Monday, October 09, 2006

Dial L for Legion

Dial L for Legion
Over at Robby Reed's Dial B for Blog, he just finished up today a 10-part series on Ira Schnapp. Ira's name might not be familiar to you (unless you're a fan of Silver Age comics), but you're very familiar with his work. Among the items he did while working for DC since the Golden Age were such minor things as the logos for "Superman", "Action Comics", "Adventure Comics", "Green Lantern", "Justice League", "Flash", and "Hawkman", not to mention hand-lettering practically every cool Silver-Age-looking ad up through around 1968. Those are his letters and logos on every cover of Adventure Comics through the late 1960s, including Adventure 247. It's a fascinating story. Check it out starting here and be prepared to be amazed at how may times you say "He did that, too?"

Speaking of Letters
As I mentioned yesterday, you need to have a copy of the Interlac font (or at least the translation table) if you're watching the Legion show, or just want to have something cool to show off. Here's an Interlac translation table at Wikipedia, with a link on the page to download freeware fonts.

And for another comic-related font, go to the HayFamZone to check out OdaBaloon, a freeware font based on the lettering of Ben Oda, who (among many other things) worked for DC in the 1970s and 1980s, including many Legion stories. The font appears to be designed by Ben's son (grandson?) Bill.

Speaking of the 1980s
Over at the Superman Through the Ages forum, the prolific Julian Perez takes a look at Roy Thomas's short run as Legion writer in 1981. Roy only wrote a few issues during the Superboy/Ultra Boy/Reflecto arc.

What is most interesting about these issues is how "Marvel-style" the book feels; a very strange thing for LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES. The story is driven by the the feelings and motivations of the characters, instead of having them be reactive out of a sense of duty to things going on around them. The story is driven by Grimbor the Chainsman's desire for revenge at the death of his wife and Phantom Girl's desire to learn about the fate of her beloved Ultra Boy. ...

Roy Thomas also returned Superboy to the Legion.

The problem is that Superboy is a much more significant character to the Legion than I think, Conway and others believe: Superboy is our "point of view" character; not just a cypher who asks "what's that," he's the point of identification with the audience, what John the Savage is to Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD, or what Fry is to FUTURAMA.

Superboy is also significant to Legion history and identity. Legion started off as a Superboy spin-off, after all; the book is very much in the Superman Family along with Supergirl and World of Krypton. Further, Superboy is also something of the "star" of the book: he gets top billing and attention in a way not comparable to anybody since, well, BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS, or perhaps the current popularity of Wolverine in the X-Men.

He's all these things rolled into ONE. So Superboy's contribution to the Legion can't be underestimated. And why Roy Thomas's decision to bring him back into the book was a wise one.

Speaking of the Superman Family
The one and only Chris Sims and his Invincible Super-Blog reviews Adventure Comics 364, the Revolt of the Super-Pets.
Before long, the Super-Pets have beaten the living crap out of the Legionnaires, a fight that ends with Comet kicking their space-ship so hard that it flies back to Earth, which may actually be the Legion's most humiliating defeat ever.
Comet, taking advantage of the fact that he turns into a human being whenver he's around a comet due to a curse by Circe from what's got to be the most complicated Non-Claremont origin in the history of comics, takes the identity of Biron the Bowman whose mastery of the longbow is matched only by the tininess of his shorts!
Invisible Kid even goes so far as to tell the Comet that they recognized him right off when he tried out as Biron the Bowman, but wanted to prove that they could re-earn the Super-Pets' trust. Heck, they even sent Supergirl off on another mission so she wouldn't find out about Comet's dual identity, which, uh, means that the Legion is totally cool with the fact that Supergirl occasionally dates a horse.

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