After reading Back Issue #61 and its coverage of the Superman Family comic, I just had to go back and look at those earliest issues.
Superman Family took over the numbering of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen and started out as mostly a reprint book. The original material's character would rotate and readers could tell by who was in the 'lead off' spot on the side column. Here is Superman Family #165 which showcased an original Supergirl story.
In Back Issue, I read that E. Nelson Bridwell, whose knowledge of the DCU was encyclopedic, would try to pick out reprint stories that had something in common with the new story.
One thing I like about these early issues are the inclusion of some information pages about the main character. In a pre-internet world and at a time when reprints weren't typically in trade format, to have some recap or information pages was probably a godsend to collectors. Here are the Supergirl information pages from that time period.
Here is the information page from the above issue. This brief review of Supergirl's career showcased a lot of the main events in her life up to that time. I mean, if you were a collector and wanted to know when Linda graduated college, your options were to hope for an editorial footnote (if one was warranted), hope the story was reprinted, or ask for the information in a letter. I think it is great now. I can only imagine what it was thought of then.
I also like that actual panels from the issues were used.
In Superman Family #168, the issue included a 2 page spread recounting Supergirl's interactions with Lena Thorul.
Amazing that she warranted that much space but she was in a bunch of stories and remained a part of the pre- Crisis Supergirl's life. And, of course, she was a key player in Cosmic Adventures.
Superman Family #171 included a Supergirl Batgirl team up which I covered here.
It is incredible that the two were considered 'best friends' but only had a handful of team-ups.
Some day I'll cover those wacky World's Finest stories.
Superman Family #174 included this quiz of Supergirl's classic villains. It shows just what a lack of a rogue's gallery Supergirl had considering that 2 of the 5 (Night flame and Satan Girl) are one time villains. Even Black Flame only was in 2 stories.
I suppose Lesla Lar and Starfire bothered Kara enough to be considered arch-villains.
Anyways, I thought there information pages were probably invaluable for new comic fans and new Supergirl fans. Hope you enjoyed them too.