This is “Don’t Send Me No More Letters No.” In this feature I spotlight responses that amuse me for whatever reason by “Superman” family editor Mort Weisinger to letters fans wrote in to the Superman family of titles back in the 1950s and 1960s.
Today, we look at an interesting (but bizarre) explanation for where Supergirl kept her costume while she was in her secret identity of Linda Danvers (same thing applies to when she was Linda Lee).
While there were many different letters sent to the “Superman” titles during the 1950s and 1960s (naturally enough, as it was one of the best-selling comics in the entire comic book industry, rivaled during this time period only by the Walt Disney comic books put out by Dell), there were two kinds of letters that were the most popular types of letters. One was letters that set up the response from Weisinger that would help sell more comics. These letters I suspect were likely faked with some regularity. Like, “Oh man, I would sure like to read a new story about Lori Lemaris.” “Well, you’re in luck, as we have a new Lori Lemaris story next month!” I mean, could they have received SO many letters that they got at least one asking about Lori Lemaris that they held on to until the proper time? Sure, that’s possible, but it seems more likely to me that Weisinger just faked those letters (his kids noted that he would often use the names of their friends for the fake letters – I just don’t know which ones were specifically the fake ones. I just happen to suspect that it was those letters).
The other most common type of letter I have no doubt are for real, and those are letters by fans pointing out minor errors in stories, or rather, trying valiantly to catch the comic in errors. Weisinger would then have to come up with explanations as to why the error was not really an error (which was not that difficult at times, as often the kids writing in just misread the comic) and when he couldn’t, he’d just cop to the mistake.
Sometimes, when trying to explain why something was NOT a mistake, he would come up with some pretty ridiculous reasons to explain why it wasn’t a mistake. That’s what we’re discussing here.
When Supergirl took on the identity of Linda Lee (later, when she was adopted, Linda Danvers), she would do just like Superman did, which was wear her costume under her clothes for a quick change, as seen in this scene from “Action Comics” #305…
However, as you can see from that page, it really doesn’t make sense, since Linda’s outfit had short sleeves, but Supergirl’s costume has long sleeves.
Like this panel from “Action Comics” #309…
Where could her costume be hiding there?
So naturally enough, a reader wrote in with this commentary, and Weisinger’s response to the letter in “Action Comics” #317 was a classic…
Yes, Supergirl’s costume is super-compressed into a fake stick of lipstick.
Naturally enough, later writers all promptly ignored that idea, choosing to just mostly gloss over the problem (and really, it’s a problem that SHOULD just be glossed over), but it’s hilarious that for a moment, the official explanation for Supergirl’s costume was that she kept it super-compressed in a stick of lipstick.
That’s it for this installment!
If anyone else has a suggestion for a good Mort Weisinger reply to an old school fan letter, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!