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Oh for the days when I used to be referred to as “Get on Down Disco Dynamite.”

§ February 14th, 2020 § Filed under legion of super-heroes, superman, what § 5 Comments

So pal Brook (the very one who clued me in to the Hulk single) dropped by on Wednesday after perusing the vinyl record selection at the weekly flea market a town or two over. One of this acquired goodies was the following item, courtesy the year 1978:

And behold the back cover, if you dare:

A closer look at the back cover blurb:

…and if the song title “Lois Gets on Down” didn’t get you to buy this record, surely the idea of “Superman grooving out of sight” would do the trick.

Brook was good enough to let me borrow the record for the week, and…yes, it’s pretty amazing. A number of the songs are disco versions of movie theme music (and I didn’t realize there was another disco version of the Star Wars theme aside from Meco’s, though thinking about it I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised…and the two versions are awfully close). And if you’re wondering, “Mountain Funk” is a disco-ized version of “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”

I’ve linked to a couple of the songs on this record already, but here’s the main attraction…the disco-enhanced recording of the John Williams theme from Superman: The Movie. You’re welcome. And be sure to stick around for the weird vocalizations (surely done by those kind women on the album cover).

Also, if I may add, speaking of that cover…Twitter pal Rob pointed out that the nice young lady on the right of the image bears some semblance to Saturn Girl and her ’70s swimsuit costume, and darned if Rob’s not onto something. And I’d bet one can of Billy Beer that there was someone at that same disco dressed like Grimbor the Chainsman.


§ 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.

And I mean, like, the Wonder Woman #1 from 1942, not the Pérez one, you wiseacres.

§ August 25th, 2017 § Filed under legion of super-heroes, retailing, the eBay § 4 Comments

So kind of the last thing I expected on the most recent New Comics Day was for someone to walk in with a shoebox containing about a dozen and a half comics, with that comic pictured above right on top of the stack. For the two people reading this site who don’t recognize the significance of that particular issue, that is Adventure Comics #247 from 1958, containing the first appearance of the long-running DC Comics team the Legion of Super-Heroes. And yes, that is a scan of the actual copy that I received in that collection.

I was particularly surprised because, at my previous place of employment, my old boss Ralph would often note that this comic is one that he never had show up in any collections. People would bring in runs of Adventure, but #247 was always skipped. Third or fourth appearances of the Legion, sure, but never this first one. In the time I worked for Ralph I’d seen multiple Amazing Fantasy #15s, and Amazing Spider-Man #1s, X-Men #1s, a Wonder Woman #1 here, a World’s Finest #2 there, but nope, never that elusive Adventure comic.

But there it is, at long last. In my hot little hands. Sure, it wasn’t in the best condition, but all the pages were there, and it was completely readable. The cover had seen better days, and the spine was about half-split, and the centerfold was loose. What I presume were the owner’s initials are right there on the front cover, as they were on some of the other comics in this collection…well, either initials or some elaborate hand-written arrival date scribbled on there by some newsstand operator. Not a great copy, but better than no copy.

Anyway, I put it on the eBays…I was planning to put it up for one price, thought “well, let me try for a slightly higher price,” and I guess I should have put it up for a much higher price because it was listed literally for about two minutes before someone bought it.

And that’s the tale of how I owned Adventure Comics #247 for all of about half an hour, forty-five minutes tops. Where was this comic a month ago, when I was talking about that exact story of the Legion’s first appearance? Ah, well…I probably would have been too afraid to scan that panel out of this comic anyway.

Here’s hoping whoever bought it doesn’t try to send it back…I’ve already spent that money on hooch, dice, and other sinful pleasures. Besides, I took a whole lot of pictures of the book’s problems to accompany the listing…I probably spent more time taking those pictures than the comic actually spent on eBay. There shouldn’t be any surprises.

Now I need to actually process the rest of the books in the collection: some late ’50s/early ’60s Detectives, a couple Brave and the Bold issues with Cave Carson, a beat-up Action #300, an even more beat-up Atom #4, a couple of other things. But this is one of the real perks of the job…getting to enjoy lots of old comics. Even if certain comics only stick around for about half an hour.

This Legion of Super-Heroes post brought to you in part by a little stuffed bull.

§ July 28th, 2017 § Filed under legion of super-heroes § 9 Comments

So I had a few responses to my most recent Answering-the-Question-Time-Post-from-Several-Months-Ago post, but I’m going to focus on a couple of the Legion of Super-Heroes-related comments for today.

Firstly, Turan, Emissary of the Fly World (and how is Fly World nowadays? Weather still nice?) comments about the Legion’s earliest appearance:

“A fact that is always overlooked is that, in the Superboy story that introduces the Legion of Super-Heroes, the team consists of more than three members. Lightning Boy (not Lad then), Cosmic Boy, and Saturn Girl are the only ones named and clearly shown, but there are a half dozen or so shown from the back, cheering on Superboy’s admission into the team.

“For whatever reason these shadowy members were immediately forgotten, and ever after there was a pretense that Superboy was the fourth member.

“Though, when DC did finally get around to providing an origin for the team, it did show those three and those three alone as the founders, so MrJM’s point remains.”

And Chris G’s follow-up:

“‘For whatever reason these shadowy members were immediately forgotten, and ever after there was a pretense that Superboy was the fourth member.’

“That’s not quite so – identifying those members became a parlor game among Legion fans, and at least one reprinting recolored one of them to look like Brainiac 5. Superboy, officially, was around the eighth or ninth member.”

We may be getting a little astray from MrJM‘s original question of “Why a duck Legion?” but this brings up a point I hadn’t really thought about.

Yes, in the very first appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics #247, in the scenes that take place in the Legion’s future Earth, shots of the clubhouse do show what appear to be additional members. Here’s a meeting at the clubhouse which shows the three founders of the team sitting at the table with Superboy, while anonymous silhouetted members look on:

…or they could be fan club members, allowed to sit in while the Legion conducts business. I mean, you don’t know for sure, right?

However, in the original printing of this first appearance, we do get a better look at some of the other folks hanging around in the clubhouse:

…and they either look a little superhero-y or perhaps that’s just how people dress in the far-flung future. However, as Chris G notes, in at least one later reprinting (in this case, from Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1, 1991) the panel is recolored to suggest Brainiac 5’s presence:

Now the next Legion story is just Superboy and the original three members (plus a bunch of superheroes from other worlds) and you don’t see new Legion members until the Supergirl story, which is the 3rd Legion appearance. And, to make things confusing, she meets the children of the original Legionnaires Superboy met (who all have the same names and powers), and their teammates Chameleon Boy, Colossal Kid and Invisible Kid, so it’s a slightly more future future than the future Superboy is visiting…but thankfully that particular distinction is dropped and it’s all the same Legion shortly thereafter.

After that it’s another Superboy story just featuring Lightning Lad, and then the Superboy story after that introduces new member Star Boy (again featuring a scene with the original three members and Superboy at a table in front of a room, while we see the backs of heads of other supposed team members). Now, I can’t sit here and read all the Legion stories when I need to go get my beauty sleep, but it looks like at least at the very start of the Legion’s appearances in comics, the team was likely meant to be larger than just the the Main Three we first encounter. If that’s the case, then the term “Legion,” if not technically accurate, is at least a little closer in description to the team in this particular instance.

Going back to the Legion’s origin in Superboy #147, it is just Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl at first…who are then joined by Triplicate Girl and Phantom Girl as the next members, and Superboy isn’t shown joining at all just yet. I suppose we can take this as additional confirmation that, at least at this point is Legion’s editorial history, the Legion was comprised of more than just the initial three members by the time Superboy was made part of the group.

And to add a little support to my assertion that R.J. Brande’s dubbing of the team as a “Legion” was primarily marketing (and the presumption that more guys ‘n’ gals would join), here are a couple of panels from Secret Origins #25 (April 1988):

(That second panel is trimmed a bit for clarity…rest assured there were a whole lotta Legionnaires drawn in there). Anyway, MrJM, I hope that additionally answers your question about why it was called a Legion…or at least muddies up the topic even further. I’m too close to be able to tell, myself.

And besides, I think we’re avoiding the really important topic, and that’s these amazing costumes:

Let’s hope the coming Rebirth revival includes the chest-text. It’s all the rage in the 31st century!

(A special thanks to that Little Stuffed Bull of the Future, Bully, for tracking down several of the featured panels in this post for me…and finding that bit in Secret Origins! I couldn’t have done it without him!)

images from Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958) and its reprinting in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1 (1991) by Otto Binder and Al Plastino; Secret Origins #25 (April 1988) by Paul Levitz, Rick Stasi and Dick Giordano

Of reprints and Patreons.

§ April 26th, 2017 § Filed under dc comics, legion of super-heroes, publishing, self-promotion § 6 Comments

So a while back on the Twitterers I complained that a joke I had planned for an End of Civilization post was undone by the fact the publisher actually didn’t mess up something I thought they had messed up. I’ve been meaning to get around to telling the one or two of you who might remember that and still care just what I was talking about. And what I was talking about was the Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes hardcover volume one, as solicited in the March 2017 Diamond Previews:

That’s the image they’re using to solicit the collection, but obviously not the actual, final cover since that’s a pic of the Legion treasury edition the book will be including.

Anyway, my assumption is that there were going to be some issues skipped between the last of the DC Archives reprintings of the Legion of Super-Heroes and this volume, which picks up in the 1970s. However, to my surprise, this new book picks up exactly where the Archive editions left off, so for those of us depending on DC’s reprint program to gather up all those classic Legion stories in chronological order, like I know I was, that’s good news. Of course, this new format won’t have as many stories per volume, but also it won’t be $75 like that Archives generally were near the end there, so at least there’s that.

Like I mentioned, the treasury edition, featuring the wedding of Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad (hey, stop snickering, this is a big deal) is in this book, and I was greatly anticipating its appearance in the never-forthcoming Legion Archives Volume 14. At some point, around, I don’t know, 2008, I even passed up on a copy of the treasury because I figured I would eventually get that story in the archive series. Well, took a little longer than expected, but it’s finally on its way. Hopefully. Assuming it isn’t cancelled or postponed.

Now if we can get DC to pick up reprinting Sugar and Spike where that last archive edition left off….

• • •

And now, for a brief commercial message…as mentioned just the other day, plans are continuing apace for the Swamp Thing-a-Thon, my attempt at reviewing every Swamp Thing comic, that will be an exclusive, at least for a time, for Patreon supporters. I finally updated my Patreon page to include that reward tier in the sidebar.

Since I have the reward tier set at the lowest level (I mean, I don’t think you can contribute less than a dollar a month, can you?), anyone who supports my Patreon at any level will get access to the Swamp Thing-a-Thon posts. If you’re already a supporter, you’ll get access. If you click the “Become a Patreon” button and donate that generous $150 a month I know you want to, you’ll get access. You don’t have to click on that $1 Reward button to get access, that just makes it easier for you to chip in. If you’re contributing at all, you’re in.

Like I’ve said…the content there will make it over to this site eventually, but not for a while. If you can provide support, that’s great, but if you can’t or don’t want to, that’s perfectly okay too, and you’ll get to see that stuff anyway, if you don’t mind waiting a bit.

Thanks to you folks out there who still read this “comics” “blog” after all this time. I appreciate all the support and readership you’ve given me for so many years.

More than just a pretty name.

§ December 19th, 2016 § Filed under collecting, legion of super-heroes, letters of comment § 15 Comments

So a while back I mentioned in a footnote to this post that the above comic book, Superboy #208 from April 1975, was the first comic book I ever read featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes. Now, I don’t recall if I read this when it was new (which would be probably January or February 1975, given the usual difference between cover dates and the actual release dates) and I was five years old, or if my original copy was purchased from a used book store a bit later, when I was around, say, seven years old.

Either way, I was quite the young fellow when I was exposed to that weird-ass story where Lightning Lad stepped out of a spaceship left foot first, bad luck on his planet, and ended up losing an arm because of said bad luck! Okay, things weren’t quite what they seemed, but still, that stuck in my head for years, along with several other images and bits of dialogue from this issue that floated around in my brain. I’d long since lost my original copy, but picked up a replacement sometime later at my previous place of employment.

Now, at my current place of employment (being Sterling Silver Comics, located in the heart of lovely Camarillo, CA), I bought another collection of 1970s comics that was heavy on the Superman and Superboy comics. And in this collection was yet another copy of Superboy #208 (said copy scanned and posted above). As I was processing the collection, I did what I sometimes like to do with old comics and glace at the letters page, looking for missives from future comic creators, customers of mine from either shop (more common that you’d think!), or letters from around my local area. I never recalled doing this with my own copy of #208, so I went ahead and checked this copy, and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a letter from someone from my own hometown:

…and that’s pretty neat an’ all, but I started thinking. As I recall, perhaps not every letter that appeared in these old comics were, shall we say, on the up-and-up. As in, “not actually written and sent in by real readers.” Whether it was just to fill up space, or to lead into a plug for other comics, or whatever, sometimes there was a little fudging of the truth in those letter columns. (I don’t know if the practice continues today, though in the ’90s a pal had a letter printed in a particular superhero comic that was edited from being critical to being quite praising, so there were still shenanigans of some sort going on.)

Anyway, this only comes to mind because two of the main drags in Oxnard, California are “Rose Avenue” and “Gonzales Road,” which actually intersect not too far from where I’m living now. Now, “Rose Gonzales” is hardly a rare or unusual name or anything, but that certainly seemed like quite the coincidence, like someone needed a name to attach to a letter (or a seeming excerpt from a letter), whipped out the Book o’Maps, picked “Oxnard” for the letter writer’s city, and picked out a couple street names to comprise the name as a gag. (I regularly spot letters with “Oxnard” or nearby “Ventura” addresses in ’60s and ’70s comics, so I imagine the city names were at least somewhat familiar to some editors.)

Now I have no idea if that’s what happened…granted, seems like a lot of work just to create authenticity for a line or two of inconsequential text to fill space in a layout. Could just as easily been “Mary Smith of New York” and it’s not like anyone was going to check. And I certainly can’t check now, as anyone involved in the editorial process here is either, um, departed, or not going to want to take any calls from a dude asking about 40-year-old letter columns they don’t remember.

I just thought it was an oddly interesting thing to note in this old comic that I have strong nostalgic feelings for…that now has an even stronger connection with its ties, real or spurious, to my hometown.

In which I basically don’t define any terms and just assume you know what I’m talking about.

§ May 23rd, 2016 § Filed under legion of super-heroes, question time § 13 Comments

From the Question File, DavidG doesn’t make it easy on me with

“In the long run, The Legion of Superheroes never recovered from the Post Zero Hour reboot, in which baby boomers destroyed years of continuity in a misguided, nostalgia based decision to make the Legionnaires teenagers again, even though they were more popular as adults. Discuss.”

Yeah, well, that was somethin’, wasn’t it? I think, in its defense, and in the short term, the Zero Hour reboot worked, as the twisted timelines/multiple Legions hoohar was resolved in an effective and not entirely unemotional manner during a DC Universe-wide event. And, unlike the usual shoehorning of the Legion into these events (difficult, given the Legion was set 1,000 years later than the rest of the DCU), it actually seemed to fit about as naturally as these things can.

Now, the problem here is that a lot of the appeal of the Legion is its soap opera aspect, with decades of character development and relationships mixed in with the superhero action, creating a significant fanbase in the process. The Legionnaires whose lives you were following in, say, the 1980s were essentially the same Legionnaires that started to be introduced in Adventure Comics #247 (1958) and continued to pop up for many years following. There were the occasional reboot or retcon (the whole post-Crisis Superboy thing, the “Five Years Later” timejump) but you can still draw a line from the beginning of the Legion to, well, the end as represented by the Zero Hour tie-in.

With that Zero Hour conclusion to the Legion saga as we knew it, the chain was broken. Granted, Legion fandom wasn’t what it once was by the time Zero Hour rolled around (what comic’s fandom was?), but that was the final break between What Had Come Before and What DC Was Going to Try to Attempt in the Future. Even Crisis on Infinite Earths didn’t cut off the Legion’s progression, despite throwing some serious monkey wrenches into the works (like, as previously noted, the whole Superboy thing).

For longtime Legion fans, that was a lot of investment in the characters that was seemingly just discarded by DC, but in DC’s defense, they couldn’t depend on just the longtime Legion fans to support the title. They had to pursue new readers and build the audience for this particular franchise, and usually the #1 strategy comic publishers go to when trying to bump up sales numbers is, well, new #1s. Or in this case, #0s, where as part of the Zero Hour event issue #0s were released in which the status quos of DC’s various titles were reestablished. And, in the case of the Legion titles, the adventures were rebooted…started from scratch and presenting a hopefully fresh, new jumping on point for readers previously intimidated by the decades of backstory.

It worked, for a while anyway, and as I recall it sold reasonably well at least for our shop, gathering some new readers as hoped, and old Legion fans (like me) sticking around out of curiosity and, oh, because the comics were actually pretty good. This version of the Legion went through some interesting permutations, I thought, including the dark but still enjoyable Legion Lost mini-series, which followed the end of the previous Legion comics.

There were a couple more series set in that Legion continuity, but eventually (and presumably sparked by a need to improve sales) a new Legion series was launched, rebooting from scratch again. It was a fun comic, I thought, with some new takes on old characters, but this reboot of the Legion only made it five years (versus the second reboot’s ten years), and then suddenly we were into our next rebooting of the Legion, which was actually more of a reinstalling of a back-up of the original Legion continuity into then-current DC continuity (with some minor tweaks here and there to jibe with the DCU as a whole).

Following that was a mini-series connected to the Final Crisis event, in which all three (or three and a half, depending on how you feel about that last reboot-ish thing) versions of the Legion encounter each other, and I think it was around this point that I sorta lost the Legion thread. I love the Legion, I read ’em for years, and it was even the only extended DC Archives hardcover set that I collected. But after reboot and relaunch and wait we didn’t mean to reboot it again let’s go back to how it was before…I couldn’t do it any more. Like I said, one of the appealing aspects of the Legion was getting immersed in the soap-operatic nature of the stories, but the multiple reboots just gave me the feeling of “well, if they write themselves into a corner, they’ll just reboot instead of trying to write themselves out of it” and that sort of soured me on the books.

I realize this is a complaint you can have about ANY comic that has a history of rebooting/restarting…I’m guessing DC’s New 52 relaunch hit a lot of people this way. But specifically with the Legion, with such a long history behind the title, to see what was special about it fragmented this way, was disappointing. The reboots seem to have shorter and shorter lives, with the New 52 version of the team (which I guess was still more or less the original continuity still, I guess?) lasting around a couple dozen issues. I’m hoping letting the team’s shelf presence rest a while (its first extended break that I can think of!) will help, and that whatever forthcoming relaunch may occur will be more well received.

There are ideas I hope DC would attempt at refurbishing the Legion for current audiences. Maybe they could appear as supporting characters in another title, or perhaps a new title could launch focusing on just one member of the team (like Brainiac 5) with other Legionnaires appearing as needed. Or maybe the Legion can just say out of the public eye until someone has a really good idea how to use them…but with hints at their existence in the Supergirl TV series, I suspect any possible media presence may force DC’s hand sooner rather than later.

So yes, DavidG, I think the Legion’s involvement in Zero Hour did cause the long-running franchise to stumble and never quite find its legs again. Not to say there weren’t good comics that came out of all the reboots, because there were, and that a five-year run of a series isn’t something to sneeze at. However, I’m not sure if or when the team will ever find any kind of extended traction again. Like Hawkman, the Legion was “fixed” until it was broken and…wait, that’s it!

Hawkman and the Legion of Super-Heroes! I did it! I fixed ’em both! DC, get on this right away!

EDIT: Pal Andrew has additional wise insight on the matter.

PICTURED: the first Legion of Super-Heroes comic I ever read – Superboy #208 (April 1975)

Now I’m reasonably certain neither Superboy nor Mon-El actually need to eat.

§ February 15th, 2016 § Filed under legion of super-heroes § 4 Comments

Look at those two gluttons pack it away while poor Ma Kent works up more skyscraper-sized stacks of pancakes.

That’s okay, Li’l Hellboy, apparently Superboy and Mon-El will gladly eat them for you. Sheesh.

from Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #208 (April 1975) by Cary Bates and Mike Grell, and Dark Horse Presents Annual (1999) by Mike Mignola

Maybe calling it “Justice League: Demon Knights” would have saved it.

§ May 14th, 2013 § Filed under dc comics, legion of super-heroes § 15 Comments

So the newest iteration of Legion of Super-Heroes is kaput (along with three other DC titles, which I’ll discuss in a moment). I went on about it on the Twitter yesterday, where I suggested a couple of options as to what to do with this particular franchise because, you know, DC’s totally listening to me:

1. Just give Legion a rest already. Every reboot/restart boosts sales on the title for a little bit, then it always settles back to the numbers it usually sells at. Or maybe a little less. Maybe a little time out of the public eye would result in an actual fresh start for the book, removed from the previous decades’ worth of continuity that may or not still be valid because who the hell can tell any more. A little testing of the waters with some guest-appearances prior to any relaunch wouldn’t be out of order.

2. Pick one Legion character, give him or her a solo title, and make the Legion background/supporting characters. There could still be occasional Legion adventures, but it would be all told from the perspective of the title character. My personal pick for this would be Brainiac 5, because good gravy I’d love to read a solo Brainiac 5 comic, and also he seems like the one interesting/complex enough to carry a series on his own. Super-genius, doesn’t really “get” the emotionally volatile non-geniuses around him, always inventing crazy machines that are more trouble than they’re worth, HAS A TIME BUBBLE…c’mon, that’d be fantastic. But whoever is the star…that at least would give us a fresh perspective on an old dusty comic.

I don’t know. I’ve liked the Legion about as long as I’ve been reading comics, and easily have about three decades’ worth I’ve bought off the rack, and I’m still getting the sporadic and progressively more dear Archives reprints of the older material. I did stop reading new Legion some time back, prior to the New 52 relaunch, simply because I think I lived through one reboot too many and just couldn’t get into a comic where the constant threat of yet another restart to get themselves out a painted-in corner was always there. But I would love to read a good Legion comic again, particularly one that did something interesting with the franchise beyond “we need to have a Legion book on the stands.”

Okay, that sounds like I’m slagging the folks who are working on the comic now, and I’m really not. It’s just that…well, Legion isn’t grabbing new readers. With no current movie/cartoon/video games/action figure line to drive kids into shops looking for comics with those awesome Legion characters, the potential audience is restricted to people already buying comic books, and by and large, the people buying Legion are usually the people who always buy Legion, with some attrition over time (such as yours truly). To grab money out of the pockets of comic fans, you need to grab their attention, and the perception is that Legion is just same-old, same-old…this is your grandpa’s comic book. Esteemed Twitter colleague Max said that “Legion needs to be J.J Abrams-ed,” and that’s probably what it’ll take.

There have been some nice shots at it before…I really enjoyed Mark Waid’s take and the subsequent One Year Later (geez, remember “One Year Later?”) revamp Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes. Those worked, at least for a while, in grabbing new readers.

As for those other cancelled DC titles that I was reading…I’m pretty sure Dial H was no surprise to anyone. It was a fun and intelligent comic, but maybe a little too off the beaten path for your standard line of superhero funnybooks. Threshold‘s main selling point was the Larfleeze back-up, and even that wasn’t too much of a draw…maybe a cover or two actually featuring him may have helped. The lead story is entertaining, but the Green Lantern hook is slight enough to not have grabbed much of that franchise’s audience. And Demon Knights…I really liked Demon Knights. I have no idea why that’s getting cancelled. Well, okay, I know it’s low sales. Let me try again…”I have no idea why more people weren’t reading it.” I believe I mentioned a while back that the early issues were a tad on the chaotic side, and I wasn’t 100% sure I was following all the plot threads, so maybe that was an issue with more folks than just me. But I thought the rough spots were smoothed over of late and it’s been a highly entertaining fantasy/horror adventure. Ah, well.

• • •

In other news:

So that DC publication outlining all their graphic novels ‘n’ such I mentioned a few days back? Collected Editions does the thorough overview of this item that I was totally too lazy to do myself. Good work, gentlemen and / or gentleladies…give yourselves a raise.

Chameleon Boy sure changed into some damned weird things.

§ December 2nd, 2011 § Filed under legion of super-heroes § 7 Comments

I can only assume the Legion flight ring is helping a little here, as that doesn’t look too aerodynamic.

from Adventure Comics #355 (April 1967) by Otto Binder, Curt Swan & George Klein

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