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When DC Couldn't Keep Superman and Supergirl's Ages Straight!

This is "How Can I Explain?", which is a feature spotlighting inexplicable comic book plots.

Today, we look at the secret first meeting of Superboy and Supergirl, a secret first meeting that really does not seem to fit the established ages of the two characters at all!

Action Comics #252 came out in 1959 and in that issue, Otto Binder and Al Plastino introduced Superman to his young cousin, Supergirl!

I seriously think that you could power, like, twelve planets based on just the power of Supergirl's adorableness in that Al Plastino drawing. My goodness, she is just so adorable. It makes you wonder what would have happened to the Supergirl feature if Plastino had remained on it. I like Jim Mooney's work, but Plastino, as Supergirl's creator, really nailed a distinct look that was lost a bit under Mooney. Mooney's Supergirl was fine, of course (dude drew her feature for NINE years, after all), but I think something was still a bit lost when Plastino stopped drawing her adventures.

Anyhow, Supergirl than describes to Superman how she managed to survive the destruction of Krypton. As it turned out, Supergirl wasn't even BORN on Krypton!!

So, how old would you say Supergirl is in this story? I think she's 15 years old TOPS (but more likely closer to 13). Superman, of course, was meant to be perpetually 29, but he was never really DRAWN that way. He always seemed to be drawn like he was 35 always. In any event, Superman is clearly about twice her age when she debuted.

We get a definitive age for Supergirl in Action Comics #270, when Supergirl celebrates her 16th birthday...

At the very least, though, even if you're being SUPER conservative with Superman's age, then, she should be about 10 years younger than him, right?

Which, of course, always makes the bit in Action Comics #289 hilariously creepy...

"It's not that you're sixteen, Kara! It's that cousins are not allowed to marry on Krypton. I know it's legal places here. Oh, what I would give to be able to live by those laws! But sadly, no, we're bound by Kryptonian custom, so I can't get with you, no matter how much I want your sixteen your old body."

Okay, so that's all well and good, right?

But then we came to the secret FIRST meeting between Superboy and Supergirl!

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