle-aged. This gives us a bizarre situation where Earth-2, the "older generation" parallel world that contains the Golden Age heroes, is suddenly doing its own "knockoff" of a character first introduced on the "younger generation" parallel world of Earth-1, instead of the other way around as it had always been done before.

Power Girl is a blue-eyed blond, but differs in some ways from the Earth-1 Supergirl as she had been presented up until that time. She may be older and definitely shows a more voluptuous figure (and seems more willing to dress in ways that emphasize whatever she's got.) She is also said to have a more aggressive, even defiant, attitude. Her costume does not even resemble Superman's - mostly white, with red cape and blue boots and gloves. By an astonishing coincidence, her costume bears a marked similarity to that of Luma Lynai, above, except that the things that were green in Luma's costume have been changed to blue. (Exception: I believe Luma wore a green cape. Power Girl's is red.)

There is a rumor that writer Gerry Conway originally tried to get the Power Girl character concept approved by the DC editorial staff as the daughter of the Golden Age, Earth-2 versions of Superman and Lois Lane . . . but the idea was shot down. Possibly someone felt that having two very similar characters on parallel worlds, one Superman's daughter and one the other Superman's first cousin, would just get too darn confusing for the fans?

According to the Wikipedia entry, the original artist to draw her, Wally Wood, started her out with large breasts and intended to see how much further he could push it. He allegedly planned to keep increasing her bra size a bit more in each consecutive issue to see how exaggerated things could get before someone on DC's editorial staff would finally catch on and tell him to stop. It appears that Wally moved on to other things after a mere eight issues, however, so I guess we'll never know just long he could have gotten away with it. Be that as it may, ever since then, Power Girl (whatever her origin story) has been notorious among fans for her large breasts, even when compared to various other superheroines who run around in tight costumes that show they are not exactly flat-chested.

Note: In a previous story, Superman #125, the Silver Age Lois Lane had dreamed of becoming a Power Girl (yellow and green costume; red wig; totally different from the appearance of the Kara Zor-L Power Girl). I refuse to count a "dream sequence" as being the First Appearance "in continuity" of a Superwoman or Power Girl character. But I'm mentioning the fact in this Note attached to the first appearance of a "real" Power Girl character in order to prove that I've done my homework as best I could! Smiley

1980. Superman #349. First and only appearance of a very obscure Superwoman who may not have really been a living, breathing being per se. (But don't hold me to that!) This one will take some explaining. In a story by Marty Pasko, Superman finds himself on what appears to be a parallel world closely resembling his own beloved Earth, except that every male character he knows is represented by a female equivalent, and vice versa. He discovers that Clara Kent works at the Daily Planet (alongside Jenny Olsen and Louis Lane) and that a black-haired Superwoman fights crime in Metropolis - but he is very startled to eventually realize that Clara Kent and Superwoman are definitely two separate people here. This anomaly damages the theory that this world is simply a gender-reversed parallel version of Earth-1, and he eventually figures out that he's still on the real Earth-1, as magically modified by Mr. Mxyzptlk for the occasion!

This would then qualify as the First (and Final) Appearance of a high-powered Superwoman character who was probably a magically-created simulacrum as far as I can tell, rather than a normal person, human or Kryptonian. (Whereas most of the other characters Superman met in this story were allegedly their usual selves, briefly magically transformed into the opposite gender from the default condition, without being allowed to remember things had ever been any different..)

This particular Superwoman basically looked like a black-haired, blue-eyed woman who had taken the exact design of Superman's traditional outfit and merely had it retailored to suit her feminine anatomy. No skirts, wigs, facemasks, shift in color schemes, or other noteworthy variations from the usual appearance of the costume - it was merely covering a differently-shaped body than what we normally expect to see.

1982. Superman Family #215-216. The Kara Zor-El Supergirl has a two-part teamup with Louise-L, a Supergirl of the far future (around the year A.D. 502,000). When visiting Louise-L's era, Kara is much weaker because the sun has faded quite a bit to an orange shade. On the other hand, when visiting our era, Louise-L finds her powers greatly magnified because of the much stronger and yellower sunlight we enjoy these days. Louise-L refuses to explain whether or not she is descended from Kara Zor-El, and at the end of the story she mindwipes Kara to remove any knowledge of Louise-L and the future she inhabits. As far as I know, the Louise-L Supergirl never made any further "in continuity" appearances, Pre- or Post-Crisis.So #215 was her First - and #216 her Final - Appearance.

1982. Superman Family #220. First appearance of Liandly of Rolez, the Super-Girl of Earth-2, in a story by E. Nelson Bridwell. Liandly comes from another dimensional reality and has remarkable superpowers; nothing Kryptonian about her. The Earth-2 Lois and Clark befriended her and even helped her create a secret identity as "Linda Lee." To confuse the issue, this story published in the early 80s is retroactively set sometime in the 1950s, as one of the "Mr. and Mrs. Superman" stories that dealt with adventures in the lives of the Golden Age versions of Lois and Clark when they were a fairly young married couple. An online illustration that's supposed to be of Liandly shows us as having long blond hair and wearing a costume that looks something like an orange one-piece swimsuit with a few other accessories. As far as I know, this was the First and Last appearance of this character, and only the second (and last!) time that any "in continuity" character has been presented to us as using the name Super-Girl with a hyphen in the middle.

Note: Liandly is almost an anagram of Linda Lee (if you replace the double E with a Y), and Rolez is an anagram of Zor-El.

1983. Supergirl #10. First appearance of six miniature, doll-sized clones of the Pre-Crisis Supergirl, created by a villain called Professor Drake. Each of the clones has her full powers and memories, but gang up to fight her in the next couple of issues. Eventually, they permanently lose their powers when Supergirl manages to expose the entire six-pack of them to a piece of Gold Kryptonite while keeping herself shielded from its radiation. She then places them in a "stasis field" in Superman's Fortress of Solitude and basically forgets about them for awhile. (Stay tuned - we'll get back to that in a minute!)

I mention the clones here, but I don't intend to list them as six separate Supergirls at the end of this post, because it seems that they never spoke during their struggles with the real Supergirl, so they weren't actually calling themselves The Supergirl Six-Pack or anything like that.

1983. DC Comics Presents Annual #2. Kristin Wells, previously a character in a printed novel about Superman (Miracle Monday by Elliot S! Maggin, who also wrote this story), travels back in time to meet Clark Kent again. She is a 29th Century historian in search of the last great secret identity of the 20th Century superheroes, all the others having long since been solved and entered into the textbooks of her era. There was a female crimefighter called Superwoman who was scheduled to make her grand debut right around "now" according to those same textbooks . . . Maggin played a few mind games with us, planting hints that the prototype Superwoman costume might belong to Lois Lane or Linda Danvers, but surprise surprise, it turned out it was actually Kristin Wells (red hair, blue eyes) who ended up wearing that costume, using futuristic technology to simulate various superhuman powers. Those included: flight, superstrength, time travel, the ability to create space/time warps that amounted to being able to teleport great distances, and also intangibility.

1984. Supergirl #19. A life-sized "clone" of Supergirl, comprised of a miraculous merger of the six doll-sized clones of her mentioned above, temporarily takes over the role of Linda Danvers and considers herself to be the true Supergirl for a brief time (despite the annoying lack of powers, thanks to the Gold K exposure previously mentioned). Somehow, the similarity in brain structure, memories and thought patterns, etc., apparently creates a psychic bond between Kara I and Kara II such that the clone is able to temporarily blank out Supergirl's memories of her Linda Danvers secret identity. Once this gets straightened out, the real Supergirl offers to help her de-powered lifesize duplicate build a new identity elsewhere to live as a normal human being. As far as I know, that character was never heard from again, and I don't think we ever even knew what her new name was going to be.

In a subsequent lettercol (at the back of Supergirl #23, reacting to mail re: #19), Paul Kupperberg, the Supergirl writer at the time, referred to the merged-clones-lifesize-copy by both of these names: Kara II and Linda II. After all, she had the appropriate genes and memories, didn't she?

1985. Crisis on Infinite Earths occurs as a 12-part series with crossovers into other titles, and the culling begins.

Crisis on Infinite Earths #1. The Superwoman of Earth-3 dies onstage. So does her entire world of Earth-3, which is eventually erased from the Post-Crisis continuity.

Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. The Supergirl of Earth-1 dies onstage and later gets erased from continuity.

In fact, all previous stories centered around "Superman Family" characters got erased from continuity in the Post-Crisis Era, including most of the female characters mentioned above - except that Lois Lane promptly got Rebooted (so that she had never, ever been "Superwoman" after all), and Power Girl also survived, as it turns out. She escapes oblivion by being simply retconned out of the Superman Family entirely. We'll get back to her in a minute.

1985. DC Comics Presents Annual #4. Elliot S! Maggin wraps up the saga of the Kristin Wells Superwoman. She travels back to the 20th Century, somehow gets amnesia for awhile, and spends several years as a superhero in the late 20th Century having the distinguished career that she had "already" studied as a historian in the 29th Century, then finally returns to her native era where her boyfriend has been faithfully waiting for her (it was some years from his point of view, as well). I believe this was meant to be her Final Appearance and official retirement from the whole costumed crimefighter bit in a story that was clearly in Pre-Crisis continuity.

1985. Legion of Super-Heroes #14 (second regular monthly series of that title). While the Crisis limited series is still being published, writer Paul Levitz and penciller Steve Lightle introduce a "new" character who keeps her entire body covered with her red and white costume, except for a mane of golden hair, and calls herself "Sensor Girl." For several issues her precise powers and background remain a mystery to all but one of her fellow Legionnaires (and the readers), although occasional hints are dropped to the effect that she might be an old, familiar face underneath that white facemask she wears. For instance, one or two things she says suggest that she already knows a fair amount about the other Legionnaires, as if she might have worked with some of them before (which the Pre-Crisis Supergirl had done several times). Veteran Legionnaire Brainiac 5 (the "good" Brainiac) had long had a hopeless crush on the Pre-Crisis Supergirl, and in these stories written by Paul Levitz, Brainy still remembered her vividly and hoped desperately that this masked "Sensor Girl" character would turn out to be her.

Sensor Girl gets mentioned here because it is alleged that revealing her to be Kara Zor-El, the late, lamented Supergirl, possibly amnesiac and with her powers now pretty much limited to super-senses rather than the whole package of strength, speed, invulnerability, etc., was exactly what Paul Levitz originally hoped to build up to, but DC wouldn't let him get away with it and he had to reveal Sensor Girl as someone else, finally. (Apparently it took a little time for the Post-Crisis policy of "There are no surviving Kryptonians but Superman, and his cousin Supergirl never existed in the first place and never will!" to be firmly established, clearly explained to everyone at DC, and aggressively enforced.)
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2005, 03:19:43 AM »

1987. Secret Origins #11. Power Girl's "new and improved" Post-Crisis origin story is paraded before us to explain why she still exists in the modern DCU if the policy is that the Rebooted Superman has no living Kryptonian relatives, period. Her name is still Kara, and her "secret identity" in the modern USA is "Karen Starr," and she still has similar powers to those of Kal-El's. But the similarity is now pure coincidence; there's no genetic relationship at all. Power Girl now just happens to be the granddaughter of the great wizard Arion of Atlantis. About 45,000 years ago his evil brother, Garn Daanuth, tried to possess her the way a demon would.

Kara learns this when she goes back to look at the spaceship she arrived in, and finds it's actually a magical artifact with a recording of Arion's personality to explain things to her now. His solution to the attempted possession of her 45,000 years ago involved shoving the little girl named Kara inside a magic crystal and leaving her in suspended animation for 45,000 years, during which she aged several years into her late teens, emerging in the modern era of the DCU.

By an astonishing coincidence, at the time she emerged she had developed superpowers very similar to those of the Post-Crisis Superman. A recording of her grandfather's personality eventually (in this story, a few years after her arrival in 20th Century Earth) offers the opinion that her unexpected powers resulted from a combination of three things: Some experimental modifications Arion had previously made in her genes (we don't know exactly what the purpose of that had been), the exposure to Garn Daanuth's essence when he briefly melded with her, and the 45,000 years she spent sleeping inside the crystal which was a very potent magical artifact.

Arion was able to see into the future well enough to see that her powers would resemble those of Superman, and for some reason decided it was a great idea to magically brainwash her to think she was Superman's long-lost cousin from Krypton at first. Arion's argument was that the true story of her origins would have just been too difficult for her to accept right away. (No, I don't quite follow his logic on that point either - but remember, Paul Kupperberg was desperately trying to salvage as much as he could of the Pre-Crisis Power Girl continuity in which everyone she knew had thought she was Kara Zor-L, cousin of the Earth-2 Superman.)

Incidentally, this story starts out with her brooding over how what she remembers of her own past is being the cousin of the Earth-2 Superman, Kal-L, who no longer exists Post-Crisis, yet her continued existence has strange implications if she was supposed to be a blood relative of his. In the immediate wake of Crisis, some writers and editors let their characters remember, for awhile, nearly everything that had happened in "Crisis on Infinite Earths" including such things as the death of the old Supergirl and the knowledge that Earth-1 and Earth-2 had been merged, with some characters being erased from existence as a result in order to avoid duplication. Marv Wolfman had wanted no one at all to remember the Crisis and what the Multiverse had looked like before the Crisis ever happened, but he was overruled in the short run . . . but seems to have gotten his way in the long run on most of that. As the years went by, DC's writers generally quit referring to the Crisis in dialogue, or if they did refer to it, only as something that DCU heroes remembered had been a terrible threat to their own Earth but did not remember had caused the destruction of a zillion other parallel Earths. Accordingly, I strongly doubt that the Power Girl of the last 15 years or so has ever mentioned any recollection of good old Earth-2 - she presumably remembers a time when she thought she was the long-lost cousin of the modern Superman, that's all. (I think. Maybe. Don't hold me to that!)

Note: We are informed in this story that Kara, growing up as a little girl 45,000 years ago, had a brother named Khatar. He was later established to have been a Hawkman avatar, although I don't know that Power Girl and the current incarnation of Hawkman feel any particular sense of kinship with one another on that basis. (In the JSA TPB collections I've read, I don't recall the subject even coming up.)

2nd Note: A third origin story has just been released in the pages of JSA Classified #4. That gets a quick entry at the very end of this Timeline.

1988. Superman #16 (second series). The Post-Crisis Superman meets a blue-eyed blond in a Supergirl costume "for the first time." This new Post-Crisis "Supergirl" eventually turns out to be Matrix (no relation to the movie trilogy starring Keanu Reaves), an artificial lifeform created by the brilliant Alexander Luthor of a parallel world (er, I mean a pocket universe, since DC had officially gotten rid of "parallel worlds" in Crisis). Her powers include flight, invisibility, psychokinetic blasts, superstrength, and shapeshifting. Her appearance as a gorgeous, full-figured blue-eyed blond in a Supergirl costume is just one possible shape she can take, rather than being her "natural" appearance. This Supergirl later ends up living with Ma and Pa Kent on the farm in Kansas for awhile, and they sometimes call her "Mae" as a more normal-sounding nickname derived from "Matrix." Somewhere along the line Superman starts calling her his adopted sister - but all that doesn't happen in her First Appearance.

(In contrast, the Superboy who was created in a test tube when Superman was "dead" only got to be taken into the family as Clark's adopted cousin.)

1989. Christmas with the Superheroes #2. In a story written by the very talented Alan Brennert, Boston Brand (Deadman), the professional peeping tom and mind-controller who (for some odd reason) is normally considered a hero rather than a villain, is trying to "celebrate" Christmas by taking over other people's bodies - spending their money on gifts for his old friends, etc. He finally feels ashamed of himself and vacates the body he had taken over in order to enjoy the sensation of attending a family-and-friends Christmas dinner. While he's getting all angst-ridden about his lot in life (or in death, or in afterlife, or whatever the correct word is for his condition), a beautiful blond woman, who can see and hear and touch his ghostly form, and thus is probably some sort of ghost herself, suddenly pops up with a few words of patient counsel and good humor, saying in part: "We don't do it for the glory. We don't do it for the recognition. We do it because it needs to be done. Because, if we don't, no one else will. And we do it even if no one knows what we've done. Even if no one knows we exist. Even if no one remembers we ever existed."

When he asks her name, she says as she walks away: "My name is Kara. Though I doubt that'll mean anything to you."

(She was right. It didn't. But then, Brennert wasn't just talking to Boston Brand through Kara's dialogue; he was trying to give a bit of comfort to diehard fans of Kara Zor-El with this final tribute to the nobility of her character.)

Since the Sensor Girl thing fell through, we could argue that this was the first Post-Crisis Appearance of the Pre-Crisis Supergirl. Presumably, the writer only got away with it because Kara seemed to be in much the same position that Boston was - a lonely, insubstantial ghost whom no one else could see or hear or knew anything about (and without even having the morally questionable perk of being able to take over other people's living bodies).

Note: I am told that Mark Waid, who then held an editorial position at DC, approved this story by Alan Brennert, but subsequently got in hot water over it with editor Mike Carlin, who didn't notice what was going on (a possible, subtle "violation" of the Sacred Rule that the Pre-Crisis Supergirl no long existed and never had existed, period!) until it was too late to stop it. Shortly after that, Waid lost his job on the editorial staff.

2nd Note: It is possible that this Kara should be identified with a mysterious, ghostly Kara who will be listed on this Timeline in a 2000 entry. No promises, though!

1992. Justice League Quarterly #8. First appearance of the Post-Crisis Retconned Version of the old Earth-3 Superwoman, although she is already long dead when she is "first mentioned" here. Hal Jordan looks at some faces on a screen and explains that five natives of the Antimatter Universe inhabited by the Weaponeers of Qward had somehow managed to turn themselves into super-powered near-duplicates of prominent heroes of the DCU, way back in the early days of the League. These baddies were, in fact, more powerful than the originals - so that it took the combined efforts of the JLA and the JSA to finally subdue them. This is a clear effort to try to save some of the old "Crisis on Earth-3" storyline from the Silver Age that first introduced the evil characters Superwoman, Ultraman, Power Ring, Owlman, and Johnny Quick.

(As near as I can tell, prior to this story, DC fans had spent about seven years believing that the obliteration of Earth-3 and its denizens in the opening pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths meant that the Crime Syndicate of America had never existed in any way, shape, or form in Post-Crisis continuity. That was certainly my own impression for many years, until I heard about this retcon.)

1995. Superman Versus Aliens (3-part miniseries, collected as a TPB). Superman meets a girl named Kara who speaks Kryptonian and hails from a town called Argo City in this crossover between DC and Dark Horse. In keeping with DC's firm Post-Crisis policy that Superman is the Only Surviving Kryptonian, writer Dan Jurgens makes this particular teenage Kara a native of a culture from the planet Odiline, whose humanoid inhabitants of many generations earlier had been so overwhelmed by what they heard from a traveling interstellar cleric about the glories of Krypton that they apparently tossed their own cultural background out the window and started using the Kryptonian language and culture for everything they did. In the environment in which Superman meets Kara, she has no superpowers. Since she does not actually have a Kryptonian metabolism, the subject of what powers she might develop after exposure to the yellow sunlight here on Planet Earth remains a very open question. She and Superman fight the evil Aliens together, and at some point Superman tells her he's come to think of her as "family."

At the end of the story, he thinks she's dead, but the reader is told she got away in an escape pod, thereby leaving the door wide open for sequels - in theory. This story was written by Dan Jurgens, who then took the trouble to insert dialogue referring to this storyline in Superman #117 (second series), apparently believing that this would help slip the crossover story "into continuity" since it had now been referenced in one of Superman's regular ongoing titles. In addition, http://www.supermanhomepage.com/other/kryptonian-cybernet/kc23.txt reports that Jurgens dropped some hints about his plans for follow-up in an AOL chat in 1996:

Second, he hinted at some plans on continuing the tale begun in SUPERMAN VERSUS ALIENS! Dark Horse Comics has asked him for a sequel to the wildly popular mini-series, but he did not indicate whether or not it would happen. However, he did reiterate the fact that SUPERMAN VS ALIENS took place inside current Superman continuity, and the story *will* have repercussions on the Superman titles in the future. In fact, he specifically mentioned that he has very special plans for Kara, the teenage girl introduced in the series!

I am willing to take it on faith that Jurgens did, in fact, have big plans for the Kara he had created as an "almost-Kryptonian" whom Superman had come to feel a family fondness for despite the trifling detail that they were from different species. But it's obvious that for one reason or another, those plans never materialized, and at this point, a decade after that miniseries, it seems unlikely (but not impossible!) that they ever will.

1996. Adventures of Superman #638. Dana Dearden, having gained impressive magical powers and fashioned a costume for herself (basically a green bodysuit with bits of purple here and there) presents herself as the new Superwoman. Apparently she was a Superman stalker in her heart. She had been obsessively convinced that once she had the powers to make herself a worthy mate for Superman, he would just naturally take her into his arms and marry her. It doesn't work. The media ends up calling her Obsession, by which name she will be referred to on other occasions, but Superwoman was the name she had chosen for herself.

1996. Supergirl #1 (third regular series with that title). In a story written by Peter David (who ended up writing everything except #13 of this series until its cancellation), Linda Danvers - more or less - wakes up with memory problems and soon realizes that her present existence is the result of a recent merger of the minds and bodies of the Matrix Supergirl and the Post-Crisis Linda Danvers who was dead or dying from mortal injuries at the moment Matrix somehow merged with her in an effort to save her. The new human "half" of this Supergirl had the exact same name as the "secret identity" the Pre-Crisis Supergirl had used for many years, but that was just Peter David's attempt to throw a bone to fans of the Pre-Crisis Supergirl; this Linda was a new and different character who was now making her First Appearance and had no previous connection to Superman continuity. Eventually the hybrid being composed of these two became known as an "Earth-Born Angel" or "Earth Angel," lacking at least two of the previous Matrix Supergirl powers - general shapeshifting and invisibility - but still retaining the ability to switch back and forth from the blond-haired, blue-eyed Supergirl form to the Linda form, and gaining some strange new powers as time went by.

The pre-merger Linda Danvers was shorter and more slender than the blond form that the Matrix Supergirl normally used, and had brown hair and brown eyes. The merged Supergirl, when in her Linda form, still looks like Linda except she has blue eyes instead of brown ones. (A doctor who is unaware of the background here gives post-merger "Linda" a physical and says she's fine except for the odd change in eye color, which could have been caused by extreme stress. I hadn't even known that was possible.)

1998. Supergirl #1,000,000. In a one-shot story written by Peter David, we meet a brown-haired little girl called R'E'L who lives 1,000,000 months in the future. I am told that she was immensely powerful but seemed not very bright; in fact utterly clueless as to how to use her powers responsibly. More of a horror than a hero, in other words. I am told that at the time, this girl never had face-to-face encounters with any of the "modern era" superheroes of the DCU during the DC 1,000,0000 event. But I mention her here because several of her contemporaries were having face-to-face encounters with "modern era" heroes at "the same time" which sort of establishes them "in continuity," and by extension, the same could be said of her. Stay tuned for a second sighting of her, below, that was more squarely "in continuity" or seemed that way at the time.

1998. Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl. Written by Barbara Kesel. First appearance of a Supergirl in a world where nobody ever heard of Superman or Batman. As near as I can tell, this Supergirl is still very much like the Silver Age Supergirl - Kara Zor-El of Argo City, which survived the explosion of Krypton for a while; blond, blue-eyed, young, sincere, rather na´ve. (I haven't actually read this Elseworlds story, so I'm going on hearsay.) However, she lives in a world where the old JSA is still the main superhero group to join, and where Barbara Gordon is the embittered, obsessive-compulsive crimefighter Batgirl because her parents died when courageous police officer James Gordon tried to protect the Wayne family from a mugger, and got himself and his wife shot in the process. (Decades later, zillionaire playboy Bruce Wayne is sufficiently grateful for Jim Gordon's sacrifice that he subsidizes Barbara's vigilante activities, but of course he feels no particular need to get his own hands dirty.)

Normally, as an "out of continuity" variation of a character, this Elseworld's Finest Supergirl wouldn't even be mentioned in my Timeline. But a year later, she was dragged into a connection with the regular continuity via the wonders of Hypertime when the mainstream DCU Superboy visited her native timeline. (See entry for Supergrrl, below.)

1999. Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1.

This story was done about 14 years after the original 12-part Crisis on Infinite Earths series. It was written by Marv Wolfman. It is meant to occur between the events of #4 and #5 of the original series, so some fans refer to it as Crisis 4.5.

For our purposes, the key point is that it includes the First and Final Appearance of a parallel-world Supergirl on Earth-D (a world which also makes its first and final appearance herein). This Supergirl is a Kryptonian, as is the Earth-D Superman, but they both look African rather than Caucasian, and they are a happily married couple who landed on Earth as adults about three years prior to this story. This Supergirl is still called Kara, but presumably not Kara Zor-El, since her husband is named Kal-El and there's no mention of their being cousins. Both the Earth-D Superman and Supergirl die by the end of the issue, as does their entire universe, except for some refugees whom members of the JLA were able to transport to safety through the dimensional barriers before the end came. (Naturally, after the Crisis had concluded, everyone would have forgotten there ever was an Earth-D.)

Even after I was reminded of this particular Supergirl, I considered not mentioning her because she was only retconned into Pre-Crisis continuity about 13 years after the Post-Crisis era properly began at DC. But I finally decided to go ahead and make room for her, even though her existence was already automatically "out of continuity" by the time we first heard about her!

1999. JLA: Earth-2, a graphic novel written by Grant Morrison, introduces his "reverse" Earth, sometimes called Earth-2, which is basically a reboot of the nasty place we called Earth-3 in the Pre-Crisis DC Multiverse. It is actually an evil version of Earth in an Anti-Matter Universe, however - but not, so far as I can tell, the same universe inhabited by the Qwardians. Morrison's reboot includes introducing (or reintroducing) the concept of an evil Superwoman who is Amazonian in heritage rather than Kryptonian or Qwardian. To play mindgames with us, however, this one uses the name of "Lois Lane" as her secret identity. She has continued to encounter Superman and other heroes of the Mainstream Earth of the DCU since that time.

Note: To the best of my knowledge, Morrison's "reboot" of the Crime Syndicate of America in this graphic novel has retconned away the previous Post-Crisis Retcon about the old CSA who fought the JLA in their earlier days and came from Qward, inasmuch as nobody in JLA-Earth-2 says, "Gee, I wonder if these people called Ultraman, Superwoman, Power Ring, Johnny Quick, and Owlman are any connection to the super-powered quintet with the same codenames whom we fought many and many a year ago in the early days of the JLA?"

1999. Superboy #61. During the "Hyper-Tension" story arc, Superboy meets a female character in an alternate timeline who refers to herself as "Supergrrl" and is apparently the functional equivalent of himself; genetically created by the local version of Project Cadmus. I am told that she comes from a timeline that is either the same as that of the previous story Elseworlds Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, or else is very similar to it in key respects. (See an entry under 1998, above.)

I have not actually read Superboy #61, but I get the impression that the Kara Zor-El Supergirl from Elseworlds Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl also gets at least a cameo here, making this (arguably) her First Appearance "in continuity" and her second appearance in any published comic book.

2000. Adventures of Superman #574. Obsession, aka Superwoman, aka Dana Dearden, dies in battle, having thrown herself into harm's way to protect Superman. By this time she had upgraded to a red and blue costume that was more along the lines of what you'd expect a self-styled "Superwoman" to wear.

2000. Young Justice #21. At the end of the issue, a rocket ship lands in the modern day and R'E'L, the future Supergirl from the 1,000,000 event emerges. The only person handy to greet her is Klarion the Witch Boy, who had just recently stirred up an awful lot of trouble in the "Sins of Youth" Fifth Week Event.

What did the two of them do after that? We never found out! Nonetheless, taken at face value, the final page of that issue means that this future Supergirl, R'E'L, has been forcibly inserted into the "modern continuity," living "here and now on Planet Earth," of the DCU. Although I hear rumors that Grant Morrison is basically rebooting Klarion the Witch Boy as part of his "Seven Soldiers of Victory" miniseries this year and I hear that Morrison is basically taking the position that "Sins of Youth" never happened. Period. (Which is probably a good idea on his part!)

2000. Supergirl #49. The Matrix/Linda Danvers "Earth Angel" Supergirl has been getting guidance from time to time from a sort of ghostly voice who now, at the end of this issue, says she has had many names but is most fond of "Kara." I am not clear on when that voice had first spoken, but we do get a look at a sort of spectral figure here (apparently for the first time). I gather that the name Kara means absolutely nothing to either half of the Matrix/Linda Supergirl at the time. Is she a ghostly remnant of the officially-erased-from-continuity Kara Zor-El who died in Crisis in 1985? Is she the same "ghostly Kara" who once gave Boston Brand a pep talk in that story I listed from 1989? Is she both? How would I know?

If we treat this Kara as a brand new character for the sake of argument, then Supergirl #49 was her First Appearance - at least in any sort of visible form offered for our examination, I think, even if her voice had been "heard" in previous issues.

She apparently remained an utter enigma to Linda Danvers, inasmuch as Linda never even makes any connection between this "Kara" and a "Kara Zor-El from an alternate timeline" when she meets the latter a couple of years later (we'll get to that one in a minute).

2000. Supergirl #50. The "Earth Angel" Supergirl (the result of the Linda/Matrix merger) gets split into two different people again, both of them now Supergirls in one way or another. The one who gets the lion's share of time onstage for the next two years or so is the Linda Danvers Supergirl, who now has superpowers of her own, but much weaker than they were during her Merged-with-Matrix phase. Linda does not have any inherent shapechanging abilities, however, and so she has to start wearing a blond wig over her brown hair to conceal her identity. Meanwhile, the Matrix Supergirl (or Earth Angel Supergirl, or whatever the heck she's called) is being held prisoner in the Garden of Eden by Lilith.

2001. Supergirl #62. Buzz (a Supergirl bad guy who had tried to reform, but it didn't take, as I understand it) and Two-Face combine forces to somehow manufacture a Supergirl duplicate that turns out to be a Bizarro-Supergirl. The first one to ever exist in Post-Crisis Continuity.  

2002. Supergirl #74. The Matrix Supergirl merges with someone called Twilight, and the resulting combo becomes an Angel of Fire. The Angel of Fire is somehow able to beef up Supergirl Linda's powers to approximately where they were at the beginning of this series, six years earlier. Linda Danvers intends to carry on as the current Supergirl, while I'm not sure if the "Angel of Fire" has ever popped up again anywhere in continuity. This may well have been the Final Appearance of the Matrix Supergirl (in her new role as 1/2 of the new Angel of Fire character).

2002. Supergirl #75. Linda Danvers, aka Supergirl, meets Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl, an incredibly cute, wholesome, and sensitive blue-eyed blond girl making her Very First Appearance in the Post-Crisis Continuity (think: "Pollyanna with Superman's powers"). This Kara is basically from an alternate timeline that closely corresponds to the happy-ending, full-of-good-cheer, hardly-anybody-ever-dies-a-violent-death world depicted in Superman comics of the Silver Age. However, since this version of Kara then spent several issues in the mainstream DCU, I figure that makes her "in continuity" in the same way that Matrix Supergirl became "in continuity" despite having been created in a pocket universe.

2002. Supergirl #77. This issue includes what is probably the shortest Supergirl career ever, as measured by how many panels of an "in continuity" comic book this version actually appears in!

While Kara Zor-El (the Pollyanna version mentioned immediately above) is staying at the Danvers house and trying to fit in at the Leesburg High School, we have a scene set in some other corner of space and time where a couple of villains - Lord Xenon and his associate The Fatalist - are looking at a blond young woman in a tattered red-and-blue costume with an S-emblem on her chest, whom they have chained to a wall. Then Lord Xenon kills her with some sort of effect that leaves her looking rather mummified.

So she was only around for a few panels, and she only got to speak eight defiant words in a single panel before he killed her. (Granted, presumably she had been a Supergirl for quite some time in her native timeline, but not in any stories that we ever saw!) But the story was apparently happening "in continuity," so she deserves to be mentioned here. (What was her real name? What were her exact powers? Did she have any Kryptonian DNA? Was she a natural blond? We'll never know!)

In later scenes in this story arc, dialogue from Xenon clears up his basic motivation for killing Supergirls. On some previous occasion, he had a very painful encounter with a female called Supergirl who was possessed of remarkable mystic power and knew how to use it effectively. Lord Xenon claims that he is "imprisoned" in "this nothingness" (a limbo-like place where he currently resides, I gather) as a result of a curse placed upon him by that Supergirl at the end of their fight. With the help of The Fatalist to run around through time and space in ways that Xenon is currently prohibited from doing, his mission statement is to track down, capture, and slaughter every Supergirl he can get his hands on, selecting them from points in their personal histories that ought to be well prior to the age at which one of them would have become the older, much more powerful version who stomped all over him in a possible future. Xenon proposes to continue with this series of murders until he hits the jackpot and retroactively prevents his ignominious defeat from ever happening. (He apparently doesn't have any way to positively identify, in advance of meeting them, which "Supergirl" character from which alternate timeline is destined to cause all this grief for him in the first place, so he figures he'll just have to keep killing any he can find.)

It is quite clear that Xenon has slaughtered other Supergirls before the one we saw. However, for the purposes of my Timeline, I'm only counting Supergirls who actually got a First Appearance onstage at some point, even if it was over so quickly that if you blinked, you might have missed it. This poor girl barely qualifies; Xenon's previous victims don't. We never see their faces; we don't even know how many there were!

2003. Supergirl #80. By the end of a six-part story arc that began in #75, the Kara Zor-El introduced in #75 has been bounced back to her native universe and will presumably die in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the Linda Danvers Supergirl, after experiences which I don't propose to spoil for you entirely if you haven't read the TPB collection of this arc (Supergirl: Many Happy Returns, highly recommended by yours truly!), finally abandons the Supergirl role and basically vanishes into comic book limbo; apparently she has not been seen or heard from since. This particular Supergirl series ends with this issue.

2003. Superman: The 10-Cent Adventure. Cir-El, aka Supergirl, pops up in the modern Superman continuity. Although she is a mystery at first, in a later story she eventually claims to be the future daughter of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, come back from the future. Cir-El has black hair and wears a dark costume with a different style of S-insignia on it. She also has an alternate persona: Mia, a homeless woman, if I've got this right.

2003. Peter David's creator-owned Fallen Angel title starts coming out, featuring a female protagonist whom many readers promptly suspect to be his take on the further adventures of Linda Danvers following her retirement from the Supergirl role. It helps that she is called "Lee," which could be a reference to how the Silver Age Supergirl used the secret identity Linda Lee (later Linda Lee Danvers) and/or to how the Post-Crisis Linda came from Leesburg.

Note: I am told that it has just recently become crystal-clear that "Lee" in Fallen Angel is not Linda Danvers after all. Which came as no great surprise, really, given that Peter David claimed to own Fallen Angel, but definitely did not own any of the characters he had used in his long run on a "Supergirl" title for DC. Ever since I first heard about this, it seemed to me that legally, David could never "reveal" that Lee was in fact Linda Danvers. The best he could do was drop vague hints and refuse to squarely disprove it so that readers could believe whatever they wanted to believe. But it appears that eventually he did choose to squarely disprove it, for whatever reasons.

2004. Superman #200 (second series.) The Cir-El Supergirl dies, having previously, in other issues, a) passed a DNA test to prove she is Superman's daughter, and then b) been revealed to not be any relation to Superman at all. (Don't go trusting those slipshod DCU DNA tests anytime soon! Superboy has gone through similar nonsense over the years!)

2004. Superman/Batman #8. Written by Jeph Loeb. Superman and Batman meet Kara Zor-El. A blue-eyed blond teenage girl, a fluent speaker of Kryptonese, who allegedly has been in suspended animation for a long time while a spaceship was carrying her to Earth from Krypton. She was (according to her, at least) originally intended to arrive simultaneously with her younger cousin, baby Kal-El, and help raise him, but her ship got delayed for many years and now Superman is thirty-something years old while she's probably less than half his age. By the time the six-issue story arc is over, she is using the Supergirl name with Superman's approval and wearing a bare-midriff blue-and-red Supergirl costume. (Which is a huge improvement over what she was wearing in the earliest scenes of the story arc: Nothing!)

At any rate, upon first meeting her and learning her name, Superman immediately fails to say, "Ah, then you must be my timeline's equivalent of the Kara Zor-El whom my good friend, the Linda Danvers Supergirl, recently encountered and once tried to introduce to me. She wrote me a long letter about her experiences with that girl and her visit to the kid's native timeline!" In fact, neither Superman nor Batman confuse the issue by mentioning any other "Kara" and/or "Supergirl" person they have ever seen or heard of. They react as if the idea of a girl named Kara claiming to be a native speaker of Kryptonese, and/or a girl with powers very similar to Superman's, is a Strange New Experience for everyone.

(That's one of the drawbacks of a superhero career - as the years roll past, the cumulative effect of all those blows to the head in one slugfest after another can really mess up your memory, I guess. Or to put it another way, Jeph Loeb presumably doesn't want to waste precious dialogue acknowledging that the names Kara and Supergirl have both been used repeatedly in the past by other characters, in stories by other writers, before he came along and dusted them off for his own "new" version of the Supergirl concept. . . so he simply ignores any old continuity that would otherwise get in his way and make his Supergirl seem less new and exciting than he wants her to be! That's DC in the 21st Century for you!)

This particular Kara is now the star of a new Supergirl monthly title, written by Jeph Loeb for the time being (I don't know just how long he'll stay with it). How long will it last? Is she really Superman's cousin? What will become her distinctive personality traits? I have no idea, but for the moment, she is supposedly The Current Supergirl (until further notice!).

2005. JSA Classified #4. Wrapping up the newest origin story of Power Girl. I am told that her second origin, the one summarized above in a 1987 listing, had previously been shot full of holes and she no longer believed herself to be the time-traveling granddaughter of Arion of Atlantis from 45,000 years ago. Now we are told that she is, in fact, Kara Zor-L, once the long-lost cousin of the old-timer Superman from Earth-2 (which no longer exists as a separate world). In other words, her old origin story, first introduced to us a good 30 years ago, is now being dragged back onstage after a long absence. (It is summarized in a 1975 listing, far above this one.) I had said before that if a character's origin gets retconned into something radically different from the previous version, I was willing to count that as the First Appearance of a new character for the purposes of this Timeline. In this case, it's not exactly a new origin story, but I'm listing it here anyway.


3. Short Lists of The Different Users of Each Relevant Name

Here's the funny thing - no matter how hard you try to explain it to them, there are still some people who get just a trifle confused about exactly which character you mean when you casually refer to "Supergirl" or "Superwoman" or "Power Girl" or "Superman's cute blond cousin." Isn't that peculiar? Don't they realize how hard DC works to make these things user-friendly for new readers?

In an effort to sort it all out for you, I offer these lists of who has used which names, more or less in chronological order.

Super-Girl
01. A magically-created character in one story, conjured up out of thin air, then disintegrated and forgotten. (Erased by Crisis.)
02. Liandly of Rolez, a girl from an extradimensional reality who met the Lois and Clark of Earth-2 but had no Kryptonian blood in her veins. Appeared in a single story and promptly vanished into comic book limbo again. (Erased by Crisis.)


Supergirl
01. Lucy Regent, Queen of Borgonia (erased from continuity by Crisis)
02. Kara Zor-El of Earth-1, also known as Linda Lee and then Linda Danvers (killed in Crisis, and then erased from continuity to boot.)
03. Supergirl, the Wolf-Faced one from an unnamed parallel world where all people looked pretty much like werewolves in the movies, judging from the description I've found. Only made one appearance in the Silver Age. The parallels were apparently close enough that this one was probably also named Kara Zor-El, although I don't know that for a fact. (Erased by Crisis.)
04. Louise-L of half a million years in the future (Erased from continuity by Crisis)
05. The composite clone who resulted from the merger of six miniature Supergirl clones in the early 1980s. I reread some back issues and it appears that the six miniatures never individually referred to themselves by the name Supergirl, but the full-sized clone definitely did think of herself that way for a time after the merger, and had the memories and genes to support that claim, even if the powers had already been lost. (Ended up meaning to start a new life as a normal person without superpowers, and was subsequently erased by Crisis.)
06. Matrix, an artificial lifeform created by Alexander Luthor in a pocket universe.
07. The Matrix/Linda Danvers merged entity (who no longer exists as a separate entity, having been redivided.)
08. R'E'L of one million months in the future, who traveled back to the modern era in Young Justice #21 and hasn't been heard from since.
09. Kara Zor-El of the story Supergirl & Batgirl: Elseworld's Finest, who was not "in continuity" at the time it was published (1998), but was later shoved into continuity (1999) when Superboy proved it was possible for heroes from the mainstream DCU timeline to cross over to her timeline and back.
10. Supergirl of Earth-D, a Kara from Krypton who looked African instead of Caucasian, the wife of her world's Superman. (Made a single appearance in a flashback story set in the middle of Crisis, and died at the end of that story. Subsequently any memory other heroes had of her, and of her native universe, would have been wiped out in the Post-Crisis continuity.)
11. The Linda Danvers Supergirl who had "reduced" powers after being split away from Matrix. (Still alive, but no longer calling herself Supergirl these days, and with her powers restored to a higher level.)
12. Arguably the Matrix/Twilight merged entity known as an Angel of Fire could still lay claim to the right to be called Supergirl, since the Matrix "half" of that entity had been a proud bearer of the name for years (with Superman's full approval, to boot). I don't know that the Angel of Fire has ever shown the slightest interest in using the name, however.
13. Kara Zor-El of an alternate timeline that I tentatively think of as "Earth-Silver Age." (Sent back home and presumably died or will die in Crisis, or her local version of Crisis, or whatever.)
14. "Supergirl," real name unknown, a blond girl in a red-and-blue costume who was slaughtered by Lord Xenon in the brief scene that was her First and Final Appearance all in one. She evidently came from an "alternate timeline," but we know absolutely nothing about its distinguishing characteristics - nor hers. (Dead.)
15. Cir-El, who started out allegedly being the time-traveling daughter of Lois and Clark, but was actually a genetically modified fake. (Dead)
16. Kara Zor-El, currently the New Supergirl on the Block in her bare-midriff costume.

Bizarro-Supergirl
01. A character created and killed off in a single story, who looked pretty much the way you'd expect a Bizarro-Supergirl to look. (Erased from continuity by Crisis anyway.)
02. A character created with the Bizarro-making duplicator at a time when the Silver Age Supergirl looked awful, with the result that the Bizarro version looked lovely, and spoke good grammar, but was quite stupid. Apparently a single appearance; I don't know what became of her later. (Eventually, she would have been erased from continuity by Crisis.)
03. A Bizarro copy of the Post-Crisis Linda Danvers Supergirl whose existence was apparently financed by Two-Face. I have no idea of her current circumstances.

Supergirl Robots
01. The first one appeared just four months after the Silver Age Supergirl did. There have been others; not all of them manufactured by Superman. I prefer to lump them all together - once you've established the basic concept of a convincingly lifelike Supergirl robot, the rest of them are just repetitions of the same old, same old. Granted, sometimes they pose as "Supergirl" but I don't take that too seriously at the moment, and didn't bother to list any of the robots under the Supergirl heading above. (Any Supergirl Robot copy of the Silver Age Supergirl must have been erased by Crisis. I don't know if there have been any Post-Crisis robot doubles of any other Supergirl, and I don't really care much either.)

Supergrrl
01. An alternate-timeline-analog of the modern Superboy; created by Project Cadmus. Given how Superboy's own genetic origins have changed from time to time, I have no idea whether Supergrrl should currently be considered to have any DNA in common with the Supergirl of her timeline or not.

Superwoman
01. Lois Lane on various occasions (those occasions were all erased by Crisis, although the rebooted Lois is still with us).
02. The Silver Age Supergirl on at least one occasion that I know of, due to a brief transformation to a full-grown adult after exposure to a piece of Red Kryptonite. (There may have been subsequent occasions "in continuity," but if so, all of them were erased from Post-Crisis continuity at the same time the Silver Age Supergirl was erased.)
03. Luma Lynai of the planet Staryl (although I'm not absolutely clear on whether she normally called herself Superwoman in her daily activities, or if that was just the way Supergirl described her - at any rate, Crisis presumably erased her too).
04. The evil analog of Wonder Woman from Earth-3 (killed in Crisis)
05. The Superwoman who looked very much like the female equivalent of Superman in a single story. Probably created from thin air by the magic of Mr. Mxyzptlk (in other words, probably very similar in nature to the magically-created Super-Girl of a single story in 1958.) (Erased by Crisis.)
06. Kristin Wells, time traveler from the 29th Century. (Presumably erased from history by Crisis - her appearances as Superwoman were definitely erased, but Kristin Wells the historian might "still" live in the 29th Century of the modern DCU for all I know!)
07. The evil artificially empowered near-duplicate of Wonder Woman from the Antimatter Universe of Qward, this new origin story being meant as a retcon to salvage the gist of some of the Pre-Crisis stories about the various members of the Crime Syndicate of America from Earth-3. This version of Superwoman had still died during the Crisis, evidently. (Presumably this one was retconned away by Superwoman #9, below.)
08. Dana Dearden, also known as Obsession, a Superman stalker who was convinced they were meant to be a happy couple. (Died.)
09. The evil analog of Wonder Woman and of Lois Lane, from the modern Antimatter Universe Earth-2.

Power Girl
01. Kara Zor-L, the cousin of the Golden Age Superman (Kal-L), from the Earth-2 universe in Pre-Crisis continuity.
02. Kara, aka Karen Starr, the Post-Crisis version of the character, the granddaughter of Arion of Atlantis, who is allegedly more-or-less the "same" character who worked with the JSA from time to time in some Pre-Crisis stories.
03. Kara Zor-L all over again, the Post-Crisis Origin story having been some sort of swindle.

And if we look for anybody who has ever seemed to be connected with Superman continuity, and used the first name Kara, we have:

Kara
01. Kara Zor-El of Earth-1, the Silver Age Supergirl (erased by Crisis).
02. Presumably the Wolf-Faced Supergirl mentioned above was also named Kara Zor-El, although the online reference I used didn't go into that much detail, which may meant the writer of the original story didn't do so either. (Erased by Crisis.)
03. Kara Zor-L of Earth-2, aka Karen Starr, the Pre-Crisis Power Girl.
04. Kara, aka Karen Starr, the Post-Crisis Power Girl (using that name whether or not, at any given time, she thinks she is a) Superman's cousin, b) Arion's granddaughter, or c) None of the above).
05. Kara, the mysterious ghost who appeared in a single Deadman story and might be some lingering echo of the officially-erased-from-continuity Kara Zor-El, although she never actually said so. (For all we know, she could also be the ghost of that nice German girl, Kara Hausenpfeffer of Earth-46038, whose name and homeworld I just invented to illustrate a point - one of the zillions of unnamed casualties of Crisis from when all those other parallel earths were getting the ax.)
06. Kara of Argo City, of the planet Odiline, the blond teenage girl who fought bravely alongside Superman in Superman Versus Aliens, whom Dan Jurgens insisted he was going to use again, but never did.
07. Kara Zor-El of the story Supergirl & Batgirl: Elseworld's Finest, mentioned above in the "Supergirl" listings.
08. Kara (last name unknown), the African-looking Supergirl of Earth-D, mentioned above in the Supergirl listings. (Killed in, and later erased from continuity by, Crisis.)
09. Kara, the mysterious ghostly character who advised the Linda/Matrix Supergirl, first mentioning her name in Supergirl #49. She may or may not be the same as Kara #5, above. She never explicitly said, "I had a nice little chat with Boston Brand, years ago," but on the other hand, she never explicitly said she didn't! (And either way, I suppose she could lie about it if she really wanted to.) I err on the side of caution by giving her a separate listing here, just in case she has nothing to do with the lady Boston once met.
10. Kara Zor-El of what I arbitrarily call the "Earth-Silver Age" alternate timeline, the girl in the "Many Happy Returns" story arc written by Peter David. (She was bounced back to her native timeline and presumably will die/did die in Crisis.)
11. Kara Zor-El, the one who has just recently been inserted into modern DCU continuity by Jeph Loeb, and what will become of her is anybody's guess.
12. Kara Zor-L, the current "real name" of Power Girl all over again.


So by my reckoning, we have the following characters who have been "in continuity" at one time or another:
2 Super-Girls
16 Supergirls
3 Bizarro-Supergirls
An unknown total of Supergirl Robots over the years
1 Supergrrl
9 Superwomen
3 Power Girls (since I count a totally changed origin as marking the beginning of a new version of the character)
12 Karas

With considerable overlap among those categories, of course.

(Here's my advice: The next time anyone tries to tell you that the purpose of killing off Supergirl in Crisis and retconning her out of existence to boot was to greatly simplify Superman's family tree and his general continuity in years to come, just laugh!)
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davidelliott
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2006, 08:38:24 PM »

Again... wow.. thanks for a very thorough timeline!

Now, can you do a Superboy one (ha ha)
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Supergrl5013
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2007, 03:56:24 AM »

..and i thought i was a Linda Danvers/Supergirl Geek Cheesy  great job!
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