Thursday, February 11, 2021

Supergirl Album #36

Big thanks and hat tip to blog friend Paul Hicks, my brother from Down Under, who recently sent me a package of Australian comics including this Supergirl Album!

Murray Comics is a company from Australia that put together big books of reprint material. According to the the Grand Comic book Database page on the company, this single Supergirl album (although numbered #36) came out in 1980. But scrolling through the issues on that list it looks as though our Girl of Steel got at least 3 more showcase issues.

I am always intrigued at the issues picked for these books. Did Murray have access to all stories? Or only some of them? And of the ones featured in this book, why pick Superman Family #194 to go on the cover? There are others here that might be more intriguing images than that one.

Still, I love seeing all Supergirl material, especially from other countries. I was completely tickled to get this! Thanks again Paul! This issue in particular is great because it includes one of my favorite stories. And I have covered a surprising number of the stories inside right here on the blog.

We start off with the cover story from   Superman Family #194.

You might remember this story which seemed to be a take on the Stanford Prison Experiment.

This was a standard sort of Superman Family story with Linda as a guidance counselor at New Athens Experimental School.

Then we have 'The Crypt of the Frozen Graves', a decent story from  Adventure Comics #424 which marked the end of the San Francisco era of Supergirl's career when she was part of a news team.

As the closing chapter of that era, it is a good choice for an anthology.

 Then the incredible wonky and absolute continuity-bonkers story in Adventure Comics #400 where Black Flame returns. Mike Sekowsky didn't care about what the Phantom Zone was, how gold Kryptonite works, or really anything else in this hallucinogenic tale.

But if you want to see Supergirl tied to a giant bowling pin and struck by a giant bowling ball, this is for you. 

Can't believe I've never covered it here.

Then there is a very early story from Action Comics #257 called 'The Three Wishes' where Kara pretends to be a Fairy Godmother to the children in the Midvale Orphanage. Just precious.

Then one of my all time favorite stories, 'The Black Magic of Supergirl' from Action Comics #324.

Any story that has Supergirl and the Fire Falls in it is going to be a winner. But this one adds a layer of horror and strangeness that makes it stand out for me!

 Lastly we have 'Linda Danvers, Movie Star' from Adventure Comics #391.

This is is one of the last more Silver Age style stories for Supergirl before she got a little modernization in the Adventure book by Sekowsky. 

If it was 1980 and you were looking for a decent feel for the different eras of Supergirl stories, this book fits the bill. And as a bonus, there was even a Rose and Thorn story here too.

Thanks again Paul! This was such a treat to get and will be cherished!


Martin Gray said...

Well done to Paul, this looks like a fun book. I wonder why they used a take on the Seventies Supergirl logo - my favourite - without simply using the proper one.

Oh, hang on, it’s Australia, of COURSE it’s upside down!

Anonymous said...

That is a great gift!

SF #194 was a weird but entertaining story, in spite of Don Heck's art (which I never liked. I was deeply grateful when he was replaced by John Buscema as The Avengers' artist)

AdC 424 was pretty decent.

AdC 400 was hilarious for the wrong reasons thanks to Black Flame's stupid obsession with complex death traps.

I really loved AC 257. Maybe it is because of its simplistic, charming innocence. Maybe it is because of the lack of deaths, darkness and edginess. But it was incredibly cute seeing Supergirl wearing a dress made of dandelions and gossamer to teach a bully a lesson and protect the dreams of little orphan kids. And she was using her powers in incredibly creative ways! You don't see that kind of thing anymore.

AC 324 and AdC 391 were corny but entertaining. Unfortunately, the latter highlights one of the issues which set Kara Zor-El on the path to Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. She had no supporting cast or interesting villains to speak of, and that story was a completely irrelevant one-and-done deal. And in 1970 you could no longer sell a superhero comic consisting entirely of inconsequential wacky hijinks.

All in all, not a bad selection, although I'd probably pick different stories.

But even if those stories were not the greatest, they remind me how much I miss Pre-Crisis Supergirl.

Professor Feetlebaum said...

"But if you want to see Supergirl tied to a giant bowling pin and struck by a giant bowling ball, this is for you."

HOLY GUTTER BALL, BATMAN! That sounds like something Adam West and Burt Ward might have encountered a couple of years earlier.

This makes me wonder if there were any Supergirl (or any character) stories written and drawn specifically for the overseas market. Sheldon Mayer did new Sugar and Spike stories for European comics long after that book ceased publication in the U.S. Were there others? The Sugar and Spike stories were eventually published here in DC Digests.

Was there a title change on that Supergirl story reprinted from Action Comics #257? The original title was "The Three Magic Wishes". And I wonder about that issue of Action Comics lying on the table in panel one. Could someone have read it and learned about Supergirl? So much for "secret emergency weapon".

Anj said...

Thanks for comments.

This was a delight. And the story picks were interesting.

Anonymous said...

Its an eclectic assortment of Supergirl stories to be sure, Adventure #400 makes Bob Haney's craziest work look sane and staid by comparison, but it is a good faith attempt to gin up Kara's Rogue's Gallery. Its the closest the Adventure Comics run came to outright camp in the "Perils of Pauline" vein. Just be glad she self rescued, that wasn't always the case back then. I have heard that DC's Italian licensee had the right to publish original Superman comics back in the 1960's, allegedly Supergirl showed up in a few of these (that part I'm not sure of, I wish to stress)...if so I'd love to see those books translated back into english in any anthology format at all.