...AND THE SUPER-HORSE YOU RODE IN ON
In previous articles, we've looked at the strange sexual hijinx surrounding Superman, Batman, and various other superheroic icons of the early 1960s, and we even gave a passing glance to Superman's adorable little teenage cousin from Krypton, Supergirl. Now I think it's time to take a closer look at the Last Daughter of Doomed Krypton, and a couple of her more deeply disturbed relationships:
Superman & Supergirl -
That's right, you non-comics geeks, you read it here first. Much though you may wish I'm making it up, the June 1962 issue of Action Comics (#289) made it pretty explicitly clear that Superman, the Man of Steel, is warm for the form of his barely nubile jailbait cousin, Supergirl. (And let's be clear, here; Supergirl's origin story in ACTION COMICS #252 tells us quite explicitly that Supergirl's father is the brother of Superman's father, so they are first cousins by blood, related in exactly the same way as you are to that total babe of a first cousin you used to practice making out with and caught total hell for from your and his/her parents when they walked in on you when you were 12... like they never did it when they were kids, the hypocrites).
Of course, there are some states of our fine Union where first cousins can legally marry and even gestate together (and I think Florida may well be one of them) but incest isn't the only issue here. (There's some fine wordplay potential in the phrase 'State of the Union' as combined with the concept of regional laws allowing first cousins to marry, but it's early and I'm too tired to come up with it. Sorry.) All through the 1950s and 1960s, National's super-characters were pretty much frozen in age. Superman, in fact, remained thirty-something from 1939 on up through the late 1960s, when someone declared he was 29 (an age he remained at until around 1985), and Supergirl, while her age was never really specified, was pretty clearly around 13 or 14 years old in her debut, and in the manner of comic books, she remained pretty much that age for most of a decade, until the early 1970s, when abruptly she was old enough to go to college (an age she remained, apparently, until 1985, when she died heroically during the pretty much appalling CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS).
So even if the whole kissin' cousins thing doesn't trouble you overly, let's keep in mind that ACTION #289, in which Superman offhandedly remarks that he "could only marry a lovable superwoman like [Supergirl]", and then sighs heavily as he mentions that 'unfortunately', Kryptonian law forbids first cousins to marry (yeah, buddy, Metropolis law, too), Superman is basically making a pretty direct pass at a 14 year old.
Between this and all the super-powerful jewelry Supes kept giving to Jimmy Olsen all through the Silver Age, you really have to wonder exactly what weird lizards were living in The Head of Steel. You also have to wonder why neither Superman nor Supergirl ever happens to mention what Kryptonian law thinks about a 30 something year old man putting the wood to a vulnerable, dependent 14 year old girl, but maybe Krypton is like Colorado, where you can legally have sex with a 12 year old as long as you marry her first. (This is actually true; and I think it's true in Georgia, too.)
Now Supergirl, perhaps thrown into a panic attack by the notion of her groaty dirty old perv of a cousin hauling her into the coat-room at the next Legion of Superheroes reunion and feeling her up thoroughly, instantly decides, in the manner of meddling female relatives since time immemorial, that Superman desperately needs to get himself a non-Kryptonian date, and lickety damned split, too. Since the Silver Age super-types could pretty casually travel in time, she first lures Superman back to Ancient Greece in the hopes he might get a raging woody for Helen of Troy. When that doesn't work, she apparently reasons that if Clark likes her, he must prefer blondes, so she then gets him to fly into 2972, where their future pals the Legion of Superheroes have grown up into adults, so she can try to fix him up with the now fully mature Saturn Woman. (Supergirl just doesn't seem to understand that Superman likes 'em young, or she'd have sicc'ed him on the 14 year old Saturn Girl back in 2962. But then, I'm sure she loves her cousin and she's doubtless trying hard to give him the benefit of the doubt.)
Supergirl's plan seems to work at first, as Saturn Woman and Superman commence to mug it up quite steamily underneath the mistletoe... only to be embarrassed when Lightning Man (hey, I don't make up these names) comes roaring out of the next room to demand what the hell Superman thinks he's doing, making out with his wife for twenty minutes, druidic herb sprig or no frickin' druidic herb sprig. (A better question might have been exactly what the married Saturn Woman was doing playing tonsil hockey with the Metropolis Marvel for nearly half an hour, but Lightning Man never asked that, I suppose because the defense "Well, if Superman wants to stick his tongue down my throat, what can I do to stop him" is pretty irrefutable... plus, Saturn Woman has telepathic powers, and if I were married to her I'd try pretty hard not to piss her off overmuch, too.)
It's about this time that Superman makes his rueful confession regarding how he could only ever really marry someone like his sweet little cousin (good thing Lana and Lois aren't around listening to THAT or they'd just jump off the Daily Planet building in despair) and so, Kara (Supergirl's real name, non-comics fans) then proceeds to try to get Superman shacked up with her final candidate... a totally hot blonde super powered chick who lives on a distant planet and who is pretty much a dead ringer for, as the story notes, Supergirl herself, with a few more years of maturing secondary sex characteristics under (and over) her belt.
This particular candidate, Luma Lynai, Superwoman for her entire world, does indeed fall madly in love with Superman, and he with her, while Supergirl clenches her hands together next to her cheeks and beams at the success of her wily manipulations, in which she has finally managed to get her older cousin fixed up with a woman who, well, looks pretty much exactly like his younger cousin, albeit with somewhat larger boobs. (And yes, the phrase 'what the HELL were the editors and writers THINKING' does indeed leap firmly to mind at this point.)
However, the romance is eventually thwarted because Luma Lynai can't live under a yellow sun (she SAYS the radiation will slowly kill her, but I think she just doesn't like the color it turns her hair) and naturally, Superman, being a complete control freak who always has to be the master of his own domain, can't even consider moving to HER place.
At the end of our reasonably twisted tale, having utterly failed to successfully foist her randy old cousin off on some other unwitting dupe, Supergirl decides to 'let him handle his own love life from now on', a phrase I myself tend to think is probably a pretty straightforward euphemism for 'fine, then, if he doesn't like any of the girls I found for him, the sonofabitch can just jerk off!'. Which, when you think of it, brings a whole new meaning to the term 'Fortress of Solitude'.
However, it should be noted that if Supergirl occasionally decided to give her poor horny old cuz the occasional mercy hand or blow job while they were both all alone in their insanely isolated arctic retreat, who would know? And if anyone ever found out, who's going to bitch at the most powerful humanoid beings in the entire universe about it, or anything else, for that matter?
Besides, if you take Larry Niven's "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" seriously, you'd have to admit that Supergirl is pretty much the only safe lay Superman is ever going to have access to... at least, until DC buys up Fawcett's characters in the 1970s and Mary Marvel suddenly appears on Earth-National.
Now, disturbing though this particular romantic near-relationship was, it doesn't hold a candle to perhaps the sickest chapter in Super-romance ever published by a mainstream comics company, which is to say, the time that Supergirl dated her own pet horse, Comet.
You think I'm kidding, but honestly, we're not that lucky. Comet the Super Horse, who was one of Supergirl's favorite pets, was in fact a centaur from ancient Greece who had, through magical misadventures, been transformed entirely into a horse, and then, to kind of make up for it, had been given the 'powers of the gods', which were pretty much the same powers as Superman and Supergirl have. Biron (his original name as a centaur) was then trapped on a distant planet for a few thousand years and only freed when Supergirl's Kryptonian escape rocket came tearing by and serendipitously shattered the radiation bands holding him imprisoned. He then followed her rocket back to Earth and decided to team up with her and help her fight crime, in gratitude for her saving him.(See Adventure Comics No. 364, January 1968, "The Revolt of the Super-Pets").
What makes this even weirder and more potentially sicko is that in a later story, Comet gets the ability to regain his human form whenever a comet is visible in the Earthly sky. Naturally, they had to do one Supergirl story where a comet comes buzzing through, Comet (the horse) regains his human form, takes on the name "Bronco" Bill Starr, rodeo rider, accidentally runs into Supergirl, and the two of them fall in love. (See Action Comics No. 301, June 1963, "The Secret Identity of Super-Horse", later reprinted as "Supergirl's Cowboy Hero" in a Supergirl All Romance Stories 80 Page Giant, which was where I first read and goggled at it unbelievingly when I was around 10.)
As you'd expect, Comet in his human form couldn't quite bring himself to tell the Maid of Steel that he was actually... er... her horse... (not to mention a tiny leetle bit older than her, like, a few millenia) and although they did a fair amount of tongue wrestling given the editorial constraints of the era, eventually the comet (the one in the sky, fella) continued on its path and Supergirl's latest paramour went all four legged again. Supergirl never knew what became of the poor goop and I fairly distinctly recall the story ending with a panel showing Supergirl snuggling up to her big white superhorse, petting him while sighing something like "Gosh, I wonder if I'll ever see him again", while Comet thought something like "If only I could tell her... but even if I could, it could never be!"
Or if it could, it would be the sort of thing you can only ever find footage of on underground European websites.