Who Is Supergirl? Kara Zor-El, Superman’s Cousin Who Made It In DC Comics
Supergirl, better known by her Kryptonian name Kara Zor-El, is the cousin of the superhero Superman. She is one of the most important superheroines in American comic books published by DC Comics.
She also has other adopted names, such as Kara Kent, Linda Lee Danvers, Kara Danvers and Linda Lang. Otto Binder and designer Al Plastino were in charge of her creation. Her first appearance was in 1959 in Action Comics #252.
An attractive trait that makes Kara Zor-el interesting is her childhood. Unlike her cousin, this Kryptonian lived much of her childhood on Krypton. This background allows the reader to learn about the strangeness of this alien world from a more objective point of view.
Publication History of Supergirl
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Supergirl’s history is similar to that of her cousin, Superman; we tell you about it:
Supergirl was born and raised on Krypton, in Argo City. Her parents were Zor-El and Alura In-Ze, who sent her to Earth to save her life upon seeing what would happen to their planet. There she would meet her cousin Kal-El, whom we all know as Superman.
Her childhood and adolescence were not easy. She was struggling to fit into a world where she did not belong, with a different culture and in a family of superheroes who couldn’t show their true identities.
Supergirl’s precursor in the comics was Superwoman, born in 1943, in Action Comics #60, where she was Superman’s counterpart. Another precursor of the character appeared in Superboy #78, titled “Claire Kent, Alias Super Sister”. The name Supergirl was born in 1958 with Superman #123. But it was in 1959 when Kara Zor-El’s version of Supergirl appeared in Action Comics #252.
Death during Crisis on Infinite Earths
As part of reducing the DC continuity to a single universe, appears in 1985 the Maxiseries Crisis on Infinite Earths. It was sought that all the characters maintained a single story.
It is here where Supergirl dies, even though DC Comics editors were aware of the popularity and status of the character. Later, several Superman-related characters took on the persona of Supergirl.
Two Supergirls Meet
As part of a Peter David strategy, two Supergirls meet before the post-Crisis introduction of Kara Zor-El. This was in issues #49 and #50, which came out in October and November 2000.
Here, the original dead Kara appears and appears as the “guardian angel” of Linda, the second Supergirl. This happened again in issues 75 to 80, “Many Happy Returns”. But Linda ultimately disappears, leaving the original Kara on the scene.
After the first Superman / Batman story arc, DC decides to reintroduce the character of Supergirl again. This time with a modern version, appearing in 2004’s Superman/ Batman #8.
In this case, Kara takes the Supergirl mantle at the story’s end. That prompted the Supergirl series to be relaunched later. And it would star Kara-Zor-El, this time as “Lachica of Steel”.
This story arc was written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Ian Churchill. At this time, changes that would become iconic for the character began. Wearing another aspect that would attract more attention.
The New 52
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In 2011, with the new relaunch sought by DC Comics, The New 52 began. This originated the cancellation of several monthly superhero titles and the relaunching of several others.
These events led to the elimination of most of the past continuity of those superheroes. But Supergirl survived. It launched a new series, Supergirl (Volume 6), featuring Kara’s new origin. DC Comics published this series between 2011 and 2015.
As part of DC, Rebirth relaunched in 2016 again some characters. In DC Comics, Rebirth, several elements such as costumes, names, scenarios, and some characters from the Supergirl series are used.
It sought to undo the modern recreations of The New 52 and took the characters to their original, more classic version. The superheroine’s costume is redesigned in this new series entitled Supergirl: Rebirth.
Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman
In the Future State comics, proposals begin to grant a new future to Kara Zor-El, already in her adult version and with the alias of Superwoman. They try to recreate her departure from Earth to become the moon’s guardian.
By then, the moon has become a refugee colony for aliens from all over the universe. Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage were responsible for writing and pencilling this series.
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow
The next series of Kara Zor-El, under the Infinite Frontier brand, was called Woman of Tomorrow. It debuted in June 2021 and was written by Tom King and hand-drawn by Brazilians Biquis Evely and Mat Lopes.
DC Comics introduced Supergirl to a new arc where she is young and is coming of age, 21 years old. She appears to be helping an alien to take revenge. From there, a whole adventure unfolds.
Fictional Biography of Supergirl
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Supergirl’s Biography goes through stages where she has her own evolution; we tell you about it:
The Silver Age shows the story of Kara Zor-El, the last survivor of Argo City, on the planet Krypton. With this story, Supergirl makes her debut. A devastated planet, despite the efforts of Kara’s father, Zor-El.
After all the Kryptonians die from radiation poisoning, Kara arrives on Earth, adopting the name Linda Lee. She is an orphan in the Midvale orphanage. She hides her blonde hair under a cap and does good deeds among humans.
The engineer and scientist Fred Danvers and his wife Edna adopted her. She later reveals her true identity to her adoptive parents. That same day Superman introduces her to the world as Supergirl.
In the Bronze Age, Supergirl had a revitalization. After the retirement of veteran Mort Weisinger in 1971, Joe Orlando entered as a writer and Mike Sekowsky as an artist. Their function was to give other airs to the superheroine.
This time, DC showed the girl wearing new outfits, leaving her adoptive home. In a more mature stage, Linda goes to San Francisco to work for KSF-TV. There she falls in love with her boss, Geoffrey Anderson. And they introduce the most memorable villain, Lex Luthor.
The modern age began for Supergirl in 2004. When Jeph Loeb reintroduces Kara Zor-El into the post-Zero Hour continuity, this was during a story in the Superman/Batman series.
She appears as Superman’s biological cousin, and although chronologically older than him, she looks younger. This is due to her ship being stuck and suspended for much of the trip to Earth. Supergirl is shown on a journey of self-discovery and following various adventures.
The New 52
In the New 52, Kara’s ship lands in Smallville but emerges in Siberia. At the time, Kara has no memory of destroying her original planet, Krypton. The truth is later revealed to her by Superman.
At this stage, Supergirl has several battles with supervillains, including the Worldkillers. Supergirl is poisoned and leaves Earth to die alone. But, this has no effect. She returns to Earth later but ultimately dies from radioactive kryptonite poisoning.
Convergence and Return of the Pre-Crisis Version
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In this story arc, Convergence, Kara Zor-El reappears on Telos. That Kara, who was sacrificed during Crisis on Infinite Earths, volunteers to fight Anti-Monitor.
This time, Barry Allen is the one who helps her in her timeline. He manages, along with many others, to reestablish the previous timelines. Although, we never learned about both Kara Zor-El’s and her companion’s fate.
During the New 52 comic book miniseries, more details of the battle against the Anti-Monitor are revealed. This is what leads up to DC’s Rebirth event. In the Pre-Crisis, Zara Zor-El and several of her companions decide to go on a quest to find their place in the universe.
The Woman of Tomorrow
In search of DC’s rebirth, we see the Woman of Tomorrow. Who travels the universe with Krypto? Kara celebrates her 21st birthday alone on a distant planet. Being drunk in a bar, a girl approaches her, Ruthye, asking her to kill Krem, who killed her father.
All an act of revenge, but Supergirl refuses to do it. But, this villain Krem, attacks her and wounds her and Krypto, stealing her ship. So, she embarks on an adventurous journey in pursuit of him, taking Ruthye with her.
Powers and Abilities
Like Krypton’s inhabitants, Supergirl possesses abilities and powers unique to her world. Therefore, she is incredibly fast, strong and almost invulnerable. She is also able to fly, just like her cousin Superman.
His eyes can emit heat blasts, while they can have a broader spectrum as a microscopic to telescopic vision. He can see X-rays and radio waves.
Like his sight, his ears are acute, able to hear faint sounds amidst a din of noises when he can concentrate. He also can inhale and exhale large amounts of air, with which he can fly or freeze things.
All these abilities come from the Earth’s low gravity and yellow sunlight. His body absorbs this energy and becomes powerful. So, it often happens that she loses her powers if she exhausts her stored energy reserves.
She can also be damaged by radioactive elements known as Kryptonite, as well as by magic. The latter is because magic ignores natural laws. Despite this, it does not cease to be one of the strong superheroines of the comic book universe.
Supergirl Other Versions
In other versions, there are multiple versions of Supergirl. One of the most notable is Kara Zor-L, who first appeared in 1976 in All-Star Comics. On Earth 2, Kara Zor-L is the counterpart of Supergirl.
As Supergirl, Kara Zor-L came from Krypton and escaped as a child. Her ship took much longer to arrive and landed on Earth 2. Like Superman, she has superpowers such as superhuman strength and the ability to fly. Like them, she has her own enemies to fight.
Supergirl Appearances in Other Media
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Supergirl’s appearances in other media are several, we mention below:
Cinema (live-action and animation)
In the cinema, there are several films where Supergirl is present, both in live-action and animation:
- 1984, Supergirl, starring Helen Slater.
- 2018, it was confirmed that Supergirl, as her other versions, are present in the DC Extended Universe.
- 2023, on The Flash, Sasha Calle was cast to play the role of Supergirl.
- In 2023, DC Studios announced a movie called Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow.
- Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, starring Summer Glau.
- Superman: Unbound, voiced by Molly C. Quinn.
- Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash, voiced by Jessica DiCicco.
- Legion of Superheroes, voiced by Meg Donnelly.
On television, Supergirl appears in both live-action and animated series:
- Smallville. In the seventh season, from 2007 to 2008. Appears Kara played by Adrianne Palicki.
- Arrowverse. Supergirl appears, played by Melissa Benoist. Where she is present in several episodes.
- Super Best Friends Forever, Supergirl appears as Batgirl and Wonder Girl, voiced by Nicole Sullivan.
- DC Super Hero Girls. Supergirl is the central protagonist, voiced by Anais Fairweather in 2015 and Nicole Sullivan in 2019.
- Joanne Spracklen voices Justice League Action, Supergirl.
- Young Justice, Supergirl appears without speaking at the end of the series.
Image: DC Comics
In video games, Supergirl is as a playable character in:
- DC Universe Online, voiced by Adriene Mishler.
- Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, voiced by Bridget Hoffman.
- Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Kari Wahlgren.
- Infinite Crisis, voiced by Camilla Luddington.
- Injustice 2.
- Lego Dimensions.
- Justice League Heroes.
Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, Superman’s Cousin Who Made It In DC Comics
Image: DC Comics
Even today, Supergirl remains one of the favorites of comic book fans. This superheroine had quite a varied personality, depending on her incarnation. Perhaps because of her good-natured nature, but simultaneously with a nasty temper. She struggles daily to adapt to an environment where she does not belong.
A beautiful part of this character is her background. Unlike her cousin, she lived much of her childhood on Krypton. This allows the reader to learn firsthand the ins and outs of life on Superman’s home planet. In addition, when she arrives on Earth at a certain age, she is faced with challenging situations for her from the point of view of integration.
Soon we will have a different version of Kara Zor-El in the movies. We will see an alternate interpretation in the Andy Muschietti-directed film The Flash. In the comic book, Superman’s parents send him to Earth. However, instead of falling into a warm Kansas home, the government captures him and deprives him of sunlight, losing his powers while he is subjected to experiments. In the film, we will see this version but with Kara.
Featured Image Via DC Comics