What Ever Became of Supergirl?

What Ever Became of Supergirl? – There is this 45-year gap between when I left off reading comic books in the early Seventies and when I once again became a fan-boy a couple of years ago. As a result, there is a lot of stuff that I don’t know but am very curious about. For example, if Supergirl was killed off in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” how is it that she is alive and well in modern continuity and flying around in a spaceship somewhere in the universe.

The character, created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, first appeared in Action Comics #252 (May 1959) and was apparently killed off in 1985 in the mini-series “Crisis on Infinite Earths”. This tragic event occured in issue #7 of the 12-issue series and the cover was one big spoiler.

I remember at that time seeing this cover and thinking that this was yet one more icon from my childhood that was disappearing. Back in the day, I liked reading the Superboy and Supergirl stories with one appearing in Adventure Comics and the other appearing in Action Comics. I most enjoyed reading about their exploits with the Legion of Superheroes in the 30th-century.

When I stopped reading comic books in the early 70s I lost track of all that was going on until 1985 when I saw that Supergirl had died.

For most of the Sixties, Supergirl appear mainly in Action Comics, but in 1969 a switch was made and Starting with issue #381, Supergirl became the headliner in Adventure Comics and the Legion of Super-Heroes were now appearing in the Superboy series.

Supergirl’s run in Adventure Comics ended with issue #424 (October 1972).

Between 1972 and 1974, a series titled Supergirl lasted 10 issues.

For the next ten years, Supergirl stories appeared in a series titled “The Superman Family.”

The second series titled Supergirl was published from November of 1982 until September of 1984, spanning a total of 23 issues.

I was so out of things that I did not know about Power Girl until only a couple of years ago.

Power Girl was originally the Earth-2 version of Supergirl who appeared in the mid-70s. She appeared in All-Star Comics when it was revived in 1976. Ironically, she was a survivor of COIE and as a result she suffered survivor’s guilt. Not too long after the crisis, Power Girl’s origin story was retconned, and she then became the daughter of Arion, the founder of Atlantis.

In recent times, I have been watching the Arrowverse Supergirl television series on the CW network and I have also read some issues of the more recent Supergirl comic books. Yet until now I have not thought to ask what happened in between the time she died in the mid-80s and today.

So, what ever became of Supergirl? I recently learned that there were multiple characters who assumed the role of Supergirl in the thirty-years since COIE.

It was only two years after COIE, that a Supergirl, known as Matrix, was discovered by Superman coming from one of the Pocket Universes created when the five remaining universes collapsed to form “New Earth.” Her first appearance was in the last panel of Superman (vol.2) #20 (August 1988).

Thus, began a three-part story-arc titled “The Supergirl Saga” that ran in Superman #21 (September 1988), Adventures of Superman #444 (September 1988) and Superman #22 (October 1988).

Matrix has been described as a “as a man-made lifeform made of synthetic protoplasm created by a heroic Lex Luthor.” This occurred in a pocket universe like one where Alexander Luthor, Superman, Lois Lane, Superboy-Prime went at the end of COIE. Matrix was implanted with the memories of Lana Lang, Superman’s girlfriend from Smallville. She had the ability to shapeshift and she appeared to Superman as either Supergirl or Lana Lang. Matrix’s Supergirl form resembles the pre-Crisis Supergirl. At one point, she escaped from the pocket universe and for a short while in the mid-1990’s she was a member of the Teen Titans.

New Teen Titans #124 (August 1995)

A new Supergirl title appeared September 1996. This was the 4th title to bear the name Supergirl. The third series with that title was a four-issue run published in 1994.

In the 4th series, Supergirl’s origin was tweaked once more. This time around she was a fusion of two different characters – the Matrix Supergirl and Linda Lee Danvers. Supergirl Vol 4 #1 was published in September 1996. The story gets really complicated here and it makes Hawkgirl’s origin story appear tame. Basically, Matrix, a protoplasmic life-form, went in search of a soul and she merged with a dying girl named Linda Lee Danvers. The girl is not to be confused with the other Linda Lee Danvers, the secret identity used by the Kara Zor-El incarnation of Supergirl prior to COIE.

Supergirl Vol 4 #1 (September 1996)

And then there is Cir-el (AKA Cheryl Kent). She was supposedly the daughter of Superman, but it was later revealed that she was human girl from the distant future whom Brainiac had genetically altered to appear to be Kryptonian. She first appeared in Superman the 10 Cent Adventure #1 (March 2003). She was part of a plot within the main story of Superman throughout 2003. In Superman #200 (February 2004), Cir-el sacrificed herself by going through a portal to a timeline that was subsequently ended thus causing Cir-el to be erased from existence just as Kara Zor-El, the original Supergirl, had been nearly twenty years earlier.

Superman/Batman #5 (February 2004)

In 2003 the modern version of Kara Zor-El was reintroduced in DC comics continuity in issue #8 of the Superman/Batman comic book series in a story titled “The Supergirl from Krypton” (February 2004). In the story-arc spanning six issues, Superman’s Kryptonian cousin, Kara Zor-El was reintroduced into the main continuity with a very similar origin story as the Pre-Crisis Supergirl.

Superman/ Batman #9 (June 2004)

In Superman/Batman #24 (January 2006), Bizzaro manipulates time and manages to bring together all five Supergirls – modern and Pre-Crisis Kara Zor-el, Cir-el, Matrix/Linda Danvers, and Power Girl – for the purpose of… wait for it… saving Superman.

The fifth series titled Supergirl ran for 70 issues from 2005 to 2011.

She had her own series in New 52. The sixth run of Supergirl consisted of 43 issues from 2011 to 2015.

The current and 7th series to be titled Supergirl began in 2016. In the upcoming, October 2018 issue #22, Supergirl is on the hunt for a super-villain named Rogol Zaar who is believed to be one responsible for the destruction of the planet Krypton. I have read the first dozen issues of this series collected in two volumes and am looking for to reading the rest of the series when the collection become available on Hoopla.