As a guy, I can tell you that writing female characters presents some unique challenges—not the least of which is trying to sort out their clothes and hair! Back in 1969, Supergirl’s creative team rose to the challenge by engaging readers to come up with costume and hairstyle ideas. Both Action Comics #273 and Adventure #387 ran the following page about her hair:
By the time Action Comics #281 hit the presses, reader votes determined the winner by a huge margin. With nearly as many votes as all other hairstyles combined, the “Campus Cuddle-Bun” style won by a landslide. I would have preferred the “Contempo Cut” perhaps, but the “Pony Tail Sophisticate” really makes the most sense when half of your superhero time is spent flying through the air! As a hairstyle for Supergirl’s secret identity, any of these would work, but if I was flying faster than the speed of sound I would definitely want my hair tied back. And don’t ask me how the “Kitten Cut” would even work. How do you cut invulnerable hair? Maybe her stylist has a machine that pumps out red sun rays.
That settled her secret-identity hair. But as you can see from the fan letters below, Supergirl’s costume was the subject of much discussion. These letters appeared in Adventure #384-395.
Both male and female readers had pretty strong opinions about her costume. Who says guys don’t think about these things?
Here is the panel from Adventure #397 which reveals the winning design.
The next issue, Adventure #398, added to the costume saga by showcasing some of the different designs submitted for consideration. Supergirl speaks to the reader directly, explaining that the winning design was actually a combination of two designs submitted by two different readers. She even asks one to write in because the address got lost!
The final design looks pretty cool to me, but no sooner did it debut than it got drawn wrong! Look closely at the middle panel on the following page and see if you can spot what went missing.
If you said, “The dang S logo on her chest,” then give yourself today’s SuperVision Award!
Supergirl wraps it up in Adventure #398 by speaking directly to the readers again, naming even more contributors and suggesting she might adorn herself in different costumes now and then just to give all the great ideas a chance. How hard would you have geeked out if you got your name mentioned by your favorite heroine?!
This is a really good example of collaborating with readers to get ideas, and honoring them in print for those ideas. Heck, I’m tempted to try my hand at a Supergirl design after this! And if that isn’t enough Supergirl nostalgia for you, head over to The Supergirl Project and go nuts!