Discomfort Food Comics: Supergirl in Adventure Comics #408

Oh! This looks like another fun, innocent Supergirl story! Let’s see what’s in this one. Ahh it’s the one where Supergirl helps a little girl’s trapped ghost find her murdered parent’s dead bodies that are sealed away in the basement of an old house. Typical bronze age co—wait WHAT!!

Hahaha look at that cover!! Few things crack me up as much as ghosts saying something like “Did I?” or “Am I? when asked if they died or how they are alive or whatever. The fact that the girl is in the exact same spot as the painting on the wall only makes it funnier. What a cover! Everybody, this comic is straight bonkers. It starts off like any other standard Supergirl story of the time by writer/artist/editor Mike Sekowsky, assisted on inks by Henry Scarpelli, of Supergirl trying to fit into her civilian identity of mousy brunette Linda Danvers at her job at San Francisco’s KSF-TV News. As always, Supergirl’s eternal rival, That Bitch, Nasty Luthor, tries hard to reveal Supergirl’s identity to the world through an elaborate wig pull for hire scheme on the San Francisco train cars. Pretty standard stuff for the title.

Nasty Luthor is amazing. She is Lex Luthor’s niece, Nasthalthia Luthor, his sister’s kid from Europe. She’s as awful and conniving as Lex and joins him in his quest to make all Kryptonians have a bad day. In previous stories she enrolls in Supergirl’s college hoping to reveal her secret, starts up a motorcycle gang called “Nasty’s Nasties”, who help her spread an all consuming bullying movement on campus and makes life terrible for everyone. Her plans get foiled a bunch but hilariously when they graduate she moves with Supergirl to San Francisco and gets a job as a cub photographer on the same news crew Supergirl gets a job with. She then continuously fucks shit up by trying to pull a “Joan Calamezzo Gotcha” on poor Supergirl in just about every issue. This one is no different.

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Anyways this isnt an article entitled Boss Bitch: Nasty Luthor, so let’s get on to the reason for the season, the horror!! For some reason, the news crew’s job for the day is to shoot an old plantation house. I don’t know why there is an old plantation house in San Fran, but it gives Supergirl the chance to crack some wildly offensive racist jokes with her coworkers

Jesus Christ, Supergirl. I swear, the issue gets better. Stick with me.

Eventually the crew makes it to the plantation house and we get some of that sweet classic horror movie setup. A crazy recluse, Old Man Stanley owns the house and inherited it and the family fortune after his niece and nephew died 40 years ago. Nothing fishy about it. I’m sure the crew will get the puff piece footage they need and be home for dinner.

Nope! Stanley is every bit the creep you’d expect and starts prodding his shotgun into everybody’s face and telling them to get off his land. As the crew packs up, Supergirl sees a little girl’s face in a window and takes a quick snapshot. If you’ve seen any ghost story before you know that, of course, the film shows nobody in the window.

Her male superior calls her honey and kid and little one and casually mansplains how she’s just a little girl and she didn’t see a thing and she’d better not go do something emotional and foolish like investigate. Again, stick with me through the racism and sexism. Nasty overhears this conversation and knows Supergirl is going to go investigate so she also suits up in an outfit that looks like the wildly impractical catsuits Brooke and Rachel wore in that episode of One Tree Hill where they break into the school combined with a GayChingy gimp mask for night camouflage.

Supergirl gets in and immediately sees the little girl who has this totally normal conversation with her. Nothing off about it whatsoever. If there is one thing I’ve learned in life it’s if I ever encounter a little girl in one of those droopy Victorian era night gowns holding some doll, I’m booking it in the opposite direction. If she somehow isn’t a ghoul, she’s on her own. I’m not her parent! She ain’t my responsibility!!

The girl starts leading Supergirl through the old house while warning that Stanley is a bad man and they must be quiet. Unfortunately, Stanley hears something, grabs his shottie and starts looking for somebody to start shooting at. They pull a swerve on the reader and show he’s found Nasty, who is hiding but the guy really does start just firing rounds off at her and she’s forced to reveal herself. We then get a bizarre panel of him ripping her mask off like it’s made of fruit roll-up or something and not the ski mask I assumed it was. Even more evidence it was some edible fun time mask from Nasty’s private collection. Stanley is a Grade A gross creep here. He unsettles me deeply.

The little girl eventually leads Supergirl to the basement where they keep looking while the little girl remarks a classic non terrifying little girl line: “They’re ever so close – I can feel them.” Supergirl finally uses her X-Ray vision after being stuck in this creepy haze and sees something in a wall so she melts it away with her heat vision. Stanley, unfortunately, finally catches up to them and attempts to murder the fuck out of Supergirl. Mind you, he has no idea this is an invulnerable superhero, it’s just a young girl in a wacky mod suit he sees for an instant before he starts blasting with his shotgun he affectionately calls “Martha”. Stanley sucks.

Supergirl calls out to the little girl to tell her it’s safe to come out now to which the girl responds “I know, you’ve found them for me. Good bye.” Supergirl, rightfully, freaks out looking for her and it’s here we finally see what’s in the wall she melted.

GOOD GOD!! So amidst all the silly Nasty drama, we get a scarring story of Supergirl finding some corpses stuffed in a basement wall. Stanley of course, straight up murdered them after their daughter died of the flu. He comes clean in a guilt laden, tortured confession and is hauled away by the police after Supergirl calls it in. Somehow, Supergirl doesn’t realize the little girl was the ghost of the child who died of the flu until she sees her painting when leaving the house.

And with that, our macabre tale ends. Half silly Silver Age plot remnants mixed with half true crime documentary horror stories. It’s the perfect brazen mix to create a whole heaping helping of Discomfort Food Comics to satisfy you for the whole season.

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