Back in 1986, DC Comics released DC Challenge!, a 12 issue maxi-series in the beautiful Baxter format. And this is a truly nutty concept - a round robin book with a new creative team on each issue. And there was no set plot! Each writer would receive the script of the prior issue and was told to simply carry the story forward in any way possible.
I was interested in the concept back when it came out. But I wasn't swimming in cash way back then and so I had to be a bit more frugal in what to buy. So I didn't get it then. Since then I have read how insane it is and so I have been looking for the issues, albeit if cheap.
Well surprise - in the dollar box at my store, there it was - all of it except issue #5. And looking for some bizarreness, I bought issues #1-4 and #6-9. This comic is a trip.
As a result of the format and round robin story-telling device, I feel that each writer was simply trying to create an impossible or insane set-up for whoever was taking over. Dead actors on earth, aliens fighting magic, time traveling heroes, a side trip to Rann, bizarre cliff-hangers, characters from the corners of the DCU (B'Wana Beast, Congorilla, etc.), Albert Einstein as a god-like creature ... whew. I think you need to have ingested mind altering chemicals to follow this.
Anyways, as I was reading Challenge #4, I saw .... SUPERGIRL!
Now maybe you aren't surprised that a book that spanned the entire DCU would include Supergirl. But this issue was released ... when?
4 months after Crisis on Infinite Earths #7!
That's right! Despite being killed by off by Marv Wolfman and a month away from being forgotten by everyone in the DCU, somehow writer Paul Levitz and artists Gil Kane and Klaus Janson didn't get the memo.
It is a cameo. And it is an odd costume. But it is Kara! An extremely rare post-Crisis appearance for the original Supergirl.
Part of the storyline (and please don't ask me to expound, I won't be able to) is aliens coming to Earth to execute ... other aliens! And they have weapons and powers that can defeat even the mightiest of extra-terrestrials.
In this scene, alien super-heroes are tied to a post before an alien firing squad. Superman, J'Emm, J'Onn, and Starfire are all facing those guns.
And so is Supergirl!
But here she is wearing a short sleeve shirt! This certainly isn't the head band, red-shouldered costume she was wearing at this time.
In a faraway shot we see she is wearing the hot pants!
A hot pants, short sleeved Supergirl? I don't think that costume has appeared anywhere else. Was this Kane taking some artistic license?
Regardless, here was Kara once more, just a handful of months after her death, after we had been told she wasn't going to be a part of the DCU. Even if this book is out of continuity, I thought there was an edict to forget about her. (I will admit, Crisis wasn't over yet so the 'no one remembers Supergirl' wasn't in continuity yet.)
Unfortunately, I don't have Challenge! #5 so I don't know how Supergirl escapes this predicament.
But this was an unbelievable and unexpected find in the dollar box. Makes it worth it.