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Pre-Crisis Supergirl

Baffled, Superman? Let me tell you my story, as my parents told it to me! When Krypton blew up, you were not the only one to escape alive...
Kara, Action Comics 252

Superman: Yes, I know it was heartbreaking, Kara! I was orphaned from my parents the same way! As a baby, I was also shot away in a space rocket by my father, Jor-El!
Supergirl: Jor-El? Why my father's name was Zor-El, your father's brother!
Superman: Great Scott! Then you're my — cousin!

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Supergirl: While you were gone, I used my super-hearing and heard many Earth-girls' names! I thought of a good one for myself... Linda Lee! How's that?
Superman: Er... As good as any! (thinking) Lana Lang was my girlfriend when I was Superboy, and Lois Lane replaced her when I became Superman! By sheer coincidence, she picked the same initials... L. L.!

Bystander: Good luck! We miss Superman, but we're glad you're taking over for him!
Supergirl: ... I never thought it would turn out this way... All the time I was Superman's secret emergency-weapon, I eagerly looked forward to the day when I could operate openly! Now that it's finally happened, I — I feel no happiness at the "glory" that's now... mine...
Superman vol 1 #149: The Death of Superman!

Superman: Still thinking about giving up your Supergirl identity, Kara?
Supergirl: I don't know, cousin Kal-El — Maybe! This life of a super-heroine takes up too much of my time... sets me apart from everybody else! I want an ordinary life — with a husband and children — free to do what I choose!
Superman Vol 1 #282

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Besides, I could do with the time to myself... to sit back and think. It's selfish, I know, but I deserve... Whoa! There you go again, Linda!
There's nothing selfish about wanting to get into yourself for a while instead of thinking about the whole blasted world! I do enough of that as Supergirl — and wasn't the whole reason for this move... to give myself space to be just plain Linda Danvers?
I've been Supergirl for such a long time, it seems. Not that I'd give that up for anything... but I feel like I've totally lost hold of the part of me that doesn't scoot around the universe in shorts and a cape! I've forgotten what it feels like to be just a person... Instead of a symbol!
Kara, The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl Vol. 1, issue 1

I hate thinking of the fortune in ammunition thugs like you have wasted on me over the years!
Kara, The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl Vol. 1, issue 12

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Lieutenant Peters: You wanna play cop, join the department and get yourself a badge! Until then, stay out of my way!
Supergirl: You need a hint as to what you can do with your badge, Peters?
The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl Vol. 1, issue 12

We fight to live as long as we can. That's the only way to live... and to be able to live with yourself.
Supergirl, DC Comics Presents vol 1 #86

Supergirl: Batgirl — you called me?
Batgirl: The city... it's so empty. Mostly everyone is staying inside... with their loved ones... awaiting the end. I — I think this time it's really coming.
Supergirl: I know the feeling. And you're right — hardly anyone's outside. Not even the criminals. But there must be a way to stop whatever's out there. I'm not ready to give in so easily.
Batgirl: Supergirl... Linda — I've faced death so often because I never truly believed I would die. But now — Now I feel so useless, so helpless, so worthless — and so very, very scared.
Supergirl: Everyone is, Barbara. I've spoken to Superman and the Titans — They say Flash may have died. And other heroes... some villains, too — have disappeared. I'm scared, too — but I can't let that stop me from doing what I have to.
Batgirl: Easy for you to say. Look at your powers, I-I'm nothing. I-I don't think I was ever cut out for playing hero.
Supergirl: Barbara, there are thousands of people out there — without powers like mine... the police, firemen, soldiers — They're all ordinary people trying their best to keep this world from falling apart before its time.
— The final conversation between Kara Zor-El and Barbara Gordon back in the Silver Age when they were good friends, Crisis on Infinite Earths #4

Superman: C'mon, Kara... Don't give up. You'll make it. Pl... Please... Please stay with us.
Supergirl: I... I can't. B... But it's okay... I knew what I was doing... I wanted... wanted you to be safe... You mean so much to me... so much to the world.
Superman: Y-you succeeded in destroying the machines.
Supergirl: Thank Heaven... the worlds... have a chance to live. Y-you're crying... Please don't. You taught me to be brave... and I was... I... I love you so much for what you are. For how... good you are...

We don't do it for the glory. We don't do it for the recognition... We do it because it needs to be done. Because if we don't, no one else will. And we do it even if no one knows what we've done. Even if no one knows we exist. Even if no one remembers we ever existed.
Christmas with the Super-Heroes #2 , "Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot"

That was the last time I saw Richard. Tonight I know what it is to be human. Tonight my super skin is still invulnerable, but my Richard is never coming back, and my heart is broken into a million pieces.
Supergirl, Solo #1

Superman: It's why I'm always in awe of you.
Supergirl: Me? You're joking.
Superman:No. Really. I act as a deterrent to those who do bad. I react to events after they happen and try to fix them. But you don't wait. You're always thinking of ways to use your powers to help others before they even know they need help. And you bring caring and wamrth everywhere you go. I've never quite said this before, but for most of my life, I thought I was alone in the universe. You came to Earth and your optimism and cheer helped me through the times when it looked like the bad guys could win. You've not only touched my life, but everyone else's. And we're all so much better because you're here.
Supergirl: I don't know what to say —
— Earth-1 Superman and Supergirl, Convergence: Adventures of Superman #1

Oh, dear God. Did my death mean anything? Did I help them save the world?
[beat]
No. I can't think that way. Even if all my death means is I've delayed theirs, I still have to save them.
Kara Zor-El, Convergence: Adventures of Superman #1

Post-Crisis Supergirl

I... I thought I was helping. I mean, what's the use of having all this strength and everything if I can't use it to fix things?
Kara, Supergirl vol. 5, #20

Supergirl: No, listen to me. I have to say: I know you love me, and that's why you feel a need to act like my big brother or my dad — But you're neither one! Maybe I need to learn things the hard way. But I am learning! I want to be a family with you and Uncle Jon and Aunt Martha, but I don't need your... validation! I can get by on my own terms, and I'm doing just fine, and —
Superman: I know.
Supergirl: ... ... What?
Superman: I know you're doing fine. That's what I want to talk about. You made one of your worst mistakes ever with Air Force One, but you bounced back from it and did some real good in Washington. And I don't want you feeling like you're in my shadow.
— Supergirl vol. #5 issue #22

Oracle: Just rest easy knowing you did something special today.
Supergirl: You really think so? Do you think this one day is going to make a difference?
Oracle: I know so. Never discount the healing power of a little hope, Kara.

Clayface: You got quite the attitude there, honey. Let's see if you're still so full of snark after I — snap you in half!
Supergirl: I'm sorry, but you seem confused. Just 'cuz I let you land a few easy blows — (uses freezing breath) that doesn't meant we're having a fair fight! (dragging him upwards)
Clayface: Wh— What are you... doing...?
Supergirl: To call you "lame" and "ever so slightly beneath me" would be the understatement of the century. But it's been a bad few weeks. A shame you just happened to be the whipping boy I was looking for.
Supergirl vol. 5, #33

Lana, if you can hear me— SAY something! Lana! I KNOW you're IN there! Let her body Go, you insect FREAK! Get OUT!
Supergirl, Supergirl vol. 5 #50

Supergirl: (while ripping her top off to reveal her costume beneath it) Aren't you gonna...you know...
Batgirl: Not unless you wanna see my bra.
Supergirl: Does it have a bat on it?

Superman: I'll handle him. You need to do something else. Brainiac's fired some kind of weapon at the Sun. Kara. Whatever is heading towards the Sun, you need to stop it. If it gets there, it's going to trigger a supernova. And that fire will engulf the Earth.
Supergirl: I-I'm not fast enough.
Superman: Yes, you are.
Supergirl: I can't do it.
Superman: Yes, you can.
Supergirl: I'm scared.
Superman: It's okay to be scared.

New 52 Supergirl

Dad. Kal. H'el. Siobhan. They ALL let me down. They all broke my heart. And now THIS. No more. Nobody gets away with hurting me ever again. Not THIS time!
Kara, Supergirl vol. 6, issue 28

Lobo: Bloody Nass! That ship was custom built! The things I did just to pay for it...!
Kara: Don't worry... You'll pay for them ALL.
Kara, Supergirl vol. 6, issue 28

Kara...? I'm your friend, remember? Whatever's happened, you don't have to hurt anyone.
Siobhan "Silver Banshee" Smythe, Red Daughter of Krypton

Supergirl: You don't understand. And neither do you. I'm not a piece of luggage. I'm not a problem for the grownups to solve.
Superman: It's not like that. We all just want to help you.
Supergirl: You're doing it again. Who says I need any help? The more I think about it, I don't care that I can't get this off. Maybe I should stay this way! Maybe that's healthy! They don't repress how they feel. They live how they want, and they don't care what other people think of them. If people don't like them, that's not the Red's problem.
Superman: You know what, Kara? Ever since you showed up on Earth, you've been trying to get me to do one thing — leave you alone to let you live your own life. You've been so focused on just being angry — yes, you lost your home, and that's terrible, but you can't bring it back.
Supergirl: What are you saying?
Superman: You've been choosing anger instead of acceptance for so long that you've become anger. You want to be your own person? Good. Be your own person. I just hope you like who you turn out to be.

Supergirl: How could anyone make it their mission in life to murder whole worlds? Can you imagine what an abomination that is to an orphan from a dead planet? [...] This world-killing stuff... it hits a nerve. It makes me furious, and the ring just fans the flame!
Supergirl, vol. 5, #30

Wasn't sure this would work — that the Sun would revive me like a shot of adrenaline to the heart. But this seemingly insignificant yellow star has been the wellspring of my power ever since Father sent me here. And I have never drank so deep from that wellspring. Never felt so strong!
Kara, Supergirl vol. 6, issue 33

For better or worse, this planet is my home now. I want to live among its people. Real people living real lives. The lives we've fought so hard to protect. Or did you forget that?
Kara, Supergirl vol. 6, issue 36

You can do this. You're so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. Sure, our family shield can be a target. But it's also a badge of honor that I know you wear proudly each and every day.

Rebirth Supergirl

Zor-El: The Kamnium in the lake petrified these animals ages ago. They're not going anywhere.
Kara: Exactly. They're stuck here. But If I holo-photo them all, then a little piece of them can escape with me. It's pretty strange, I know. Everyone else thought so.
Zor-El: That's because no one else would ever see it that way, Kara. I would never say that's strange. That's Hope. That's what the crest we wear stands for. That's why I'm proud you're my daughter.
Supergirl vol. 7 #1

Others

Kara Zor-El is different to Kal-El because she is a character formed in the run up to the Silver Age. Supergirl is what Superman would have been like if he’d been created closer to the Merry Marvel Age of fractured and dysfunctional superheroes.
Her cousin still bears the fingerprints of being forged in a conservative war-torn era: good was good and bad was bad (with no middle ground), school teachers and police officers were always to be trusted, and heroes never doubted themselves. But Kara was a product of a more nuanced and complicated time. Authority figures were sometimes corrupt, villains could sometimes have good reasons behind their misguided actions, and heroes were allowed to doubt and fail.
Kal-El is a superhero who adopts the identity of a normal person; Kara Zor-El is a normal person who adopts the identity of a superhero. The former is classic Golden Age, the latter is trademark Silver Age. And that’s why it is important that Supergirl is not treated as just Superman with boobs!

Supergirl to most people just seems like a female version of Superman. However saying that is only skin deep. The most classic origin for Kara is the same as Superman with a few different details. Cousin of Kal-El, Kara Zor-El is the daughter of Zor-El and Allura. Believing his brother Zor-El prepared for the destruction of Krypton not by trying to escape but actually creating technology that allowed Argo City to survive the explosion of the planet. Argo City drifted through space for years with the Kryptonians learning about the adventures of Superman through comic book tech. However Argo City was threatened and then destroyed by a shower of Kryptonite meteors. To save their daughter's life, Kara's parents crafted both her a rocket and costume to take to Earth. That way when Kara found her cousin, he would now she's family.
This story has been changed up and modified with the different version of Supergirl. What I've loved about the origin of Supergirl though is the fact, she grew up on Krypton. Superman is the Last Son of Krypton but its more a title than anything else. He grew up on Earth raised by the loving Kents who really helped make Clark into the hero he would become. Kara is completely different. She grew up in an alien (to us) society. Superman is a human in an alien body, Supergirl is an alien. This aspect of her character has been more played up in more modern versions of the character. In fact this is a very classic science fiction area where Kara can grow. She gets to be a reflection of humanity, learning what it means to be human.

Superman is written one way. He is the ultimate hero, the ultimate good guy, the one who is able to see the 'right' thing to do and does it. For me that makes him difficult to relate to. He is invulnerable, unstoppable, bigger than life, and completely ethical. I am not that good. I am human with human foibles and failings. I can aspire to be Superman, but I can't really relate to him.
And I think that therein lies what I love about Kara. I was drawn to comics because I like the genre. I like reading about super-heroics. I was drawn to Supergirl because she had those powers, she lived those stories, but she also seemed to be trying to find herself too. She could even fail, just as I could fail.
So when she struggled with her relationships or wondered if she would forever be alone, I 'got' that. When she was trying to figure out what she wanted to do in life ... TV reporter, soap opera star, guidance counselor, or grad student... I understood that too. And when, unlike Superman, she got frustrated and lashed out swiftly and violently against villainy, something we have seen throughout her comic career, I could understand that response. She never seemed as restrained and staid as Superman. She might even have a temper like I do. She was easy to relate to and as a result a better read.


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