Saturday, April 19, 2008

New York Comic Con '08: day 2 (update #2 with Legion panel news)

Today was the Countdown to Final Crisis panel and the Legion 50th Anniversary panels.

From Newsarama:
The Legion takes up the middle third of the cover to Final Countdown #1:

Johns discussed his current run of Action Comics, saying he'll be using Brainiac and that more will be touched on with the Legion of Super-Heroes. He reminded the crowd that James Robinson is taking over Superman in June, and the books will "begin to link up."

"Will there be one continuity for Legion of Super-Heroes"? Johns: "Can't tell you." Morrison: "We may have one, but there'll be 300 guys in it."

The panelists were asked to name their favorite member of the Legion of Super-Heroes? Johns said Lightning Lad was his favorite, and many picked Saturn Girl.

Via CBR:
A fan asked if after Final Crisis there will be just one Legion in continuity, to which Johns laughed, "You know I can't tell you that."

In the Legion Of Three Worlds #1, the Legion goes into the Phantom Zone to rescue Mon-El, and they meet General Zod. "And they fight," Johns said.

Via Wizard World:
Johns teased the following for his upcoming summer arc on Action: “We’ve got Brainiac coming up, and Multi-the Multi Alien, too. Gary Frank and I are setting our sights on Brianiac and hoping to make him scary instead of goofy. James Robinson comes on Superman in June, and the books are going to link up a lot more. We’re going to do more Legion stuff too.”

With Robinson's "Superman" and Johns' "JSA" and "Action", I wonder if we'll see more about Starman (Jack Knight) and Starman (Thom Kallor)?

As of this moment, only Wizard has the Legion panel. I'm not going to reprint the whole thing, but here are highlights. Levitz, Giffen, and current editor Mike Marts were the guests, and the panel was moderated by Peter Sanderson.
"The Legion came before the Justice League, Teen Titans and X-Men," says Sanderson. "It really deserves a lot of credit for creating the modern superhero team book."

Levitz gave props to former Legion writers Jerry Siegel, Ed Hamilton and Jim Shooter (who started at age 13 in the 1960s and recently took the Legion reins again). "Jerry Siegel brought a sense of humor, he kept the tongue firmly in cheek," Levitz said. "Ed Hamilton, one of the great sci-fic writers, brought in the space opera and first sense of scale. He brought The Legion to bigger scope and scale. Shooter brought a sense of character to the Legion; it's bizarre to have a 13-year-old have that sense of humanity."

There was the comparison to the X-Men: a teenage cast, diverse backgrounds and varying powers. But Marvel's mutants also forced change in the future team by creating a stronger sense of diversity through different cultures. Said Levitz: "A lot of early comics characters weren't even WASPs—they were WASs. They didn't even have the Protestant distinction. Then the [1970s] X-Men came along to give diversity and The Legion adapted well."

To Giffen, the Legion was "always about the price of heroism and that they're willing to pay it."

Over its 50 years, the Legion has been rebooted several times. The panelists were asked their thoughts on them. "I know one was great," Giffen deadpanned to audience laughter. (Giffen pushed continuity "five years later" in the late 1980s creating a darker vision of the Legion; it created much controversy.) "I knew I didn't want to spend a year deconstructing what Paul did, so I bumped it five years later, always planning to return it to what Paul did."

"It's like someone messing with your kids," said Levitz. "It's not that the next guys are wrong or less legit than yours. But these are your children. 'It's MY kid you gave the piercings to.'"

Giffen was called on the carpet for wanting to kill Legion stalwart Karate Kid; he helped kill him with Levitz in the mid-1980s and he also plotted the character's demise again recently in Countdown to Final Crisis. "I only agreed to do Legion so I could kill him," Giffen said. "If I go on it again, he's dead. Two words: super karate. Hey, everybody in the field has a character they hate. I just have the bad taste to say it out loud."

Marts elaborated on the Legion's immediate future. "Shooter has a very intricate plot coming up, perhaps even a wedding. And we'll have a major Legion-related project coming out toward the end of year."

To sum up, Levitz put the panel into perspective: "Legion does fairly well. It may not be the biggest seller, and yet this room is full of people who care about it, and it's delightful to have people give a damn."

Amusing anecdote from the Mysterious Cloaked Figure:
At one point, Levitz couldn't recall an issue number where he had a certain plot point, and an excited fan shouted out the specific number to the shocked creators. “Are...are you serious?” asked Giffen. “I...I think he's right,” said Levitz in amazement.


Terence Chua said...

Multi the Multi Alien? Uh, I hope that's just a typo for Ultra.

Michael said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be "Ultra".

Tom said...

I'm proud to give a damn.

Matthew E said...

It is interesting but not surprising to me that the uncanny and intense devotion that the Legion inspires in its fans is just as much a mystery to its creators as it is to me.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it "DC Universe #0", not "Final Countdown #1"?

Terence Chua said...

Who was it that once said that Legion fans are scary, and some of them have guns?

Bryan said...

I was at the panel and want to make a correction.. the Giffen quote "I only agreed to do Legion so I could kill him" should be "I only agreed to do Countdown so I could kill him".