Action Comics #252: "The Supergirl From Krypton!"

Action Comics #252
"The Supergirl From Krypton!"
May, 1959

Story: Otto Binder
Art: Al Plastino

As everyone knows, the Man of Steel arrived on Earth in an experimental rocket ship when he was an infant! Superman has always thought he was the only survivor of the late planet, Krypton! Fate has dealt him a strange twist! The Man of Steel's loneliness is over with the arrival of a new member of the "Superman Family!" "The Supergirl From Krypton!" Great Guns! Superman seems to see a flying young girl, wearing a super-costume similar to his own! It can only be an illusion! Supergirl tells her cousin to look again, because she is very real! One day at the Metropolis Daily Planet, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent's super-hearing picks up a roaring sound from outside of town! Using his telescopic vision, Clark sees a guided missile about to crash! With a human passenger on board, he knows this is a job for Superman!

Shedding his outer garments, the Man of Steel is grateful there is no one else in the office, and hopes he has enough time to reach the rocket in time! Even with his super-speed, Superman is too late! It traveled at greater speed than any known rocket on Earth! It reminds him of the rocket that brought him to Earth when he was an infant! He had survived the crash because he was from Krypton, a heavy gravity planet! In Earth's lesser gravity, he gained invulnerability and super-powers! Whoever was inside the rocket could not have survived! The Man of Steel is in for a super-shock when he meets the young girl who is invulnerable like him! She is also from Krypton, but could not have been born when Krypton exploded long ago! Why is she wearing a super-costume like his? How does she know who he is? How can she speak English so well? The young girl tells Superman her story as her parents told it to her! When Krypton exploded, he was not the only Kryptonian to escape the planet's destruction...

A large piece of the planet was hurled away into space, saving them from the explosion! Among the survivors was a scientist named Zor-El... With a large bubble of air over their city and a fully functional food machine, they could survive indefinitely! Their joy was short-lived when the evening came... and the ground emitted a greenish glow! The nuclear explosion has transformed their planetary chunk into Kryptonite, a deadly radioactive element that could destroy them in time! Zor-El had a roll of sheet metal in his laboratory and had the others cover the entire ground around their homes! It would enable them to survive, safe from the deadly Kryptonite rays! Years later, Zor-El married and the couple had a daughter! Kara could grow up in safety as long as the lead shield beneath their community warded off the Kryptonite radiation! Now a young girl, Kara and her father run into the house when a meteor shower smashes holes in the lead shielding, releasing the deadly Kryptonite radiation!

Zor-El raced against time to construct a space rocket! They have a month before the Kryptonite radiation poison their air! Before that deadly hour, the experimental rocket would send their daughter to another planet! Zor-El's wife uses the super-space telescope to find a civilized planet where Kara can grow up in safety! After examining several worlds, Kara's mother found an amazing phenomenon on Earth... Their space radio is used to decipher the native language! Metropolis was honoring the Man of Steel, who came from the planet Krypton! Since he gained super-powers in Earth's lesser gravity, so would Kara! Kara's mother made her daughter a special costume... Once on Earth, it would become indestructible super-cloth! Zor-El announces the space rocket is completed and Kryptonite radiations are filling the air! Once in the rocket, Kara's course is set for Earth, and she is now an orphan of space!

As Kara Zor-El finishes her tragic story, the Man of Steel tells her about having the same thing happen to him when his father, Jor-El, sent him in an experimental space rocket! Kara realizes that Jor-El is her father's brother! Great Scott! Kara and Superman are... cousins! This is the happiest moment in the Man of Steel's life, to discover he has a living relative from his homeworld! They may be orphans, but they have each other now! He will take care of Kara like a big brother! When his cousin asks if she can come and live with him, Superman realizes his secret identity might be jeopardized! He has an idea for Kara's life on Earth! First, they will see if she can fly! Kara has got super-powers like her cousin! In his youth, he was honored as Superboy in Smallville! Kara will gain her fame as Supergirl, the Girl of Steel! Kara will need much practice before she can use her super-powers properly. In the meantime, Midvale Orphanage will be her home!

Kara will be needing a secret identity! Her cousin will bring her some Earth clothes for a disguise! Now wearing a wig of pigtails, Kara looks like an entirely different girl! As they prepare to register her in the orphanage, Kara has already used her super-hearing for a good Earth-girl name... Linda Lee! Lana Lang was his girlfriend when he was Superboy, and Lois Lane became his girlfriend when he became Superman! By coincidence, his cousin has picked the same initials of L.L.! The Man of Steel brings the disaster survivor to the orphanage... Miss Hart, the headmistress shows Linda to her room! Superman promises Kara one day the entire world will learn of her existence as Supergirl! Until then, she will live a quiet life as an ordinary girl until she is used to earthly things!

With Midvale Orphanage overcrowded, Linda is given her own room... Now alone, Linda uses her super-powers to straighten the iron leg of her cot! She also uses her super-breath to blow the dust out of her room! The heat of her x-ray vision fuses a cracked mirror smooth once more! Linda also uses her x-ray vision to see the other orphans and hopes she can make friends with all of them! From now on, Earth is her home! When everyone else is asleep, Linda changes to Supergirl, and looks over her new town! No one will see her in the dark, so she is not disobeying her cousin!

The Girl of Steel is now on secret patrol of Midvale! She likes the small town and hopes to be able to do super-deed without being seen, as a kind of guardian angel! A movie theatre is now showing old time historical films of Superboy in Smallville! Kara is proud of the acclaim her cousin has earned throughout his life! Will she be able to do as good a job as Supergirl? What will the future hold for her?

This story was reprinted in Superman Annual #1 (1960).

Otto Binder was no stranger to stories about super-powered relatives, having written the Marvel Family for Fawcett Comics.

Experimental Kryptonian rockets favor the classic purple and green color scheme.

Kryptonian convicts survived their planets destruction because they were serving their sentence in the eerie twilight dimension known as the Phantom Zone.

Al Plastino's Supergirl is perky in appearance and has a hairstyle reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn.

Black Canary is another example of a super-heroine who uses a wig to disguise her appearance.

The street of homes which survived Krypton's destruction was known as Argo City.

Prior to Krypton's destruction, Kandor was shrunk down and stolen by Brainiac.

The Man of Steel favors the Wayne Boring method of flying as if he were running in mid-air.

Steve Chung
"The Supergirl From Review!"