Supergirl Kara Zor-El
first appeared in Action Comics #252 (May 1959) written by Otto
Binder who also created Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel's sister and
female spin-off. Like Supergirl, Mary Marvel was a teen-age female
version of an adult male super-hero, wearing a costume that was
identical to the older character other than substituting a short
skirt for tights. Binder also created Miss America, a super-heroine
who shared little other than the name with her sometimes co-star
Kara Zor-El is the last survivor of Argo City of the planet Krypton,
which had survived the explosion of the planet and had drifted
through space. When the inhabitants of the colony are slain by
Kryptonite, Kara is sent to Earth by her father Zor-El to be raised
by her cousin Kal-El, known as Superman. Fearing that she might not
be recognized by Superman, Kara's parents provide a costume based on
the Man of Steel's own.
On Earth, Kara acquires super-powers identical to Superman's and
adopts the secret identity of Linda Lee, an orphan at Midvale
Orphanage. She conceals her blonde hair beneath a brunette wig and
functions as Supergirl only in secret, at Superman's request, until
she can gain (in his opinion) sufficient control of her powers.
After being adopted by Fred and Edna Danvers, Superman decides his
cousin is ready to begin operating openly as Supergirl.
In her secret identity, Linda attends Midvale High School as Linda
Lee Danvers. In later years, after graduating from Stanhope College,
she changes careers several times, holding jobs in student
counseling, news reporting, and acting in a TV soap opera. She also
attends college in Chicago. Kara has many boyfriends, including
Richard (Dick) Malverne, Jerro the merboy from Atlantis, and member
of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Brainiac 5. She does, however, shun
serious commitments, putting her super-career first.
Supergirl's secret identity is a closely held secret and is known
only to Superman, her foster parents, and the Legion of
Super-Heroes, of which she serves as a member for a time. Like all
Kryptonians, Supergirl is vulnerable to kryptonite. Streaky, Linda
Danvers' orange cat, acquires temporary super-powers as a result of
its exposure to "X-Kryptonite". Comet the Superhorse, a former
centaur, is Supergirl's equine companion.
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