Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Animated Legion news 30: "ZOMG!" says Wheaton

Wil Wheaton was apparently asked to do a role for the Legion show a couple days ago, not audition for it as I misunderstood. So today he read the script and will record it on Friday.

It's really cool, and I totally can't say anything about it until I get a thumbs up from Warner Brothers, but I believe the phrase that the damn kids today use to describe my feeling upon reading the script is "ZOMG!" When the script says, "ENERGY CORUSCATES around him until the power is too strong . . ." you know you're working on something hawesome.

Hmmmm. Wildfire maybe?

Animated Legion news 29: Unmasked

"Unmasked" is the title of the post Ben Jones wrote after being "outed" as a Legion staffer by TitansGo.net. Not that there's anything wrong with that! Ben also provides some Quicktime looks at what he says are some clips, but for some reason they're not loading on my computer and I'll have to check it out later.

The Titans page has identified several ex-Titan staffers as now working on the Legion show:

Well, we found four more for the "Titans crew on Legion" list. We've confirmed from reliable sources that: Amy Wolfram (story editor), Derrick Wyatt (character designer), Irineo Maramba (storyboarder), and Ben Jones (director) have joined their fellow Teen Titans crew on Legion of Super Heroes! Wil Wheaton (voice of Aqualad) also recently revealed he might be lending his voice to Legion, on account of former TT producer Linda Steiner, who'll be a Legion producer alongside James Tucker (JL, Batman Beyond). Hooray, the gang's all here...almost!

More info to come...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Animated Legion news 28: Official News!

More about this morning's KidsWB lineup announcement, via the Titans Tower Monitor Room (full press release at the Futon Critic):

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES, 11:00-11:30 am: In the year of "Superman Returns" at Warner Bros., Kids' WB! is proud to present a new series developed especially for the "Too Big For Your TV" block by Warner Bros. Animation, inspired by the DC Comics legend. One thousand years from now, a group of teenage super heroes travel back in time to recruit the greatest hero of all, Superman, and enlist him their fight against evil in the 31st Century. While their intentions were good, their time travel skills were not, and Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Phantom Girl, Bouncing Boy and Timber Wolf end up going too far back into the past, accidentally retrieving the young Superboy instead. Together, this unlikely Legion of Super Heroes bands together to defend the rights of all free worlds and uphold the laws of the newly formed United Planets. That is, if they don't kill each other first. LEGION OF SUPER HEROES combines humor with high-stakes, grand-scale super heroics to create the ultimate sci-fi, super hero fantasy for kids of all ages. Each episode of this fast-paced, character-driven action comedy will pit Superboy and the Legion against otherworldly threats and adversaries who challenge the team on both super heroic and emotional levels. The series is executive produced by Sander Schwartz, and produced by Linda Steiner and James Tucker for Warner Bros. Animation.


Here's the ongoing discussion at ToonZone, and Animation Insider. Nothing yet as of this writing on Newsarama or CBR, but I'm sure that'll change shortly.

Animated Legion news 27: Wil Wheaton audition

Wil Wheaton reports that he's got a Legion audition on Friday.

This weekend started out on an exceptionally high note: on my way to Dodger Stadium to meet my parents for the Arizona game, I got a call from my manager: one of the producers from Teen Titans is now working on Legion of Superheroes, and wanted to cast me for a part on the new show. I don't know any details, yet, like if it's a one-time voice, or a recurring character or what, but I'm working on Friday! Go me!

As I mentioned in the comments, since the first recording session was back in February, it's more likely than not that this is for a recurring character and not a regular. The regular role of Bouncing Boy is still unknown to us (and has probably already been cast), but the recurring role of Cosmic Boy is still open as far as we know. So are Tharok, Mano, Persuader, and Mordru (they haven't announced him, but you know he's going to be in there).

Oh, and as an Astros fan and Houston resident, I'm tickled by the fact that his stepsons are named Nolan and Ryan.

Animated Legion news 26: Saturday morning lineup info

MediaWeek is reporting that the new Legion show will be airing on the Kids WB! block on Saturday mornings starting this fall on the new CW network. Broadcasting & Cable has some of the same information (and mentions that the Legion show would be "a familiar title to Boomer comic fans"), and notes that 7 of the 8 animated shows on Saturday morning will be produced in-house.

So now we have confirmation that (a) the show will be on Saturday morning at 11 Eastern; (b) it'll be on Kids WB! on CW, not Cartoon Network; (c) the animation block is geared towards boys 6-11; (d) the title of the show is "Legion of Super-Heroes", not "Superboy and the Legion"; and (e) the series is progressing despite the Superboy legal issue.

From the Media Week article, with stuff of interest in boldface:

The new Kids WB! five-hour, Saturday morning block airing on CW this fall will include three new series from Warner Bros. Animation and a new group of programs that comply with the government’s children’s education initiative.

Gone will be longtime Kids WB! staples Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, both which have been falling steadily in the ratings.

The three new series will be Legion of Super Heroes, based on the DC Comics characters, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, and Tom and Jerry Tales.

Betsy McGowen, senior vp and general manager of Kids WB! on CW, the same position she held when the block aired on the WB, said the decision to keep the Kids WB! name after the network ceases to exist was made after surveys showed that the name scored high in recognition among kids 6-11. “With CBS changing to DIC-produced kids programming and NBC dropping Discovery on Saturday mornings, we felt it would be best to keep the name consistent,” said McGowen.

The focus of the block will be boys 6-11, but McGowen said many of the shows have elements that appeal to girls, too. The decision to drop Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! was based on soft ratings and a desire to bring in more Warner Bros. Animation shows that lets the network and the kids block more easily extend the brand with in-house digital rights. “We are still developing with outside producers, but we are working more closely with Warner Bros. Animation,” McGowen said.

On the new fall schedule, the Pillow Head hour will air from 7-8 a.m., followed by Tom and Jerry Tales at 8, Monster Allergy at 8:30 a.m., returning shows Xiaolin Showdown at 9 and Loonatics Unleashed at 9:30, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo at 10, returning Johnny Test at 10:30, Legion of Super Heroes at 11, and returning The Batman at 11:30.

Update: Heidi MacDonald at The Beat broke the news about the same time as the Omnicom, and The Great Curve passed the info along (via The Beat). It seems to be a very pervasive meme that the new show is a spinoff of the JLU episode, so I try to correct everyone where I can. Eventually people are going to see it's not a spinoff - probably in the Fall, when the show comes on.

Scott at Legion Clubhouse pointed out something I missed (in bold):
"McGowen said Kids WB! will not have a formal upfront sales presentation for the new fall schedule, but said that sales and programming executives have already conducted 15 presentations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, with assorted media agencies and media executives." So we are not liable to see much more news except what comes directly from the studio or those who are working on the series.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sales figures, 1997-2006

Last week over at Legion Clubhouse, Scott posted a list of the sales figures from all the Legion-related titles since early 1997 in two parts (1996-2004 and the current series). Numbers are great, but what does it look like graphically?

Scott's data (compiled by a LegionWorld forum member from CBG's Standard Catalog of Comic Books) goes back to April 1997. With a hardcopy of the book (perused at a Barnes & Noble while drinking a grande caramel frappuccino) I was able to fill in the data back to November/December 1996 when they started getting Diamond's preorder numbers. Starting in January 2003, the numbers are Diamond final orders (preorders are only a few percentage points off of the final orders - CBG estimates between 5-8%, so it's close enough for government work here).

Here's what I came up with (click to enlarge).



Some analysis:

  • The Stern/McCraw/Peyer/Moy/Moder version of LSH v4 and Legionnaires was bleeding customers at a very steady rate. The related miniseries (Legends of the Legion, Legion Science Police, and Legion Secret Files) were worse. Coincidentally, if you plot a straight line through those data points, it hits zero in late 2004 - right when the Waid/Kitson reboot hit. Just a quirk of timing.

  • Bumps in sales due to crossovers in the late 1990's (Final Night, Genesis, DC 1 Million) were temporary. The obvious exception is with The Legion when Superboy came to the future (in a manner then-unknown) to join. Sales got a huge spike and remained several thousand sales higher afterwards, presumably due to Teen Titans fans wanting to know what Connor Kent was doing the future (sound familiar?).

  • The creative team swapover to Abnett/Lanning/Coipiel in late 1999 created a small bump during the regular series, but the new creative team had a huge effect on later series and basically turned the franchise around. Legion Lost, the miniseries, actually saw most of its later issues with higher sales than the first issue, practically unheard of. Sales were almost consistent, unlike previous miniseries, but more importantly sales were back to where they were nearly two years before. The followup Legion Worlds had sales even higher than Legion Lost. Even factoring out the first issue spike in The Legion, sales were hovering around the 25,000 mark for the first time since late 1997. When LSH v4 was cancelled in early 2000, sales had dropped to around 17,000. Let me put this in bold because it's so important: Abnett and Lanning increased the sales of the regular title by about 50%. That's astounding. I had no idea until I looked at this plot.

  • So why did DC reboot the title again? Well, for one thing, DC knew that Infinite Crisis was coming. It was a convenient stopping point for the series, even though the sales slump had largely turned around. Superboy had brought in more readers but this reboot would do better. Do the risk alienating some fans because of it? Well, yes, but that's more than balanced by the increase in readership. And remember, while this is a hobby to us, it's a business to DC.

  • Look at the sales of the new series. The Titans/Legion Special sold over 61,000 copies. The first issue of the new series sold about 60,000 copies. An issue of the Legion's book hasn't sold that many since probably the late 80's or early 90's. Even with the expected sales drop over the first year (almost by half), it's still selling better than at any time in at least the last 10 years, and probably a lot longer back than that.

  • Mark Waid's name on the series is, with little doubt, the reason sales are so high. Good buzz, good publicity, and good reviews certainly help. This plot ends with issue 16, "One Year Later" with Supergirl, but not only did we see a spike for that issue, it was a 50% increase spike. With the pretty good reviews and the "what the heck is Supergirl doing in the 31st century?" question still to be answered, I expect to see a lasting effect of this for a while.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Far From Home talkback

Here's what the rest of the internet has to say about the JLU "Far From Home" episode.

  • Follow the discussion on the ToonZone message board

  • Justice League Central has about 400 screencaps of the episode.

  • FanBoyWonder enjoyed the episode, but...
    As we noted above, we were never really into the Legion of Super Heroes. Our annoyance what we see as JLU’s forced demise may be coloring our thinking, but we’re not much excited to Cartoon Network’s upcoming Legion cartoon series.

    If it’s anything like the comic, we can expect that LSU to restart the series from scratch ever 6-8 episodes.

  • Strange Rhythms liked it a lot:
    Justice League Unlimited, "Far From Home". I love, love, love JLU. I would marry JLU and have its animated babies, if I were female and if an animated television series could impregnate someone. ... This particular episode featured the Legion of Super-Heroes. The Legion has long been a favorite of mine, so I pretty much spent the entire episode just sort of sitting there and giggling about how cool it all was.

  • Hercules at Ain't It Cool News reposts the original review for the third time (complete with inaccuracies), but this time with commentary from people who've actually seen the show.

  • Speaking of which, Progressive Ruin has some commentary on the AICN post above.
    And I never, in a million years (or a thousand, more appropriately) would have imagined that Bouncing Boy's superpower of, well, bouncing, would translate to motion as well as it did. It turned out to be effective and amusing, without being an over-the-top mockery of the character.

    Makes me look forward to the coming Legion cartoon...

  • Comics That Suck says, well, it sucked.
    I can hear the screams from JLU fans from here. But I have to tell you all, as a JLU fan, I heard the screams coming from my own mouth the night before when watching 'Far From Home'. ... The whole episode is basically there for fans of LOSH to go "OOH! Its Ultra Boy!" or "Cool! It's Cosmic Kid!" while looking in the background of the one final fight scene between Supergirl and the entire LOSH being mindcontrolled.

  • Lucky Adrastus is skeptical:
    I'd like to register some disbelief at the idea that Cartoon Network is replacing JLU with Legion of Superheroes (LOSH). I understand that the Legion members are teenagers, but for goodness sake they're such a bunch of losers! They're replacing Batman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder-Woman with Bouncing Boy, Brainiac-5, Saturn Girl, and Matter Eater Lad? You've got to be kidding me.

  • TJ Freeman liked it:
    Justice League was freakin AWESOME! I never really followed the Legion of Superheroes to closely but I know a few of them. Braniac 5 was the shit!

  • I guess you could say that Theron liked it:
    I'm a big fat LSH fanboy. I'm a big fat JLU Supergirl fanboy. As far as I'm concerned , Messers McDuffie and Dini wrote this episode entirely for my consumption.


  • There's still discussion on ToonZone about the upcoming series too.

  • Black on Black Violence comments on the end of the JLU and the beginning of the LSH series:
    Will LOSH carry the flame of the JLU? Though not as popular as the JLU, LOSH does have its fan base. But it is up to the writers to keep the JLU fan-base watching the new show. Will this show be another Teen Titans/Batman, which is geared to a younger crowd? Will the kids want to be Bouncing Boy for Halloween?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Animated Legion news 25: Matt Wayne, writer

It was pointed out to me in a comment in the preceding post by "ia" that Matt Wayne, a writer and editor on the JLU series, will be doing some writing on the new Legion series, according to an interview in Newsarama.

This weekend’s “Far From Home” features Supergirl, Green Lantern and Green Arrow traveling to the future to meet the Legion of Super-heroes and battle the Fatal Five. This is a prequel to the Legion show.

“I’ll be writing a new Legion of Super-heroes show on the Kids WB for the fall or summer (2007),” said Wayne. “It will be a takeoff on the classic Legion, but like the JLU, we’ll pick and choose characters to use.”

A "prequel" in that we'll be seeing the Legion later, not a true prequel (or pilot) for the new series. Note that was interviewer Michael San Giacomo's word, not Wayne's.

Note also the fall 2006 or summer 2007 premiere date, and the confirmation of the "core team plus others" concept.

Update 4/17: Matt Wayne said over in a ToonZone thread (article #18) that he was misquoted about his writing involvement, among other things:
I was misquoted in that article.

I'm not writing the new Legion show, I wrote a little FOR it.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Animated Legion news 24: voice of Winema Wazzo

I wish I knew how Rob does it, but he's got another name for us. Comics Continuum reports today that April Winchell will be the voice actor portraying UP President Winema Wazzo.

Winchell (IMDB, MySpace, official site, Yahoo group) is an accomplished voiceover actor, from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" to "Lilo and Stich" and pretty much all points in between. She's got a show on Sirius Radio and does lots of commercial work.

Far From Home - at last!

I hope everyone had the chance to see the JLU episode "Far From Home" tonight. Given how long it's been since it was promised, I think it was worth the wait.

When the episode was originally aired in the UK back in February, copies leaked online and it could be downloaded via BitTorrent or some other program. But that was the "full screen" version, not the widescreen version. And let me tell you, it looks much better on a 52 inch widescreen HDTV than it does on a 17 inch monitor.

Screencaps from the original full-screen version can be found starting here.

In the opening scene, by the way, Brainy and Chuck are walking through the Hall of Heroes. The statues appear to be maybe Chemical King or Matter-Eater Lad and Element Lad (based on their hair styles, can't see much of the costumes) and an unidentified female on the right, but definitely Chameleon Boy at the far end on the left, Cosmic Boy next to him, then Saturn Girl, and then two (?!) statues that both look like Ferro Lad. Obviously not the Hall of DEAD Heroes, as "elscoob" rightly pointed out in the original analysis.

It's too bad, this would have been a great back-door pilot for the new series. Hopefully Tucker and company can top it.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Déjà Vu 3: Fade to White

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but with a flash of white. It's become a Legion tradition of sorts.

So long, Mon-el and the post-Crisis pre-Mordruverse Legion.



So long, Rokk, Garth, Imra, and RJ of the post-Mordruverse pre-Zero Hour Legion.


So long, Titans and Legion in a story that was retconned by the end of the second issue into an event that never happened.


So long, post-Zero Hour pre-Infinite Crisis Legion.


These pictures are from the great article at Adlo! Novelti Librari. It's in Spanish, so I recommend a translator like Google or Babelfish. You can get a good idea of what the article is about even via a machine translation.

Previously:
Déjà Vu 1: Kitson's covers
Déjà Vu 2: Nine Worlds Ice Cream Parlor

Far From Home.... Again

Looks like Cartoon Network is finally going to air the JLU episode "Far From Home" this weekend (Saturday night at 10:30 EDT/PDT, 9:30 CDT/MDT, to be exact). It aired last weekend in Canada and in February in the UK.

If you haven't seen it yet and want to get a sneak preview of the show, I screencapped it back in February after it aired in England.

The official description:

Supergirl, Green Lantern and Green Arrow travel into the future where they meet the Legion of Super Heroes and their enemies The Fatal Five.


Here's a clip of the good guys fighting Persuader and Emerald Empress.

Warning: Here There Be Spoilers! Discussion on...

More to come soon...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Superboy's Super-Lawsuit

Well the news hit the blogosphere in a trickle and it's now a flood. Lots of people at sites all over the web are talking about the Superboy lawsuit, and as Tom Spurgeon said, "A story like this is newswire crack".

Note: some of these links may contain spoilers to Infinite Crisis 6, so proceed at your own risk.

First, read the Variety article that "broke" the news, or at least, started this week's worldwide interest.

In a nutshell, a judge upheld a ruling that said the heirs of Jerry Siegel own the rights to Superboy (young Clark Kent in the super-suit). Siegel won the rights back in a 1947 trial and sold the rights to National (DC) in 1948. According to then-current copyright law, the rights were to revert 28 years later (1976), but in 1976 Congress updated the laws for another 28 years (which would be 2004) and gave the rights holders the opportunity to get them back at the end of the 56 years. That's what the Siegels did in 2004, and the judge ruled that since DC bought the rights in 1948, that very fact acknowledged that the Superboy rights belonged to the Siegels. It's likely that the Siegels and DC/Time Warner will come to some agreement at some point, but who knows when and what the details might be. Until then, the appearance of Superboy for the forseeable future is unclear.

So what about Superboy and the Legion, in the comics and on TV? Warner Brothers animation is proceeding with the animated series, which at this point still includes Superboy. Who knows if he'll stay in or be written out. The fact that the series is continuing in production suggests that no one is willing to pull the plug on it before it airs.

  • Bill at the Trusty Plinko Stick asks about the Legion Archives:
    But there’s a question I have about how this all affects me personally.

    Because it’s all about me, you see.

    What I want to know is, what effect does this have on the publishing rights to pre-existing Superboy-related material, such as the Legion of Super-Heroes Archives series that I’ve only recently started collecting in the last year or two and currently only own the first 3 volumes of (with the fourth on the way thanks to eBay)? If this decision stands, and the Siegels don’t cut some sort of licensing deal with the Time-Warner suits, will these, and anything else that happens to reprint a Superboy appearance, have to go out of print? Because that would make me rather unhappy.

  • More discussion on the ToonZone message board includes this:
    They (LOSH/WBA) aren't in developement. They are well into production. Changing Superboy into Supergirl would be disasterously expensive. No, check that - impossible. I could see the whole shebang shut down before spending truckloads of cash on 'fixing' multiple episodes, some of which have to have shipped if it's going to hit KidsWB and/or Cartoon Network in the fall.



Some of the better discussion of the Super-Suit in general in the blogosphere and comics journalist forums can be found at:
  • Absorbascon, where the commenters are discussing the need (or not) for a Superboy: "Is the concept of "Superboy" inherently ... flawed?"

  • The Beat, which notes that
    It's of some note that this story has ben kept exceedingly quiet, unlike other, less meritorious claims for copyright by older comics creators. It's widely believed that negotiations have ben ongoing between the Siegel heirs and DC Comics execs who have been supportive of Superman creators Siegel and Joe Shuster in the past.

  • Brian Cronin at CBR writes
    [Judge] Lew made it clear that, in his opinion, the television program "Smallville" (since that date) is infringing upon the copyright of the Siegels. However, Lew did not make a ruling on the "Smallville" issue, leaving it to be determined at a copyright infringement trial. The "Smallville" claim will go towards one simple decision - is "Smallville" a TV show about Superboy, or is it a show about a young Clark Kent?

  • The Comics Reporter remarks on the story:
    The story has already moved through some of the usual suspects, and hit newspapers closer to the International Dateline than the U.S. is:
    Comic Book Resources
    ICv2.com
    Malaysia Star
    Newsarama
    TCJ.com
    ToonZone

    That should go up to three figures by lunchtime. A story like this is newswire crack.

  • Tom Spurgeon introduces Mark Evanier's unique insights into the controversy:
    Comics historian and writer Mark Evanier has written a few concises posts about the heirs to Jerry Siegel having their claim to Superboy being upheld, and the potential that they may be due monies from the Smallville TV show. Start here, then read here and then go here. It's interesting reading because Mark writes with a lot of clarity and certainly has big-time comics-history chops, and as you'll see he still has to be careful how he characterizes certain elements of the historical development of the case. It's that weird.

  • E! Online has a good story, written in a very easy-to-understand way, and quotes Supermanhomepage, Neal Adams, and Mark Evanier.

And of course, everyone is commenting on how this may relate to the ending of Infinite Crisis 6 (or not).

Animated Legion news 23: Season 1 info

According to TAG Blog ("The thoughts and observations of the leaders of The Animation Guild (TAG), Local 839 IATSE"), the Warner Brothers Animation building - a "cavernous building at the Sherman Oaks Galleria" - is bustling with activity these days:

UPDATE: What WBA is doing now:
"Shaggy and Scooby Doo Get A Clue" 13 1/2-hours
"Legion of Super Heroes" 13 1/2-hours
"The Batman" 13 1/2-hours
"Loonatics" 13 1/2-hours
Also two "Scooby Doo" DVDs, because there can never be enough Scoobies.

That appears to me to be confirmation of thirteen half-hour episodes for Season One.

I also wonder if this means the official title is "Legion of Super Heroes" or if that's just the working title or even just a shorthand version.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Animated Legion news 22: Superboy trouble?

As can be read at various locations, a potentially troublesome issue for the Legion show has popped up in the last few weeks. A Los Angeles federal judge granted summary judgement in March saying that Joanne Siegel and Laura Siegel Larson (Jerry Siegel's widow and daughter) regained the rights to the Superboy character retroactive to Nov. 17, 2004. According to SciFiWire, quoting a Variety article:

The ruling now throws into question the ownership of Smallville episodes that have run since that date. The judge denied a request by the defendants—Time Warner, Warner Brothers and DC Comics—for a ruling that Smallville did not infringe on the Superboy copyrights. Warner Brothers said in response that it "respectfully disagrees" with the rulings and will pursue an appeal, the trade paper said.

Still to be resolved is the question of whether Smallville—now in its fifth season—is actually infringing on the Superboy copyright. No trial date has been set in the suit, which was filed in 2004, the trade paper reported.

As suggested by ToonWorldOrder, if the judge denied Time Warner/WB/DC's request that Smallville did not infringe on Superboy's rights, there's no way they'd win if they tried to assert that Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes didn't infringe.

And what does that say to any Superboy in the DC Universe following Infinite Crisis? More importantly for the Legion show, will WB pursue the series as it pursues an appeal in the case, which it lost last month?

Needless to say, the Superman-related web sites have been following this as well. Adam at kal-el.org has a copy of the Variety article. Some of the details of the case, from Variety:
Still to be resolved is the question of whether "Smallville" -- now in its fifth season and centered on a teenage Clark Kent -- is actually infringing on the Superboy copyright. No trial date has been set in the suit, filed in 2004.

In their request for partial summary judgment, Siegel and Larson didn't ask for a copyright infringement ruling, which Lew said would require a "detailed factual comparison." But he noted, "Enough facts are presented, where this court, contrary to defendants' request, could find that the main character in 'Smallville' is in fact Superboy."

Lew also added in a footnote, "In the Superboy comic strip, a billboard on the side of a rural country road announces, 'Welcome to Smallville! Home of Superboy."

In response, Warner Bros. also pointed out that the suit is directed solely to rights relating to the costumed character Superboy -- not Superman. "Moreover, the court's ruling does not affect the television series 'Smallville,' which is grounded in depictions of a young Superman that pre-date the publication of Superboy in 1944 and which therefore are not subject to the termination notice, even if valid," Warner added.

Marc Toberoff, who represents Siegel and Larson, told Daily Variety that the only representations of a younger Superman which pre-date 1944 Superboy consist of one or two panels showing Superman as a baby or toddler. "Jerry Siegel's Superboy focuses on Superboy's relationship with his parents and his adventures with school classmates in a small town which, by Superboy No. 2, was named Smallville," he added.

The article goes on to explain that in 1947, Siegel sued National over ownership of Superman and Superboy. National was awarded Superman, Siegel won Superboy. In 1948 later he sold ownership of Superboy and all of his remaining Superman rights to National (later DC). When Congress amended copyright law in 1976, the terms allowed Siegel's heirs (his wife and daughter) to terminate their grant of the Superboy copyright in 1948 in 2004. DC, of course, protested and is opposing their efforts.

As Mark Evanier summarizes it,
In purchasing Superboy from Siegel and Shuster, DC acknowledged that Jerry and Joe were the rightful owners. Judge Lew is now saying, in effect, "That matter was settled long ago." Time-Warner, as DC's current owner, cannot now go in and argue that Siegel and Shuster never owned the copyright.

Newsarama has more on the story (warning, Infinite Crisis #6 spoilers inside). Mark Evanier praises the Newsarama article - and summarizes it very clearly and succinctly - saying of the other comics news sites, "Most of 'em are too busy breaking scoops over who's inking the next Wolverine crossover to care about what I think is the biggest newsbreak in comics this century."

Stay tooned, I guess....

Animated Legion news 21: President Wazzo

Comics Continuum reports that President Winema Wazzo will appear on the Legion show. That pretty much confirms that Phantom Girl will be on the show as well, if not one of the core team then one of the regular recurring characters. The fact that Cosmic Boy and Triplicate Girl will be recurring (and not regulars) suggests that the Legion show might be modeled after the JLU cartoon, with a core group and lots of others who appear from time to time. That's how you'd handle a Legion, after all.

Legion of Super-Gamblers: LSGX

No, this isn't a delayed April Fool's joke, it's an open invitation.

The legendary Legion of Super-Gamblers! Blackjack Boy! Pai-Gow Poker King! Roulette Lass! One-Armed Bandit Boy! King Queen! (Or Queen King under the influence of Grandian Gender-Reversal Germs.) And their headquarters, the Black Pyramid (with its bright LSG beacon on top, which can be seen thousands of miles out in space)! Bring out the Planetary Chance Machine, pay homage to the Luck Lords, and book that trip to the planet Ventura....

Actually, it's a bunch of comics fans who happen to have at least a passing knowledge of the Legion, and one weekend a year we travel from all over the country to Las Vegas. No hidden agendas, nothing you're required to do (except show up and have fun, either with us or on your own as much as you want). There's a core group of us that goes every year, usually around 8-10 of us, with a half dozen or so who have joined us at one time or another over the years. This will be our 10th annual trip - thus LSGX - with participants from Houston, NYC, Phoenix, Kansas City, Seattle, Philadelphia, and more.

Note - Very few of us are actually Super-Gamblers, though from time to time we do come out ahead. It just sounded good.

Typically we fly in on a Thursday afternoon and leave Sunday afternoon or evening, though due to work considerations some don't show up until Friday night and some stay over until Monday morning. This year it's the weekend of Thursday June 15 through Sunday June 18. We'll try to see a show one night, have a fancy dinner one night, and casino hop the rest of the time, chasing our money up and down the Strip.

If anyone's interested in possibly going, or just want more information, send me an email (it's in my profile) or leave a comment. Here are some photos and trip reports from our early missions.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Field Guide to the Legion

I first wrote about the various versions of the Legion back in November. In I wanted to try to re-organize my thoughts on the reboots in preparation for some upcoming blog entries, and in the wake of Infinite Crisis (both the Secret Files story and the last couple issues of the miniseries), I'm sure I'll have more to say. For consistency's sake, I've labeled them like computer software versions since we're all familiar with that, but nobody else uses these labels (yet).

(For a vastly bigger look at the different versions of the Legion, Don Sakers has cataloged every variation of the Legion, from Ferro Lad II to Bruce "Superman" Wayne, over at the Alternate Versions page. Bet you didn't remember all of them!)

LSH v1.0, 1958-1986
The original series up through the Crisis. Superboy, Supergirl, yada yada yada. (Don's A.0.00 to A.0.30)

LSH v1.1, 1986-1990
In the wake of the original Crisis, Superman was rebooted, which retconned Superboy out. The easy way out was to just ignore Superboy in current continuity, but that got messy when the Legion (who knew Superboy) met the new Superman (who was never a Superboy), so they invented the Pocket Universe. That allowed them to keep *a* Superboy (but didn't explain how the Legion met Superman, since the PU Superboy died shortly thereafter). Still, it wasn't TOO messy, as long as you didn't think about it much. Then Giffen and the Bierbaums came along and jumped us Five Years Later into a dystopian future. Since the majority of the backstory wasn't retconned away, this gets a "point" upgrade from 1.0 to 1.1. (Don's A.2.50)

LSH v2.0a (alpha), 1990
Very early in the series, a battle with the Time Trapper caused a brief reboot into the "Mordruverse", which showed what happened when Mordru ruled the universe. That story ended with the Mordruverse rebooting. This was only a single issue. Because that timeline was unstable, this version that totally reworked the Legion was scrapped in the "alpha" phase and wasn't allowed to continue. (Don's A.2.60)

LSH v1.2, 1990-1994
After the Mordruverse rebooted, the DCU Legion went back to the most recent version (v1.1) some changes were made ("it's not a bug, it's a feature!") - there were never a Superboy or Supergirl, instead there was Valor (formerly Mon-el) and Andromeda, who were retconned in place of the Kryptonian duo. Still, it was mostly the old continuity and characters. Along the way, a group of "kid Legionnaires" called the SW6 Batch showed up. This timeline ended with Zero Hour. (Don's A.2.70)

LSH v3.0, 1994-2004
Post-Zero Hour, the Legion was rebooted with a new continuity that started from scratch, although it had parallels with the old series. You didn't have to have read the original stuff, but it helped. In a sense, the old version was discontinued and the Legion was rewritten from the ground up with a new user interface. As time went on, it diverged more and more. It started with a happy and light future, led by Roger Stern, Tom Peyer, and Mark Waid, and then took a drastic turn to darkness once Abnett and Lanning came on. They killed some characters and introduced new ones. This series ended as the Legion was lost in space due to a battle with the Fatal Five (Hundred) along side the Teen Titans in the Titans/Legion Special. Since LSH v2.0 never left the alpha stage, and since this version did not build off of v2.0a, I gave this the v3.0 designation. (Don's B.2.20)

LSH v4.0, 2005-present
Probably due to sales and an impression of a complicated user interface, the Legion was rebooted again (or the "threeboot" as some are calling it), with Waid and Kitson. Again, it starts from scratch and has some characters the same as the old series, and you don't need to have read the old series in order to understand the new one. The ideas and concepts are similar, and this version tries to do the same sort of stuff as the older versions, but with a different user interface written by a trusted name. With but each reboot (or version number increase), whatever is the current version of the Legion moves further and further away from previous versions.

Animated Legion news 20: new characters

Not new voices this time, but Comics Continuum has a brief mention of two new recurring characters on the Legion show.

Although they aren't series regulars, both Cosmic Boy and Triplicate Girl will appear in the upcoming Legin of Super Heroes animated series.

We've seen Cosmic Boy before, in one of Ben Caldwell's unused concept sketches, but Triplicate Girl is a new addition.

Rokk and Luornu join Bouncing Boy (a potential love interest for Lu?), Brainiac 5, Superboy, Lightning Lad, and Timber Wolf as confirmed to be on the show, with Saturn Girl and Phantom Girl as highly likely.

See this page for the full story of what's known to date about the show.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Interlac


Seeing Interlac in a strange place this morning forced me to gather up all the semi-related links I've been saving and give them to you here.

Interlac - from the Latin "inter" (meaning "between") and "lac" (meaning "the pages of the Legion book where you'll find the language") - was the standard language of the 30th century, spoken by everyone and the universal language output from the translators. In the 1980's someone on the Legion creative team came up with a substitution code for the English alphabet, and then we saw it on billboards, taxis, costumes (Element Lad's), and even word balloons when a 30th century character was talking to someone who didn't speak Interlac.

Soon a page was published in one of the Legion issues (a secret decoder ring, of sorts) with the English/Interlac letter translations, a copy of which appears here on one of John Censullo's Outpost II pages.

A guy on CompuServe's old Comics and Animation Forum (GO COMICS), a prolific letterhack named Kashif "Blue Panther" Husain, created the first (that I know of) Interlac computer fonts, which I downloaded and with his permission, reposted on my web site. (An aside - the files are zipped, which I had to do when my first ISP wouldn't host a file with a strange extension, plus with blazingly fast 14.4 modems, you needed to compress everything!).

And then what do you know - the guy turns up last month and has a Blogger account. Go to his page to read Blue Panther's official story of the creation of the interlac font, complete with a link to his mid-90's Compuserve page. He's got another site that contains the TrueType Solid and Hollow and the PostScript Hollow fonts for all your fonty goodness.

So why bring this up now? Well, turns out someone at Marvel downloaded the font at some point and it showed up in a Spider-Man PSA story from 1990, as revealed here at Polite Dissent.

But just so nobody thinks I forgot, Interlac is also the name of one of the original (and still going) Legion "apa" zines, dating to 1976. The history of Interlac is, in a way, the history of organized Legion fandom itself.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Legionboy Rampage!!!

I meant to post this one last week but forgot. I didn't find Fanboy Rampage!!! until literally a day or two before it ended, but I'm guessing it might have gone something like this: how does a discussion on Legion concept art devolve into a "Ho'od Win: Goku or Superman?" argument?

The Superman Homepage showed a picture of the Legion concept art (which CBR then reported on as if SHP was the originator, when it premiered on LegionWorld.net and this blog a month ago), which led to some interesting discussion.


"I think it's going to be very much like TT. That doesn't bother me, but the rumor was we were getting a Superman cartoon...a la The Batman. I hope this is not what the rumor mill meant. I know a lot of folks are wierded out by the design, but I don't think it looks bad. I've seen these pictures for a while, and it was glaring not to see a b.t. design, but *shrugs* things change."

"That's not Superboy... look the costume is wrong... the \S/ is different... the spit curl is up-side-down, the belt buckle is wrong... hehehehehe... just kidding... anything with Supes in it is... TOTALLY COOL!!!"

"Oh holy god, spare me, just spare me! The only thing this show has going for it is that it has Silver-Age Superboy in it, but knowing the TT tradition, they'll screw it all up with their bogus animation, idiot plots and comedic atmosphere. Here's hoping they screw up royally with this show, and chase Bruce Timm down the road, begging him to return and make a thousand more episodes of JLU."

"Awwwww, Come On, as long as Dragon Ball Z is on Cartoon Network the world is in good shape! Maybe this new show will be okay.... remember... those are just early sketches."

"lol whatchel, if you have ever watched DBZ you would have to admit that Goku is a lot like Superman. Just a little difference in hair styles. lol"

"Being superpowered doesnt make you the equal to Superman. Superman would basically make Goku his Robin. He'd strap a bad costume on him, beat him down ten times over, and be home for dinner before Goku even realized what just happened."

"Goku is not only superpowered, but he ...like superman.... stands for what is right and does everything he can do to stop evil. LOL Terminal..... Goku would ask superman to be his sidekick but he knows that superman would just get in the way..... Goku is in the Big Leauges lol"

"Well, I don't want to spend seventeen pages being a geek and debating who can fight whom, but when Goku fights gods, and angels from heaven and wins like Superman has, then come talk to me."

"And GOku has to train and hone his powers, Superman has powers naturally. While Goku is doing his super sumo saiyan chant, Superman will make a stool out of him. But hey, it's all about opinions."

No Jessica Alba nude pictures here, sorry

Update 4/3: Thanks to Warren's crew, on April 2nd I had my highest single-day hit total (430). Over 49% of the traffic to this site on April 1st and 2nd came off that one link. Hopefully some of them will stay.



Someone who shall remain nameless (mostly because I don't have access to those stats) was here yesterday looking for pictures of Jessica Alba. As I suspected, that didn't take long, though I'm not quite sure how it got high enough on their site for that guy to click it.

A few other things related to the post:

  • Some time late yesterday (April 1st) I recorded my 10,000th hit since the site went live on Nov. 13th.

  • My April Fool's Day episode brought me my second highest hit total to date (389), thanks to over 200 hits from Warren Ellis's site. Today brought me the third highest (335 and counting, as of this writing). The biggest was when I first screencapped the "Far From Home" episode of JLU (401 hits).

  • Rob Hoegee, story editor for the new Legion series, commented here yesterday. If Rob or any other cast or crew member would like to comment or provide any information (names, sketches, characters, storylines, etc.) we're always open, and my email address is at the top in my profile. I'm trying to be (and stay) the blogosphere's main source of Legiony goodness.

  • Saturday, April 01, 2006

    Animated Legion exclusive news!

    Update: April Fool's!

    • "Avril van de Dwaas" is Dutch for "April Fool". Thanks to Babelfish.
    • Gabe Dell (Mordru) died in 1988. Kind of tough for him to be in the show.
    • Lirpa Sloof - this was supposed to be the giveaway in case someone fell for it up to this point.
    • Freedonia is a fictional country.

    Every link in here is legitimate, though.

    Here's a huge list of April Fools hoaxes perpetrated today, from Google Romance to Slashdot's "OMG Ponies" theme to http://wideurl.com/.

    Scott at Legion Clubhouse worked with me on our co-hoax, but thehutch at Monitor Duty was a lucky coincidence.

    I made Warren Ellis' "Link of the Day" list. No doubt if Mark Waid, Jessica Alba, or Harvey Fierstein had blogs, I'd be in their lists too.

    (Now, I wonder how my hit rate will change now that I have "Jessica Alba" as a search term?)



    Update 4/1, noon: Scott at Legion Clubhouse has more news...Melissa Joan Hart reprising her role as Saturn Girl and Michael Rosenbaum as Cosmic Boy, with the pilot scripted by none other than Keith Giffen and Tom & Mary Bierbaum (aka "TMK"). I'm not sure what to think about that last one - Five Years Later on TV? I was not a fan of their v4 comic.

    Also, thehutch over at Monitor Duty, while getting a few of the details wrong (he says it's Timm and company with a spinoff from the upcoming JLU episode), says:
    There will be a 90-minute movie (essentially the first three episodes shown all at once, like they did with Superman and Justice League's pilots) which will be shown in late 2006, but the series itself won't launch until early 2007.



    Imagine Mark Waid on a Legion project with Warren Ellis. Then throw in Jessica Alba. Interested?

    Through a friend of a friend of a friend, I was able to talk via email with Avril van de Dwaas, whose job at Cartoon Network includes shepherding the new Legion series along. She agreed to answer some of my questions and passed along some exclusive new names to add to the list of actors and staff already known.

    They haven't officially decided on the series title yet, by the way, they're still deciding between Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (SLSH), Superboy and the Legion (SatL), or Legion of Super-Heroes (LSH). She said the pictures we've seen so far - and they've seen them too, on the various web sites - are indeed early concept art but they're not the final version (which she said would "knock [our] socks off").

    Avril gave me two Legionnaire voices and three villain voices, and one writer who will provide at least a couple of episode scripts. With her permission, here are the voices and what she had to say about them:

    Warren Ellis (IMDB, official site), writer
    Warren did an episode of Justice League for us and at the time he expressed an interest in writing other scripts in the future (no pun intended!), so we were able to convince him to contribute to the Legion series.
    Jessica Alba (IMDB, Wikipedia), as Phantom Girl
    Jessica is a big fan of the Legion, and when she heard the rumors last year during the Fantastic Four publicity tours that a Legion series was in the works, she had her representatives contact us to see if she could do a voice on the series. We're trying to work out a recording schedule that fits her filming schedule, so you may see several Phantom Girl-less episodes and then a bunch where she's in it. We're really excited to have a big name like her on board.

    Mark Waid (IMDB, Wikipedia), as Bouncing Boy
    This is going to shock a lot of people, but Mark Waid has a really good actor's voice. He practically begged for an audition and on a lark we let him, primarily because he's the writer of the current series and a long-time fan himself. He told us he has been trying to get Bouncing Boy into the comic book and if he couldn't give a voice to Chuck in print, he wanted to try to do it on the small screen. His readings blew us away, they captured what we wanted to hear (and see) in Bouncing Boy.

    Gabe Dell (IMDB), as Mordru
    Most people won't remember the Legends of the Super-Heroes show from 1979, but someone on the staff did. That was a show in the 1960's Batman show style, a two-parter called "Challenge of the Super-Heroes" and then a "Roast" show. Well, for some reason, Mordru was one of the villains on that series, and we were able to track down Gabe Dell who portrayed Mordru to see if he wanted to reprise his role on our new series. Dell was an actor in the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 30's and 40's, and while he's in his late 80's and mostly retired, he still has what it takes to be a voice actor. We're proud to have him on board.

    Harvey Fierstein (IMDB), as Grimbor
    We wanted to camp up this character and bring him into the 21st century (or should that be 31st?). He's going to come out of the closet. When you see this great big man in leather and chains, we thought that Harvey would do him justice.

    Lirpa Sloof (IMDB, official site), as Validus
    Lirpa's agent got him an audition, and we're pretty happy with the results. He's new to this country, but in his home country of Freedonia, he's a minor celebrity. He does voiceover work for animated shows in his native tongue and he's good with vocal sound effects. Fortunately Validus doesn't speak English, but Lirpa is great with the growls. If you close your eyes and think of how Validus would sound, this is it.

    So, what do you guys think?