Supergirl’s comic book history is rife with beautiful art that depicts Kara in a variety of settings and outfits, all from a myriad of different artists.
As Supergirl Season 2 draws nearer, we celebrate The CW’s first season of the show with a look back at our 20 favourite Supergirl comic book covers of all time.
All Supergirl appearances have been considered for this list. This includes everything from her own comic book series to guest appearances in other comics (with the pre-requisite that she must be on the cover).
20] Superman Versus The Terminator – Death to the Future: Issue #3
Although the border for this cover is rather bland and the actual artwork is comparatively rather small, we couldn’t exclude this superb depiction of Supergirl facing off against a group of Terminators. Kara hovers angelically above them, like a burning Angel of Death, amidst a city backdrop. The artwork is rather excellent too, all of which contributes towards a highly unique, franchise-hopping Supergirl cover.
19] Daring New Adventures of Supergirl: Issue #23
There’s nothing quite like a great Kara action-shot and this is one of the best. It’s a Dutch Angle with Kara rushing confidently into battle towards an alien foe. The backdrop also appears to hold what looks like the World Trade Centers, which adds an additional touch of sorrow to the scene. Imagine for a moment being a young child who was into comics during this era and going into a comic book store to find this cover staring at you. We know that we’d pick it up off the shelf, for certain.
18] Daring New Adventures of Supergirl (1982-1984): Issue #11
Despite Kara’s skirt being alarmingly short in this shot, this is a great example of Kara’s might. Kara halts this moving vehicle and the criminals inside by simply standing in its way. Notice the detail of the guns flying through the air, which makes certain that us readers realise that these are criminals and not just civilians. Kara’s victims are also flying sideways out of the vehicle – in true, unrealistic comic book fashion – rather than being crushed at the point of impact. While the large black ‘STOP’ text on the left indicates shouting, there is also an even larger, red ‘STOP’ on the right, which no doubt indicates a command perhaps so loud and powerful that it could only be achieved by someone of non-human origin.
17] Supergirl Vol. 4: Issue #77
With art closer to a Japanese Anime style, this unique cover depicts Kara lifting up a school bus so that a guy can crawl underneath and collect his books and papers. Kara herself wears an upper-class school outfit and the side of the bus reads Leesburg High. It’s a cover that aims for comedy, as the bus driver hangs out of the window and waves his fist at Kara in frustration. The subtitle reads: ‘Hold the Bus… it’s Kara’s first day at School!’. We love this cover for its unique artistic style and for how it shows Kara in an endearing and helpful light.
16] Supergirl Vol. 6 (Rebirth): Issue #2
Supergirl Rebirth (A.K.A. Vol. 6) has only recently started (we’re only one issue in), but there has already been cover art released for upcoming issues. We think this particular piece is from Issue #2, but we’re not certain. Either way, it depicts Kara facing off against Cyborg Superman – who is said to be a prime villain for the series, going forward. The placing of the characters on this cover is interesting; Cyborg Superman is low and underneath Kara, while character is high and therefore, superior to her foe. There is also a wisps of smoke around the bottom of the cover, which might simply be from the clashing laser eye powers, or which might prove to be something more.
15] The Superman Family: Issue #195
There’s one simple reason why we love this cover: it’s the best depiction around of Supergirl besting a male member of the House of El family; in this case – Superboy. His expression is priceless, as he is pummelled by an angry Kara, high above the Earth, amidst the clouds. The quality of the ground art looks a little hurried, but the angled curvature of the Earth adds a nice effect. This is part of a much large cover than spreads onto the back of the comic too.
14] Supergirl Vol. 5: Issue #35
The first thing to notice on this cover is the blood on Kara’s knuckle, which is evidently from her having pummelled her enemy in the face, causing blood to pour out of the mouth and nose of her victim. This level of brutality is something not often seen on comic book covers, let alone on Supergirl covers, and we love the realism and truth in that depiction. Secondly, Kara is caught completely by surprise, mid-assault. Someone literally has Kara in their crosshairs and although she would be impervious to their bullets (unless their are made of Kryptonite), Kara still has a look of complete shock and dismay on her face. We love seeing Kara being confident and authoritative, but there’s something to be said for portraying her weaker, more “human” side too, and here a great amount of uncertainty and fear shows on her face.
13] Supergirl Vol. 4: Issue #50
This is another cover – like the Terminator one – that portrays Kara in an Angel of Death-type pose, with flaming wings symbolising her ability to fly. Impressively, Kara hovers above a seething, writhing army of aliens, who themselves are battling one another to the death. Kara herself holds an expression full of rage and wields a large golden spear, with clear intent to harm. The subtitle also reads: ‘Supergirl Goes to War!”, showing an unabashed desire to depict Kara in all her wrathful glory.
12] Supergirl Vol. 4: Issue #80
The colours of Superman and Supergirl’s costumes have always been strikingly American – depicting bright reds and blues (in line with the colours on the American flag). Both characters were created on American soil, by Americans, so the patriotic origins are charming (if perhaps a little manipulative of the populace, by design, upon their creation). Although Kara wears a different outfit to her usual attire in this cover, it’s still one that holds another colour from the American flag: white. To emphasise the point, Kara literally holds an American flag behind her, on what looks like it could be the Moon (which would make this the famous flag that was planted during that American mission). You can’t get more patriotic than this cover and we love it.
11] Supergirl Vol. 5: Issue #9
Don’t get us wrong – we hate seeing Kara upset, but this depiction of a sad and lonely Kara sitting perched on an asteroid in space is simply beautiful. The subtitle: ‘Lost Daughter of Krypton’ reinforces the loneliness that Kara must feel and there’s something very elegant about her choosing an asteroid field in space as her location of solitude to nurse her feelings. No doubt Kara’s about-turned gaze is fixed on something out of shot, but it’s a stare that almost looks like it is meeting the eye of the reader, creating a voyeuristic feeling of watching someone in their moment of grief.
10] Ame-Comi Girls – Featuring Supergirl: Issue #5
Ame-Comi girls was a series that took a lot of the best female heroines and created very unique (and often sexier) costumes for them. This Supergirl cover is so vibrant, full of colour and full of joy that we had to include it on our list. The art is luxurious and Kara’s costume is daringly different and inventive (right down to her double sleeves). Couple all of this with a shot of Kara in space – which is where we feel her beauty and power shines brightest, and where you get the best feeling of her being an alien – and it all culminates in one very special and fun cover.
9] Superman/Supergirl Maelstrom: Issue #3
Phil Noto’s depiction of Kara is our favourite interpretation of the Maid of Might. While his Superman simply looks like a Jon Hamm rip-off, his Kara has a face both full of beauty and one which also retains the innocence needed for Supergirl. Superman/Supergirl Maelstrom was a limited run of only five issues, all of which showcase Noto’s exceptional talent. This particular cover is our favourite of the five, due to the unique suits that Kal and Kara are wearing, and their mid-action poses. The reason that Kara is beating their foes with a stick is because her and Kal decided to go to a planet where they have no powers, in order to train more effectively.
8] Supergirl Vol. 4: Issue #47
Ensemble covers are always highly impressive and there are a few that feature Supergirl off in the distance, or trailing behind other heroes, but this is one of the only ensemble covers that features Kara bang in the middle as the central focus point. This is also the only ensemble cover that features – as the subtitle claims – Supergirl versus everyone else. As various recognisable and unrecognisable villains surround her, Kara leads the assault by grabbing (who we assume is) Grodd, mid-flight, and raising her fist to drive it into his face. If you look at the gazes of the enemies, they are all focused on Kara. Her ability to dive head first into battle, despite the incredible odds stacked up against her, is commendable of Kara’s unfailing bravely.
7] Final Crisis: Issue #3
While this cover might come across as rather provocative, with the pose that Kara is pulling (pointing towards her mouth), that doesn’t detract from just how utterly gorgeous the art is for this particular piece. It’s a striking close-up of Kara that features her almost across the entirety of the page. Shadow is used to great effect across her body and outfit, and the colour scheme is vibrant and stunning. It’s an image so popular that is has been turned into posters since, and it all stems from Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis.
6] Terror in the Third Dimension – Starring Batgirl and Supergirl and Dracula: Issue #14
Like the Terminator entry earlier on, this is another instance of a popualr cinematic franchise borrowing Kara for their own needs. Here we have Batgirl and Supergirl facing off against Dracula. The notion sounds ridiculous, but it’s the art that draws us to this piece. The shot of Batgirl and Supergirl back to back, with their blonde hair entwining as one, is a very powerful image. We love this kind of sisterhood among our super heroines. Even the background art with repeating Dracula is drawn with a really beautiful touch.
5] Supergirl Vol. 5: Issue #35
Everything about this cover is utterly gorgeous and highly professional. From it elegant art, to its unique use of angles, to its ability to effectively depict Kara mid-flight, it’s a beautiful composition that undoubtedly had a lot of time and effort poured into it. If you look closely at Kara’s feet, you can see a blurriness around them that indicates flight. If you compare this to all of the other heroes around her, none of them have this, despite them also being in (perhaps slower) flight. This makes Kara stand apart from the rest. It’s worth noting too that the artist could easily have depicted Kara flying upwards or sideways, as many artists would opt for, but the artist here chose to have her flying upside down and downwards, which contributes to the unique and tilted feel of this piece.
4] Supergirl Vol. 5: Issue #43
Just like our love of witnessing Kara in space, seeing her floating high among the clouds is just as captivating. It separates her from the world – and thus humankind – and highlights her alien nature. Here the artist uses seagulls to imply that Kara is very bird-like and that she is perhaps closer to being herself when flying among birds in the clouds than being grounded among humans. The content smile on her face says it all; she is happy, gracious and loving doing the one thing that so many of us superhero fans wish we could do – fly.
3] Supergirl Vol. 5: Issue #38
Some artwork stands so far apart from its competition that it’s almost in an art class all of its own. This is one of those, for us. This cover shines with a radiant beauty, depicting Superwoman in the background (in an undoubtedly more refined art style than the drawing of Kara) and Kara in the foreground. The only thing that held this cover from taking a higher spot for us was Kara’s strange pose and also the fact that arguably Superwoman is the prime focus of this piece, not Kara.
2] Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1: Issue #23
This beautiful depiction of Kara in space very nearly made the number one spot for us. Although it does hold provocative content – with Kara’s chest being almost entirely visible beneath her clothing – it is the utterly gorgeous at style (and depiction of a very beautiful Kara) that spurs our love for this. Just like a previous entry in this list, Kara sits atop an asteroid in space, alone and full of power and beauty. She holds a cheeky look on her face that is reminiscent of 50s housewife propaganda.
3] Supergirl Vol. 5: Issue #36
As Season 1 of Supergirl showed, Kara is a furious force when she’s using her laser eye power to full effect. Here, she is depicted clenching her fists and giving the laser eye ability her absolute everything. We also like the little added touch of her laser eye damaging the wording of the title. Beauty and content are the two factors upon which covers should be assessed and this cover hits all bases – it is completely gorgeous, while also effectively showcasing Kara’s personality (here, her determination, endurance and power). This is what make this, for us, the best Supergirl cover of all time.
Did we miss any covers that you hold among your favourites? Has this list highlighted any covers that you hadn’t seen before? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Image credits: DC