Tuesday, September 5, 2017

1955 "Supergirl" Playsuit Ad

Hat tip to blog friend Jon Francis for sending me this fascinating ad from 1955.

That's right. 1955! A full three years before the prototype Super-Girl in Superman #123 and 4 years before the introduction of Supergirl in Action Comics #252.

While the word 'Supergirl' never appears in this advertisement, there is no denying that the pictured girl is certainly reminiscent of the Maid of Might. From the blond hair to the blue skirt (here with red pleats!), this looks like a young Kara getting ready for action! Maybe it even reminds me a little of the Cosmic Adventures Supergirl.

I know the Super-Girl from Superman #123 sported a red skirt, this 'playsuit' just screams Silver Age Supergirl to me.

But it is the timing that intrigues me the most. Did this sell well in 1955 making the publishers think hard about adding the character to the Superman mythos? Did this put the idea in Mort Weisnger's head to ask Otto Binder to recreate the magic he had done with Mary Marvel over at Fawcett? Did Otto Binder or Al Plastino remember this ad when they were writing Action #252? Was it this that prompted the blond hair and blue skirt of Kara?

I'm afraid all of those answers have been lost over time. But it is a fun thing to speculate.

Thanks so much to Jon for sending this my way and making me puzzle until my puzzler was sore. This is an interesting little tidbit for big time Supergirl fans like me.


Anonymous said...

I saw this ad.

I found it fascinating. It's three years before Kara, (albeit four years after Lucy of Borgonia's one-time appearance in Superboy #5). And DC was already toying with the idea of a "Supergirl". And, boy, that screams "Kara", IMO. And it feels so right to see Superboy and Supergirl side by side.

Some "fans" love questioning the "need" of a "Supergirl" character. Well, there're several reasons as to why Supergirl IS needed, and this ad highlights one of them -and a very important one-: Because girls want to be "Super", too!

"Thanks so much to Jon for sending this my way and making me puzzle until my puzzler was sore."

Agreed. So MANY questions and we'll never get the answers.

Martin Gray said...

What a fantastic find, well done to Jon and thanks for sharing it with it. Looks like they got a free comic or too, too.

But boy, that's a... peculiar-looking Superman!

Where does Jon blog? Apols for my ignorance.

Anonymous said...

"But boy, that's a... peculiar-looking Superman!"

It looks like someone aping Wayne Boring.

Anonymous said...

That looks.... Like maybe Pete Costanza drew the advert....he drew very "rubbery" man of steel over in Jimmy Olsen comics....On the other hands who the hell knows?


TransformerMan said...

Wow! That's quite a find! Awesome! :)

Jon Francis said...

To Anj, Martin, Anonymous and TransformerMan...you're welcome and thank you!

Martin, I don't blog myself. I just sent this in as I thought Supergirl fans and historians would enjoy seeing it.

It would be interesting to know exactly when Weisinger began thinking seriously about introducing a Supergirl into the mythology. There was that "ashcan" Supergirl comic in 1944 to secure trademark or copyright, so the idea goes back at least that far.

That brings up a trivia question: What artist drew the cover for the first Supergirl comic? Answer: Jack Kirby! It was his art, actually for Boy Commandos #1 that was used for the ashcan Supergirl comic.

By the way, I had a Superman costume when I was around 8 years old. At the bottom of the shirt (which was tucked into the pants) there was a drawing of Superman with a boy, and these words: "Remember, this suit won't make you fly. Only SUPERMAN can fly."