I posed this on the JLA-JSA thread, and am giving it its own post here at the Captain's suggestion:
"I can see a reading of the "Luma Lynai" scene from another direction. Remember, Supergirl is the one who's messing about in Superman's love life a little before he utters the fateful words. Maybe the writer-- Binder, I think-- was implying that Supergirl was "shipping" (as they call it now) her cousin through an intermediary. If so, then Superman's words might be a way of diplomatically letting her down.
Not that there aren't lots of other weird incest-y motifs in the Superman Family. Can we talk about the wedding of Jimmy and Lois? Well, maybe on another thread."
I don't know if this is the story you're thinking of, but at the end of the Mighty Maid story, Supergirl tells Superman that she's tired of having "mild secret adventures." At least the line is in a reprint; I don't own the original comic.
Assuming the line was in the original story, I've always thought that sounded like the writer's way of asking the readers-- possibly on the instructions of his editor-- if they too wanted more active adventures. Maybe there had been a few complaints, and the pros wanted to know what the majority had to say. I think the 'secret weapon" idea was born of what writers on the Supergirl feature initially wanted to do; if she was available to provide alibis and other assistance, the Maid of Steel would be an extra way of solving story problems. But that probably wasn't what readers wanted for Supergirl, and whether or not the readers responded to the overture, eventually Weisinger did give us a more open, dynamic Supergirl.
Ron M. said:
She did show up in an awfully short skirt. And her mother made it like that on purpose for her first meeting with Superman? Tsk tsk. Good thing they turned out to be related, or she probably would have chased him around like Bat-Girl Betty Kane chased Robin. Lois would have absolutely hated her. I remember there was a story where he told her she could never reveal her existance, because he never knew when he might need her to be his ace in the hole, and she couldn't be if people knew about her. I've forgotten why she wanted to be known, but I believe she had to give up something she really wanted to stay a secret for him. Superman must have had severe self image problems at the time, thinking the most powerful being in the universe needed a secret helper. Or did he just like to mess with her, like he'd leave Jimmy in his Fortress of Solitude and hope he'd pick up or drink something or other so the Man of Steel could get a good laugh? Like when he convinced Lois he was Batman and Bruce Wayne was Superman. Hm. Maybe the Legion pulled those jokes on him because their records showed he was an incorrigible practical joker himself.
One thing I've always wondered is why Superman's name is Kal-El, just picking up his father's last name, while Supergirl's name was Kara-Zor-El, taking her father's entire name. Were Kryptonians sexist? Was Kara expected to change her name to her husband's full name if she ever got married?
That may have been it. It was in one of the Showcase Supergirl volumes.
It occurs to me that it was strange to give Kara the brown wig if she was not intended to be known to the public as Supergirl.
Perhaps he thought he might change his mind someday and didn't want anyone that saw Linda figure out she was Supergirl. Obviously a mask never occurred to him. Then again, the Legion didn't wear masks either. Was the editor against them for some reason?
I think that Superman had always intended that Supergirl (or maybe Superwoman) would someday take her rightful place as a world-famous super-heroine, but not until she'd been properly trained. You'd think he would have spent some time training her in the use of her powers, wouldn't you? As for masks, the thinking probably was that since Superman didn't wear one, it would be odd if his sidekick/partner/successor did. It's also possible that by 1959, someone in charge had noted that of the Golden Age heroes who'd survived into the Silver Age, more were maskless (Superman, Superboy, Wonder Woman, Aquaman) than masked (Batman, Green Arrow)--outside of DC, even the maskless Doll Man & not-quite masked Plastic Man almost made it into the Silver Age, and the maskless Sub-Mariner was the longest running of Marvel/Atlas' mid-50's pre-Silver hero revival (Marvel Boy & Venus didn't wear masks either), so they could have decided that unmasked heroes had a better shot at success.
Don't remember seeing him spending time training her. Guess he was too busy back then getting Jimmy to drink weird potions.
Don't forget the strange alien fruit and various radioactive gems!