This morning’s post concerns another Super DC Giant, from May-June 1971. My recollection is that I first read this Supergirl epic in Stonehouse Hospital in late May, 1972. This is entirely likely as other comics I was given during that stay dated from February 1968 and November 1971.
This giant reprints Supergirl’s battle with her first real arch-villain but it really centres on her friendship with the mysterious Lena Thorul. This is interesting because in Adventure Comics, former JLA artist Mike Sekowsky was revamping Supergirl in the vein of the Mod Wonder Woman ( even using Diana Prince and the witch Morgana to launch the revitalised series). Sekowsky introduced Nastalthia Luthor , the niece of Superman’s arch-foe. “Nasty” is the daughter of Lex’s older sister.
The Giant reprints my favourite Supergirl serial- aside from her conflict with Dr. Supernatural from 1965’s Action Comics 330-31. It has the same lunatic invention and dastardly villainy:
The perfect Xmas gift for the hard-to-buy-for villain : an Execution Buzzard
The Girl with the X-Ray Mind: Lex Luthor implores Supergirl to prevent his long-lost sister Lena from joining a criminal organisation called Bank Busters. Lena developed ESP as a child after an encounter with a “space-brain”. Linda-lookalike Lena is a dead ringer for the Blonde Phantom in a sultry red dress and domino mask. Happily, it’s a ploy to turn the gang in as Lena has ambitions to join the FBI.
The Luthors disowned Lex when his feud with Superboy began. They changed their name to Thorul; when Lena asks for Lex, her dad replies: ” Er…your brother got killed in a mountain-climbing accident!” Harsh! (I wonder what lies Pa Luthor spun about Nasty’s mother? ” Er…your big sister was eaten by a mountain lion, Lena”). Strangely, Little Lena’s ESP doesn’t work on daddy’s outrageous fabrications.
The Girl Who Was Supergirl’s Double: We move from crime drama to soap opera: Linda becomes jealous when her boyfriend Dick begins to fall for Lena. To complicate matters, he decides she must also be Supergirl and Lena confirms his suspicions!
The Forbidden Weapons of Krypton: Lesla-Lar, a Kandorian criminal scientist has taken mental control of Lena, then abducts and impersonates her. This means we have two Supergirl doubles in one story!
Lesla- Lar then liberates three Phantom Zone criminals to aid her in her plan to destroy the super-cousins and take over Earth. However, the trio betray her and disintegrate the villainess!
The Super-Powers of Lex Luthor: the Phantom Zone criminals have recovered a cache of super-weapons; Superman and the Legion are held off by force fields; the tiny Kandorian Superman Emergency Squad are trapped in their bottle city; a lead-dust gun did for Mon-El; and Supergirl has been infected with a virus that turns animal tissue into plant matter!
Supergirl recruits Lex Luthor since Lena is imperilled but he throws in with the Phantom Zone criminals, who have given him Kryptonian powers. Fortunately, Lex is shamming and teams up with Supergirl and Superman to destroy the weapons cache . The Zoners are returned to their dimensional prison and Lena is rescued from Kandor, still unaware of her relationship to Luthor.
Fashions from Fans: three pages of Supergirl costume designs from readers. They range from Go-Go to Oh, No! Mike Sekowsky illustrates and throws in 1971 Linda in her second, “Mod” costume: thigh boots, gloves, choker and hip-hugger chain belt.
My favourite looks like the costume of that other Danvers woman, Ms. Marvel
This is a sweet little feature that reaches out to the character’s fans. Of course, the makeover impulse still exists on the internet, in the form of pages like Project Rooftop.
There’s a three-page ad for a mail-order company called Campus Collections, who sell “outasite” accessories with a “really NOW look!” Op Art and Black Light posters; funky headbands; Guru prayer candles and anti-pollution sew-on patches. As a kid, I wasn’t conscious of these attempts to win the Counter-culture dollar. In six years, comics had come a long way from Silly Putty and Tootsie Pops.
Coming soon: the countdown to our 100th post continues with Dr. Fate and the Ghost Patrol
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