Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

It's only lunchtime as I write this, but as the saying goes, it's New Years Eve somewhere in the world. Unfortunately, I don't have anything wise or witty to say, but I do want to pass along some words written by the great philosopher H at the Comic Treadmill.

Last week he was reviewing Adventure Comics #314 (the one with Hitler, Nero, and Dillinger), and came across this panel:

Here's what he had to say about it:
Scene That Freaked Me Out: Here are the Legion flying through time in the time bubble. They’ve left Hitler’s era, passed through the date the comic was on the stands and past another far future date. A date which will be upon us in a dozen days. Interpretation: I am so old, I exist in a future date that Edmond Hamilton considered to be a far-flung one.

Welcome to the far-flung future of 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Coming Distractions: March 2008

Didn't we just go through this a month ago? Anyway, here are the Legion-related titles coming out in March 2008: new stuff Countdown, Action (final chapter of Superman & the Lightning Saga Legion), JSA, Legion, LSH31C, and.... Wonder Woman? Reprints from Booster Gold, Supergirl and the LSH, and an odd choice of issues for the next Showcase volume. All this plus a new Supergirl action figure.

Story by Paul Dini
Story consulting by Keith Giffen
8 script by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti; art by Carlos Magno & Rodney Ramos
7 script by Sean McKeever; art by Ron Lim & Mark McKenna
6 script by Gray & Palmiotti; art by Jesus Saiz & Jimmy Palmiotti
5 script by Adam Beechen; art by Scott Kolins
Covers by Scott Kolins
The Countdown ticks down as storylines converge and collide - a Great Disaster is clearly proving to be unavoidable!
COUNTDOWN 8 on sale March 5
COUNTDOWN 7 on sale March 12
COUNTDOWN 6 on sale March 19
COUNTDOWN 5 on sale March 26
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Maybe the Karate Kid storyline will have found a plot by this time.

Written by Gail Simone
Art by Bernard Chang
Cover by Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson
Comics superstar Bernard Chang joins Gail Simone for a 2-part story that will take Wonder Woman to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, but not before the vicious alien race the Khund begin an assault on Earth! But before the invasion can begin, the relationship of Wonder Woman and Nemesis takes a defining turn.
On sale March 12 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

OK, now this one I didn't expect... Wonder Woman vs the Khunds?

Written by J. Torres
Art and cover by Alexander Serra
Back home in Metropolis, villains aren't nearly as fearsome as the Fatal Five, but they're learning fast! Although they're 1000 years away, the Legion has never left Superman's mind for a minute - will Superman's 31st Century know-how be enough to stop 21st Century bad guys, or will the learning curve be steeper than he can handle?
On sale March 12 o 32 pg, FC, $2.25 US

Looks like this is still Season 1 continuity.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank & Jonathan Sibal
Covers by Frank
It's the grand finale to the 6-part "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes!" To save the galaxy, Superman and the Legion must clear the good name of Krypton's Last Son, but to do that, they must defeat the greatest villains of their time: the JLA! Featuring a stunning "Superman and The Legion of Super-Heroes" cover plus a "Superman Triumphant" variant cover, both by Gary Frank!
Retailers please note: This issue will feature two covers that may be ordered separately. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition (featuring "Superman and The Legion of Super-Heroes" cover by Gary Frank), retailers may order one Variant Edition (featuring "Superman Triumphant" cover by Frank). See the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale March 26 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Yay, Blok is still alive and not dead at Roxxas' hand! And that's Invisible Kid in the lower right, though they miscolored his white stripe. This looks like the "standard edition" 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" continues as the mystery of the "Heartbreak Slayer" explodes while the Justice Society discovers a true "New" God stalking them. Meanwhile, devastating images of the future continue to plague the Man of Steel.
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 March 26 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Starman appears. Below is the "Standard Edition" cover by Ross.

Written by Jim Shooter
Art and cover by Francis Manapul & John Livesay
Part 1 of the story arc "Enemy Rising" - the begining of the One Evil Saga! To save her world, Shadow Lass battles alone against a Life-eradicator. The mystery of their origin deepens as important evidence emerges. Meanwhile, conflict between Timber Wolf and Saturn Girl explodes! Action, angst, amour, amperage and accuracy to the max!
On sale March 26 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

The "One Evil", huh? Hmmm. I hope it's not Darkseid (or Imperiex). I wonder if this is part 1 of the 16-part storyline, or part 1 of the Book 2 (where issues 37-39 were Book 1). FJM, care to comment?

Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Kevin Sharpe & Dennis Calero
Cover by Barry Kitson
In this volume collecting issues #31-36 of the acclaimed series, The Legionnaires' leader, Cosmic Boy, has disappeared. Was he captured by enemies or has he fled responsibility?
Advance-solicited; on sale April 2 o 144 pg, FC, $14.99 US

Advance solicited, as they say.

Written by Jerry Siegel, Jim Shooter and others
Art by Curt Swan, Jim Mooney, John Forte and others
Cover by Swan & George Klein
Over 500 pages of classic Legion adventures, collected from the pages of ADVENTURE COMICS #316, #322-348, #365, SUPERBOY #117 and #125, and SUPERMAN ANNUAL #4!
Advance-solicited; on sale April 9 o 528 pg, B&W, $16.99 US

I have no idea why they're reprinting stuff out of order. In this batch they skip over issues 317 (intro Dream Girl), 318 (Sun Boy's sickness-induced mutiny), 319 (Subs rescue the Legion), 320 (Dev-Em), and 321 (Time Trapper), plus 349-364 (which includes some pretty significant issues like Universo, Superboy/Supergirl have to leave, the Fatal Five and death of Ferro Lad, the Adult Legion, the Legion Chain Gang, Mantis Morlo, and the Super-Pets). Issue 365 is the intro of Shadow Lass, Superboy 117 is the "Earth-3" Legion, and Superboy 125 is Kid Psycho.

Written by Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Art by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
Cover by Jurgens & Rapmund
Booster Gold, the hero of 52, is back in this hardcover volume collecting BOOSTER GOLD #1-6 and the origin story from 52 #24! In this tale co-written by fan-favorite Geoff Johns (GREEN LANTERN, 52), the time-traveling super-hero from tomorrow must repair the timeline of the DC Universe if he's going to earn membership in the Justice League of America! Someone is exploiting the ravaged time stream, hoping to eliminate the world's greatest heroes, and only Booster Gold can stop them.
Advance-solicited; on sale May 7 o 160 pg, FC, $24.99 US

Reprints of the first issue with a minor cameo.

Designed by Alex Ross
The best-selling action figure line from the hugely popular JUSTICE series reaches its amazing conclusion with four new figures!


Supergirl o 6.5" h
Batgirl o 6.5" h
Toyman o 8" h
Captain Cold o 6.75" h

Each figure features multiple points of articulation and a base.
Advance-solicited; on sale August 13, 2008 * Action Figures * PI

Retailers please note: Supergirl, Batgirl, Toyman and Captain Cold are intended for individual sale to consumers, but are sold to retailers in inner and master cases.

Consult your Retailer Order Form for packaging and pricing details. These products are being offered simultaneously beyond the comic-book specialty market.

The Pre-Crisis 1970s-era Supergirl (red hot pants and poofy sleeves) gets a nice-looking new action figure.

Flashback: Why did the Legion leave Adventure Comics?

Another one from my email archives, celebrating 50 years of the Legion.

One question I remember coming up during discussions on usenet, mailing lists, and elsewhere while discussing Legion history was this: If the Legion was successful as the lead feature in "Adventure Comics", why did they move it to a backup slot in "Action Comics" and replace them with Supergirl, who had never had her own feature?

The question came up one day in late 1997 on the Grand Comics Database list - just a few days more than ten years ago. Comics historian Lou Mougin provided a pretty clear (though non-authoritative) response, which I reposted to the old LSH-L mailing list later. I recently asked Mark Waid (who's also a DC and Superman historian) and Paul Levitz (as current President and Publisher of DC, and DC employee since the early 1970s) for their thoughts, which are summarized at the bottom. Unfortunately, I don't think we kept copies of the email archives at the time, and this is the only post that I saved, so I can't show any more of the discussion.

Date: Sun, 21 Dec 1997 10:14:40 -0600
From: Lou Mougin
To: Grand Comics Database List
Subject: Re: Supergirl

Dear guys,

Since everyone else is putting his two cents plain into the Supergirl matter, I'll do mine as well.

The bit about Mort not wanting to put another book on his workload is undoubtedly true. Over the years, particularly in the late Sixties, reprints showed up more and more in JIMMY, LOIS, and even SUPERMAN, ACTION, and SUPERBOY. The only other book I can recall Mort taking over after WORLD'S FINEST was CAPTAIN ACTION in 1968, for all of two issues. (He gave it to Julie Schwartz thereafter.)

But it may not have been true of earlier days. Mark Waid once told me that Mort had planned to expand to at least two new titles: SUPERGIRL and SUPERBOY'S GIRL FRIEND, LANA LANG. (Yes!) I'm not sure where he heard the rumor, so we'll call this one Unconfirmed for right now.

However, if those titles were dreamed up in 1967, it's not hard to see what happened. The revenue generated by the Batman TV show's impact on sales was lessening as the show's popularity dropped. Many mainstream DC titles went on the ropes at this time. There were lots of cancellations, and DC went on a new tack, roping in Charlton staffers to create a new line of more Marvelesque, hipper titles (CREEPER, HAWK AND DOVE, BAT LASH, etc.). Faced with that, it's more than likely Uncle Mort decided not to test the market too much with two new titles. They would, of course, add to his workload, and Mort (according to the Gerry Jones book) may have been undergoing his nervous breakdown around this time, which would naturally make him think in terms of cutback, rather than expansion.

This conservatism may have been the reason for what happened to Supergirl and the Legion in 1969. The Legion in ADVENTURE was a solid seller, the only Weisinger book fans paid any attention to, and a proven hit since 1962. But Mort wanted a Supergirl book, and if he wasn't going to increase his load with another title, there were only two things he could do. He could give Supergirl all of ACTION, which was unthinkable, since Superman originated there and has been its star since 1938. Or he could give her ADVENTURE, shunt the Legion into her former spot, and hope that Kara was strong enough to carry the book.

Also, it's possible that Mort just wasn't all that wedded to the Legion. He allowed a story to be published in ACTION in which Superboy left the group, which would have been unthinkable back in their ADVENTURE days. The Legion has also been a traditionally difficult strip to write and draw; a writer has to know all the minutia of about 30 different characters and their 30th Century environment, and an artist has to draw all those characters and that environment. The Supergirl strip, with its one main easily-drawn character and its contemporary setting, would be a lot easier book to handle.

The story mentioned in which Superboy left the group is from Action Comics 387. Superboy quit the team due to tax purposes, since he made 26 members and groups with more than 25 had to pay some hefty taxes (never mind that they had RJ Brande on their side).

When I sent this to Mark Waid (whose encyclopedic Superman knowledge is legendary) recently, he replied he was sorry but "Wish I had anything more of historical note to add." Mark suggested that I ask Paul Levitz (whose 30+ years of employment at DC might be the longest stretch by anyone there), who said that "The emails strike me mostly as fannish speculation". Basically, he said that the editors weren't really the ones who launched titles (like the suggested Lana Lang title) per se - he doesn't know of any title that Weisinger "launched" himself back then, though it's clear he was the driving force behind them creatively once they were running. He said that he wasn't sure why the "Supergirl shift" decision was made and couldn't really offer any speculation, and said that even the editorial credits as printed might not help since it wasn't uncommon for other staffers to "close" a book when the indicia credited the regular editor.

So take this with a grain of salt. It's really just informed speculation, no matter how good it might sound, and there's nobody left who was associated with the book at the time to provide more information.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

In passing: Paul "Zeus" Grant

No Legion stuff in this post.

For those of you who have been around for long enough to remember Compuserve's Comics and Animation Forum from the mid-late '90s, you'll surely remember Paul "Zeus" Grant. True to his nickname, he was a larger-than-life figure who was always fun to read. Sadly, he died last month, though the news is just starting to get around. Mark Evanier has a bit and points to John Ostrander's column. It has turned into Compuserve old-home week over in John's comments.

(Previously: Compuserve musings here and here)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

An alternate timeline 30th century Christmas

Via scans_daily, here's a look at how they celebrate Christmas in the Adult Legion's alternate 30th century timeline.

We pick up the action from Action Comics 289, where Supergirl is trying to hook her cousin Superman up with a hot alien space chick.

Interesting notes:
1. This is the first appearance of the Adult Legion.
2. This is the first time we see the Garth/Imra romance.
3. In this timeline, they were still using jet packs until Superman discovered the anti-gravity element that would eventually allow the creation of flight rings.
4. This is the infamous story in which Superman bemoans the fact that Kryptonian law says that cousins can't marry (as discussed here and here).

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Festivus comments

It's still the Festivus season - still time to post your comments on the Airing of Grievances, the Festivus Miracles, and the Feats of Strength a couple of posts down.

Sneak peek at Shooter/Manapul's Legion

Newsarama has a sneak peek - the first 5 pages - of LSH v5 #37. I don't know about your area, but new issues here don't come in until Friday. Remember, this issue has a 2-part cover that makes a big image by Manapul/Livesay. (Back in the olden days, it would have been a fold-out or wraparound cover, now we have to buy two copies.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Final Five Legion episode titles

Someone apparently in the know updated the Legion cartoon's Wikipedia page with the titles for the final five episodes to be shown some time next season:

  • In the Beginning
  • Trials
  • In Your Dreams
  • Dark Victory, part 1
  • Dark Victory, part 2

No news on when we'll see them, though. I predict the first two or three in February and the remaining episodes in May (for sweeps months).

I believe that "In the Beginning" is the Legion origin episode, we're supposed to see R. J. Brande this season.

An Eye for an Eye

The newest Legion TPB, An Eye for an Eye (Amazon link), came out this week, and most interestingly it reprinted a classic Levitz/Giffen pre-Crisis story arc: the first six issues of v3 from 1984, featuring the Legion vs the LSV and the fight to the death between Queen Projectra, Karate Kid, and Nemesis Kid. Yay DC for promoting the pre-Crisis Legion!

I guess that's as good a choice as any to start with, considering that Karate Kid is (allegedly) co-starring in "Countdown" right now (though we still don't know what's up with Sensor Girl, Karate Kid being alive, and Triplicate Girl/Una's recent behavior). The Great Darkness Saga can be brought back in print, and the stories from the start of the Levitz/Giffen period could fill one trade that goes up to the GDS.

It was weird, though, seeing the cover showing the original art with modern coloring technology (below right); back then, it was the standard four colors plus a special additional "fifth color" of silver (below left).

left, via the GCD; right, via Tales From Another World

The book reprints issues 1-6 of LSH v3 (see covers here), plus the covers to "Tales of the LSH" #327-331 (see covers here), and the Legion, LSV, and Karate Kid entries from the original Who's Who. Note that the cover to issue 1 of v3 was reprinted as the cover to Tales #326, the first reprint issue in the "hardcover/softcover" experiment. It's this cover, with the old logo, that is appearing in some promotional material (even the image on the DC page shows this one, with the Tales trade dress).

left, via the GCD; right, via DC Comics

And just in case you're not sick of seeing this image, here's what it looked like when DC put out the cover as a promotional poster in 1984.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I own the original art to the very last page of issue 6 (the last story page in this trade). Click to enlarge:

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Legion Festivus for the Rest of Us

This Sunday is December 23, and you know what that means... it's Festivus time!

Festivus, which originated on an episode of "Seinfeld" in 1997, is a non-denominational holiday celebrated on Dec. 23 (or sometimes earlier, to avoid the Christmas rush). Instead of a tree, a simple unadorned aluminum pole is displayed, in opposition to the highly decorated Christmas trees. Two of the main elements of the holiday that involve people are the annual Airing of Grievances and the Feats of Strength. There are Festivus Miracles too, but they're not officially required.

So to celebrate, here are my list of Legion grievances. Please add your own in the comments, but remember they only can cover calendar year 2007 (so no whining about anything that happened last year). In no particular order:

  1. The Legion cartoon got all grim and gritty. After a fun first season, they totally revamped the characters, tone, and direction of the show. Producer James Tucker claims it was the network that wanted more action, so we essentially got rid of Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, and Bouncing Boy in exchange for Kell-El and Chameleon Boy. No "fun" episodes like the one with the Subs last season. Emo trendy facial hair on Lightning Lad. Bouncing Boy as leader sub-plot never referred to again. A two-year gap. A grown-up Superman who has grown into his powers and doesn't need the Legion. I realize I'm not the intended audience, and while I do admit to enjoying the overall story arc, I wish it had come about differently.

  2. The toy line from Mattel, announced and then quietly un-announced. We didn't find out until much later that the Big Box stores weren't interested in the line.

  3. Does anyone realize that Karate Kid is in "Countdown"? Does anyone really care? They've been running this storyline for over 30 weeks and we haven't seen any sight of a good payoff. What a letdown after his appearances in the Lightning Saga story. Is Giffen going to kill him off a third time?

  4. Speaking of which, Una? WTF? Has she shown a good reason to be in the present? And how did she get here?

  5. Barry Kitson signing an exclusive with Marvel. That caused Waid and Kitson to have to wrap up their storyline six months early and cut a lot of stuff short. On top of that, Waid didn't want to continue on the book without Kitson and so we got a six-month long fill-in arc (though fairly competently) by Bedard and Calero.

  6. Mike Grell is only doing a single cover (the alternate version) during the "Superman and the Legion" story in Action Comics. By his own admission, this is the only thing he's doing for the Legion's 50th anniversary.

  7. The Legion cartoon DVD coming out on three separate DVD releases to complete Season 1, which will then be collected in a 3-disc set at some point in the future.

  8. I'm disappointed in the sales figures, that more readers haven't been picking up the book. The Legion got the biggest bump in copies sold as a percentage of previous sales as a result of the line-wide "One Year Later" stunt, and all of those readers have now left. The book is back to its levels of where it would have been had Supergirl not joined. Of course, this is a DC-wide problem and not the Legion's, but still.

  9. No girl characters in the Happy Meal toys.

  10. Wikipedians didn't think my entry on Klordny was worth keeping, so it got deleted.

  11. Someone forgot to do a spellcheck on the title of the final Lightning Saga storyline. Translated from Interlac into English, it reads "Tle Villain Is tle Lero in Lis Own Story".

  12. Back in April, Dennis Calero had an interview with The Pulse in which he said that he was going to be the next Legion artist after Barry Kitson. Apparently he wasn't supposed to say anything yet (thanks, DC marketing, for the promotion there!), as the interview was revised shortly thereafter. Calero emailed me and asked me to pull my post in exchange for an interview later, which never took place. I'm sure that he probably simply forgot and I never made the attempt to get back to him, but still.
    Update later Friday night: after thinking about it, I rewrote this Grievance because I unintentionally put Dennis in a bad light the way it was originally written. Sorry Dennis!

Now to temper the List of Grievances, we also have some Festivus Miracles:
  1. DC is actively promoting the Legion's 50th anniversary, starting more than a year in advance.

  2. The Legion has buzz from two different writers: Geoff Johns (in Action Comics, and JLA/JSA with Brad Meltzer) and Jim Shooter.

  3. There's a Legion cartoon, and it was such a big hit in its first season that it was renewed for a second season.

  4. Happy Meal toys!

  5. Mike Grell, Paul Levitz, Jim Shooter, Keith Giffen, Jim Lee, and George Perez have all either done or announced a project involving the Legion.

  6. Wave after wave of Heroclix and Vs. cards.

  7. The Legion season 1 episode featuring the tryouts and the Subs.

The last of the Festivus traditions is the Feats of Strength, in which the guests wrestle with and try to pin the host to the floor. I think I've been doing that all year long with my trivia (see past quizzes here), but here are three bonus questions for you to wrestle with.
  1. Whose kids were Brin, Bran, and Loni?
  2. Whose kids were Ronn and Arna?
  3. Put these children (listed here alphabetically by last name) in chronological birth order: Lauren Gand, Pol Jath Krinn, and Dacey and Doritt Ranzz?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Levitz, Giffen back on the Legion

Via Newsarama, Keith Giffen talks about things he'll be working on at DC with his exclusive contract, one of which is a DC/Wildstorm crossover:

KG: I don't know when the book's coming out. I don't know what the schedule is. I will tell you it's not one of those "ten years ago" kind of books. It takes place in the Wildstorm present. And it does involve quite a few DC heroes.

NRAMA: Such as...?

KG: Well, let's see. It might be of interest to a small group of fans out there that, in this Wildstorm/DC crossover, I will – probably for the final time for the foreseeable future – be returning to the Legion of Super-Heroes.

NRAMA: Wait, so you'll be writing the Legion of Super-Heroes as part of this crossover?

KG: Yeah.

NRAMA: There are definitely fans would be interested in that, although how they show up is going to be the real item of interest. Any other characters that you want to tell us are going to appear in the crossover?

KG: At this point, not really. There are some that are kind of obvious. If you think about it, it's not hard to figure out who would show up in a crossover. You're not going to do a crossover without the big guns. You know Superman's going to be there, but it's the way Superman is there and the approach that is used to him that is going to make this stand out from other crossovers.

NRAMA: OK, and what is this tease bout a "war for control of Hell?"

KG: I think Didio got tired of telling me to go to hell figuratively. So he thought, well, let's actually send him down to DC Hell and let him thrash around like a mental patient. "Now when we tell him go to hell, he can't get offended!"

NRAMA: [laughs] Well, can you describe what the book is about?

KG: I can't really say too much about the book. I can tell you, it's sort of a meaty series. It's more than six issues but less than 12.

NRAMA: Is this something you're currently writing or just something off on the horizon?

KG: The first issue's in. The first issue of all these projects are in. I've actually seen some art for the first issue of the DC/Wildstorm project. But yeah, DC is actually sending me down to the DC version of Hell, and we're going to see what kind of trouble I can get into down there.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview with Paul Levitz:
NRAMA: Back to the imprints – let’s hit the big one – the DC Universe. By and large, both the Marvel and the DC Universes have embraced event-driven storytelling. What’s your take on that, both as Publisher and a fan?

PL: The first comic I remember buying off the rack was “Crisis on Earth-1/Earth-2”…

NRAMA: [laughs] Enough said.

PL: So part of me is a sucker for them. As a reader, I think it’s great when it works. It’s a bit of a car wreck when it doesn’t. As a writer, it’s a tremendous pain in the ass. I lived through having to make some uncomfortable adjustments in Legion of Super-Heroes because of what was going on in the multiple universes as they pulled together at different times in my career. But when it works, it’s a really great trick – and we’ve had some success with it in the last couple of years. Marvel has certainly had some success with it this past year. It’s a tough trick to keep pulling off time after time, and we have an ongoing debate here about the weight of energy put into the events versus put into making the books great on a monthly basis. And really, you want to do both tricks well.


NRAMA: Finally – the annual personal question…when are you going to get back to writing? And no “No one wants to read anything I have to write,” or any other of your pat answers… Jim Shooter’s back on Legion, so it seems to be old home week over there…

PL: Jim just came back on Legion so he could break the record I had on Justice Society of how long a gap it was between writing the characters. [laughs]

NRAMA: and that was the only reason Jim came back?

PL: The only one. It was absolutely personal – I can’t imagine any other reason that he took it on. [chuckles]

I’m doing a short Legion story with Jim Lee for a book that Jim’s doing as a sort of “art of Jim Lee” collection that he was kind enough to ask me to work with him on. And at the moment, that’s the only piece of serious writing on the agenda. It’s very hard – we still have one kid at home; I travelled more this year than I think in any of the last decade…the more good stuff DC does, the more places I have to be at once, and the harder it is to find serious time at the keyboard.

Superboy lawsuit update, Dec. 2007 edition (updated)

Time for another update on the Superboy lawsuit. Last time, back in September, we found out (via Trexfiles) that the Superman lawsuit - argued by the heirs of Jerry Siegel that the rights to Superman should revert to them - was going to be sent to trial in late January, with the Superboy lawsuit - who owns Superboy? - following in the same court shortly thereafter.

The Trexfiles has a new update with copies of a couple of the court documents. Due to a number of factors (which you can read about here, but it's eye-glazing-over stuff about financial record keeping and how the Siegels haven't been given full access to DC's books), the Superman trial (Case No. CV 04-8400) is apparently set to begin May 15, 2008 with the Superboy trial (Case No. CV 04-8776) following.

I'm sure there are some lawyers out there - what happens at each of these events?

Jury Instructions: March 31, 2008
Objections to Jury Instructions: April 7, 2008
Hearing on Motions in Limine: April 14, 2008, at 1:30 p.m.
Final Pre-Trial Conference: April 28, 2008, at 11:00 a.m.
Trial Briefs: May 5, 2008
Trial of Case No. CV 04-8400: May 13, 2008, at 9:30 a.m.
Trial of Case No. CV 04-8776: Thereafter, as set by Court

One of the documents on the Trexfiles page contains financial information and requests for it. The Legion cartoon is mentioned by name several times, in passing as one of several TV shows to feature Superman or Superboy whose finances are being requested (see pages 43, 77, 91, 120, 127, 136, 146, 194, and 207).

Click on the "Superboy lawsuit" tab at the top of this page for previous installments on the lawsuits, in particular the most recent one with the Newsarama links if you're interested in the details behind both lawsuits, and the August one with a discussion of the previous legal documents.

Update 8:45pm: There's a lot of discussion in the comments section at Blog@Newsarama. I'm still surprised that people are condemning the Siegels for being greedy, trying to take what isn't theirs. It's just the opposite - Congress gave them the right to reclaim the copyright (but NOT the trademark, which DC owns) when they changed the copyright laws, in order to make up for past injustices to all copyright owners. An astute comment from Thomas Strand:
The Federal law of this country allows them and has granted them the right to return the copyrights to the rightful owners during a specific window in time, because any and all contract that were signed back during the time Superman was…. would have already become public domain.

DC should not even have a Superman copyright, because the contract they originally signed only allowed a one time extension.

The family’s are simply filing the paper work to get the copyrights back, since the contracts that were originally signed have a built in, Federally mandated time limit.

This is not a ‘fight’, this is basically the same thing as you filing paperwork for money the IRS forgot to give you last year.

The only issue here, is this is the first time those parts of the ‘revised’ copyright code have been tested in court, and from the judgments handed out during these cases, you can expect US copyright law to be changed forever.

Something else to think about... when the Legion cartoon was announced, it was supposed to be Superboy and the Legion. When the Superboy lawsuit came out in 2006, they changed it to be "the young Superman". But ironically, that put it under the Superman family of TV shows, so now the financial statements from the show are a part of the Superman lawsuit.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Caption contest 4: Why is this girl crying?

Awww, poor Shvaughn Erin. Why is she crying?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Caption contest 3: What does Saturn Girl say?

Saturn Girl, who was elected leader of the Legion, hears Brainiac 5 say this. What does she say in return?

"Oh no you di'int!"

"That's our Brainy, we chose him for Legion membership because of his 12th-level super-dickery."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

1,050 Years of the Future

The BEAT has a look at DC's upcoming trade paperbacks, which includes the "best of" Legion collection, now given a title: "1,050 Years of the Future". When we discussed this last month, we each came up with a list of stories we'd put in the trade. This should be on sale in time for the 50th anniversary celebration.

Well, THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: 1,050 YEARS OF THE FUTURE has been announced and here's the solicitation:

Writers: Otto Binder, Jerry Siegel, Edmond Hamilton, Jim Shooter, Mort Weisinger, Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen, Mark Waid, Tom McCraw, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artists: Al Plastino, Curt Swan, Stan Kaye, John Forte, George Klein, Mike Grell, Keith Giffen, Kurt Schaffenberger, Howard Bender, Dave Cockrum, Jim Sherman, Joe Staton, Stuart Immonen, Olivier Coipel and Andy Lanning
$19.99, 224 pages

Now, a closer look at each of the stories:

  • Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958): a given, as the first appearance of the team
  • Adventure #304 (Jan. 1963): the death of Lightning Lad
  • Adventure #312 (Sept. 1963): resurrection of Lightning Lad
  • Adventure #354-355 (March/April 1967): the Adult Legion 2-parter
  • Superboy #212 (Oct. 1975): the Legion of Super-Rejects
  • LSH v2 #300 (June 1983): alternate continuities
  • LSH v4 #0 (Oct. 1994): intro of the post-Zero Hour team
  • Legends of the DC Universe 80 Page Giant #2 (Jan. 2000): bedtime story
  • The Legion #3 (Feb. 2002):

Well some of those are certainly surprises. A number of you had suggested LSH 300, but I thought it was too big to put in the book and the alternate futures wouldn't mean much without context. Apparently I was wrong, maybe you get enough context and maybe it's a way of showing issues that they otherwise didn't show (Earthwar, Computo, etc.). But it ties into the original Adult Legion 2-parter, which I wouldn't have chosen.

The death and resurrection of Lightning Lad was not only good storytelling, but it was a significant part of the recent Lightning Saga storyline.

Superboy 212 was obviously pandering to me, since it was my first issue. Maybe as the only "tryout" issue, and to have something by Grell? They should also include the page that was originally deleted, then published in "Amazing World of DC Comics", then remembered in time for the Archives issue.

The Legends of the DC Universe issue was a big surprise. It's listed incorrectly as issue 1 in the solicitation text, though. It's a Levitz script that has " The origin of Superman is told to the children who will grow up to be Legionnaires." (per the GCD). I'm sorry to say that I don't really remember this story.

I also don't remember what happened in "The Legion" #3, either. I'll update these based on what you guys tell me.

So that leaves us with 7 pre-Crisis stories, none from post-Crisis or v4, 3 from the post-Zero Hour era, and none from the current series.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Caption contest 2: Why are they voting "no" to Superboy?

Superboy has been summoned to appear before the Legion. They're all voting NO! But why?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Caption contest 1: What is Antennae Boy picking up?

No prizes for the best caption, except the adulation of your fellow readers.

When he applied, Antennae Boy told the Legion that he could pick up any radio broadcast from the past, present, or future (presumably that also includes television, satellite radio, internet audio like podcasts and streaming audio/video, etc.). Unfortunately there was also noisy feedback, so he got rejected.

What do you think Antennae Boy is picking up here?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Déjà Vu 5: Cover Homages - Adventure 300

Sometimes a cover idea is too good to waste (it's not a ripoff or a swipe, it's an homage!).

Superman Annual #2 (1960)
Adventure Comics #300 (1962)
Superman Annual #6 (1963)
LSH v2 #301 (1983)
The Trouble With Girls #12 (1990)
LSH v4 #41 (1993)

Trivia #18 answers

Man, you guys are tough. It's getting harder to find something that you guys don't know.

1. In this month's Action Comics 859, the Legion went into the 1000 year old Batcave looking for a Kryptonite ring. What were they looking for the last time we saw them visit the Batcave?

I was thinking of the time from the original Computo story when they went to find the Bizarro duplicating ray (like making a Bizarro Computo was a good idea?), but I forgot about the time in v4 when Tenzil led an archaeological expedition to the Batcave.

2. Also in Action 859, we see that the "Justice League" of 3008 is comprised of the former Spider Girl, Golden Boy, Tusker, Absorbancy Boy, Storm Boy, and Radiation Roy - all of whom were originally seen as Legion rejects. Why were they each rejected?
Spider Girl, Radiation Roy, and Tusker were rejected because they couldn't control their powers properly. Storm Boy used a forbidden device, Golden Boy was rejected by Dynamo Boy for economic reasons (use of his power might devalue gold), and Absorbancy Boy was rejected because his power wasn't considered useful. (Sure looked useful to me!)

3. Who were the members of Cosmic Boy's Legion of Substitute Heroes?
Cos was joined by Bouncing Boy, Karate Kid II (Myg), Night Girl, Duo Damsel, Comet Queen, and Visi-Lad.

4. In the Legion of Super-Pets, who was Super-Bird?
The following exchange appeared in the letters column of Adventure 318:

Dear Editor: As a new reader of your magazine, I would like to know more about the "Legion of Super-Pets." Could you list the various creatures who belong to this super-menagerie? - Sandy Tail, Great Neck, N.Y.

(The super-creatures include: Super-Horse, Krypto, Super-Monkey, Streaky, Proty II and, coming up soon, Super-Bird. Incidentally, how many readers would like to see "Krypto-Mouse," featured in the Hall of Fame classic story in this issue? -Ed.)

Obviously, Super-Bird never appeared, and Super-Mouse never joined the Super-Pets.

5. When Livewire quit the Legion to join the Work Force, who were the members of that group?
At the time, the members were Ultra Boy, Karate Kid, Spider-Girl, Inferno, and Evolvo. Later, Blastoff, Particon, Radian, and Lori Morning joined up after several original members left to join the Legion.

6. 'Tis the season... Most of us are familiar with the "Christmas with the Super-Heroes" story in which the Legion journeyed to the "Christmas star". But where else have we seen a significant Christmas scene in Legion history?
In Action 289, Supergirl tried to play matchmaker with Superman, so she took him to the future of the Adult Legion and tried to set him up with Saturn Woman. Unfortunately, she was already married to Lightning Man. In the story, they still have mistletoe, but the Christmas trees have planets that rotate around the tree rather than regular hanging ornaments. Here are a few pages (via scans_daily).

7. What did the following people - Hold Atovlo, D. Spengler Bonita, Dafe Meron, Wray Muntz, Leemac Allen, Concheta Drisden, and Mick Yardreigh - have in common?
In LSH v4 #27, page 4, a list appeared of the subjects held by the Dominators in their chambers under Weisinger Plaza. Most of them were pre-existing characters. The thing I was looking for was that they had all been mindwiped (there were a number of characters who had not been, too). Atovlo was Holdur, Meron was Polecat, Drisden was the daughter of Charma and Grimbor, and Yardreigh was Black Mace. Others held and mindwiped included Flynt Brojj, Caress, Squire Burroughs, Myg, and Absorbancy Boy (him again?). See the full list at Doug Atkinson's v4-era FAQ.

Legion TV schedule Dec. 2007

Here are the airdates and episodes for the Legion show for the rest of Dec. 2007, via SFTV:

Dec. 01 - episode 2.08 NEW "Message in a Bottle"
Dec. 08 - episode 2.05 "The Karate Kid" (2nd airing) - last aired 10/27/07
Dec. 15 - episode 2.01 "The Man From The Edge of Tomorrow Part 1" (2nd airing) - last aired 09/22/07
Dec. 22 - episode 2.02 "The Man From The Edge of Tomorrow Part 2" (3rd airing) - last aired 10/20/07
Dec. 29 - episode 2.05 "Who Am I?" (2nd airing) - last aired 11/03/07

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" (2 airings, last 10/20/07)
2.03 "Cry Wolf" (2 airings, last 11/10/07)
2.04 "Chained Lightning" (2 airing, last 11/24/07)
2.05 "The Karate Kid" (1 airing, last 10/27/07)
2.06 "Who Am I?" (1 airing, last 11/03/07)
2.07 "Unnatural Alliances" (1 airing, last 11/17/07)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Legion of Heroes Heroes

Here's my updated list of heroes from the NBC show "Heroes" and how they relate to the Legionnaires (just for the hell of it), through the end of "Volume 2". New or revised entries are in bold.

[Update: added Golden Boy to Bob Bishop's listing]

The main bad guy, Sylar, absorbs powers from others by an unknown means which appears to have something to do with taking their brain out of their head. One of the main good guys, Peter, absorbs powers from others just from proximity, and retains those powers (whether he realizes that he has them or not) with no ill effects to the original power holder. In the list below, Sylar's powers are marked with a #, while Peter's powers (which include all of Sylar's, since they met) are marked with a *. Sylar is currently powerless.

The main cast
*Claire Bennett (self-healing/regeneration) - ???
*Nikki/Jessica Hawkins (strength) - Superboy/Mon-el/Supergirl/Andromeda/Ultra Boy (partial)
*DL Hawkins (intangibility) - Phantom Girl
*Micah Hawkins (technopathy) - Computo
*#Isaac Mendez (precognition) - Dream Girl
*Hiro Nakamura (time/space) - Infinite Man
*Matt Parkman (telepathy) - Saturn Girl
*Nathan Petrelli (flight) - Superboy/Mon-el/Supergirl/Andromeda/Ultra Boy (partial)
Peter Petrelli (duplicate another's power after he's been nearby) - Absorbancy Boy
*Gabriel "Sylar" Gray (steal powers) - Duplicate Boy

Everyone else from the TV show
Bob Bishop (alchemy) - Element Lad, Golden Boy
Charlene "Charlie" Andrews (eidetic memory) - Brainiac 5
*Elle Bishop (electricity) - Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass
*Claude (invisibility) - Invisible Kid
*#Brian Davis (telekinesis) - Tellus
Monica Dawson (photographic reflexes) - ???
*Charles Deveaux (dreaming) - Dream Girl
Hana "Wireless" Gitelman (internet) - Computo
Meredith Gordon (pyrokinesis) - Sun Boy, Fire Lad
Alejandro Herrera (cure disease) - ???
Maya Herrera (induce disease) - Infectious Lass
Haitian (memory erase, power damper) - ???
Sanjog Iyer (can enter dreams) - Dream Girl (current series)
*Takezo Kensei/Adam Monroe (self-healing/regeneration) - ???
Daniel Linderman (healing touch) - ???
*Eden McCain (persuasion) - Universo
Maury Parkman (mental manipulation) - Saturn Girl, Universo
West Rosen (flight) - Superboy/Mon-el/Supergirl/Andromeda/Ultra Boy (partial)
*#Dale Smither (super-hearing) - Superboy/Mon-el/Supergirl/Andromeda (partial)
*Ted Sprague (radiation) - Radiation Roy
*#Zane Taylor (liquification) - Element Lad, Chameleon Chief
*Molly Walker (tracking) - Dawnstar, Shikari
Candice Wilmer (illusion) - Princess Projectra
TBD (weather control) - Storm Boy
*#TBD (cold) - Polar Boy
*#TBD (unknown) //Sylar killed 6 before we met him, but we've only seen two of those powers)
*#TBD (unknown)
*#TBD (unknown)
*#TBD (unknown)

Characters from the Graphic Novels
Au Co (plant manipulation) - Chlorophyll Kid
Evan (duplication) - Triplicate Girl
Richard Drucker (Cyberpathy) - Computo
Guillame (emotion manipulation) - ???
"Liquid Man" (self-liquification) - Chameleon Boy
Maarten (pyrokinesis) - Sun Boy, Fire Lad
Traveler (omni-lingualism) - ???
name unknown (dehydration) - ???
name unknown (electricity absorption) - Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass
name unknown (speed) - XS
name unknown (electrical manipulation) - Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass

* = power of Nathan's via proximity
# = power of Sylar's via TBD
(mostly via the Heroes entry in Wikipedia)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The infamous "Giffen Legion Poster"

Over at Urban Legends Revealed last week on CBR, during a discussion of whether Paul Levitz actually used index cards to keep track of his running plotlines (no, just a scorecard), the question came up as to whether or not Keith Giffen actually quit the Legion because of his work on that huge poster. The answer, of course, is yes. Here’s what Giffen said about the poster in an issue of The Jack Kirby Collector #29 (August 2000):

What happened was I did this Legion poster, characters all over the place. And in drawing that Legion poster I totally burned myself out on the book. After the poster I just had to walk away.

Today, at Comics Should Be Good, they posted a picture of the poster (courtesy of Legion World), but it's the one from the Great Darkness Saga TPB, which has been trimmed a bit around the edges, making some characters hard to see. Here's the full poster (click to enlarge):

The poster was reprinted in the Great Darkness Saga TPB with the following introduction:

I'll note for the record that over a summer reading my entire Legion collection (mostly originals, with some reprints at the time), I identified all 275 characters. I got about 200 from memory, and reading the stories filled out the rest.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Trivia Quiz #18

This month's theme: Super-Team Family! (2 quatloos to those who get the reference.)

1. In this month's Action Comics 859, the Legion went into the 1000 year old Batcave looking for a Kryptonite ring. What were they looking for the last time we saw them visit the Batcave?

2. Also in Action 859, we see that the "Justice League" of 3008 is comprised of the former Spider Girl, Golden Boy, Tusker, Absorbancy Boy, Storm Boy, and Radiation Roy - all of whom were originally seen as Legion rejects. Why were they each rejected?

3. Who were the members of Cosmic Boy's Legion of Substitute Heroes?

4. In the Legion of Super-Pets, who was Super-Bird?

5. When Livewire quit the Legion to join the Work Force, who were the members of that group?

6. 'Tis the season... Most of us are familiar with the "Christmas with the Super-Heroes" story in which the Legion journeyed to the "Christmas star". But where else have we seen a significant Christmas scene in Legion history?

7. What did the following people - Hold Atovlo, D. Spengler Bonita, Dafe Meron, Wray Muntz, Leemac Allen, Concheta Drisden, and Mick Yardreigh - have in common?