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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time That Supergirl’s “Man of her Dreams” Was a Woman

Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature.

Today we take a look at 1969’s Adventure Comics #384, where Superman’s computers might be telling Supergirl something that she didn’t know about herself, in a story written by Cary Bates and drawn by Win Mortimer and Jack Abel.

The concept of the issue is that Supergirl wants to do computer dating, and whose computers are more accurate than Superman’s?!?

In typical Superman fashion, he knows that Supergirl is headed into a quagmire, but instead of just telling her, he decides to let her go and find out for herself…

So she ends up on the other planet and finds her dreamboat…

But something is weird. The people on the planet are jerks to Supergirl. The criminals don’t take her seriously as she arrests them. Essentially, the whole planet thinks women are a joke. But why? As it turns out, it all came about due to an interplanetary bad break-up…

Volar has a secret, though and it might explain why he won’t make out with her…

Supergirl overhears Volar talking with Volar’s father and she figures out that Volar needs to take a special serum. Supergirl figures it is something to keep Volar healthy, but she discovers that is not the case…

Awesome.

I love that the possible implications of this are not addressed. I mean, obviously, it is a 1969 comic so of course it wouldn’t be addressed, but still.

I do like that Bates gave the story an optimistic ending.

33 Comments

Well, better that than a horse, right?

I love that the possible implications of this are not addressed. I mean, obviously, it is a 1969 comic so of course it wouldn’t be addressed, but still.

If you mean that shes unconsciously a lesbian, I don’t think the reason those possible implications aren’t addressed have nothing to do with it being 1969. I think they aren’t address because those implications simply aren’t there. Computers aren’t omniscient. Like humans they are limited to the information fed into them. You can have flawless logic and reasoning and come out with a faulty conclusion due to a faulty premise.

The computer started with the faulty premise that it was a man and based on the personality and other factors figured “he” would be a good fit for Supergirl. And based on how good the disguise was with the living flesh mask and all that, I could see why so many people would be fooled.

It seems like a very good story though. Very positive message to it.

I didn’t realize computer dating has been around for over forty years.

You see, comic books can be educational

I don’t think the implication is that she’s a lesbian, but rather that Volar really IS Supergirl’s perfect match (based on personality, intelligence, likes and dislikes). That Volar’s a woman is irrelevant, in a sense.

I don’t think the implication is that she’s a lesbian, but rather that Volar really IS Supergirl’s perfect match (based on personality, intelligence, likes and dislikes). That Volar’s a woman is irrelevant, in a sense.

Exactly. It’s an interesting idea that they just skip right over (again, though, quite naturally because of the year it came out).

interesting that not only did supergirl get to use computer dating way back in the sixties but found that her so called perfect match was actully a girl trying to change her planets view of woman as inferior beings. and this in the sixties

I’ll be nice and chalk it up to naivete that Supergirl didn’t think to enter “Must come from a society where women are treated as equals” into the computer.

If you had given me this story in a blind sampling I would have said for sure it was written by Bob Kanhiger. It has that crazy, kooky, creepy vibe of his Wonder Woman stories all over it. I’m shocked it’s Cary Bates.

Bates was so young at the time that he likely had not yet found his own “voice,” so it is unsurprising to see that you thought it was Kanigher.

I don’t think the implication is that she’s a lesbian, but rather that Volar really IS Supergirl’s perfect match (based on personality, intelligence, likes and dislikes). That Volar’s a woman is irrelevant, in a sense.

I disagree about gender being irrelevant. I think the whole reason they ARE so compatible is that she’s a woman. After all in general isn’t it usually far easier for us to find same-sex friends who are our perfect match based on personality, intelligence, likes and dislikes than it is to find such similarities in opposite sex people?

For example I can find a ton of guys who are into comics, manga, action movies, sports and philosophy. I’ve never found a girlfriend who was into those things. If I found a woman who was into comics, manga, action movies, sports and philosophy I’d think I found a perfect match as well. If I got there and discovered this woman was actually a man I wouldn’t consider it any profound implication. It would just think “oh, no wonder we were so alike. It’s yet another guy I have a lot in common with.”

I think their similarities and compatibility in values, intelligence and personality simply came from the fact both were super-powered teen girls and nothing more profound than that.

Unless I’m still misunderstanding the type of implications you mean…?

So great, for so many reasons. There are lots of ways to process a bad split, but traveling the cosmos preaching the evils of women never really occurred to me. Evidently it did occurr to Dr. Druid’s cousin.

I don’t think this story is particularly strange. The only thing that I found strange was that a guy would be so pissed at his ex-lover that he would go around brainwashing planets to suppress their women. I think it would have been simpler if the planet was just misogynist, we didn’t need an origin story for their misogyny. One thing I like about this story is that Supergirl didn’t fix the planet’s social problems, instead she inspires one person to push for change.

As for Superman being able to prevent all this, I don’t think his actions were unusual. Sometimes young people don’t listen to good advice when they’ve got an idea stuck in their head (I say this as someone barely older than Supergirl is in this issue, although I’m sure that a lot of older people are like this too). Superman probably figured that it would be better to let Supergirl make her own decisions, have her own experiences, and learn from her mistakes. Since she was never in any real danger I don’t see anything wrong with what Superman did.

Anyway, I really liked this story.

So basically Cary Bates presaged Casanova: Gula by forty years…

^ Except now, after actually reading the post, I realize that is a terrible comparison…

What an intriguing little tale. I have a vague memory of it … it reminds me a little of the much later Legion story in which Element Lad found out Shvaun Erin used to be Shaun. I guess the extra V stood for Volar.

I’d love to have seen a sequel to this, find out how the planet was coping with about and proud-ish heroine. .

no hit, but a real Miss … LOL.

poor Supergirl. she made quite a progress from dating her horse, though.

Except not only did Comet the Superhorse come back to pursue Supergirl romantically in the 90’s, this time it was as a GIRL (an an angel?) Seriously! It was Peter David’s idea, I think.

This story is terrible, not just for the way Superman doesn’t warn Supergirl, but because of her attitude to begin with; NO ONE on Earth is a good match for her, not even other superheroes? Sheesh!

I’ll bet neither Volar nor Linda’s attitude were ever referenced afterwards. (I certainly never heard of him- er, her.)

The whole situation reminds me of that great film, “Prelude to a Kiss” starring Alec Baldwin and Meg Ryan. Check it out

[…] here for the full comic strip at Comic Book […]

I would love to read the further adventures of Space Dave Sim as he travels from planet to planet putting women in their rightful place.

“The Magna Marvel”? What does that even mean?

Can lesbians even be implied to exist on here without someone crawling out of the woodwork to explain why authorial intent means that there’s no way they do?

Comics aren’t pristine of content that allows complex reading. Attempting to reason through a 1969 Superman comic(!) to remove that content is, well, bizarre.

“I want to introduce you to my parents, girl-who-I-just-met-one-minute-ago.”

well, i think it’s possible that the creators might not have processed the consequences of their plot.

imagine the creators hanging around a table one day. suddenly somebody looks up and says: “I’ve got an idea. what if Supergirl falls for someone but that someone is a WOMAN in disguise!”

the rest of the table is titillated since they are probably all white guys so the the editor says, “See what you can do with it.” the meeting ends.

however, i think it’s equally plausible that someone wanted to smuggle in a message of gender equality. there is room for both interpretations here.

rob

Superman knew that and didn’t tell her? What a jerk. What a wonderfully twisted story, though. I also light the bit of hope for a better society at the end.

Does anybody notice that Supergirl has the same hairstyle as when she is Linda Danvers, except with a spitcurl like Superman?

It just seemed interesting to me.

“Something in his mannerisms….He’s never tried to kiss me…or even hold my hand.” It’s even more indicative of the era that Supergirl never thinks that Volar might be gay! Or not into HER!
Superman was a creep, but, then, Supergirl WAS using the super-computer for frivolous purposes. Tough love, Kryptonian style!

-John

“I would love to read the further adventures of Space Dave Sim as he travels from planet to planet putting women in their rightful place.”

[HIGH FIVE]

Christopher Stansfield

March 6, 2012 at 7:38 am

I find the implication that Superman was well aware that there was a planet where women were subjugated like that and didn’t give a hot damn about it more disturbing than anything else in the story. “Gee, my cousin’s going to get the surprise of her life when she finds out everyone there hates her. That’ll teach her!”

I think Superman knew full well that Volar was a girl and was hoping to spy on some hot girl-girl action with his sex ray vision! LoL

Seriously, it would have been awesome if Supergirl finding out Volar was a girl didn’t change how she felt for her.

SUPERGIRL: I fell in love with a PERSON, not a gender!

VOLAR: Oh, Kara!

(They kiss)

(cue porn music)

SUPERMAN (watching from Earth with his telescopic vision): WHOO-HOO!!!!

P.S. They did computer dating in 1969?? The computers must’ve been as huge as the first floor of a mall! And I loved the art on this.

For those who didn’t realize that computer dating existed back in 1969, it really did. It even made its way into episodes of “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” (as major plot points) and was the subject of several skits on “The Carol Burnett Show” (and those are the ones I distinctly remember). I seem to recall at least one episode of “Here’s Lucy” that revolved around computer dating (though I want to say that was in 1970 or 1971). I have vague memories of “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” having a few computer-dating skits.

@Blackphoenix: Not really. They were large, but most of the computers on SF-related shows of the era were also unbelievably large, mainly because that was the standard. (When you consider that the Apple II started off with a mere 4kB of RAM–and set you back about $1300–and the Commodore 64 had 64kB of RAM, of which about half was dedicated to running the computer, it’s understandable why earlier business computers were so large; the earliest personal computers hit the market in the late 1970s–less than a decade after computer dating became part of pop culture.)

I do like the ending. Not wildly optimistic (everyone realizes their habits of centuries are wrong) but not the sexist cop out I was expecting either.

Throughout the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, even the Iron or Modern Age, Superman’s greatest fear was that his telling people what to do would either make him a tyrant or make people too dependent upon him.

It wasn’t until the DC New52 and Man of Steel travesty that he started to like passive-aggressively lording over others.

As usual for the time, in this comic book, Superman goes too far in his policy of not telling others what to do.

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