Secrets You May Have Missed In The Supergirl Premiere

Every time a comic book is adapted to the big or small screen, there are inevitable secret references just for the real fans. The premiere episode of CBS's Supergirl is no different, as it's chock-full of goodies that'll make some of the most jaded comic book fanatics smile with recognition. In case you missed them, here are some of the best winks and nods from the first episode of Supergirl...

Kara's Threads

At the start of the pilot, we get a glimpse of young Kara Zor-El—the Kryptonian name for our heroine—being loaded into a rocket and sent to Earth after her cousin, Kal-El, aka Clark Kent, aka Superman. The outfit Kara wears bears a pretty striking resemblance to the same duds worn by the Kryptonians in the first couple of Superman films from the late '70s and early '80s. Jor-El would be proud. (But not Marlon Brando—that guy was kind of a jerk about this stuff.)

Kara's Foster Parents

When she arrives on Earth, Superman drops his cousin Kara off with new foster parents, Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers. Eagle-eyed viewers probably recognized Kara's new folks as two familiar super-actors: Dean Cain and Helen Slater, respectively. Cain, of course, starred as Clark Kent and Superman in the 1990s on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, while Slater portrayed the lead role in the (admittedly terrible) Supergirl movie from 1984. Hopefully the two will be back in future episodes with, you know, more actual dialogue.

National City

Just about every major character in the DC Universe has his or her own fictional city to protect; Batman has Gotham, Superman has Metropolis, Green Arrow has Starling City, and the Flash has Central City. But Supergirl never had a city of her own in the comics—which is why it's so cool that the showrunners gave her a brand new one called National City. So what's the significance of such a generic-sounding city? Well, back in the 1930s, the parent company that found so much success with comic books about Superman and Batman was none other than National Periodical Publications. The company later changed its name to "DC Comics," named for its flagship comic magazine, Detective Comics.

Otto Binder Bridge, 6th And Sprang, Gates And Ingle

During Supergirl's first batch of superheroic adventures, we hear the names of various landmarks and streets within National City. When she rescues the crashing airplane, she flies it through Otto Binder Bridge, obviously named after one of Supergirl's creators, writer Otto Binder. Later, she stops a robbery at "6th and Sprang," the cross-street having been named for legendary DC Comics artist Dick Sprang. And finally, the fire that's raging at the corner of "Gates and Ingle" is named for two more comic creators—writer Sterling Gates and artist Jamal Ingle.

Winn Schott

Pretty early in the pilot we meet Kara's best friend at work (and apparent designated love interest), Winn Schott. That, as you might have realized, is a pretty weird and specific name to give a major supporting character in a new TV show. As it turns out, Winn is actually "Winslow Schott, Jr.," the son of Winslow Schott, Sr., better known as the classic Superman villain Toyman. Take a close look at Winn's desk in the Catco offices, and you'll see it covered with toys. Reportedly, Winn's toy-obsessed dad is scheduled to make an appearance later in the series.

Supergirl's Almost-Costume And Headband

While working with Winn on a new superhero costume, Kara sports an outfit with a headband that looks more like a bathing suit than a combat uniform (though, to be fair, it's not like most superhero uniforms are designed for battle—but that's another post). Supergirl has had lots of looks over the years, though the red headband is widely associated with her super-suit from the 1980s. As for the rest of the outfit, a quick Google-search will reveal more than a few similarly revealing costumes for the Girl of Steel. Also—make sure Safesearch is turned on when you look for "Supergirl Costumes," or you might get fired. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Hank Henshaw

The head of the shadowy government organization the Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO) is named Hank Henshaw, and he's a spectacular super-creep from the get-go. As it happens, the decision to make him openly hostile toward Kara is more than just a narrative shortcut to create conflict; Hank Henshaw is better known in the comics as the villain Cyborg, sometimes referred to as the "Cyborg Superman." The story behind his association with Superman and friends is too long to go into here, but suffice it to say that Henshaw may not necessarily be one of the good guys.

Despero Or Jemm?

When Kara first meets up with the DEO, the agency tells her all about the various alien criminals who have escaped onto the Earth. During that scene, we catch several long glimpses of computer monitors depicting all sorts of malevolent-looking bad guys, with one in particular bearing a striking resemblance to at least a couple of extraterrestrial DC Comics characters. The purple-pink bald guy with the bump on his forehead? There's a good bet that's meant to be Despero, a longtime villain of the Justice League (the premiere super-team featuring DC's heroes). In the comics, the character has a third eyeball right in his forehead, which he uses for mind-control (obviously). However! Let's not count out Jemm, Son of Saturn, an alien hero who also has a little mind-control gemstone doodad called the "Mark of Jargon" in the middle of his head in roughly the same spot as Despero's third eye. In short, that purple guy is someone, but we'll leave the rest of the speculation to the other nerds on the Internet.

"The Super Friends Are Back"

Towards the end of the episode, Winn says "the Super Friends are back," referring to his efforts to help Kara take to the skies and save people. Just about everyone remembers the Super Friends cartoon show from the 1980s that featured Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and a whole bunch of other kid-friendly heroes. While Supergirl was never on that show, one thing seems clear: the new Supergirl show seems determined to break free of the dour and drab style that's plagued DC Comics' live-action efforts from the last few years. If that makes it more Super Friends than Man of Steel, we're super-okay with that.