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CSBG Archive

The Greatest Supergirl Stories Ever Told!

Every day in May we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Supergirl Stories Ever Told!

Enjoy!

10. Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade

Like Tiny Titans for Beast Boy, I don’t think a specific story arc is needed here.

9. Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #314-315 “The Trial of Ontiir”

I was honestly surprised that this interesting Legion two-parter was considered by so many to be one of their top Supergirl stories, but hey, here it is!

8. Supergirl #1-6

Jeph Loeb’s first story arc on Supergirl’s current title – art by Ian Churchill.

7. Supergirl #75-81 “Many Happy Returns”

Peter David’s final storyline on Supergirl.

6. Superman/Batman #8-13 “The Supergirl from Krypton”

Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner re-introduce Superman’s Kryptonian cousin into the DC Universe!

5. Supergirl #1-8 “Peter David’s first Supergirl story arc”

Peter David and Gary Frank introduce a new take on Supergirl as the alien version of Supergirl merges with a troubled young woman.

4. Action Comics #252 “Supergirl’s introduction”

Otto Binder and Al Plastino introduce us to Supergirl!

3. Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 “The Death of Supergirl”

Marv Wolfman and George Perez help us say goodbye to Supergirl, as she sacrifices herself to save her cousin.

2. Superman #149 “The Death of Superman”

When Supergirl was still a “secret weapon” for Superman, she made her heroic debut under tragic circumstances in this brilliant “Imaginary Story.”

1. Christmas with the Superheroes #2 “Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot”

Man, remember when Alan Brennert would occasionally pop into DC Comics and have a great one-off story? Well, this Deadman story is one of those tales, featuring Kara AFTER her death in Crisis. I’m sure Mark Waid is proud of this story being #1.

That’s the list! I’m sure there is a lot of agreement and disagreement with the list out there! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

And please vote for the lists that are still up for grabs here!

42 Comments

Cosmic Adventures should be much higher, I wonder if people thought it was eligible? Its only 6 issues so its a story in itself. Hopefully it gets a sequel!

Are you sure #2 is that Death of Superman and not the 90′s one?

I’m very very happy about #1, its the biggest victory of all. Its a story about Kara, not about Superman guest starring Kara or about her death directly. Its about Kara Zor-El and the good she did. ‘We do it because it needs to be done. Because if we don’t nobody 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 knows we ever existed.’

The inclusion of the Ontir story is only shocking if you don’t know Kara fans, its Supergirl and Brainiac 5′s last hurrah and in retrospect is heartbreaking. Its Kara pushing Brainiac 5 to admit his feelings and ask her to stay but he stammers and stutters and can’t. Next time they meet, she dies. Which indirectly leads to one of Brainy’s greatest stories in the aftermath. Its a thing of beauty. Kara is confident, flirty, powerful and smart. What more can we ask for?

I’m upset none of Sterling’s stories made it to the list. I could do without the start of PAD’s run, which was not memorable in itself. its a token entry for the whole effort rather than story merit.

Love that Tales of the LSH story. And it gains added wait when you realise it was the last time Brainy and Kara actually saw each other before her death.

“Weight” not “Wait”. sigh

OMG cant believe Crisis 7 not number 1..shouldve voted

Mike Loughlin

May 18, 2010 at 6:02 am

I didn’t vote (I’ve read very few Supergirl stories), but I must say I’m impressed with the Christmas story making it to #1. Great choice, everybody!

I count approximately two too many Loeb stories.

No stories for the Linda-less Matrix Supergirl (unless nikki is right that the “death of Superman” votes were actually for the 90s– Matrix-Supergirl’s strongest stories were Panic in the Sky and the Death/Return).

Love that the Ontir saga placed and that the Christmas story beat Crisis.

I’m disappointed that most of the entries are essentially either the first or the last story involving a version of Supergirl. It suggests that the character is something of a cipher, that’s more a uniform and a name then a personality.

(Note this isn’t a criticism of Supergirl, but of how Supergirl has been treated over the years.)

Sigh. Somebody always has to come in and kick and scream whenever Loeb is mentioned. Loeb’s interpretation sold well and was the most popular version of postcrisis Kara. Get over it!

If we are going to play this game, I wish Many Happy Returns and Superman’s “Secret Weapom” Kara didn’t make it. Both portray Kara as young, stupid, obedient, etc. MHR’s Kara was one dimensional and dated. Too bad, because his Linda character was wonderful.

Dave Blanchard

May 18, 2010 at 6:29 am

What, no Lesla Lar stories?

I think its that firsts and lasts have the most dramatic weight Thok and they are easy to come to mind. There is no doubt for me though that Crisis was one of Kara’s greatest moments, not only because she died but because of her ingenuity and her compassion and friendship with Batgirl but it is technically a last. Like I said, the start of the PAD run and the Loeb story that kicked off volume 5 are symbolic of the entire volumes of comics rather than individual stories.

Here were my ten

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade
The Supergirl from Krypton (2005)
Who is Superwoman? (2008)
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes- Strange Visitor from Another Century (2006)
Should Auld Aquaintance be forgot- Christmas with the Superheroes #2 (1989)
Blackest Night: Superman (2009) -odd I know but the way she stares down Zor-El is phenomenal
Many Happy Returns (2003)
Crisis on Infinite Earths (1986)
Legion of Super-heroes- The Trial of Ontiir
All I want for Christmas- Infinite Holiday Special (2006)- She reunites a little girl with her drunken mess of a father and teaches him to be better. A great story about the impact of lies and the father/daughter relationship and the art is by Ale Garza!

Crisis #7 was not a great story; it was just the issue where they killed her off.

Given that Supergirl was not involved the 1990s Death of Superman (kept out of it at Lex Luthor’s behest if I remember correctly) ,and had a limited role in the post-death storyline, I think the ’60s story is what most people were thinking of.

Some of my favorites that didn’t make this list: “The Secret Identity of Super-Horse!” (Action Comics #301), “Bug-Out” (Supergirl #16), “The Super-Steed of Steel” (Action #292), “The Heroine Haters” (Adventure #384), “Treachery” (Adventure #423) and “The Supergirl/Batgirl Plot” (World’s Finest #168),

But then, the only post-Crisis stories on my list were “Christmas with the Super-Heroes” and “Many Happy Returns.” I’d forgotten about “Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade,” though.

The fact that any of Loeb’s odious, wanky tripe made this list hurts my soul.

Brian, how many votes do you get on these polls? I am just curious. It is really cool, that enough people vote to get nice lists.

The Loeb-Turner Supergirl-from-Krypton intro (#6 on your list) is one of the worst comic book stories of the last decade. It’s also one of the most lame-brained and unnecessary attempts at a reboot, with possibly the worst depiction of Darkseid in the history of the character. And I’m not someone who hates Loeb (severely, anyway).

Good choices!

Moving as Kara’s death in Crisis #7 was, and stirring as her revenge on Luthor in the 60s Death of Superman, the Brennert story is a certified solid-gold masterpiece that deserves the #1 spot.

If I’d remembered to cast a ballot I’d have voted for all of these that I’ve read (i.e. the top 6), as well as maybe the Satan Girl LSH story.

i’m really surprised the intro of the post-crisis supergirl from superman 21-22/adventures of superman 444 didn’t make the cut, as it was the culmination of byrne’s run on the superman titles, and a very memorable story.

but really, the biggest surprise on the list has to be how small supergirl’s rack is on the michael turner cover of supergirl #1. was this A-cup editorially mandated?

So SO glad that some of Peter David’s run made it on here. That Supergirl will always be the most iconic version for me.

kisskissbangbang

May 18, 2010 at 11:09 am

No one seems to have mentioned Supergirl’s appearance in Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow?”, but it breaks my heart every time I read it; hell, every time I think about it.

I didn’t vote, as I’ve only read a few stories with the classic pre-Crisis version. Until last year I didn’t even know there were a bunch of different Supergirls.
I was surprised to see two Jeff Loeb stories considering how much everybody hates him. (I’ve only read Spider-Blue, so I don’t know much about him. It wasn’t great, but it was decent enough. But he was just re-writing Stan’s stories, so I can’t form any opinion based on that.) But I’ve never understood how Loeb could be as bad as everyone says, considering that he keeps getting hired to write books, so they must sell okay.
Did anyone vote for that lousy movie? (I’m sure it’s ineligible, but I can’t help but wonder.)

My favorite Supergirl was actually never Supergirl, but Laurel Gand from Legion fo Superheroes, who replaced Kara during Legion’s best era. First time Kara had an actual life out of Superman’s shadows.

Zor-El of Argo

May 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm

I think the Peter David entries are the only ones on the list I never read. With the above exceptions, Supergirl has been a long and continual victem of poor writing. I’ve always liked Supergirl(Kara) as a character but have found very few of her stories to be memorable. The most memorable ones had her as a guest-star, not the lead.

I think this is the most “informed” list so far — if we were going by the popularity vote, I would have thought Crisis would have been #1! Not a slight to the other lists so far, since I haven’t read them all, but it’s nice to see something from the Silver Age and an obscure Christmas story top a list.

Wow. Y’know, I have nothing against the character, but the only Supergirl stuff that really worked for me was her earliest Silver Age Appearances, where Superman is all

“Okay, Supergirl. I’m gonna ship you off to the orphanage. You can help me fight crime, but nobody can even know that “Supergirl” exists. You have no family, and your life is nothing but ceaseless toil to help people you have no reason to care about for no glory… or, heck, anyone even noticing you.”

This contrasted that with Mooney’s soft, curvy, *friendly* art style. The audience just has no idea what they’re in for…

Basically, I like comics that can permanently damage the psyche of their audience.

Waid wrote some very good stories with the current Supergirl in S&LSH and a great arc with her in Brave and the Bold. None are “Supergirl stories” per se, but they’re what reconciled me to the current character, and I think the Brave and the Bold arc is a *lot* of pure comics fun.

I never made the connection before, but Kara’s early pre-Crisis history where no one was to know she even existed only adds a further layer of poignancy to what she tells Deadman at the end of “Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot” – as if it needed it! For intensely moving inspirational moments, it’s up there with Mel Gibson bellowing “FREEDOM!!!” at the end of Braveheart, and if there’s a more precise and emotionally affecting summary of the deontological worldview in comics, I’ve never seen it.

Speaking of the Christmas special, it had lots of other great stories, including (if I recall correctly) a dialog-free John Byrne Enemy Ace story that would belong with Silent Night of the Batman on a list of Greatest (mostly) Silent Stories Ever Told. Anyone who finds a copy in a dollar bin should pounce on it!

Thinking on it, I’m a little surprised the issue of Action Comics (?) where Supergirl was finally revealed to the world for the first time didn’t appear in the list. It was much loved in the 60s.

kisskissbangbang

May 18, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Brian, you mention that Mark Waid would be proud of Brennert’s story taking 1st place–he lost his editorial job at DC for allowing it to see print, didn’t he?

(And on the unlikely chance Mark sees this–geh ro yeem, Agent Double-Four!)

‘The fact that any of Loeb’s odious, wanky tripe made this list hurts my soul.’

‘The Loeb-Turner Supergirl-from-Krypton intro (#6 on your list) is one of the worst comic book stories of the last decade. It’s also one of the most lame-brained and unnecessary attempts at a reboot, with possibly the worst depiction of Darkseid in the history of the character. And I’m not someone who hates Loeb (severely, anyway).’
I take it you haven’t read the Cir-el storyline or the horrendous 90′s mini yet?

Superman Adventures #21: Kara In-Ze revisits Argo, overcomes her fears, and wins a pretty decisive victory over General Zod. How did this not make the list?

I’m very happy to see “Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot” made the top of the list. I remember the text piece Mark Waid wrote at the end of the issue was just as poignant.

Comics need more great Alan Brennert stories.

Wow. Christmas with Superheroes #2 as number one on a list. Never thought I’d see the day.

Really, it was awesome anthology. Batman by Gibson was classic, Barry and Hal’s journey to prove Santa existed, Superman’s roadside conversation with a dying man, Silent Enemy Ace issue by John Bryne, and, of course, the Alan Brennert’s Deadman story (which was, along with Superman story, a favorite of mine).

I had this issue for nearly 7-8 years before I realized it was the same Kara who died in Crisis issue 7 (I got this christmas issue from a random back issue bin when I was 9 years old during mid 90′s and i still hadn’t read Crisis then).

When my synapsis finally connected, it was the Christmas of my freshman year in college and it enhanced the already powerful 7-8 pages story into something that I consider classic in the vein of Watchmen and so on.

This random issue I unearthed back in the 90′s going through $1 bin where I found one off issues such as DC Challenge and random issues of Batman and the Outsiders defined Christmas for me the way Dickens’ Christmas Carol defined Christmas for the rest of the world.

Never thought I’d see it ever get a mention on any list, but kudos to Brian and everybody else who voted for the issue.

Of course, it helped that the Deadman tale was drawn by the late Dick Giordano.

Some worth entries, some unworthy entries and some I’ve never read.

I’m disappointed my number 1 didn’t make the list: Elseworld’s Finest: Supergirl/Batgirl.

It’s also a shame that Supergirl 1,000,000 and the Supergirl Trilogy from John Byrne’s Superman didn’t make it.

Not a very surprising list, unfortunately.

“I’m disappointed that most of the entries are essentially either the first or the last story involving a version of Supergirl. It suggests that the character is something of a cipher, that’s more a uniform and a name then a personality.

(Note this isn’t a criticism of Supergirl, but of how Supergirl has been treated over the years.)”

I think that the most popular story here was a nostalgia tale involving a character who isn’t even directly identified as Supergirl pretty much bears this fact out. Supergirl really isn’t a heroic personality to most folks, she’s just an accessory of an ideal that never becomes realized in most of the stories she appears in.

I was so excited to see “Auld Acquaintance” at the top of this list the other day that I emailed the link to Alan Brennert himself. Thanks to Alan for permission to quote his reply:

“Wow, I’m truly gobsmacked! The #1 Supergirl story? Hell, I’m just happy people still remember it fondly (even more amazing considering DC has never reprinted it). I was flattered by the results of your Batman poll, too, but I must confess this story has an even more special place in my heart than “To Kill a Legend.” My thanks to all those who voted, and to you for sharing the news…and I may yet write more comics stories someday, but right now I have a book deadline staring me in the face!”

Hey Brian,
Could we get a top ten Christmas stories, since it seems that we have lots of folks who seem to remember those types of stories? i have a couple off the top of my head…
DFTBA

Travis Pelkie

May 20, 2010 at 2:51 am

Ooh, I like that Christmas story list idea. Right off the top of my head, the entire Marvel Super-Heroes Christmas Special (with the Art Adams cover of the Marvel U chasing Santa). I actually met John Hebert, the artist of the GR story in that book just a few weeks ago at Ithacon.

But I’m intrigued, not having heard the story before — what led to Mark Waid getting fired from DC due to the Supergirl/Deadman story? Was it something to do with DC not wanting to acknowledge the pre-Crisis Supergirl post-Crisis, or what? And that cover is a great Stephen DeStefano piece (um, that is him and not someone else, right? ‘Mazing Man rules!)

I see the point about Supergirl being a cipher when a lot of these stories feature her as more of a guest than the main character, and she’s also a bit player in another of my favorites, as mentioned above, Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel? Gee, I can read that this morning, because I have the Alan Moore DCU stories book out from the library. Hoo hah.

#1 is spot on!

Of those stories that made this top ten, “Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot” and “Many Happy Returns” definitely would have been on my own top ten — had I not had to be away from CBR and seen the poll in time to vote, that is. I would have been voting for “Many Happy Returns” for Linda as much as for the return of Kara. I think about Linda during the Crisis on the altered Earth-One, asking the Spectre to let her and Superman’s daughter survive the Crisis, and I think about Linda’s farewell letter to post-Crisis Clark. When Linda wrote to Clark, she was saying farewell to more than a mentor. She was saying farewell to a husband who didn’t know he had been married to her (in a splintered timeline from the days of the multiverse).

I never wanted to see Kara die. She was never thought of as “dead wood” to me (as I think someone from DC called those characters who were permitted to die in CRISIS — in a preview interview of the day). Still, “The Death of Supergirl” would have been on my list because I did mourn her as a beloved fictional character and was affected by her sacrifice and last words to Kal about what he meant to her and taught her. I look at the story as also including any foreshadowing leading up to CRISIS # 7, as well as the lesser-known Kara crossover or follow-up stories from the epic: her last battle with Blackstarr, the story of Superman taking her body to her Kryptonian parents (his aunt and uncle), the story of her long-lost husband showing up after her death, and Brainy’s tears for her, too, saying he always knew when she would die (even though Crisis changed reality and there was a timeline or two where she lived to be Superwoman and didn’t die young). There was also the scene in (probably) INFINITY, INC. where Power Girl and Huntress talk during the Crisis, paralleling Supergirl’s talk with Batgirl during the Crisis. It all makes up “The Death of Supergirl” storyline to me. Even the aforementioned scene with Kara in “Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow?” is part of “The Death of Supergirl” to me.

http://images.comics.org//img/gcd/covers_by_id/4/w400/4640.jpg

http://images.comics.org//img/gcd/covers_by_id/15/w400/15733.jpg

http://images.comics.org//img/gcd/covers_by_id/15/w400/15734.jpg

http://images.comics.org//img/gcd/covers_by_id/10/w400/10197.jpg

In some ways, DC really milked it for all it was worth. They really waved the bloody shirt, so to speak.

Even though DC behind the scenes didn’t always look at her death with as much reverence as the characters around her “expressed” and her fans felt, her last days have always stuck with me. And Perez’s art was brilliant.

TO BE CONTINUED….

Oh, I didn’t realize Comics.org doesn’t let a person give out a direct link to a cover, anymore. Sorry. I guess I should have given out the links to each comic’s Index page or Cover page. Since the links I gave out are blocked by Comics.org, feel free to edit those four links out of my previous post, Brian.

The covers from “The Death of Supergirl” saga I wanted interested people to click on were DC COMICS PRESENTS # 86, SUPERMAN # 414, SUPERMAN # 415, and LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (1984 series / Baxter series) # 16.

“The Trial of Ontiir” probably would have been on my list. I do remember it fondly.

*************************

SUPERMAN ADVENTURES # 21 (mentioned by Andrew-TLA) would have been on my list. I guess that was the first time in a comic where there was a twist that Supergirl technically was older than Superman. A little touch from the story, where Kara (the new girl in the hero biz) is reading a magazine with the cover blurb “Who is Batgirl?”, still makes me chuckle. In the ADCU, of course, Batgirl was famous before Supergirl arrived on earth. It was cute that Kara was a fan of Barbara and maybe wanted to be like her.

The only thing I don’t like about the ADCU Kara is that she started the modern trend of Supergirl in a belly shirt — which I don’t care for. (I realize pre-Crisis Kara once flirted with some more revealing costumes when trying to pick a new costume, herself.)

Couldn’t locate my copy of SUPER FRIENDS # 37 right now, and I would like to reread the story before saying for sure if it would be on my list, but I know I liked it when it came out. It seemed a bit strange to me at first that Linda’s students were impressed by Superman (and even Robin) but not by Supergirl, but they were taking her for granted, I guess. They could see Supergirl anytime (if I recall correctly), but the Super Friends were celebrities from out-of-town. I forgot the villain of the piece was the Weather Wizard, so that shows it’s been a while since I read the story. Fun Supergirl cover by Fradon. As selfless as Supergirl could be, she wanted to be wanted.

SUPERMAN VS. ALIENS would be on my list. Oh, back then the powers-that-be thought it was so important that Kal-El remain the only surviving Kryptonian in his universe, but at least here was a Kara whose people were something like honorary Kryptonians. I remember some fans remarking that though they were glad to see a “Kara” back, she was harder or maybe more violent than they would like. Could they see Kara Zor-El in her? At the time, given that she had no superpowers and was living (surviving) in extreme circumstances, I could understand if she wasn’t exactly the same as before. But it certainly seemed like this was supposed to be Kara reborn in the post-Crisis universe, and I was interested to see such a major development appear in an inter-company crossover, with 20th Century Fox’s Aliens somewhat tied to her “origin.” I wonder if the sad ending ever led to a reunion in an untold story from this timeline that’s no longer. Oh, the look on Kara’s face, drifting in space.

The top of my list might have featured the three-parter in DC COMICS PRESENTS #s 27 – 29. Supergirl doesn’t appear in # 27 (the introduction of Mongul), but it is a vulnerability against Mongul in that story which makes Kal feel he needs Kara by his side when proceeding against Warworld. In DC COMICS PRESENTS # 28, Kara is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, and she even says something like who wants to live forever. What happens to Kara at the end of that issue leads Superman to the Spectre and even God Himself in # 29. Has Kara died? Has she even temporarily passed into the realm of heaven?

When the events of CRISIS # 7 later happened, did Superman privately recall how he almost lost Kara in DCCP #s 28 and 29 and was pretty much given a second chance with her then? Did Superman recall the ultimate sacrifice Kara’s look-alike prototype, the Magic-Totem Super-Girl, was making for him in SUPERMAN # 123? If Superman is a real person in another universe whose adventures reach us as transmissions (like Julie Schwartz said), then Kal must have recalled these earlier adventures soon after Kara did die.

My favorite cover of Superman and Supergirl together is ACTION COMICS # 285 (mentioned above by Bill K, where Supergirl was finally revealed to the world). My second-favorite cover of the two of them is DC COMICS PRESENTS # 28, with its image of menace and defiance.

Super-thanks, Brian!

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Is it a bad sign that most of the ‘Greatest Supergirl Stories’ are semi-repetitive origin issues?

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