Must Have: Supergirl

Saturday, February 20, 2016  By  Matt Morrison     No comments

Today’s graphic literature fans are enjoying a golden age of television undreamed of. Whether you’re a fan of superheroics, spy-thrillers, or horror, there’s something for virtually everyone. But what happens when someone goes looking for the books that inspired their favorite shows? More often than not they get confused,.

It’s fairly simple to track down The Walking Dead books. iZombie and Preacher (soon to be a series on AMC) have been collected into neat little volumes. Even the various volumes of Hellblazer aren’t too difficult to navigate for those proud Constantine fans still hoping for a revival on The CW Network. But where do you send the little girls who want to see more Supergirl? The tweens who want to read about The Flash? The teens who want more Green Arrow?

Face Front, True Believers! We’ve got the reading lists to help you save the day!

Supergirl (Updated November, 2016)

Despite migrating from CBS to The CW, Supergirl still proved popular enough in its first season to inspire DC Comics to reprint several Supergirl comics in trade-paperback form as well as soliciting a new digital-first series based on the TV show.

tvAdventures of Supergirl

Written by Sterling Gates
Art by various

Vol. 1 – ISBN: 9781401262655

DC Comics, 2016

A must have. Not only is it written by Sterling Gates, whose work inspired a lot of the Supergirl TV series, but it is directly based on the TV show! 





Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade

Written by Landry Q. Walker
Art by Eric Jones

Old edition – ISBN: 9781401225063
New edition (due out 05/10/16) – ISBN: 9781401263201

DC Comics, 2016

This fun little series should be a must-have for any children’s library graphic novel section. The artwork is cute and the writing is suitable for all ages. A new edition of this hard to find series is due out in May 2016.




sterlingSupergirl by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle

Written by Sterling Gates and Greg Rucka
Art by Jamal Igle and others

New Editions
Vol. 6: Who Is Superwoman? ISBN: 9781401270148
Vol. 7: Friends And Fugitives ISBN: 9781401270155
Vol. 8: Death & The Family ISBN: 9781401229139
Vol. 9: Bizarrogirl ISBN: 9781401270124

DC Comics, 2016

Old Editions
Vol. 6: Who Is Superwoman? ISBN: 9781401225070
Vol. 7: Friends And Fugitives ISBN: 9781401227951
Vol. 8: Death & The Family ISBN: 9781401229139
Vol. 9: Bizarrogirl ISBN: 9781401231699

DC Comics, 2009 – 2011

These four volumes, taken from the pre-New 52 comics, are probably your best bet for teen readers. This was the run that inspired a lot of the Supergirl TV series mythology, particularly her rivalry with Cat Grant. Indeed, writer Sterling Gates has been tapped to write the upcoming comic based on the Supergirl TV series! Another bonus is that artist Jamal Igle eliminated most of the fan service that plagued the book in its early days and was careful to design a more realistically proportioned Kara.

[The following is a look at the other titles available, or soon to be available. They’re not essential titles like the ones above, but your library might still want to have them.]

New 52 Supergirlnew52

By various creators

Vol. 1 – Last Daughter of Krypton ISBN: 9781401236809
Vol. 2 – Girl In The World ISBN: 9781401240875
Vol. 3 – Sanctuary ISBN: 9781401243180
Vol. 4 – Out Of The Past ISBN: 9781401247003
Vol. 5 – Red Daughter Of Krypton ISBN: 9781401250515
Vol. 6 – Crucible ISBN: 9781401255411

DC Comics, 2012-2015

This is included mostly because, as the most recent series, it is the series most librarians will be tempted to order. We can’t recommend this one in good faith, as this Supergirl series is a far darker beast than the more optimistic TV series, with a Supergirl who intentionally tries to separate herself from her more famous cousin and works to help people grudgingly. Additionally, due to continual crossovers with the other Super Family books, the storylines tended to be all over the place.


Supergirl: The Girl of Steel51Z0VlDLdcL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

By various creators

Superman/Batman: Vol. 2 – Supergirl ISBN: 9781401202507
Supergirl: Vol. 1 – Power ISBN: 9781401209155
Supergirl: Vol. 2 – Candor ISBN: 9781401212261
Supergirl: Vol. 3 – Identity ISBN: 9781401214845

DC Comics, 2005-2007

Supergirl: Vol. 1 – The Girl of Steel – ISBN 9781401260934
Supergirl Vol. 2 – Breaking The Chain: ISBN 978-1401264673

DC Comics, 2016

The Girl of Steel and Breaking The Chain collect the first 22 issues of the 2005 Supergirl series. Unfortunately, this series was a bit of a mess with the writer and direction changing four times over the course of the first year. They’re not completely without merit but they are largely inaccessible to new readers, requiring a good general knowledge of the DC Universe at the time. A larger issue is that Kara isn’t so much a character in most of these stories as she is an object to be fought over and the artwork by Michael Turner and Ian Churchill objectifies her even more than the stories!

Supergirl: Vol. 4 – Beyond Good And Evil ISBN: 9781401218508
Supergirl: Vol. 5 – Way Of The World ISBN: 9781401221294

Much like the first three volumes collecting this Supergirl series, the fourth volume by Kelley Puckett suffers from being overly dependent on knowing the events of other comics. By contrast, Way of The World is an excellent stand-alone story in which Kara attempts to use her powers to save the life of one terminally ill boy.


9781401260927Supergirl by Peter David and Gary Frank

Written by Peter David
Art by Gary Frank

ISBN: 9781401260927

DC Comics, 2016

We’re mentioning this one only to warn you off.  This series wasn’t bad but it is bad for newbie comics readers. This volume collects the first eight issues of the 1990s Supergirl comic, starring a version of Supergirl that has no relation to Superman! This Supergirl is a combination of a shape-shifting artificial lifeform from a parallel universe called The Matrix and a teenage girl named Linda Danvers, who died in the middle of a Satanic ritual. And then she becomes an angel. So yeah… the whole thing is confusing as all get out and will undoubtedly annoy your more conservative patrons. So don’t get it.

The Daring Adventures of Supergirl

Written by Paul Kupperberg
Art by Carmine Infantino

Vol. 1 – ISBN: 9781401263461

DC Comics, 2016

This volume reprints the first 12 issues of the 1982 Supergirl series. While it’s debatable how well these stories have aged, they are safe for all ages. For older readers the fact that they feature artwork by Barry Allen’s co-creator and long-time DC Comics editorial director Carmen Infantino might make them worth a look.

Supergirl: The Silver Age

Omnibus Vol. 1 – ISBN: 9781401262464

By various creators

DC Comics, 2016

At $75 this hardcover collection may be beyond the means of most libraries. It may be of interest historically, but unless you have a large population of older comic fans it may be best to give this one a pass.

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