Supergirl, Volume 1 (Archive Edition)

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The Silver Age of comics had begun, and the concept of costumed superheroes was once again gaining mass appeal. As demand for the colorful heroes grew in the late 1950s, DC Comics reacted by revamping many of their greatest heroes from the Golden Age - heroes like the Flash, Green Lantern, and the JLA.

But they also expanded their current superhero franchises, with one of the most important being the Superman titles, headed by editor Mort Weisinger. The Man of Steel was already featured in several DC titles - Superman, Action Comics, World's Finest (teamed with Batman), and Adventure Comics (featuring his adolescent exploits as Superboy). Under Weisinger, however, the Superman mythos underwent a sustained expansion, with the introduction of the Phantom Zone, multi-colored versions of Kryptonite, and Krypto the super-dog (as well as the rest of the super-pets).

But Weisinger's most notable contribution to the "Superman Family" was the introduction of Superman's long-lost cousin, Kara Zor-El - Supergirl! Supergirl exploded into Superman's life in Action Comics #252. Although not the first time Superman had encountered a "Supergirl" - see the first adventure in this volume from Superman #123 - the introduction of Kara would become an important milestone in the Man of Steel's mythology. Escaping from the doomed city of Argo, Krypton's last surviving remnant, Kara is sent to Earth in a rocket to be reunited with Superman, and under his guidance is trained to become one of Earth's greatest heroes..

Supergirl's early adventures, charmingly crafted by writer Otto Binder, had Supergirl's actions always hidden from society, giving her the status of "Superman's Secret Weapon." But inevitably Supergirl became a public figure, even breaking the bonds of the 20th century to fight alongside the Legion of Super-Heroes. In later years, with the coming of the universe-altering Crisis on Infinite Earths, Kara met a hero's fate, dying while saving her last family member, Superman.

Supergirl's death was a most emotional event for professionals and fans alike. But let's not talk about the end. This is the beginning. So let us return to a simpler time, as a 15-year-old girl learns to fly, and learns to be a hero.