Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Flashback: Bits of Legionnaire Business (part 6)

Here's the last part of the "Bits of Legionnaire Business" stuff from the original Adventure Comics run. Thanks to Jo and Terri-Anne Sanning for hosting all the Silver Age letters columns at the Silver Age Legion Clubhouse.

Adventure Comics 350, Nov. 1966
Well, the suggestions for new Legionnaires continue to pour in from you fans. So here we are, back with a new batch of these "Bits of Legionnaire Business." This page represents only a fraction of the thousands of ideas that have deluged us. Of these, we've selected the ones we liked best - some intriguing "straight" heroes, others wild and kookie. We'll just pass along the top choices to our writers for possible use in future stories. One word of caution - try to get really original ideas. Many otherwise good heroes were rejected because they were similar to some we'd used before. Send your brainstorms to: BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS, National Periodical Publications, 575 Lexington Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022, preferably on a postal card. And now for this issue's collection:
Niles Brown, Jefferson, Tex. - "Sound Boy uses sound waves to create a prison around enemies." . . . Andy Barnett, Phoenix, Ariz. - "Astro Lad has disintegration vision. He can disintegrate anything and then restore it to its original form." . . . Richard Kahn, Fair Lawn, N.J. - "Ripper Robert can rip himself in half to avoid bullets, then reunite." . . . Rand Lee, Roxbury, Conn. - "Vicious circle can materialize hoops of sizzling energy that weaken a person by sapping his strength."
Robert L. Chambers, Caro, Mich. - "Monster Boy can assume any wierd form he chooses." . . . David Low, Florissant, Mo. - "The Traveler has the power to transport himself and others anywhere he wills, including other time-eras and dimensions." . . . Rudolph Valentino, Cedar Brook, N.J, - "Inertia Kid can increase the resistance that a body has to moving, and thus render it motionless.". . . Kim Boyce, Chicago, Ill. - "Pajama Pat can put anyone to sleep for any length of time."
Billy Brennan, Collingdale, Pa. - "Fingertip Fred can make his fingers as long as he wants. Also, they can drill through stone or metal." . . . Mark DeWolfe, San Antonio, Tex. - "Cat Kid has the strength of a tiger, the courage of a lion, the speed of a cheetah, the ability to see in the dark - and when he falls, he always lands on his feet." . . . Paul Miller, Oakdale, Conn. - "Dynamite Dan can make anything explode." . . . Dan Solla, Freeport, Pa. - "Liquid Lad has the power to turn any solid, unliving thing into any form of liquid."
Michael Willert, Woodlyn, Pa. - "Ape Boy can turn into any kind of primate, from the smallest monkey to a King Kong-sized gorilla." . . . E. Clements, San Diego, Calif. - "Remarkable Russ has the power of turning anything invisible to everyone's eyes but his." . . . William Francis Powell, Laurel, Miss. - "Steam Kid can change himself or anyone else into steam." . . . Glen Quasny, West Covina, Calif. - "The Human Sponge can soak up whole oceans into his body, or emit water from the pores of his skin."
R. McNeill, Kingston, Jamaica - "Attracto-Lad has the power to attract or repel any form of energy or matter. He has one weakness, though - he can't attract girls." . . . Paul Vranish, Crosby, Minn. - "Water Lad can change into any form of water: rain, snow, fog, sleet, steam or smog." . . . Byron Holt - "Cyclotron Kid can split into atoms, changing matter to energy." . . . Patricia Stevens, Paris, France - "Tree Girl can change into a human tree." (Thanks to Pat for the chic costume sketches she included - but what else would you expect from Paris, the World Fashion Capital? -Ed.)
Keith Okita, Aiea, Hawaii - "Mechanical Maid can turn into any mechanical apparatus by altering the atomic structure of her body." . . . Leon Smith, Greensboro, N.C. - "Diamond Duke is invulnerable, able to cut steel with his fingernails, has diamond strength, and can change carbon into diamond." . . . Bruce Carter, Montgomery, Ala. - "Time Lad can stop time for everyone but himself - once every 48 hours." . . . Mike Hill, Orillia, Ont., Canada - "Kayo Kid can render anyone or any creature unconscious for any desired length of time with no harmful after-effects."
Alan Mandelbaum and Russell Weis, Oceanside, N.Y. - "Thin Girl can make herself as thin as a piece of thread." . . . Rick Rampone, Elkhart, Ind. - "Lie-Detector Lad has the power of making anybody within 25 feet of him tell the truth." . . . Stephen Phillips, New York, N.Y. - "Dee-zeez can give foes any illness, but is herself immune to all diseases." . . . Brian T. Strom, Northfield, Minn. - "Whirl Wizard's power is to shoot out whirling rays from his eyes. They cause enemies to whirl uncontrollably till they get dizzy."
Hugh Simons, Chicago, Ill. - "Miss Break-Mass can break inanimate objects into atoms. She can also beak her body into parts, each one of which has an individual power." . . . Paul Remley, Ann Arbor, Mich. - "Gas Lad can breath in any gas and breath it out in another form. For instance, he could inhale helium and exhale oxygen." . . . "Jay Sabatucci, Arlington, Tex. - "Reflexo Lad; when he's hit, his arms automatically shoot out and sock his opponent by reflex action." . . . John Kimsey, Indianapolis, Ind. - "Suspense Spence can suspend anything in space or time."

[2009 note: powers of Infectious Lass]

Adventure Comics 354, March 1967
Dear Editor:
Lately, much attention has been given to Jeff Greenberg for his creation of Color Kid, now a member of the Legion of Substitute Heroes. It is my sad duty to inform you that he did not create Color Kid. In issue No. 311, Leslie Leibow, of Fairlawn, N.J., sent in Color Kid as a Bit of Legionnaire Business. When will you give credit where credit is due?
-Elizabeth Kane, East Meadow, N.Y.
(We already have, Liz - by crediting the first fan to send the idea in. Jeff's Bit of Business appeared in No. 309. And speaking of Jeff, read the next letter. -Ed.)
Dear Editor:
Thank you! Thank you! I am so proud! You have made Color Kid one of your most vivid and exciting new characters. Even though he is only a Substitute Legionnaire, he was the hero of "The Forgotten Legion" (which was one of your best stories in months). And why am I so proud? Because he's my character - I created him in your Bits of Legionnaire Business column. Well, I've made my contribution!
-Jeff Greenberg, Los Angeles, Calif.
(You sure have, Jeff! We fell your boy adds a great deal of color to the Substitute Legion - so there's no telling when he'll pop up next. -Ed.)
Adventure Comics 358, July 1967
Dear Editor: In No. 346, you told who submitted Weight Wizard and Blockade Boy, who appeared in "The Super-Stalag of Space". But you overlooked the originators of two other heroes. A check with "Bits of Legionnaire Business" in No. 340 shows that Plant Lad was dreamed up by Mike Young of Yakima, Wash., and Shadow Kid sprang from the mind of Dennis Coughlin, Palo Alto, Calif. How about giving them credit?
-Charles Foley, Corinth, Miss.
(We're glad to correct our oversight, Charlie. And if we ever use Shadow Kid - the only one of the four who survived the Stalag - we'll give Dennis a bonus credit. -Ed.)

1 comment:

Hugh said...

I told my friend Peter VanDenEng that I was writing letters to DC and getting published back as a kid.

A particular thrill was getting a proposed Legion character listed . I couldn't remember when it was.

He called me after seeing your Tuesday posting of "Bits" . There it was -- from Adventure 350 -- Hugh Simons of Chicago and the break down ,so to speak, for a "Miss Break Mass".

November 1966 !

That was back when I was a seventh grader thinking only about creating comics.

From my description, Miss Break Mass may be an example that I was smarter becoming a tv news writer - producer.

Thanks for the blast from the past and confirmation that my Legion loyalty goes back a "few" years.

Hugh Simons