§ November 13th, 2019 § Filed under gelatinous cube, legion of super-heroes, retailing § 10 Comments

“So what’s the deal with this ring?” asked the customer, gesturing at the little pile of plastic Legion of Super-Heroes rings I had laid out on the counter, a promotional giveaway for the new Legion series that debuted last week. “Are they for Aquaman?”

Um, Aquaman? How do you get “Aquaman” from a ring that very clearly has an “L” on it? I didn’t say that to the customer, but I did let him know what the rings were actually for, and that seemed to satisfy him.

What struck me, though, is that he knew enough about comics to mention to the people he was with that the Flash used to have a ring in which he would keep his super-compressed costume. But he didn’t know enough about the Legion to be able to identify one of the flight rings, which is a fairly integral element of the series. …Which is fine, of course, just because you like superhero comics doesn’t mean you have to know Every. Single. Detail. of each and every one.

But he wasn’t the only one who didn’t know what the flight ring was. I had a number of people certainly identify what it was supposed to be, but had just as many other folks, comic reading folks, coming-in-every-Wednesday-for-the-new-goodies customers, who did not know what that ring was supposed to represent.

There was once a time when Legion fandom was a thing…like, it was one of the franchise’s defining elements was its active, involved fanbase. And that fanbase eroded over the years for various reasons (discussed both by me and pal Andrew a while back) to the point where DC no longer found it profitable to even attempt at keeping an ongoing Legion book on the stands for the last several years.

Of course, that absence has changed now, with DC’s much-ballyhooed Legion relaunch last week (preceded by an entertaining two-part mini bridging the current DC Universe to the Legion’s future), brought about by DC’s equally-ballyhooed acquiring of one of Marvel’s Big Name comic writers Brian Michael Bendis. Whether that rebuilding of what was once the formidable Legion Fandom will follow is…well, okay, it won’t, it’s a different time, and the natural, organic evolution of that fandom over years and decades isn’t suddenly going to repeat itself with the latest revival, however long it manages to last without yet another reboot.

I remember the last time DC Comics provided plastic Legion ring giveaways to tie into some new Legion thing or ‘nother, it seemed like everyone was in on it. They all knew the Legion, knew what the flight ring was and what it represented, and so on…but then, Legion was still an ongoing, if not entirely what it once was, concern at the time, a couple of decades back. Now…after being basically gone, or generally off the average comic fan’s radar, for about a decade or even more, one can’t depend on a shared fan nostalgia that will remember some piece of a franchise that was dead, or might as well have been, when several of today’s fans first got into the comic collecting hoohar.

Now, the good news is that despite some of my customer base not recognizing the Legion ring, there is still enough of the rest of that base to have either recognized the Legion, or are new to it but have been intrigued enough by the advertising/guest-appearances, to pick up the book. In fact, it was a near sell-out for me, and I have a box of restocked copies heading my way…well, today, hopefully…and even then about half of those restocks are already spoken for. I haven’t even got one for myself yet, since I was saving copies for the shelf.

I spoke with a friend who has a comic shop a few hundred miles away and says he can’t give them away, so I guess Your Store’s Mileage Will Vary. I’ve experienced this before…even back in the ’90s, I was comparing notes with a retailer in L.A. and he was all like “you sell how many Legion!?” But I hope this series is an overall success (in whatever meets “success” levels in today’s diminished market)…I do like the Legion, and I would like to have a new comic of theirs I can read. It won’t be the same, with the characters all cut off from their long history that brought me to these comics in the first place, but I can still enjoy a good comic regardless. I mean, assuming it’s good.

Oh, and I figured out why that customer thought this was an Aquaman ring:

…because he probably saw one turned on its side. An easy enough mistake to make, I guess.

10 Responses to “BEHOLD THE AQUARING.”

  • Now I want Aquaman to have a flight ring.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    I might have guessed it’s the new way Lexus owners can open their car doors.

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    As a Legion fan of many years, I am cautiously optimistic….(I have to be, otherwise I wouldn’t still be a Legion fan of many years!)

  • Jason says:

    My son has a pretty big collection of the Green Lantern rings that DC has given away in the past. They are almost exactly like that Legion ring (I suspect they come from the same source). I think he’s only missing a few of the colors. I still can’t remember exactly which emotion each color is for though.
    We’ve collected them as freebies from Free Comic Day a few times, and one of our local shops was selling them at one point ($1 each, I think).

  • BobH says:

    It’s weird that in 2019 DC is putting out a SOVEREIGN SEVEN ring.

    However, I saw a great V FOR VENDETTA flight ring that I just have to get!

  • Daniel says:

    The last time they gave out Legion rings was for Legion: Secret Origin in 2011.

  • King of the Moon says:

    Cause we are the Aqua Ring
    Make the homies say “ho” and the future wanna scream

  • Randal says:

    This explains how Aquaman was flying in the credits of the old Superfriends show.

  • Thom H. says:

    I got the ring when I bought the new Legion #1. Love the ring, love the Legion, very excited to have them back.

    And this time it feels like it might stick? I don’t usually feel that way about a Legion reboot, but the combination of the big name writer and the killer new character designs makes me hopeful.

    I’m also hoping that Bendis doesn’t mess up too much of the past stuff that made the Legion great. Their homeworlds and back stories are all so perfect that they probably only need a little tweaking, in my opinion.

    Anyway, fingers crossed!

  • De says:

    I’d gladly buy a few from you.