Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No Mike Grell for LSH anniversary

I asked Mike Grell earlier today if he was going to be contributing anything to whatever anniversary plans DC has for the Legion next year. Here's his response (posted with permission, and in his all caps style):





"Your source" refers to my noting that Paul Levitz is rumored to be doing something. The "bit of info" he refers to is this solicitation that has already been made public:
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank & Jonathan Sibal
Cover by Frank
Variant cover by Mike Grell

“Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes,” Part 4! Superman’s mission to reunite the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st century continues on the one planet more dangerous than Earth: the cold, knowledge-obsessed world of Colu! But what fate has befallen Brainiac 5? And what are the horrible secrets behind Earth’s “new" super-heroes — the Justice League?

Retailers please note: This issue will feature two covers that may be ordered separately. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition (featuring a cover by Gary Frank), retailers may order one Variant Edition (featuring a cover by Mike Grell). See the Previews Order Form for more information.

On sale January 30 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

I have not seen this variant cover, though, nor do I expect to see it before January 30, 2008.

It's too bad that the Powers That Be couldn't make something work out. It's amazing to think that Grell is basically the oldest (in terms of how long ago he worked, not age) Legion artist out there. Think about the long line of Legion artists - John Forte, Curt Swan, and Win Mortimer cover the entire "Adventure" and "Action" runs! George Tuska did a 4-issue run in Superboy before Dave Cockrum took over, and after Cockrum came Grell. (Tuska is still around, but I don't really consider him to be one of the "regular" artists.) So really, Mike Grell is just the 5th main Legion artist since its founding. Guess we'll have to live with the Action 861 variant cover as "close enough".

"Who Am I?" preview pics

Presenting some images from this weekend's Legion episode "Who Am I?", with another episode written by J.M. DeMatteis:

In order to infiltrate Imperiex's ranks, the Legion decide to have Chameleon Boy take the form of the villain Persuader. But in order to make the disguise complete, they must also reprogram Chameleon Boy's mind so that he believes that he actually is Persuader. Things go terribly wrong when his Legion teammates are unable to make Chameleon Boy remember who he really is. Alex Polinsky ("Charles in Charge") voices the role of Chameleon Boy. Persuader is voiced by David Sobolov ("Sabrina, The Animated Series"), and Shawn Harrison ("Family Matters") does double duty as Timber Wolf and Ron Karr. James Tucker directed the episode, which was written by J.M. DeMatteis.

This will actually be the Persuader's first speaking role in the series. Ron Karr, I believe, was last seen imprisoned on Takron-Galtos along with Persuader and many others.

Episode 2.05 "Karate Kid"

You may recall last spring when I mentioned Wil "Cosmic Boy" Wheaton was doing voices for some of the episodes. In late March, Wil was apparently working on this episode, where he mentioned the "It's a trap!" line from early in the show. Later, he wrote of this episode:

Legion was awesome today, and in a cruel twist of fate, I'd really like to write all about the various jokes we made, the outrageously talented guest stars I got to work with, and how fucking awesome the show is . . . but it would reveal way too much that Warner Brothers wants to keep secret (and spoil the show for the audience, which sucks) so I'll just have to file those notes away and use them when this episode airs. And no, I can't even say the title, because that would give too much away.

I've asked him to unfile those notes, we'll see what happens.

I saw the ending as soon as they showed how Nemesis Kid's powers worked. However, I anticipated that it would be Karate Kid vs Nemesis Kid, of course, not Karate Kid vs Grimbor using a weapon to simulate Nemesis Kid's powers. Up until the very last minute, I thought for sure Nemesis Kid was going to reveal that he was working for Imperiex, the Dominators, or Grimbor.

Torrent: via Torrent Portal
Legion Wiki: The Karate Kid

  • Occasional Superheroine:
    This episode was the most mind-bogglingly patronizing thing I've ever seen since viewing the silent movie "Shadows". In that movie, Lon Chaney takes the role of the wise, stomach-churningly humble, hardworking Asian laundryman. The fact that around 80 years have passed since that film & this cartoon but the Asian protagonist has been portrayed so very similar is troubling.

    Some good discussion as well as some good trackbacks.

  • Legion Abstract:
    But unfortunately the thing that struck me the most about this episode was the scene where they made Karate Kid do laundry. It was not the most racially sensitive thing I've ever seen. Now, I'm not accusing anyone of anything, and I know there was the other scene at the end where Nemesis Kid made nice, but... are we really sure that this scene was such a hot idea?

    I'm kind of getting sick of this characterization of Cosmic Boy. Maybe it's useful in the story, but it's not what the character's like. And I don't mean it's not what he's like in the comic books--he wasn't like this in Season 1 either. On the other hand, we're seeing more of Superman's greater experience: he's now showing Legionnaires what being a superhero is all about.

  • Superman Home Page:
    What a complete and utter mess.

    Characters are forced to do and say things they wouldn't simply to move the story forward, and don't do or say the things they should. I speak chiefly of Superman, and that is never going to sit well with me.

    ...Superman then brings Karate Kid back and introduces him as a Legion member... and nobody accepts it and assigns him to laundry duty?! Okay, if Nemesis Kid had done that, I'd expect that response, because he's new and they don't know him very well. But this is SUPERMAN. The best there is, even by Legion standards. They went into the past just to get HIM and revere him and they don't listen to him when he says Karate Kid is worth being a Legionnaire?

    I don't buy that. Not at all.

    And does Superman stand up for Karate Kid? No. Nah. Why would he? He only found him and believes in him and brought him to the Legion. But they want to act like he's worthless and make him do laundry? Well, that's okay by Superman!

    Not any Superman *I* know, actually. That angered me more than anything else in the episode. Superman should have told them Karate Kid deserved a fair shot and should have seen to it that he got it. But Superman did none of those things and that's just incredibly out of character.

  • Luagha's LJ:
    The best definition of Karate Kid's power is 'good enough at martial arts to beat Superman if Superman doesn't use super-speed, or just fly away and eyebeam/cold-breath him for a few hours until he gets too tired to dodge.' And here he is basically weak and pointless except for spirit and determination and happening to have the right (lack of) powers for this particular episode.

    ...This was a classic example of the 'fight that Cosmic Boy should have won before he walked in the door so he should have been left out of this episode' but they needed him to be the harsh taskmaster so they kept him in. I mean, Grimbor uses metal chains, metal nets, and explosives attached to metal chains and metal nets... which Cosmic Boy shows the demonstrated ability to control so he should never be hit by them, affected by them, he should be able to tie Grimbor up with his own chains or at least rip off all his metal technological equipment.

  • Talkbacks on the ToonZone, Legion World, and DC Comics message boards.

Guttered again!

So can you tell from this chart when this week's "Lying in the Gutters" went live?

Interestingly, I ended up with over 3000 hits yesterday, which was nearly twice as many as when I put up my original Jim Shooter rumor (my previous daily high hit count).

LEGIÃO DOS SUPER-HERÓIS - the Legion in Brazil in December

Sounds like the Legion animated show will be carried by Cartoon Network in Brazil starting December 14, 2007. Anyone from Brazil read this and want to comment?

LEGIÃO DOS SUPER-HERÓIS – NOVA SÉRIE (2006) Quarta, 14 de dezembro, às 17h Gênero: Animação, Ação

Daqui a mil anos, um grupo de super-heróis adolescentes viaja de volta no tempo para recrutar o maior herói do passado, Super-Homem, para combater o Mal no século XXXI. Mas apesar das intenções do grupo serem boas, sua destreza com viagem no tempo não é - e Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Phantom Girl, Bouncing Boy e Timber Wolf acabam recuando demais no tempo, até os dias do Superboy. Juntos, essa inusitada Liga de Super-Heróis se une para defender os direitos de todos os mundos livres e para garantir as leis da recém-criada United Planets [referência à ONU, United Nations em inglês]. Mas isso somente se eles não se matarem antes. Legion of Super Heroes combina humor com altos riscos e atos heróicos em larga escala para criar o sci-fi do momento.

Here's the Google machine translation, which is occasionally humorous:
In a thousand years, a group of super-heroes adolescents travels back in time to recruit the greatest hero of the past, Super-Man, to fight the Evil century XXXI. But despite the group's intentions are good, their swiftly with the journey time is not, and Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Phantom Girl, Bouncing Boy and Timber Wolf end recuando other in time, before the days of Superboy. Together, this unusual League of Super-Heroes are unites to defend the rights of all worlds free and to ensure the laws of the newly created United Planets [reference to the UN, United Nations in English]. But that is only if they do not kill before. Legion of Super Heroes combines humor with high risks and heroic acts on a large scale to create the sci-fi at the time.

Monday, October 29, 2007

eBay: The Legion's "Days of Future Past"

The Legion already met the X-Men in their "Days of Future Past" storyline back in the "Unlimited Access" miniseries a while back, but someone commissioned artist Bob Layton to re-create the iconic cover of "X-Men" 141 with the Legion replacing the X-Men. This piece of original art is up for auction on eBay this week.

A One of a Kind Cover Commission from Bob Layton! It's an X-Men 141 swipe featuring the Legion of Superheroes. The premise is Darkseid has taken over the world and the big three of Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are all that remain. This great piece is on 11x17 comic board. The lettering are stats and there is a small amount of whiteout. Stunning piece. Retails at $400. No need to wait months and months for a commission.

It's on a "Buy It Now" for $375, or "Make an Offer". Click on the picture to see an enlargement on the actual auction page.

Note: as a companion piece to this "The Legion replaces Marvel characters", I wanted to show a piece of commissioned art, done by Mike Grell, recreating an Avengers scene, where the LSH was substituted in place of the Avengers (Colossal Boy for Giant-Man, etc.) on the left side, and some Legion villains (maybe the Fatal Five?) were substituted in place of Avengers villains on the right side (Emerald Empress for Enchantress?). Unfortunately, I can't find the copy of the image either on my computer or via a Google search, so if you know where this is (or if you're the owner), please put a link in the comments.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

RUMOR: Levitz to return on a Legion project?

Here's another juicy new rumor. If I were Lying in the Gutters like Rich Johnston, I'd put it as an amber (though given the source, there's a good chance it'd be green, but without revealing sources we'll leave it amber).

According to a reputable source who recently spoke directly to a high-level DC staffer, Paul Levitz may be returning to do something significant involving the Legion. The DC staffer was asked that since we've seen the return of one old-timer such as Jim Shooter to the Legion, when would we see Levitz return? The staffer replied that s/he couldn't talk about "that project" (a direct quote) yet. I have no other knowledge about this alleged project, save that it's supposed to be pretty hush-hush for now.

By the way, this source is not the same person who told me that "Jim" would be writing the Legion (and who turned out to be right, with Jim Shooter).

Update: some more discussion at Newsarama.

Flashback: Pronunciation Poll results

A week or so ago, I reposted The Official Legion Pronunciation Poll (1995 version). Here were the results from back then, with today's results, from pollster MykePM. The formatting is kind of wonky, but it was much easier back then when everyone used a fixed-width font.

The numbers in black are from the original 92, the ones in red are the additional 18 from the comments here.

Well, here they are (finally), the results of The Official Legion Pronunciation Poll. This poll was posted to the Legion usenet newsgroup (rec.arts.comics.dc.lsh), the Legion mailing list (LSH-L) and the DC Online Legion bulletin board on America Online.

First of all, I'd like to thank all *92* people who participated. The response was far greater than I had imagined, and I really appreciate the support!

Special thanks go to Tom Peyer, Tom McCraw, and Jeff Moy of the Legion creative team for taking the time to cast their ballots. Since their choices are of particular interest, their initials appear next to their selections.

I'd like to point out that I do not, nor did I ever, expect the results of this poll to set any kind of a standard in pronouncing the included names. This was done just for fun. Besides, only 8 of my choices finished first, and I'm not changing the way I pronounce these names until the Legionnaires themselves land a time bubble in my apartment and tell me I'm wrong. :)

As you'll notice, the fact that many people were torn between two choices necessitated the use of half-votes when tallying up the results.

Enough of my jabbering; let's get to the results...


1) Vidar
f) vih-DAR -------------------------------------- 26.5 (TP) +3
b) VY-dar --------------------------------------- 17 +7
a) VEE-dar -------------------------------------- 20.5 +3
c) VIH-dar -------------------------------------- 18.5 (TM, JM) +3
d) vee-DAR -------------------------------------- 5.5 +2
e) vy-DAR --------------------------------------- 4

The first entry in the poll had the closest finish.


2) Khund
b) kund ----------------------------------------- 61 (TP, TM, JM) +11
a) koond ---------------------------------------- 24 +5

khoond (kh = kah - a) --------------------------- 1
koond ("oo" as in "book") ----------------------- 1
khund (like "kund" with throaty 'k' ------------- 1 +1
like "koond" but shorter ------------------------ 1
ke-hund ----------------------------------------- 1
kuh-hund ---------------------------------------- 1
(k)hund ('k' pretty much silent) ---------------- 1
Not quite Koond, but Khound, like in Kundera ---- 1


3) Darkseid
a) dark-side ------------------------------------ 80 (TP, TM, JM) +17
b) dark-seed ------------------------------------ 11 +1

dark-sade (rhymes with "made") ------------------ 1

A number of people pointed out that the King, Jack Kirby himself, has declared "dark-side" to be the correct pronunciation in this case. I, too, personally consider this to be "the official word." I also believe they used this pronunciation on the Super Powers cartoon (formerly "Super Friends") quite a few years back. However, I still do catch myself saying "dark-seed" occasionally (right, Yeechang?).


4) Bgztl
c) BIGGS-tle ------------------------------------ 35 (TP, TM) +4
b) big-zittle ----------------------------------- 22 +3
a) bee-GIZZ-tle --------------------------------- 6.5

Bugtussle --------------------------------------- 2.5
BUG-zittle -------------------------------------- 2
BUGZ-tel (e = schwa) ---------------------------- 1
BUGGS-tuhl -------------------------------------- 1
BUG-stull --------------------------------------- 1
BUGS-tle ---------------------------------------- 1
BUGS-tul ---------------------------------------- 1
BIGGS-ztle -------------------------------------- 1
BIGGZ-tle --------------------------------------- 1
big-IT-zil -------------------------------------- 1
big-ITTS-el ------------------------------------- 1
bee-git-zle ------------------------------------- 1
BIG-zle (silent 't') ---------------------------- 1
buh-jitz-el ------------------------------------- 1
bih-guh-zit-tle (less emphasis on each vowel) --- 1
big-zull ---------------------------------------- 1
bug-still --------------------------------------- 1
bg-ztl (attempted pronunciation with no vowels) - 1
buh-GET-sl -------------------------------------- 1
b'GIZZ-tle (schwa for first vowel) -------------- 1
big-zeee-tall ----------------------------------- 1
b'g-stle (with the ' representing a schwa sound)- 1
BOOGzuhtuhl ------------------------------------- 1
beh-GIZZ-tle ------------------------------------ 1
bij-ih-zuh-tuhl (not sure how to properly do
    the phonetic spelling) ---------------------- 1
I just say "Bgztl" ------------------------------ 1
big-GIZZ-tle ------------------------------------ 1
Buh-getz-til ------------------------------------ 1
Ba-GIZZ-tle ------------------------------------- 1
BUGZ-til (I've heard it's supposed to be "bugtussle") -- 1
b@gz-t@l (where @ represents the schwa sound) --- 1
BIGGS-til --------------------------------------- 1
buh-GIT-zle (I know, that doesn't even match the
    spelling, but its stuck in my head now) ----- 1

ABSTENTIONS ------------------------------------- 4 (JM)

This entry really made me regret allowing space for write-ins. :)

As you can see, there were a comparatively large number of abstentions in this case. KryptoPup's pronunciation was "Tinya's homeworld". Other comments among abstentions included "unpronounceable", "I couldn't even begin to tell you", and Neil Hogan's "I just read it and go 'oh yeah, Tinya's planet'. It's as bad as Mxyzptlk." Technically, I could have included Mxyzptlk (his descendant appeared in Adventure #310), but opening a can of worms that big seemed overly masochistic. :)


5) (Thom) Kallor
b) KAL-lore ------------------------------------- 44 (TM, JM) +8
a) KAL-ler (rhymes with "Valor") ---------------- 23 (TP) +7
c) kal-LORE ------------------------------------- 23 +1
d) kuh-LORE ------------------------------------- 1 +1

KA-lore ----------------------------------------- 1
Kay-lore ---------------------------------------- 1


6) (Tasmia) Malor
b) MAL-lore ------------------------------------- 39.5 (TM, JM) +6
a) MAL-ler (rhymes with "Valor") ---------------- 24 (TP) +7
c) mal-LORE ------------------------------------- 18.5 +2
d) muh-LORE ------------------------------------- 7 +3

MAY-lore ---------------------------------------- 3


7) Querl (Dox)
c) kwerl ---------------------------------------- 95 (TP, TM, JM) +16.5
b) rhymes with "squirrel" (2 syllables) --------- 9 +1.5
d) Carol ---------------------------------------- 3
a) curl ----------------------------------------- 1

QWAIR-ul --------------------------------------- 1
KWAIR-el --------------------------------------- 1

Two people split their vote between "kwerl" and "rhymes with squirrel", saying they pronounce the name with two syllables.


8) Jan (Arrah)
b) Jan (Brady-like) ----------------------------- 101.5 (TP, TM, JM) +17
a) yon (swedish-like) --------------------------- 2

jahn -------------------------------------------- 2
yan --------------------------------------------- 2 +1
zhan -------------------------------------------- 1
John -------------------------------------------- 0.5


9) (Jan) Arrah
b) are-uh --------------------------------------- 37 (TM) +5
a) air-uh --------------------------------------- 22 +11

uh-RAH ------------------------------------------ 4 +1
ar-RAH ------------------------------------------ 3
ARE-uh ------------------------------------------ 2
ar-ruh ------------------------------------------ 2
ah-rah ------------------------------------------ 2
A-rah ------------------------------------------- 2
arr-AH ------------------------------------------ 1
arr-rah ----------------------------------------- 1
arr-ah ------------------------------------------ 1
AH-ra ------------------------------------------- 1
AH-rah ------------------------------------------ 1
ahh-rah (softer sound than "are-uh") ------------ 1
air-ah ------------------------------------------ 1
air-AH ------------------------------------------ 1 (TP)
AR-uh ------------------------------------------- 1
ARE-ruh ----------------------------------------- 1
are-ah ------------------------------------------ 1 (JM)
are-ra ------------------------------------------ 1
ah-RAH ------------------------------------------ 1
ar-uh ('a' like in "ack") ----------------------- 1
a-RA ('a' as in "cat", "RA" as the sungod) ------ 1
era --------------------------------------------- 1
uh-rah ------------------------------------------ 1
arr-UH ------------------------------------------ 1
Air-Ah (Well, really aiRAH, generally) ---------- 1

Obviously, I should have worked harder at developing more options for this one. Oh well.


10) Kara (Supergirl)
b) car-uh --------------------------------------- 51.5 (TM) +4
a) care-uh -------------------------------------- 33.5 (TP) +14

something like the name "Carrie" ---------------- 1
CAR-err ----------------------------------------- 1
kar-uh ('a' as in "ack") ------------------------ 1
kahr-a ------------------------------------------ 1
kah-rah ----------------------------------------- 1
car-ah ------------------------------------------ 1 (JM)
KA-ruh ------------------------------------------ 1

Gwen Horton pointed out that the winner was also the pronunciation used in the Supergirl movie. This was actually a very close race for a while, until "car-uh" pulled away at the end.

This was the most lopsided result that went against the original 1995 vote.


11) Tinya (Wazzo)
a) tin-yuh -------------------------------------- 70.5 (TP, TM) +15
b) tine-yuh ------------------------------------- 5 +1

teen-yuh ---------------------------------------- 5
TEEN-yuh ---------------------------------------- 2 +1
TEEN-ya ----------------------------------------- 2
teen-ya ----------------------------------------- 2 (JM)
teen-yah ---------------------------------------- 2 +1
tin-yah ----------------------------------------- 1.5
TEENYA ------------------------------------------ 1
tee-nyah ---------------------------------------- 1

I should have anticipated the use of 'teen' as the first syllable. This was actually the second most popular choice.


12) Imra (Ardeen)
b) im-ra ---------------------------------------- 102 (TP, TM, JM) +16
a) ime-ra --------------------------------------- 4
im-ruh ------------------------------------------ 1 +1
(h)im-rah --------------------------------------- 1
EEMrah ------------------------------------------ 1

"im-ra" was the highest vote-getter in the entire poll.


13) Gim (Allon)
b) gim (hard "g") ------------------------------- 49.5 (TP, TM, JM) +12
a) Jim ------------------------------------------ 41.5 +6

ABSTENTIONS ------------------------------------- 1

This race was also a lot closer than it seems.


14) (Gim) Allon
b) AL-lon --------------------------------------- 52 (TM, JM) +10
a) Allen ---------------------------------------- 31.5 (TP) +6
c) uh-LON --------------------------------------- 7.5 +2

a-LON ------------------------------------------- 1


15) Mysa (Nal)
b) mice-a --------------------------------------- 44.5 +10
a) miss-a --------------------------------------- 17 (JM) +1

MEES-a ------------------------------------------ 3
me-sa ------------------------------------------- 2
mee-sa ------------------------------------------ 2
meese-a ----------------------------------------- 2
my-suh ------------------------------------------ 2 +1
my-sa ------------------------------------------- 2 (TM)
my-zuh ------------------------------------------ 1
MY-zuh ------------------------------------------ 1
my-za ------------------------------------------- 1
MY-za ------------------------------------------- 1 +1
my-zhuh ----------------------------------------- 1
MIE-zuh ----------------------------------------- 1
MYZE-uh ----------------------------------------- 1
ME-sa ------------------------------------------- 1
MEE-sa ------------------------------------------ 1
mees-uh ----------------------------------------- 1
MEESA ------------------------------------------- 1
MY-sah ------------------------------------------ 1
MY-sa ------------------------------------------- 1 +1
mice-uh ----------------------------------------- 1
mi-ZA ------------------------------------------- 1
mee-ICE-a --------------------------------------- 1
MEESE-a ----------------------------------------- 0.5
meece-uh ---------------------------------------- 1
mize-a ------------------------------------------ 1
rhymes with Liza (as in Minnelli) --------------- 1
MY-zah ------------------------------------------ 1

ABSTENTIONS ------------------------------------- 1 (TP)

I think if I had anticipated the use of "me" as the first syllable, or "zuh" as the second, I could have saved myself a lot of work. Again, oh well.

Dan Dragon Man Williams offered "The Hag". Aaahh. The good ol' Adventure days.

Peyer's abstention was phrased "ya got me".

I was actually disappointed that "miss-a" didn't make a stronger showing. That pronunciation is one of my favorites. The true disappointment is yet to come at #17, however...


16) Mon-El
c) rhymes with "John L." ------------------------ 81 (JM) +14
b) moan-el -------------------------------------- 5 +1
a) mun-el --------------------------------------- 2 +3

mahn-L ------------------------------------------ 1
MON-el (rhymes with "con" and "fell") ----------- 1
just how it looks ------------------------------- 1 (TM)

ABSTENTIONS ------------------------------------- 1 (TP)

Peyer took the hard-line approach by writing in "Valor".

There is actually historical support for all 3 of the original choices. The least popular of the three is arguably the most supported by canon. Since "Mon-El" was named after Monday, the day Superboy found him, "mun-el" would seem to be the implied pronunciation. However, in a 60's letter column (Troy McNemar pointed out that it was in Action #382), it is said to be pronounced "moan-el". Finally, in the original Who's Who series from DC, the pronunciation is given as "mahn-el", which is what I was striving for with the winning choice.


17) Ayla (Ranzz)
b) rhymes with "Layla" ------------------------- 57.5 (TP) +13
a) Eye-la -------------------------------------- 33.5 (JM) +4

A-la ------------------------------------------- 1 (TM)

ABSTENTIONS ------------------------------------ 1

Well, fellow "Eye" boosters, even though we won't surrender the war, we have apparently lost this battle. It wasn't even as close as I thought it would be.

Jim Drew, who claims to have never heard Eric Clapton's "Layla", asked "that is pronounced 'lie-luh', right?" It should be, my friend. It should be.


Reep (Erik) answered a mythical #18 with the selection "Kryptdeaux".

Two others answered a mythical #19 with "Thom" as Tom.


Well, that's it. Again, my thanks to everyone who took the time to respond. I hope to "see" you all very soon.

Mike Morris

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Karate Kid pics

Here's the latest set of preview pics for this weekend's "Karate Kid" episode:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wax on, wax off - it's Karate Kid (plus Grimbor and Nemesis Kid)

Karate Kid, Grimbor, and Nemesis Kid make their first appearances this week on the Legion cartoon, each with updated costumes.

Karate Kid's costume is close to his Cockrum/Grell-era suit (which he's wearing in "Countdown" these days too). And as for Nemesis Kid, it looks like someone doesn't like the big collars (both he and KK had them).

Images via the Micro Legion page

Note to longtime readers: the appearance of one of these character implies some serious baggage. Please don't mention it in the comments this week until after the episode airs - after all, not everyone has read the old comics.

Here's the official description:
When the dreaded Legion Auditions produce just one potential new member ­- Nemesis Kid -­ Superman goes out recruiting, and finds an unlikely candidate to join the Legion. A perpetual underdog, Karate Kid has no super powers ­which goes against Legion membership rules -­ but Superman believes he has the heart to join the Legion. As the Legion hunts down Grimbor the Chainsman, Karate Kid believes he can be an asset, while the others worry he is only putting himself in harm'¹s way.

Keith Ferguson ("Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends") voices both Karate Kid and Nemesis Kid. Eddie Guzelian wrote the episode, which was directed by Brandon Vietti and Scott Jeralds. "The Karate Kid" episode of "Legion of Super Heroes" airs Saturday, October 27 at 11:00 a.m. ET/PT as part of the Kids' WB! Lineup on The CW Network.

Boot to the head!

Monday, October 22, 2007

James Tucker, on how the Legion cartoon got started

Here's another part of a phone interview with James Tucker, Legion animated show producer, as conducted by Voices from Krypton (sister site to Justice League on Film, which hosted the first part). In this segment, Tucker explains why the show finally got the go-ahead when it did, after all those failed attempts in years past that I discussed here a couple years ago.

Tucker: There have been Legion developments over the years, and they never... they've always gotten stalled, and I think the only reason the Legion got the green light this time was because Superman was going to be in it and there was a tie-in to the then-upcoming movie "Superman Returns". So the Legion itself as a concept is kind of a hard sell to an audience because you don't have Superman, and there aren't any characters in it who have any broad-based appeal to the average non-fanboy audience. And so in this day and age it's hard to sell an original cast of characters, you know, it's just a hard sell, especially when the market has to rely on toy sales, you know it's just harder. If I had my druthers, it'd be nice to do a Legion... and actually we do have a Legion story this season which won't have Superman in it. But you need him in it, you need the name recognition or you won't have a show.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Post-Crisis: Now what?

Given DC's current editorial philosophy (as stated in the Geoff Johns interview) that the Legion's history after the end of the Crisis on Infinite Earths didn't happen (as seen more or less in LSH v3 #18), I'm wondering how far we could stretch that.

Certainly the Pocket Universe/Death of Superboy storyline (LSH v3 #37) couldn't have occurred. But if we drop that one story, is there anything else that absolutely cannot have taken place if we assume that the Legion had no contact with the 20th century post-Crisis (not too long after Supergirl died)? Here's the Legion Wiki's publishing history (with everything in publishing order context) to refresh your memory.

  • Tyr/Warworld
  • "Legionnaires 3" miniseries
  • Booster Gold
  • Emerald Empress and the new Fatal Five
  • Mon-El and the Phantom Zone
  • "Cosmic Boy" miniseries and "Legends"
  • The Universo Project
  • Pocket Universe
  • Starfinger
  • Manhunters
  • The Conspiracy (wait, that was about Superboy, right?)
  • Emerald Eye
  • Magic Wars
  • Five Year Gap (Black Dawn, disbanding, etc.)
  • The Re-Formation

It absolutely cannot go past LSH v4 #5, in which Mon-El punched the Time Trapper so hard that he rebooted the universe into the Mordruverse, because that's when the we exchanged Superboy/Mon-El and Supergirl for Valor and Andromeda. Anything from that point until the "End of an Era" arc at Zero Hour is out.

Other storylines with problems:
  • Booster Gold is a little problematical, since he didn't appear until after the Crisis, and interacted with the Legion in the 20th century. It wouldn't take much to retcon him back to just before the Crisis, with his appearances in the Crisis being only in crowd scenes. However, we'll have to see how they handle his origin in the new Booster Gold series.
  • "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" is now out (even though it was about the Silver Age era Legion), since Superman didn't lose his powers and retire.
  • Cosmic Boy going back in time to investigate the post-Crisis changes to history as seen in "Legends" and his own miniseries are out.

Geoff Johns, part 2

Looks like Geoff Johns is making the rounds. My first stop was a look at his interview with IGN; here's his interview with Newsarama. Some of it's the same, some is different, so I'll only discuss the new-ish stuff here. See also discussion over at Millarworld.

NRAMA: You say the Legion is important to Superman. Can you explain why?

GJ: They're his first friends. Back when Clark Kent was a kid, nobody else could fly. And he met these kids from the Legion, and they could fly. And all of them were aliens like him, from different worlds. It was the first time in his life that he felt like he wasn't completely an outsider. He felt like part of the club.

The Legion is a team of aliens and humans with different powers from across the universe united to promote diversity, unity and tolerance. It grew completely out of the idea of Superman’s experience as an alien on Earth.

I always believed his interaction with the Legion was an important piece of Superman's history, and it would be nice to do a story that explored that – and kind of going with the “Whatever happened to the Legion of Super-Heroes?” approach. As if the original Legion has been continuing to have adventures while we (and Superman) have been away.

I also wanted to explore the idea – you know, you make good friends when you're young that help make you who you are, but what happens later in life when they need your help, when you've grown apart? How strong is that friendship?

NRAMA: We've seen in other stories that Superman has statues of his Legion friends in the Fortress of Solitude, and that he remembers much of what happened with them. When he goes to the future, does he remember it?

GJ: Oh, yeah. He remembers it. You’ll see it through his eyes. This story is designed for Legion fans and for people who might have heard of the Legion but don't really know them yet and don't really understand the importance of them. And that's the whole idea – to put the Legion in the context of the world of Superman again.

NRAMA: OK, so Superman goes into the future and then ...

GJ: ... and then, it's not the future he last remembered. Time has passed. The team is scattered.

NRAMA: Can you tell us anything about the changes that have occurred? You said Superman wants to “help.” What does he want to help with?

GJ: There are some major events that have happened – a couple to do with him directly – in the future that have forced the Legion to disband. And it's all about dealing with the ramifications of that.

NRAMA: Ramifications?

GJ: Yes. What does it mean to be an alien on Earth in the future now?

The villains of the story are the members of the 31st century Justice League, which we've seen on the Action #860 cover preview. They include rejects and former villains like Tusker, Radiation Roy, and Spider-Girl.
NRAMA: Can you tell readers what Legion team members they're going to see? Is it the team that was in Lightning Saga? Or will there be more, since Superman's going to be visiting the future?

GJ: When we're all said and done, they'll see pretty close to everybody that was an active Legionnaire at one point or another.

NRAMA: Everybody?

GJ: [laughs] Pretty close. Not everybody, 'cause the arc's not that big. And it's designed, again, to reintroduce the Legion into Superman's life. But just about. Even Night Girl, who is a bad ass teamed up with Shadow Lass.

NRAMA: ... As you outlined before, the Legion itself has been relaunched two times, including the current Legion of Super-Heroes series. Does this story arc explain why there are now three different versions of the Legion?

GJ: We've mentioned the story – “The Legion of Three Worlds” – and if there are 52 universes out there, there are 52 future universes now too.

NRAMA: The Legion of Three Worlds?

NRAMA: ...Just to clarify all these hints you're dropping, there are obviously more Legion stories coming in ’08, right?

GJ: Next year is a big Legion anniversary so – yes!

Geoff Johns, on Legion history and the new storyline

Via ComicBloc (see further discussion there, plus this page where he plugs the interview), it seems that Geoff Johns has clarified Legion history to some extent. It looks like everything after "Crisis on Infinite Earths" is gone - Pocket Universe, Magic Wars, all of v4. (The post-Zero Hour reboot version remains to be seen - but they did discuss "The Legion of Three Worlds" in the Lightning Saga story, and that would make the third one....) In this interview on IGN, Johns discusses his plans for Superman and Green Lantern (who, I've heard it said, ain't got nothin' on me). Go read the whole interview, there's a lot more than what I have quoted below, but the "money quote" is this: "...We're sticking with everything that happened up through Crisis on Infinite Earths."

IGN Comics: When you and Brad Meltzer started forming the premise of your JLA/JSA crossover, is that when the light bulb went off in your head and you realized you could follow it up with this Legion story?

Johns: Actually, when Gary Frank was first coming on the book, there was always a story arc I wanted to tell called "Superman and the Legion of Superheroes," and I wanted to put the Legion back into Superman's past, because there's such a rich history there. Superman became the hero he is because of both sets of his parents and also I think in large part because of his interaction and adventures with the Legion of Superheroes. And seeing him - a kid who doesn't really fit in and feels like an outsider - find people that make him feel like he's one of them I think is important in Clark Kent's development as a well-rounded individual.

An aside: Johns gets it with regards to Superboy/Superman, whereas James Tucker with the animated show doesn't seem to.
IGN Comics: You already told us why you think it's important for the Legion to play a role in Superman's development. Did you have to fight at all to bring the Legion back into canon?

Johns: You know, it was pretty open. There were some logistics, obviously, because this is the original Legion of Superheroes and there's another modern day version with their own book, and so there's just some balancing stuff to do there. But with what's been going on in the DC Universe now, it's opened up the possibility and we're able to tell this story, and we're able to go back to what I think is a hugely important legacy in the DC Universe - Superman and the Legion's legacy.

IGN Comics: The "dark alternate future" story has almost become a subgenre in comics, from "Days of Future Past" to "Age of Apocalypse" and onwards. Even Heroes got into the mix in their first season with the "5 Years Later" episode. This issue seems very much in the same vein as those types of stories. Did you look to any specific stories for inspiration?

Johns: No, as you'll see, there's a pretty big reveal in the second issue of this arc about the state of the future and why it's the way it is. We barely touch upon it in that first issue, and you only see a hint of the state of the future, but in the next issue we explore it and you find out what the state of the universe is. As far as past stories, all the influences come from Paul Levitz' run and Jim Shooters' work on Legion and the entire original Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes stories in Adventure Comics. So the inspiration from "dark future" stories doesn't really apply as much. You've seen those movies where a guy comes back home to the small town where he grew up and meets up with his friends again, and those stories were a bit of an inspiration, but that's about it.

IGN Comics: Is this arc very much geared towards fans of those old stories?

Johns: It's geared towards two groups of people. One group is people who never heard of the Legion of Superheroes. I think the first issue explores who they are pretty well and is fairly new reader friendly. You see Clark meet them and they tell him who they are and then they go to the future. The story arc is designed to introduce people to the Legion of Superheroes who never met the concepts or the characters before, and also it's for hardcore fans of the Legion. There's a balance there, and I think we're maintaining that balance well.

IGN Comics: Since Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC has went to great pains to remove Superboy from Legion continuity. With the return of the Legion to Superman's back-story, what does that do to the whole mess that has been Legion continuity? Or is that better left for an editor or future Legion writers to worry about?

Johns: The good thing is that you can pick up Adventure Comics #300 and that happened. You can pick up any Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes story and that happened. You can pick up the new trade coming out that Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen did, and that happened. All those are back-stories, so if you want to read them, the stories are there. Really, we're sticking with everything that happened up through Crisis on Infinite Earths.

IGN Comics: On a similar note - what impact, if any, will this have on the current Legion title?

Johns: There are plans afoot for something else a little later down the line for next year, because it's a big Legion anniversary, but we can't get into that just yet. I can't say who's going to be involved yet, but it's going to be big.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

How do you pronounce....

There are few things more contentious within Legion fandom than the "how do you pronounce..." discussions that used to come up. Back in the olden days, when we only had one or two continuities to worry about, there were pretty much only two places to discuss the Legion online: Usenet's rec.arts.comics.dc.lsh [aka "rac.dc.lsh"] group and the LSH-L mailing list (both of which are still around, but only as shadows of their former selves in terms of traffic). Web-based message boards were really just starting out but had not built up a base yet, and other discussion areas like AOL, Compuserve, GEnie, and others like them were smaller pay-sites. (See this early post of mine here discussing the history of Legion online fandom.)

I got involved online in April 1995, and I have a large archive of some of the more interesting things from the mailing list over the years - some of which is even worth reposting here, which I'll do from time to time. One of them, as suggested on the LSH episode 2.04 comments, was a poll posted to the list and to rac.dc.lsh, asking people how they pronounce certain Legion-related names. Back then, we had this thing called the "Floating Pronunciation Flamewar", where the "flamewar" floated from one forum to the other, disappearing for a while and then popping back up. The one name most likely to spark (no pun intended) this flamewar was the seemingly innocuous question "How do you pronounce Ayla?" On one side were the "rhymes with Layla" faction and on the other were the "sounds like eye-la" group.

A well-meaning but misguided guy named Mike Morris put together The Official Legion Pronounciation Poll (misguided because he thinks it's pronounced "eye-la"), posted to rac.dc.lsh and LSH-L on Sept. 3, 1995. Put your own answers in the comments section, please.


Choose the pronounciation of your choice, or if it is not listed, write it in. One vote per person, please. I will post the results in about 2 weeks both here and in racd.lsh.

To the voting booths.....(and I apologize if some of my choices are ambiguous
- this was not as easy as you think)...

1) Vidar
a) VEE-dar
b) VY-dar
c) VIH-dar
d) vee-DAR
e) vy-DAR
f) vih-DAR
g) other:___________

2) Khund
a) koond
b) kund
c) other:___________

3) Darkseid
a) dark-side
b) dark-seed
c) other:___________

4) Bgztl
a) bee-GIZZ-tle
b) big-zittle
c) BIGGS-tle
d) other:___________

5) (Thom) Kallor
a) KAL-ler (rhymes with "Valor")
b) KAL-lore
c) kal-LORE
d) kuh-LORE
e) other:___________

6) (Tasmia) Malor
a) MAL-ler (rhymes with "Valor")
b) MAL-lore
c) mal-LORE
d) muh-LORE
e) other:___________

7) Querl (Dox)
a) curl
b) rhymes with "squirrel" (2 syllables)
c) kwerl
d) Carol
e) other:___________

8) Jan (Arrah)
a) yon (swedish-like)
b) Jan (Brady-like)
c) other:___________

9) (Jan) Arrah
a) air-uh
b) are-uh
c) other:___________

10) Kara (Supergirl)
a) care-uh
b) car-uh
c) other:___________

11) Tinya (Wazzo)
a) tin-yuh
b) tine-yuh
c) other:___________

12) Imra (Ardeen)
a) ime-ra
b) im-ra
c) other:___________

13) Gim (Allon)
a) Jim
b) gim (hard "g")
c) other:___________

14) (Gim) Allon
a) Allen
b) AL-lon
c) uh-LON
c) other:___________

15) Mysa (Nal)
a) miss-a
b) mice-a
c) other:___________

16) Mon-El
a) mun-el
b) moan-el
c) rhymes with "John L."
d) other:___________

and finally, the one that started it all.....

17) Ayla (Ranzz)
a) Eye-la
b) rhymes with "Layla"
c) other:___________

Please post your answers in the comments section. In a week or so I'll post the original poll results, and I've got some other good flashback stuff in the works.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Coming Distractions: Jan. 2008

Wow, it's been a while since I did one of these. Yikes, the last was for the issues coming out in July! Here's what's on tap for January 2008:

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank & Jonathan Sibal
Cover by Frank
Variant cover by Mike Grell

“Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes,” Part 4! Superman’s mission to reunite the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st century continues on the one planet more dangerous than Earth: the cold, knowledge-obsessed world of Colu! But what fate has befallen Brainiac 5? And what are the horrible secrets behind Earth’s “new" super-heroes — the Justice League?

Retailers please note: This issue will feature two covers that may be ordered separately. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition (featuring a cover by Gary Frank), retailers may order one Variant Edition (featuring a cover by Mike Grell). See the Previews Order Form for more information.

On sale January 30 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Too bad we can't see the Grell variant cover. Looks like I'll be getting that one instead of the Frank cover.

Written by Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Art by Dale Eaglesham & Ruy Jose
Cover by Alex Ross
Variant cover by Eaglesham & Jose

“Thy Kingdom Come” explodes as Jakeem Thunder returns! The Justice Society reaches out to the next wave of legacy heroes: the new Mr. America, Judomaster, Amazing Man and more! Plus, another face familiar to the Kingdom Come Superman makes his presence known.

Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Alex Ross), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Eaglesham & Jose). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.

On sale January 30 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Assuming that Starman is in this issue.

Written by Jim Shooter
Art and cover by Francis Manapul & John Livesay

Continuing Jim Shooter’s return to Legion of Super-Heroes! Saturn Girl, Timber Wolf and Star Boy’s mission on the moon of Triton goes awry as Invisible Kid leads them into a lethal predicament. Meanwhile, Lightning Lad’s duties as team leader aren’t going any easier as he’s forced to sit through a painful tryout session for new Legionnaires.

On sale January 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Written by Alan Moore
Art by various
Cover by Brian Bolland

Collecting stories from Action Comics #583, Detective Comics #549-550, Green Lantern #188, Superman #423, Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 & 3, Superman Annual #11 and Vigilante #17-18 and more!

On sale January 2 • 304 pg, FC, $19.99 US • MATURE READERS • RELIST

Reprints the "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" story

Written by Matt Manning
Art and cover by Matt Stewart

An ancient legacy catches up with Brainiac 5 when he learns the terrible secret of his great-great-grandfather, Brainiac 1...one of Superman’s greatest enemies! To make it up to Superman, Brainy takes him on a trip to his home planet’s past — but an unexpected detour to the Phantom Zone could mean disaster!

On sale January 16 • 32 pg, FC, $2.25 US

Starting with next issue, the book will pick up with Season 2 of the animated series.

Episode 2.04: Chained Lightning

First, I want to say that I love Shrinking Violet in this episode. Her little "snort" at the end of her laugh is very endearing, though I'm sure some will hate it. She had one of the best lines of the show, talking about Lightning Lad's new arm: "It fires explosive charges, lasers, and of course lightning, all powered and amplified by his own bioelectrical energy. In other words, it makes things go boom. Ha ha [snort]."

Of course, by far the most important thing we found out in this episode is that the people who have been pronouncing "Ayla" as "eye-la" like "Delilah" have been wrong all these years, and those who, like me, pronounce it as rhyming with "Layla" (as in the Eric Clapton song) have been right all along. HA!

Two interlac sightings this week. Scrolling interlac is hard to make out, even when I've got a TiVo, but I managed to get almost all of it. In one scene where the trio were approaching Korbal in flashback, the computer reads in Interlac (in part) "... BASED LIFE NON SENTIENT ENERGY FIELD ..." with pictures of a Lightning Beast on it. In another scene, as Lightning Lad stares at a map of the cloud, text reads "LIGHTNING BEAST STRIKE".

Here's the Legion Wiki article I wrote up, the torrent, and a page to download all season 2 episodes via Rapidshare.

Review roundup:

  • Legion Abstract:
    Mixed results on characterization. Shrinking Violet gets her first full speaking part in this episode, and is a breath of fresh air... but Lightning Lad adjusts to his new arm a little too quickly, and the writers seem to have taken their hands off the steering wheel when it comes to Superman-X's personality. In the first two episodes, he was all business, with no time for friendship or civility or even for simple tactics: it was all stuff that interfered with his Imperiex-fighting time. Since then, he's been callous when it's convenient for the plot that he's callous, and sympathetic when it's convenient for the plot that he be sympathetic. I was expecting Superman-X's emotional education as a hero to be the main arc of this season, but so far it's all been circumstantially driven.

  • Adventures in Comic Book Land:
    This week’s episode of Legion of Super-Heroes managed to recaptured some of that je ne sais quoi that was notably absent in last week’s Timber Wolf episode. It played the emotions of the audience well, and the writing was probably the best it’s been this season. That’s impressive, as this season hasn’t exactly been a downer.

    I couldn’t listen to anything [Violet] was saying because I just wanted her talking to be over. Other than that personal quirk of mine, it was difficult to get onboard with it because Vi came across as being desperately competitive, like rather than just being intelligent she craved proving it and being put on equal footing with Brainy. In the realm of Level 12 intelligence, equal footing is kind of a myth. So, I didn’t like that.

  • Fortress of Fandom:
    Brainy still has it bad for ‘our’ Clark. ;) He was dissing Shrinking Violet since she was taking the place of Superman during the latest mission. He learned, poor boy, he learned! J

    Kell-El grows on you. He’s all tough and “You’re not crying, are you?” but he was moved by the family reunion.

    This was a very interesting story. Mekt finally allowed his feelings for his family to trump his lust for power. Even when he flew away after Garth had been terribly hurt, he was upset and angry that Imperius had done such a thing, cloaking it “It was my fight”. Their sister was the bond between them, and I’m a sucker for redemption fic. J

  • Darklore Circus:
    I just have to say this morning that today's Legion of Superheroes was probably the best piece of American animation I've seen for quite some time. It had everything: siblings, limb loss, sexual tension, Superman being all Heero Yuy, monsters, electricity... it was really pretty good. I liked the whole thing with the brothers and Mekt's redemption, and the Braniac 5/Shrinking Violet thing was cute (he's still a creepy little dude, though).

  • Spandex Justice:
    The four episode, though, was terrific. "Chained Lightning" gave us the origin of Lightning Lad and his brother Mekt, while also updating the story of their sister, Ayla. It was both exciting and poignant. Plus, Shrinking Violet snorting when amused is just about the cutest thing I’ve seen so far this season. Her interactions with Brainiac 5 were also great fun.

    They really need to do a Legion Espionage Squad episode, now that they have Chameleon Boy and Shrinking Violet around.

    Overall, I am enjoying the new season, but the immediacy of Imperiex’s invasion seems to have waned quite a lot, and the new Superman seems more wishy-washy every time he appears (one week, he’s "We have to get Imperiex" and the next episode, Imperiex can wait. But I’ll keep watching.

  • Plus commentary from the LegionWorld, ToonZone, and ComicBloc forums.

Plus: some bonus pictures sent out by WB.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

James Tucker, on the LSH and Justice League

The new site Justice League on Film has a phone interview with Legion producer James Tucker in which he describes how working on the Justice League cartoons helped him prepare for the second season, and why they made changes. Here's a transcript, but go listen.

I hesitate to say it, but it's almost a whole new show. When I think of the Legion... I'm not a Legion fanatic, but I have followed the Legion sporadically and periodically over the years, and I've been equating the first season with the Silver Age Legion, the original stories in "Adventure Comics", at different times the stories were a little sillier, a little broader. This second season is more toward the late Shooter era, and then going into the Mike Grell, kind of the darker, more serious theme stories. So this second season, while it's connected to the first season, I kind of think of it as a whole new pass on the Legion. But because it's the Legion, it kind of fits in with the way the comic books have always been, which is they radically change from one run of the Legion to another, there are lots of changes, but yet the same characters evolved in different ways. This season takes place roughly two years after the first season, so a lot has changed. The characters have gotten a little older, they've gotten a little more of a well-honed machine as far as being a super-hero group in the 31st century.

Q: Was there a reason you made such changes?

Well, going the route we went with the first season, the first season was conceived as a combination of Justice League with the Teen Titans elements, it was supposed to be a hodgepodge of that, even to the point where the crew was almost roughly half Legion guys [he meant to say Justice League guys] and half Titans guys. Being the producer, I just lean more towards Justice League type stories, so for the second season, I thought for me, the kind of show that I know how to produce has more Justice League elements in it, meaning stronger plots, more adult-skewing themes, still hitting the demographic and appealing to a younger audience, but just more structured stories whereas the Titans kind of had their own kind of... their own aesthetic, and their aesthetic was "whatever sticks on the wall, anything goes, let's try it", and they leaned toward the comedy a lot more. The first season I tried that, and I just didn't think it particularly... there were things that worked and things that didn't. That, and the network requested that several elements be emphasized like more heavy-duty action, they wanted more, they wanted Superman to not be the neophyte any more, they wanted him more advanced in his career. And that necessitated making things later. We had to jump from where we were in the first season to the second season, so to me that meant two years later. When Superman shows up again, he's going to have been in Metropolis, and he will have been a super-hero. It's not like they have to teach him anything."

Interesting: the significant changes from season 1 to season 2 were mandated by the KidsWB suits, not necessarily by the show's producers. And from the credits, they changed the creative staff from nearly the top down, from a co-producer to writers, directors, and even the voice casting director.

And they tossed out one of the unique aspects of the first season with regards to Superman - here he was, with a group of super-powered teenagers who were basically his peers, they showed him how to use his powers and he showed them what it's like to be a hero. They still had that teenager mentality, I think, whereas now they're more adult and mature. As Tucker said, now he doesn't need to be taught. Superman has always been the teacher, it was nice having him be the student for once. Now it's Superman and the Justice League of the 31st century.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Legion TV schedule Oct./Nov. 2007

Here are the airdates and episodes for the Legion show for the rest of Oct. 2007 and into November with new episodes, via SFTV and Comics Continuum [updated]:

Oct. 20 - episode 2.02 "The Man From The Edge of Tomorrow, part 2" (2nd airing) - last aired 9/29/07
Oct. 27 - episode 2.05 NEW "The Karate Kid"
Nov. 03 - episode 2.06 NEW "Who Am I?"
Nov. 10 - episode 2.03 "Cry Wolf" (2nd airing) - last aired 10/06/07
Nov. 17 - episode 2.07 NEW "Unnatural Alliances"
Nov. 24 - episode 2.04 "Chained Lightning" (2nd airing) - last aired 10/13/07

Previously: all the other schedules

Episode reviews:
1.01 "Man of Tomorrow" (4 airings, last 07/07/07)
1.02 "Timber Wolf" (8 airings, last 09/08/07)
1.03 "Legacy" (3 airings, last 06/09/07)
1.04 "Fear Factory" (4 airings, last 06/16/07)
1.05 "Champions" (4 airings, last 06/23/07)
1.06 "Phantoms" (4 airings, last 07/14/07)
1.07 "Child's Play" (4 airings, last 06/30/07)
1.08 "Lightning Storm" (4 airings, last 07/28/07)
1.09 "Brain Drain" (5 airings, last 09/01/07)
1.10 "The Substitutes" (4 airings, last 08/18/07)
1.11 "Chain of Command" (4 airings, last 08/25/07)
1.12 "Sundown, part 1" (3 airings, last 09/15/07)
1.13 "Sundown, part 2" (3 airings, last 09/15/07)
2.01 "Man from the Edge of Tomorrow part 1" (1 airing, last 09/22/07)
2.02 "Man from the Edge of Tomorrow part 2" (1 airing, last 09/29/07)
2.03 "Cry Wolf" (1 airing, last 10/06/07)
2.04 "Chained Lightning" (1 airing, last 10/13/07)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

LSH DVD vol. 2 new info

TV Shows on DVD has a look at the back cover to the LSH Volume 2 DVD:

Here's the text:
One thousand years in the future, the universe's only hope for survival is an awkward teen named CLARK KENT, who has no idea he will become one of the greatest heroes of all time. Brought to the 31st century by teen super heroes BOUNCING BOY, BRAINIAC 5, SATURN GIRL, and LIGHTNING LAD, SUPERMAN joins their unending fight for galactic justice.

Known as the LEGION OF SUPER HEROES, they battle villains like archnemeses the FATAL FIVE, a deranged professor who is fascinated by fears and their most difficult face-off: LIGHTNING LAD'S brother MEKT RANZZ. Not even super heroes can avoid sibling rivalry. With every adventure, Superman continues to grow into his destiny, until a journey to a distant world shows him the limitations of his powers. Fly with these teen heroes in this cosmically cool collection!

Unfortunately, they're continuing to issue the episodes in the order that they aired, not the production order. This DVD contains:
  • 1.05 "Champions"
  • 1.04 "Fear Factory"
  • 1.09 "Brain Drain"
  • 1.08 "Lightning Storm"

The third DVD will have the last five episodes.

According to some ToonZone readers, this is what WB did for the first Superman and Justice League seasons, apparently to gauge buyer interest. They released them in small chunks like this, then just in whole-season packages (repeating season 1) after that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Chained Lightning" preview

Here's what Warner Bros. Animation sent out today for this weekend's episode "Chained Lightning":

Learn the backstory of Lightning Lad ­ and meet his electrifying family­ in an all-new episode of "Legion of Super Heroes" this Saturday. In the episode, entitled "Chained Lightning," Lightning Lad discovers that his sister, Ayla, long thought to be lost in the same Lightning Beast attack that gave him and his brother, Mekt, their powers, is really alive. However, Ayla is now in the form of pure electromagnetic energy. Lightning Lad must find a way to save Ayla before Imperiex can harness this energy for his own diabolical use. Lightning Lad is voiced by Andy Milder ("Weeds"), while James Arnold Taylor ("The Boondocks," "Star Wars: Clone Wars") and Kari Wahlgren ("Ben 10") voice Mekt and Ayla, respectively. Directed by Brandon Vietti and written by Matt Wayne, "Chained Lightning" airs Saturday, October 6 at 11:00 a.m. ET/PT as part of the Kids' WB! Lineup on The CW Network.

Now, if Ayla being a living lightning bolt weren't enough, the press release has this after the pictures:
SPOILER ALERT: Due to some surprise elements within the episode, additional images will be distributed on Monday morning.

LSH DVD vol. 2 announced

The TV Shows on DVD web site has the news on the Legion DVD volume 2, coming in February.

Volume 1 had episodes 1.01, 1.02, 1.03, and 1.06 (numbers are in production order, while the DVD order is how they were aired). That suggests that this volume will contain episodes 1.05 "Champions", 1.04 "Fear Factory", 1.09 "Brain Drain" and 1.08 "Lightning Storm". Chronologically, though, episode 1.07 "Child's Play" actually takes place before 1.09.

Regardless of which episodes are on this one, volume 3 will have the remaining 5 episodes. And of course, once we get all three individual volumes, then they'll offer a complete season set.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Episode 2.03: Cry Wolf

So, a change of pace episode to give us a breather before the next big Imperiex episode. Interestingly, this is the first episode that was directed by the series Producer, James Tucker. And it was written by J. M. DeMatteis, veteran DC Animated Universe writer who also wrote a couple of the most ummm, unique, Legion stories (LSH v2 #265 "The Brigadoon Syndrome" and LSH v2 #268 with Dr. Mayavale) way back in 1980.

This episode apparently works on two other ongoing storylines for this season: one we already knew about, as Lightning Lad, Bouncing Boy, and Brainiac 5 were off fighting the Dominators; and the other is a new one, with Dr. Mar Londo aligning with certain people who share his vision of how the galaxy should be. Do those others include Imperiex, or is this a third subplot?

Matthew pointed out that Kell-El must have joined the Legion between last episode, when he said he didn't want to be part of the team, and this episode, where he had a vote on whether or not to convict Timber Wolf. Not sure if Cosmic Boy is back running the team (after Bouncing Boy was elected late last season), but his by-the-book demeanor this episode would never have allowed Kell-El to vote if he wasn't a Legionnaire.

The return of Interlac! When Phantom Girl and Chameleon Boy accompany Timber Wolf onto Heisenberg-7, outside the convention center with the Science Police was some police tape that said "CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS" in scrolling Interlac. Yay animators!

According to the closed-captioning, the little guy working with Mar Londo was "Yin Des Neerg". If you spell it backwards you get something like "Sidney Green". There was a Sid Greene who was a Silver Age inker, but that doesn't really make sense in this context. Wonder if it's a production in-joke?

Couple of homages to the Silver Age: Timber Wolf was expelled from the Legion (Adventure 342) for killing after a vote by the Legionaires, as was Star Boy. However, Star Boy was not sent to Takron-Galtos, presumably because of the murder/self-defense angle. And Timber Wolf sought refuge from humanity here as in his first story (Adventure 327), only then it was because he thought he was an android and now because he thought he was too bestial.

Here's your episode Legion Wiki link, and your torrent file. Now for the roundup:

  • The Legion Abstract:
    It was an all right episode. There were continuity bits for people who like that stuff, there was atmosphere, there was action, there was a serviceable story with some character moments... the problem for me is that I don't care for the subject matter. I don't like this feral Timber Wolf. I don't think he should be an animalistic character; I'm just not interested in that angle. To me, the difference between Basic Original Timber Wolf and Extreme Feral Timber Wolf is like the difference between Batman and Man-Bat. And, "Now I do what I do best"? That little reference was neither necessary nor desireable. I think Blok said it best when he said, "Plaugh."

    The scientific conference took place on the planet Heisenberg 7. I guess all the scientists who were there must have been unaware of how fast the planet was going.

    Ha! Science humor.

  • The Daily P.O.P.:
    A cartoon directed at a younger audience, Legion episodes stress themes of cooperation, friendship and teamwork. Given that this is the case, DeMatteis’s script surpasses the saccharin sweetness of children’s entertainment with a glimpse of seedy city streets and neo-futurist city skylines of future Metropolis that hearkened back to the days of the Batman cartoon from the 1990’s and an unexpected narrative from Timber Wolf himself.

    A larger star of this week’s episode than I expected was newcomer to the Legion cartoon, Chameleon Boy. Once again, I hope that kids are watching this series since it is such a fun cartoon and Cham perfectly encapsulates its youthful energy.

  • Forum talkback at the Legion World, Toon Zone, and DC Universe message boards.

More when I find them.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Trivia #16 answers

Hmmm, looks like this one was too easy. One person guessed almost all the answers right away and there was little discussion after that. Fine, I'll try to make it harder next time....

This month's theme: a look at the Legionnaires over the years. Membership has its privileges.

1. Who had been a member of any super-villain team prior to joining the Legion? I'm talking out-and-out villainy, not just a group of misguided youths.

My original thought was just Spider-Girl/Wave (Legion of Super-Villains) and Blok (League of Super-Assassins). Jim reminded me that the White Witch (as The Hag) was a member of the Devil's Dozen, though not fully in control of her actions. I also didn't count the times when (for example) members of the LSV joined when Dynamo Boy kicked everyone out.

2. When Lex Luthor's descendant Lex Luthor joined the Adult Legion, what power(s) did he possess?
As lzrdprnce said, "He had both Star Boy's and Light Lass's powers, amplifying and nullifying gravity." That was convenient, since both of them were out of the Adult Legion by then.

3. What is the full name of the current Princess Projectra?
Princess Wilimena Morgana Daergina Annaxandra Projectra Velorya Vauxhall of Orando. She could also have been "Projectra bat Voxv" (in Hebrew), "Projectra Voxvdottir" (in Norse), or "Projectra Voxva" (in Russian) pre-Crisis.

4. Which three Legionnaires were not re-created as members of the SW6 Batch? And why not?
Bouncing Boy, Star Boy, and Dream Girl, because they were not active Legionnaires at the time of the "cloning". Chuck had lost his powers, and Thom and Nura were still in the Subs at that time (supposedly between Adventure 348 and 349). They did show up later, though, during the time shifts at End of an Era.

5. What do Jimmy Olsen, Rond Vidar, Mon-El, and Green Lantern (John Stewart) have in common in relation to the Legion?
Lzrdprnce said "Everyone on that list except for John Stewart started out as honorary members of the Legion, but I can't think of any connection between GL John Stewart and the Legion." Jim came closest in his guess - at the end of the Justice League Unlimited episode "Far from Home", both GL and Green Arrow were made Honorary Legionnaires. So that's the connection, as of course the other three on the list were Honorary as well at some point (Mon-El was Honorary before he made it out of the Phantom Zone for good).

6. At what point in Legion chronology did Anti-Lad join the Legion?
This was a trick question which everyone fell for. Anti-Lad never actually joined the Legion. He was one of the finalists and got to spend the night in the Clubhouse the day before Superboy joined, but that's as far as he got. One point for me!

7. Who were the members when the Legion finally disbanded in the wake of Black Dawn?
Alphabetically, it was Calamity King, Colossal Boy, Fire Lad, Nightwind, Polar Boy, Stone Boy, Storm Boy, and Visi-Lad.

Special bonus questions (which don't count in the standings):

In honor of the Legion animated show starting in Italy last week, I gave some translated Legionnaire names as they're known in other countries.
  • In Germany, some members of the Legion der Superhelden are Winzwanda, Federleicht, and Sternschwinge.
  • In Brazil, some members of the Legião dos Super-Heróis are Rapaz Saltador, Moça dos Sonhos, and Vésper.
  • In Sweden, some members of the Rymdens hjältar are Osynlige pojken, Viktflickan, and Vargen.
  • In Finland, some members of the Superlegioona are Salamapoika, Terästyttö, and Aavetyttö.

The only ones you got were Rapaz Saltador (Bouncing Boy), Federleicht (Light Lass), and Sternschwinge (Dawnstar). I'll leave the rest unanswered for now and I'll bring them back again later.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Animated roundup

Here's a linkdump of animated-related info. I should have posted these sooner, but I was lazy.

  • A Sept. interview with writer Stan Berkowitz (who wrote LSH season 1's "Lightning Storm") for The World's Finest (via CBR) revealed this interesting quote that someone was looking for here a week or so ago:
    After [the 2006-07] season, though, the network focus-grouped The Batman (and Legion of Super Heroes) and found out that what our very young male audience wanted was more fights, jokes and costumes and fewer female characters. No surprises there...

    I guess that explains why the new focus this season.

  • Artist Aaron Alexovich mentions that Rob Hummell is a writer on the Legion cartoon, but I don't know if that means last season (he wrote "Brain Drain") or this season.

  • Writer J. M. DeMatteis wrote next week's episode, "Cry Wolf".

  • Artist Craig Rousseau did the artwork for the Legionnaire Happy Meal cases.

  • Want to watch all episodes from season 1 online? Try here. You can download them here, too.

  • The Legion is being shown in a French-speaking country (Canada maybe? Or even France?). Here are episodes 1.01 "Man from Tomorrow", 1.02 "Timber Wolf", 1.03 "Legacy", and 1.04 "Fear Factory" dubbed in French. Allin high-quality DivX. There's a "3" logo in the upper right corner. Anyone know which channel 3?

  • Superman Homepage has an interview with Yuri "Superman" Lowenthal.

  • World's Finest also had an interview with season 2 director Brandon Vietti, who also did a segment of the recent Superman vs Doomsday DVD.
    WF: ...You're joining Legion of Super-Heroes this year. Can you describe your role in that series?

    BV: We actually just wrapped pre-production on season two of Legion in which I directed 8 of 13 episodes. As I write this, we're editing the animation as it's coming in from Korea and it's looking fantastic! After The Batman and Doomsday, it was great to land on a fun, team show where everybody has crazy super powers. It was a nice change of pace. Plus I'm happy to get to work with Producer James Tucker who also helped train me back on The New Batman/Superman Adventures.

    WF: So, what can fans expect in Legion of Superheroes, this season (aside from two Supermans)? Anything to whet their appetite?

    BV: Well, the new Superman, Kell-El, was a lot of fun to work with and I think fans are going to like him a lot. We have some great stories from James and Story Editor Michael Jelenic that really push the growth of some the favorite characters like Lightning Lad, Timber Wolf, and Brainiac 5. And the addition of Imperiex in to the Legion universe brings a whole new level of action unseen in season one! So I can't wait to tune in to the message boards to see what everybody thinks of the new season.

  • Voices from Krypton has a video interview with series producer James Tucker. He explains the premise of Season 2's new Superman and how he fits in with the Legion.
    I think for the change, it really worked thematically for the show, and I think it's going to give the viewers something interesting. I wasn't interested in really just continuing from the first season literally straight through, and you know, "OK, this is the next day after the last episode of first season," I really knew that I wanted to change things up, and the network and I were on the same page about that.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Award-Winning Omnicom

A few weeks ago, I put this website down on Colleen Doran's "What Are You Working On?" post. She took everything there and evaluated it for her first Creator’s Grant Prize.

Well imagine my surprise when I found out that I won Second Runner-Up!

Yeah, I know I didn’t say the runner ups were going to get anything, but there you go. Never let the idea that not being #1 at something means there are no rewards to being #2.

Or even to being #3.

Michael, otherwise known as Wizardimps when he posts to this blog wins for The Legion Omnicom, because I am an ancient Legion of Superheros fan , and holy crap what a lot of work that blog is, tons of fanboy research, and I am impressed. And OK, I am totally prejudiced and he wins because I am a Legion fan, so there you go. This only proves that judges can be completely arbitrary in their decision making processes.

The online comic Busted Wonder won the main Creator's Grant prize, with Suso Fashions as first runner-up and Marina Lemar as third runner-up. Congratulations to my fellow Creator's Grant winnahs!

Now I have to make a little icon button to put on the side somewhere. Wow, whod'a thunk I'd win something just for doing this?

For those of you who aren't familiar with her, Colleen Doran is, as she says, a long-time Legion fangirl. She's got a special crush on Element Lad. You may remember her from the "Young Love" issue of LSH v4 with Element Lad and Shvaughn/Sean Erin, or for the last ten issues of "Valor". She also did lots of pinups in the various "Who's Who" books, including "Who's Who in the DC Universe" and "Who's Who in the Legion". Guess who did the Element Lad pages?

Of course, she's also big into Lord of the Rings and her magnum opus, "A Distant Soil". You can find her over at her blog at adistantsoil.com.

I've been lucky enough to meet Colleen at conventions over the years, and I've bought two of her Legion pages. Click each to enlarge.

From the Young Love story in LSH v4 #31, here's p. 17:

From an End of an Era story in Valor #22, here's p. 10:

KidsWB gone at season's end, what about the Legion?

Update 10/3 at 12:45 a.m.: added more reaction and commentary sites

According to Variety, the CW Network has decided to stop the KidsWB! Saturday morning cartoon block at the end of the 2007-08 season. Instead, they're farming it out to 4Kids, which is the group that does the Fox Saturday morning block.
In dumping the block, the nets have said they found it hard to compete against 24-hour cable networks, while the kids' ad marketplace has softened over the past decade. More recently, the government crackdown on food advertising geared toward kids -- which led to marketers like Kellogg's dropping out of the space completely -- also hit the area hard, according to CW insiders.

Warner Bros. TV Group prexy Bruce Rosenblum said the company examined the Saturday morning issue "closely with our partners at CBS," and ultimately decided leasing the space to 4Kids made the most business sense.

For example, by farming out Saturday morning, the net believes it can focus more ad sales energy toward the online world.

So what does that mean for the shows on the CW now, like the Legion and Batman? Dunno. It certainly won't be back on the current network, but who knows whether it'll end up somewhere else (like Cartoon Network).

Warner Bros. Animation's publicity department sent this out today:
Below you'll find a comment from Bruce Rosenblum, President, Warner Bros. Television Group, regarding the 4Kids Entertainment/The CW Network deal:

Clearly, this was an issue that we examined closely with our partners at CBS. We fully believe it makes the most business sense for The CW in this broadcast marketplace. That being said, Warner Bros. has a long, successful track record in the animation business and we absolutely intend to stay true to our heritage by producing world-class animated entertainment for the children's market be it for cable, direct-to-DVD, broadband, wireless and platforms of the future. This is an important business that touches many of the Warner Bros. divisions and we have confidence that Lisa Judson and her team at Warner Bros. Animation will continue to build towards future opportunities.

So basically if there's a plan for next season of any of the shows currently on KidsWB, they're not saying yet.

Update 10/3 at 12:45 a.m.:
  • Steve Hulett at The Animation Guild talked to someone at Time-Warner, who confirmed it was about making money (or rather, not losing money).
  • Jerry Beck's Cartoon Brew has a lot of comments. Needless to say, they're not happy thoughts.
  • Superhero Hype has the 4Kids press release.
  • Commentary at Blog@Newsarama.
  • ToonZone says that "Some current Kids WB programs may continue to air after the changeover, but no decisions have been have yet." More commentary in their forums.
  • TV Week says that The CW's COO remarked that some of the shows currently airing might continue to air on the WB after 4Kids takes over.