Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Adventures of Supergirl: Is this the 'missing' Supergirl #37?

I'm expecting a couple of issues of K.G. Murray’s Supergirl series to arrive in the mail this week, which I expect will complete my run of this series.

I haven't really earned it. That is, I haven’t put much effort into collecting this series. It’s mainly been a matter of accumulating issues in my travels, picking up issues as they turned up, but never actively seeking them per se. Unlike the Giant Supergirl Album series, which I have sought keenly, I’ve been known to trade or sell my only copies of Supergirl if they would fetch me other K.G. Murray issues or provide emergency collection-funds.

Having said that, I’ve found myself upgrading the odd issue here and there – I think I’m enough of a Planet Comics Tragic to find flat clean sharp copies of almost anything irresistible.

But I’m getting sidetracked – the main thing I wanted to raise here was a question: Is the unnumbered one-shot The Adventures of Supergirl the unnumbered/’missing’ Supergirl #37?

The Superman Presents Supergirl Comic series ran for 34 issues. The series numbering continued for a few more issues, but the series title was in a bit of flux. The second Murray Publishers issue was Superman Presents Supergirl Comic Album #35, sporting a Richard Rae cover; the following issue morphed into Supergirl Album #36; and Superman Presents Supergirl #38 appears some time later as the last numbered issue of the series.

Supergirl was not the only series to experience title flux circa 1978-1980. Many K.G. Murray titles from this period present tracking challenges as they changed from the Planet Comics logo to Murray Publishers, Murray the Cat, Federal and related one-shots. And other series also seem to have missing issues in this period of instability (see previous blog on Super Heroes Album #18).

To the best of my knowledge, there is no Supergirl issue #37. I have checked with a number of collectors, and no one can recall ever seeing a copy.

James and I have discussed this issue a couple of times, and we believe it is likely that the unnumbered The Adventures of Supergirl issue above was intended as the 37th issue of the series, but was simply left unnumbered (to give credit where it’s due, I think James was first to mention the possibility).

Based on the cover price, logo and page count (Murray/$0.90/100 pages) it fits between #36 (Murray/$0.90/100 pages) and #38 (Murray/$0.95/100 pages); the title variation is of a piece with the other issues between #’s 35-38; and even the cover sources (Superman Family #’s 197 and 198) predate the image used for Supergirl #38 (Superman Family #199 – although there is a query on whether the left side image on the cover of Supergirl #38 is sourced from the rear cover from Superman Family #196…TBC).

All of which is not conclusive evidence, but it is nevertheless persuasive. I leave open the possibility that there is a numbered Supergirl #37 – but I think if one doesn’t turn up in the next year or so, I’m going to feel confident deeming The Adventures of Supergirl a proxy Supergirl #37, and my run of Supergirl ‘complete’.

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