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First use of Supergirl by DC (1944!)

21 May 2020 06:36 #68084 by TwiceOnThursdays
First use of Supergirl by DC (1944!) was created by TwiceOnThursdays
So not sure who will care about this.  And I ramble a bit at the setup... because I'm a geek.

I am first off a "comic book reader" (I like comics). but I also collect.  I'm collecting various things but my primary focus is SWM-ish comics.  I'm close to getting every comic She-Hulk has appeared in for example.

One of the things that I had was (ignoring graphic novel reprints) I had every comic that had "Supergirl" in the title.  (Or so I thought.)  This doesn't include Action Comics 252 (or the lesser-known actual first appearance of a Supergirl character, Superman 123  which I know people here know about), or the Action Comics that has her name under Action Comics (though I have those anyway).  Just if the actual registered title contains Supergirl I have it.  I also don't give a shit about variant covers (but have a lot of those too.)

Tonight I finally got around to using a new site to look for things. The old site I loved (comicbookdb.com)  got bought out by CBS, turned off, and then added to their site  comics.com (but it doesn't work for months in now).   So I went to "Grand Comics Database".  It's not as good when looking for characters, but I can probably make it work. (It uses strings to denote characters, not a linked DB entry so you can't tell one version of Titania apart from another. sometimes it adds the secret identity but not 100% of the time so ... messy but doable) 

It's missing Supergirl titled comics I have.. .but I found some I didn't own.  3 were easy buys on ebay (A comic I thought was a GN reprint but wasn't, and a reprint for Mattell and one for Walmart. You know you are crazy when you're buying special reprints of a comic book.).

But the last one is something I'd not seen before.  The VERY FIRST use of Supergirl by DC comics.  An ashcan B&W Comic printed in _1944_ to secure the copyright.  They also printed a "Superwoman" one.  Since Superman 123 is from 1958, I thought it was an error.  Until I looked at the cover scan.

www.comics.org/issue/213359/

Also *sob* I will never own it as there seems to be ONE of them.  Not "one left", there was one made.  Or at least that's what this article says.

chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/10/26/comic-ex...irl-comic-from-1944/

So as I said, just a weird bit of history that I was unaware of.  I found it interesting, so maybe someone else does too.

So now I have "All copies of comics with Supergirl in the title ... that she actually appears in..." (also, I only worry about US versions as no way am I going to chase down foreign comics unless there is something special about it.)
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21 May 2020 06:57 #68085 by TwiceOnThursdays
Replied by TwiceOnThursdays on topic First use of Supergirl by DC (1944!)
Guess I should include an image of it.

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22 May 2020 22:07 #68103 by AuGoose
Replied by AuGoose on topic First use of Supergirl by DC (1944!)
The logo looks strangely modern and somewhat out of place on that cover. I'd want to know more about the provenance there. Combined with her complete absence in the doodles, I'd have to wonder if that wasn't photoshop'd together.

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22 May 2020 22:26 - 22 May 2020 22:28 #68105 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic First use of Supergirl by DC (1944!)

AuGoose wrote: The logo looks strangely modern and somewhat out of place on that cover. I'd want to know more about the provenance there. Combined with her complete absence in the doodles, I'd have to wonder if that wasn't photoshop'd together.


Given it was the ultimate "one off", as in, only a single copy ever printed, it's really a draft or rough cut, which could explain the simplistic organization of the cover. Detective comics of that era had fairly busy covers with lots of color. 

Detective Comics were around since 1937 and the Superman issue of 1939 had the same style of printing on the title, so that at least fits. 

Didn't someone say this was just a gimmick to ensure they had legal ownership (copyright or trade-name) on the label Supergirl. 

Reminds me of Netflix or Amazon today putting their movies into a couple of theaters for a few days to try and justify them as being "released movies", even if all but a very small handful of people are going to stream it. Working the system. 

Shadar
Last edit: 22 May 2020 22:28 by shadar.

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22 May 2020 23:10 #68106 by TwiceOnThursdays
Replied by TwiceOnThursdays on topic First use of Supergirl by DC (1944!)

shadar wrote:

AuGoose wrote: The logo looks strangely modern and somewhat out of place on that cover. I'd want to know more about the provenance there. Combined with her complete absence in the doodles, I'd have to wonder if that wasn't photoshop'd together.


Given it was the ultimate "one off", as in, only a single copy ever printed, it's really a draft or rough cut, whichcould explain the simplistic organization of the cover. Detective comics of that era had fairly busy covers with lots of color. 

Detective Comics were around since 1937 and the Superman issue of 1939 had the same style of printing on the title, so that at least fits. 

Didn't someone say this was just a gimmick to ensure they had legal ownership (copyright or trade-name) on the label Supergirl. 

Reminds me of Netflix or Amazon today putting their movies into a couple of theaters for a few days to try and justify them as being "released movies", even if all but a very small handful of people are going to stream it. Working the system. 

Shadar


Here’s a Superman cover from 1944, the logo does look the same to me.  (But if someone were faking it, you’d hope they’d get that part right.)



And yes the news article says Gary Colabuono, the guy who has it, says it was to secure copyright on names.   He’s also the person listed on the GCD page, so he is a single source of info.

OTH, I googled the guy. He was the CEO of the Chicago Comic-Con (before selling to wizard),  He’s an adviser to the Overstreet Comic Guide., ran a line of comic book stores, advises on old comics (etc)..  he’s been involved with comics for awhile.  Doesn’t stop him from making this up, but he’s not some random Joe who claims he found this thing in his garage.

 https://comicspriceguide.com/advisors
 http://www.comiczoneradio.com/gary-colabuono.html

Maybe I’ll see if I can dig up the copyright, as they’d probably have filed one if that was the reason they made it.

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22 May 2020 23:19 - 22 May 2020 23:33 #68108 by five_red
Replied by five_red on topic First use of Supergirl by DC (1944!)

TwiceOnThursdays wrote: But the last one is something I'd not seen before.  The VERY FIRST use of Supergirl by DC comics.  An ashcan B&W Comic printed in _1944_ to secure the copyright.  They also printed a "Superwoman" one.  Since Superman 123 is from 1958, I thought it was an error.  Until I looked at the cover scan.


Yep, this is well known. The scan has been doing the rounds on comic historian web sites for many many years. It wasn't formerly published, it was just thrown together and filed away to provide some kind of legal basis for DC to claim ownership of the Supergirl name. It was around that time that DC were looking into creating Superboy, so presumably they must have thought about securing other variant names.

Nothing about the issue involves a 'Supergirl', aside from the title on the cover. The material is Simon and Kirby reprints, and not even superhero related IIRC. I believe the actual issue itself is now owned by collector Gary Colabuono in Chicago, and he's turned down five figure offers for it.

Possibly some of the rarest Supergirl comics are Super A #4, Super B #4 and Super BB #4, three 1970s education comics Supergirl appeared in as part of Warner Bros' attempts to use DC's popular superhero characters to break into the school textbook market. Each comic is a heavily modified reprint of an existing Supergirl story, with word balloons rewritten to make them suitable for teaching reading. The comics sometimes show up on ebay, but you can usually only purchase them as part of a whole classroom set (including teacher notes.)

Aside from the ashcan, another rare Supergirl comic is Supergirl: Danger on Parade, a 1981 mini-comic giveaway inside Canadian breakfast cereals. It sells for around $75 on the odd occasion that a copy has turned up on ebay, which might not seem like a lot, but the whole comic is less than 20 panels (roughly $4 per panel.)

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R5

Supergirl Pre-Crisis Chronology: www.superwomenmania.com/supergirltl/
Supergirl: the Life and Times of Kara Zor-El: maidofmight.wordpress.com/
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Last edit: 22 May 2020 23:33 by five_red.
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23 May 2020 00:13 #68111 by TwiceOnThursdays
Replied by TwiceOnThursdays on topic First use of Supergirl by DC (1944!)

five_red wrote:

TwiceOnThursdays wrote: But the last one is something I'd not seen before.  The VERY FIRST use of Supergirl by DC comics.  An ashcan B&W Comic printed in _1944_ to secure the copyright.  They also printed a "Superwoman" one.  Since Superman 123 is from 1958, I thought it was an error.  Until I looked at the cover scan.


Yep, this is well known. The scan has been doing the rounds on comic historian web sites for many many years. It wasn't formerly published, it was just thrown together and filed away to provide some kind of legal basis for DC to claim ownership of the Supergirl name. It was around that time that DC were looking into creating Superboy, so presumably they must have thought about securing other variant names.

Nothing about the issue involves a 'Supergirl', aside from the title on the cover. The material is Simon and Kirby reprints, and not even superhero related IIRC. I believe the actual issue itself is now owned by collector Gary Colabuono in Chicago, and he's turned down five figure offers for it.

Possibly some of the rarest Supergirl comics are Super A #4, Super B #4 and Super BB #4, three 1970s education comics Supergirl appeared in as part of Warner Bros' attempts to use DC's popular superhero characters to break into the school textbook market. Each comic is a heavily modified reprint of an existing Supergirl story, with word balloons rewritten to make them suitable for teaching reading. The comics sometimes show up on ebay, but you can usually only purchase them as part of a whole classroom set (including teacher notes.)

Aside from the ashcan, another rare Supergirl comic is Supergirl: Danger on Parade, a 1981 mini-comic giveaway inside Canadian breakfast cereals. It sells for around $75 on the odd occasion that a copy has turned up on ebay, which might not seem like a lot, but the whole comic is less than 20 panels (roughly $4 per panel.)

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Thanks for the extra background on the ashcan!

That teaching set looks awesome.  It’s off my main collecting path, but is in my secondary path (any Supergirl comic).  Depending on what it costs I’ll probably pick it up some day to add to my collection.

One of the things I own is that mini-comic. ;-).  I picked it up one year after getting a nice bonus.   Strictly speaking it’s Canadian so I could have ignored it... but it’s still a Supergirl comic so I picked it up.  Might be my most valuable Supergirl comic ... though I suspect my really nice copy of Supergirl #1 is worth more now (I didn’t pay that for it).   

And that’s why “Supergirl in the title*” (* That she’s in.  And it’s an American comic) is a doable subset.  The first comic that meets that is Supergirl #1 from 1972.  Before that she was in Action Comics, Superman, Superman Family, S’GF Lois Lane, Jimmy Olson, etc....  (I look at your chronology a lot, esp since comicbookdB.com went down.)

I might have all the “Pre-Crisis Supergirl appearing after her death in Crisis” now (including the Xmas comic). I think I’m close to the 1980’s and up for that version of Supergirl.  But it’s an onslaught of books.  Power Girl and Big Barda are easier (I’m close on both).  It helps to have already started with the big issues ...  I will have a complete set of appearances of Power Girl, Big Barda, and She-Hulk some day.

I’ll never finish Supergirl as I probably won’t ever get Action Comics #252 or Superman #123.  Plus if it’s just “Supergirl” holy crap is that a lot of books.
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23 May 2020 04:03 #68113 by andyf
Replied by andyf on topic First use of Supergirl by DC (1944!)
I met  Gary a few times back in the early  90s. He owned a chain of comic shops in the Chicago metro area at the called Moondog's Comicland. I was a loyal customer.

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