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Dance of the Puppets

Like a bat on a hot tin roof since August 2005

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Other time She dated a Girl

Adventure Comics #384 (Supergirl Showcase vol. 4 maybe, one day)

Now it has to be said, Silver Age Supergirl is a terrible flirt. In fact it's Supergirl standard plot trope #2: Supergirl falls for someone inappropriate and it all goes horribly wrong. Consequently, it's hardly surprising that she'd occasionally fling herself at a guy who was actually a girl in disguise.

No, I lie. That's still weird. But it is all very Shakespearian. Except, despite all the cross dressing, Shakespearian couples invariable end up as male/female.

So in Adventure #384 Linda is jealous of her friends of the issue, who have been computer dating. She's sad that she can't use the service to get a proper match because she couldn't give her true details, and anyway, no Earth boy would be up to her standards.


It then occurs to her that she can use Superman's super computer as a dating aid. Superman is a bit put out at this frivolous usage of his technology, but he will get his own back, oh yes.

Superman's advanced high tech computer concludes that Supergirl would be best matched with Volar of the planet Tomar. Why it picks this person requires some speculation. I'm guessing that either 1) Superman, at his most passive aggressive fixed the results, b) the computer knows more about Supergirl than she's admitted to herself, or iii) it's a piece of junk.

Superman warns her off following the machine's advice, but in a vague way, so that when she gets back he can be all "I told you so" even though he didn't bother to give her the information he has that would have allowed her to make a much more informed decision.

Superman really is a dick sometimes.

Supergirl flies to Tomar for the weekend, and immediately finds Volar. He invites her home to meet his parents, which is maybe moving a little fast, but she's keen. Meeting Volar's father, she notices that his mother is treated as a servant. Tomar explains that women are considered inferior on his planet. It's been this way for centuries, since some galactic Republican misogynist stopped by to preach that women need to be kept in their place, and zapped everything with an X chromosome with his Suppressor Ray to make them docile and obedient. And apparently all the guys went "sure, why not?", subsequently indoctrinating all women from infancy to see themselves as inferior.


The two continue about their superheroing business, catching crooks and rescuing people, but Supergirl finds herself mocked and belittled because she's female. Whether this is the first time Supergirl has faced prejudice, I don't know, but she doesn't like it.


But then she's also put out that Volar is failing to, um, put out, complaining that after several hours in her company he hasn't yet tried to kiss her or even hold her hand.

Later that day, while spying on Volar having a quiet chat with his father, Supergirl learns that Volar will have to give up his career as a superhero the very next day, as they've run out of a mysterious serum and can't make any more. His father tells Volar to get rid of Supergirl, so she won't see what happens.

She hangs about all night, and when they see she's still there in the morning they invite her in. The shock sends Supergirl fleeing back to Earth "where I belong!"


Yes, you've guessed it. Volar is a girl in disguise. The mystery serum just made her boy mask work. She had planned to give up being a superhero and go back to being a second class citizen once she was no longer able to keep up the facade of being a guy, but Supergirl's example has inspired her to continue her career, despite how she knows she will be treated, and maybe she can set an example that will fight against the prejudice.

Supergirl comes off as spectacularly self-centred here. She's embarrassed by her own behaviour, and can't see beyond that to the plight of her colleague, so ground down by prejudice that she has to save the world dressed as a guy or she won't get any respect, or the society which has cast their entire female population into virtual slavery on the word of some visitor who, by his own admission, was out to get back at all women because he got dumped. But then, as is clearly indicated, Superman knew about the entire situation beforehand, and he was entirely okay with it.



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