Saturday, October 13, 2007



"Out of space from a doomed planet, years ago, there came to earth the
infant who grew up to be mighty Superman! And now, history repeats itself and
another super-being arrives from a far-off world! But this time it's a woman of
super-powers who hurtles to our planet on a strange crusade -- and Superman
finds that a puzzling and perilous problem has come with... The Superwoman from

Tharka of Zor first appeared in Superman #81 (March-April 1953) in the story entitled "The Superwoman from Space." Billions of miles away from Earth, far across space, is the tiny world of Zor. This purple and orange planet (as seen from space) appears from the story to have only one super-powered hero, the orange and green clad Tharka. "Tharka is a mutation, a Zorian born ahead of her time, who has super powers!" She has the ability to fly, a brilliant mind capable of envisioning fantastic inventions, a body strong enough to withstand the shock of being blasted into space in a rocket or of being shot by bullets and super-strength. We do not learn if Tharka is her true name of or only her super-powered identity.

The planet Zor is a smaller planet than Earth, which accounts for the fact (according to Superman) what accounts for super-powers there are only ordinary abilities on Earth. Regarding the technology of Zor, we know they have television (including large viewscreens situated in public places), aircraft similar to helicopters, rockets capable of interstellar travel and, thanks to Tharka, space-television capable of picking up broadcasts on other planets. Goverment includes a councillor, although we do not learn if he is but one of many Council members.

In the story, Tharka comes to Earth on a good-will mission to assist Superman in capturing the gang leg by "Bowtie" Barris. On Earth, Tharka has no powers but Superman secretly assists her in capturing the gang, so that her reputation is not hurt while her fellow Zorians watch on their space-television.


I first read of Tharka from a library checked-out copy of The Great Superman Encyclopedia by Michael L. Fleisher while a young teenager. Always fascinated by obscure heroes, I created an entire team of heroes including Tharka. I situated Zor under the star Arcturus and made the "Guardians of Arcturus" to be that solar system's heroes. Joining Tharka were the Green Lantern Manrys Chi, the Lore-Queen, Sentinel, Spaladorn,Brixam Force, Psychon, Eagle, Mocker and many others. I still have all the sketches and descriptions of these heroes stashed away in a box.

It wasn't until later on in life and the wonder of Bay that led me to my own copy of Supeman #81 and I was able to see what Tharka actually looked like. The story itself is kind of hokey (girl comes to Earth, girl loses powers because our planet is bigger, Lois Lane is jealous, Superman helps girl and sends her triumphantly home), but it introduces yet another fascinating one-shot hero. Tharka, to my knowledge has never appeared again. But do not hold you breath...with the reintroduction today of so many silver-age aspects, Tharka may fly again!

1 comment:

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