Saturday, February 28, 2009

MegaCon/WonderCon 09: DC Nation, DC Universe (update 2)

Update 1: added the DC Universe panel info at the bottom.
Update 2: added the James Robinson panel info.

I totally forgot that Orlando's MegaCon is this weekend also, same as San Francisco's WonderCon. Here are the DC Nation updates from both conventions, from Friday night:

MegaCon's DC Nation, via Newsarama:
QUESTION: Why does it seem like the re-introduction of the same ideas?

DD [Dan DiDio] – They are the same ideas but shown in a new light. Take the Legion for example. They are important to DC, and Legion always worked best when it appeared with Superboy. Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes was the most successful, so that’s what we want to get back to.

QUESTION: You’re not just letting stories in that you liked when you were a kid?

JP [Jimmy Palmiotti] – We remember the stories we read and we try to integrate that into the stories now.

WonderCon's DC Nation, via Newsarama:
As for Superman, Robinson said that it will take many heroes to guard Metropolis is Superman’s absence, and the series will showcase Steel, Guardian, Black Lightning, and other heroes.

Robison said that the history of Nightwing and Flamebird and the history of Daxam (from its discovery to the time on Mon-el) will be explored in upcoming Annuals.

WonderCon's DC Nation, via CBR:
Robinson then spoke a bit about the upcoming “World of New Krypton” series, indicating that “Superman has left Earth, and he's not coming back any time soon.” He praised co-writer Greg Rucka's other series, “Action Comics,” which currently stars Nightwing and Flamebird. The regular “Superman” series, written by Robinson, will star Guardian, Steel, Mon-El, and Zatarra (“who's a little shit”) for the foreseeable future.

“Since we've made Kryptonians illegal on Earth, Supergirl will now be going back to the Silver Age [concepts], where she needs a secret identity,” Robinson said of plans for the character's title. He also praised Geoff Johns's “Secret Origin” and “Adventure Comics,” though for the latter he noted “there's very little I can say about that right now.”

The DC Universe panel was Saturday afternoon at each convention.

WonderCon's DC Universe, via Newsarama:
Speaking of Superman, Robison reiterated that many heroes will play a role in that series: Mon-el, the Guardian and the Science Police, Steel, Black Lightning, and Zatara, who Robinson described lovingly as “a little s**t.”

...Robinson then spoke of the coming Superman: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, adding that the story won’t be a rehashing of stories that are already known, but rather fresh takes on the elements that allowed Clark Kent to become Superman.

The writer again said that the books are building to a “gigantic event” in 2010 that has been in the planning for over a year, “and I know you won’t be disappointed in the adventures to come.”

...Asked about Legion of Super-Heroes, Robison said that there will be Legion material coming up in Superman. And ongoing Legion presence will be seen in 2010, Robinson said.

WonderCon's DC Universe panel, via CBR:
Robinson recapped developments in the Superman titles, which have led to 100,000 surviving Kryptonians, and Superman living among them. “It's Superman among his people, and what Zod and Alura may or may not be planning.” He added that the series would impact other DC universe titles, and mentioned that Superman would not appear in “Action Comics” or “Superman” for the duration. Nightwing and Flamebird will take over “Action Comics,” while the Guardian, Mon-El, Steel, Black Lightning, and Zatarra.

“You're going to see these characters, and in their separate story arcs,” Robinson said. He indicated that he wants to give Metropolis a personality, as he did with Opal City in “Starman.”

He also said that “'Supergirl' the comic and Supergirl the character will play a big role in the ['Worlds'] storyarc,” and that Kara would return to her roots as Superman's secret weapon. Robinson then praised “Superman Secret Origin” by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, and that he expected it to be one of the big books of the year. “I think you will be delighted by the fresh look Geoff is bringing to the story.”

...On the topic of continuity, Robinson praised Morrison's and Geoff Johns's ability to incorporate multiple versions of characters, using as much of their history as possible. “But for Mon-El, there was all that Valor stuff about a guy in the twentieth century,” he said, noting the pre-”Zero Hour” series from the 1990s. “I have to ignore that, because it doesn't make any sense with what I'm doing. But I try to use as much of Mon-El's continuity as is possible.”

...Asked about an ongoing Legion series, Robinson said “they will appear in an ongoing book.”

MegaCon's DC Universe content will be posted when it appears online.

WonderCon's James Robinson panel, via CBR:
He talked about how far in advance the Superman books have been planned. “I think at one (early) point (we knew) we were going to send Superman off into space—it’s all been there from the beginning—the Legion (of Super-Heroes) is going to be a part of it...

Q: Is the Starman in JSA your Starman?

A: “I introduced him at the end of my run, but he’s the ‘Kingdom Come’ Starman, who became the Legion Starman.”

Smallville "Legion" rerun this week

For those of you who missed it the first time around, or who want to watch it again, the "Legion" episode of "Smallville" will be shown again this Thursday at its regular time (8pm Eastern/Pacific, 7pm Central/Mountain, other than that you're on your own).

Click the "Smallville" tab at the top for previous posts and discussion.

Friday, February 27, 2009

More Bits of Legionnaire Business

More stuff that I keep finding (or that people send me), a baker's dozen items this time:

  • If you've never read (or even heard of) the Space Canine Patrol Agents, well, you're probably better off. The SCPA is the dog version of the Legion, with Krypto in Superboy's role (more or less). No, really. Meet Mammoth Mutt, Tail Terrier, Tusky Husky, Chameleon Collie, and... I'm sorry, I just can't finish. The SCPA even made it into the Krypto animated series a couple years ago as the Dog Stars. (Thanks to Brian Hughes at Again With the Comics for the stories!)

  • Atomic Surgery reprints an Imaginary Story from Lois Lane #47 (1964) with a cameo by the LSH and Night Girl (who don't appear until 7 pages into a 9-page story).

  • Tiny Brainiac 5 makes a non-canonical appearance in Tiny Titans #13 (via scans_daily).

  • scans_daily also has a reprint of Jimmy Olsen #100, in which Jimmy goes to the future and meets the Legion.

  • Bill at the Trusty Plinko Stick got an Archie artist to draw Phantom Girl. Unsurprisingly, she looks like an Archie character.

  • I'm not sure if this is a spam blog or what (I get a lot of those email alerts from Google), but it looks like something translated from English to another language and back to English:
    Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl -- these be the unfaltering babyish adventurer that dare to delivery inwardly circle a fresh age of hero! Set in the far-flung impending of the 30th century, and representing planets in the assembly, these young heroes must belt in cooperation to revere the galaxy from space-born bullying in leave of curious as the universe itself. This pretty field bring together the unprompted issues of SUPERBOY, SUPERMAN, ADVENTURE and ACTION COMICS in favour of a definitive Legion compendium Graphic Novels Legion of Super-Heroes Archives.

  • Gorjus Prettyfakes reviews "Teenagers from the Future".

  • In Smallville news, the series was renewed for one more season. With luck, we'll see another Legion appearance, as the ratings spiked up noticeably for their episode.

  • Dan DiDio provided his 20 answers this week at Newsarama.
    9. I know that you don’t like to talk too much about creators work into the future after their current projects, but are there plans for George Perez after Legion of 3 Worlds?

    DD: It would be foolish not to have plans for George Perez after Legion of 3 Worlds. laughs

    NRAMA: Where would you put him if you had your druthers?

    DD: Something epic. George is the one person that doesn’t shy away from the incredible group shots or something that encompasses the whole of the DC Universe, and it would be foolish not to utilize those skills.

    Question 2 talks about how they're moving (in some cases) to the "iconic" forms of the characters (like Barry Allen and Hal Jordan returning as Flash and Green Lantern), and mentions the Legion in that context.

  • Heromachine reminds us that the Legion is not clothing-optional. Not even Colossal Boy.

  • The Cosmic Treadmill closes out its look at the Legion in Adventure Comics with the Treadmilly Awards.

  • Who do you think should play the various Legionnaires in a hypothetical movie? Vote at

  • Sheryl Roberts recounts her long history with the Legion (which intersects with me and mine in the mid-90s).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

WonderCon this weekend

If you're in the San Francisco area this weekend and you're checking out WonderCon, here are some panels you might want to visit:

4:00-5:00 DC Nation— The DC Nation is back on the convention circuit and is gathering for WonderCon. DC is always looking for new recruits, so be sure to come on by with your friends as VP of sales Bob Wayne, senior story editor Ian Sattler, and some of the industry's top talent discuss where the DC Nation is heading in the coming year! Room 103

1:30-3:00 DC Universe— The repercussions of Final Crisis are here—and with the future overshadowed by Black Lanterns, could the days of the DC Universe be numbered? Your guides to this brave new reality include VP for sales Bob Wayne, senior story editor Ian Sattler, and some of the industry's best and brightest stars! Room 103

3:00-4:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #6: Superheroes Of The Bronze Age— Jennifer K. Stuller ( attempts to reconcile the conundrum of 1970s feminist superheroines such as the Valkyrie, Diana Prince, Ms. Marvel, Lois Lane, and The Cat, who presented a superficial image of feminism but continue to serve as symbols of female empowerment in the cultural imagination. Jeff Barbanell (Teenagers from the Future) argues that the "Marvelization" of DC's Bronze Age was presaged in Jim Shooter's run on the Legion of Super-Heroes with Shooter's attempt to infuse his comic book narrative with the Lee and Kirby techniques of group dynamics, hyperrealism and cosmic context, which added a further dimension to Lee and Kirby's humanization of the comic book superhero. Click here for more information on the Comics Arts Conference. Room 204/206

4:00-5:00 Spotlight on James Robinson— WonderCon special guest James Robinson returned to comics last year with amazing work on Superman. One of the chief architects of the "Super-Universe" at DC, Robinson is also known for his Eisner Award–winning work on Starman and Leave it to Chance. DC Comics senior story editor Ian Sattler interviews Robinson. Room 104

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Flashback: The End of the Legion's Silver Age

Another dip into my email archives. Back in 1998, I asked on the mailing list of the Grand Comics Database about the Legion's move to "Superboy" after its home in "Action". I got responses from Dave Blanchard and Rich Morissey; the late Rich Morissey may be known to you as an early founder of Legion fandom as well as being a comics historian (and the inspiration for Jim Shooter's M'r'ssey character). Seeing as how all of the principals at DC involved in the move (Weisinger, Bridwell, and Boltinoff) have died, this may be the closest to a definitive response we'll ever get.

My original question was: were the first four LSH backup strips (in Superboy 172, 173, 176, and 183, cover dated March 1971 to April 1972) commissioned under Weisinger's helm as editor? I had been wondering about this to see where the unofficial end of the Silver Age Legion stories would be – the Action Comics run was definitely Silver Age, since it was credited to Mort Weisinger, the only editor the Legion had had up to that point. And starting with the story in issue 184, Dave Cockrum started working with Cary Bates, and that was clearly post-Silver Age. So what about those four issues in between? If they were commissioned by Weisinger for Action Comics but used in Superboy, then the break is between 183 and 184. But if they were commissioned by Boltinoff, who was the editor of Superboy at the time, then the end of the Action run would be the break point. The four issues in question contain stories by Bridwell and Bates, all with art by George Tuska (with one story inked by Vince Colletta); the later Action stories had been written by Bridwell and Bates, with art by Win Mortimer and Jack Abel, so the fact that Tuska did only those stories is no help. On the other hand, Cary Bates has never really been considered a Silver Age writer, more closely identified with Bronze Age. Does the writer or editor matter more here?

(In order, below: the covers and links to issues 172, 173, 176, 183, and 184.)

(Images and links via the Grand Comics Database)

Dave Blanchard wrote:
This is just a speculation, but Weisinger had been in "retirement mode" for quite some time before finally stepping down near the end of 1970. For instance, I've heard it said that Bridwell actually edited Mort's last two issues of SUPERMAN (#s 230-231, an Imaginary story pitting Super-Luthor vs. Killer Kent; Bridwell got credit for editing # 232, a GIANT issue).

At 12:21 PM 3/24/98 EST, Rich Morissey wrote:
He did. Bridwell told me so himself, and Swan's pencils on those issues were inked by Dan Adkins... a definite change from the Weisinger inkers (he'd used Esposito, Roussos, and Abel after losing Swan, and Murphy Anderson on some covers) as well as Schwartz (who used Anderson all the way along, with rare exceptions inked by Swan himself and Dick Giordano).

Dave Blanchard wrote:
I would venture to say it's more likely Boltinoff commissioned the Legion stories in question.

At 12:21 PM 3/24/98 EST, Rich Morissey wrote:
I'd say he definitely did. He was working closely with Bridwell and Bates, especially on ACTION COMICS (which he'd just inherited from Weisinger); it was probably his decision to move the feature to SUPERBOY. But the deciding factor to me is the LENGTH of the stories. Weisinger backups (at least since 1959, when he pioneered the two-feature comic) tended to be about the same length as the leads, whereas Boltinoff favored what seemed to be the company preference at the time of a 14- or 15-page lead and a 7- or 8-page backup. If the stories had been commissioned for Weisinger, they'd probably have run the 10 to 13 pages the ACTION backups did, rather than a mere 7 pages each.

Admittedly the fourth story ran 11 pages, comparable to a Weisinger backup, but all the evidence of the lettercols indicates the length was (a) a result of reader complaints about squeezing a 25-member team into 7-page stories, and (b) an opportunity provided by the 48-page format pioneered by DC in the spring of 1971, which allowed as many as 26 new pages of story material... an innovation definitely postdating Weisinger's departure.

Weisinger didn't seem to leave much inventory on any of his strips... especially the Legion, due in part to his disagreements with his departing writer, Jim Shooter. (Disagreements were frequent among people who worked for Weisinger... check out Alvin Schwartz's AN UNLIKELY PROPHET for a detailed account of another one by a writer of a completely different generation. For that matter, they weren't too uncommon when Shooter had *his* day as an editor, either...) By his last year, he was using up even what inventory he had. His last actual issue as editor, SUPERMAN #229, closes out with a story by Wayne Boring... almost certainly from inventory, since Boring was otherwise gone by 1967; his last story being that year's three-part "Mighty Annihilator" serial in ACTION. In a way, it's appropriate that Weisinger and Boring (the two men who, between them, most set the style for Superman after the 1948 departure of Siegel and Shuster) should go out at the first time, but it shows how... uh, unique... Weisinger's mode of operation was.

Rich Morrissey

So there you go. Now you know... the rest of the story.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Good ideas

Last fall, I had a couple of posts here in which we discussed some of the bad ideas in the last 50 years of the Legion. How about this time we talk about the good ideas?

What would you consider to have been a good decision, either at the time or in retrospect, with regard to the Legion? Here are some of mine, in rough chronological order:

  • Having Jerry Siegel and Edmond Hamilton write stories in the early 60s. Hamilton brought a strong science-fiction background to the series, while Siegel brought the Superman/20th century aspects to the series. They brought the 30th century alive.
  • Having Jim Shooter take over from them. Shooter Marvelized the Legion in the mid-60s, when much of the DC line was still stuck in the late 50s/early 60s. Shooter brought the characters alive.
  • Having Dave Cockrum take over the art chores in the early 70s when the series was floundering as a backup strip. Along with writer Cary Bates (moreso than E. Nelson Bridwell), they updated the look of the 30th century and made the Legion popular enough to support its own book again. Then when Mike Grell followed on the art and Jim Shooter shared the writing, they brought Legion fandom alive.
  • Having Paul Levitz on his first run. Despite the classic Earthwar story, he felt he wasn't as good enough a writer as he could be, and took some time off. In retrospect, this was a big deal in that it let him figure out what to do better the next time around. And boy, was it better the next time around.
  • Having Keith Giffen as artist (the first time). He and Levitz were on fire for their run together (Omen and Prophet excepted), and their synergy gave the series new life. At their height, the book was the second-best selling title that DC had in the mid-80s (behind Teen Titans). They Claremont-ized the Legion, in the good sense of characterization and plotlines. Levitz kept it up for several years after Giffen left.
  • In retrospect, although I didn't think so at the time, once we accepted the reality of the post-Zero Hour reboot, having the storylines diverge from what we had seen before that made the series somewhat fresh and exciting. New characters like XS and Gates, and new storylines that didn't synch up with anything we had seen before.
  • Again in retrospect, the Abnett/Lanning/Coipiel "Legion of the Damned" turned sales around and for the first time in many, many years sales began to go up. People started liking the Legion.
  • Having Mark Waid writing the new version of the Legion. Yes, it wasn't such a great idea in the first place, but if you're launching a new book, having some A-list names doesn't hurt.

What kind of things would you consider as good (and lucky counts as good here)?

New series in work?

I can't check the details right now but I got an email today that said there was a mention of a new Legion series in Comic Shop News 1131 in a discussion of L3w #4. if anyone has more info, please spill in the comments! (thanks Otto for the tip!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bits of Legionnaire Business


  • At the Next of Kynn, he answers the question When was the "when it all went wrong" moment for the Legion of Superheroes comics, that fatal creative decision that the various subsequent writers have been trying to recover from ever since? He's been part of online fandom longer than I have (since the mid-90s at least).

  • Over at the BOOM Studios forum, Mark Waid discusses what is his favorite work and what others like of what he's done. Surprisingly, he says that Legionnaires Annual #2 is his second-most requested autograph (behind Kingdom Come). Former editor KC Carlson added later that that issue is the reason he met his now-wife, Johanna Draper Carlson (of Comics Worth Reading).

  • A couple of desktop wallpapers: LSH v5 #50, and the "Long Live the Legion" group shot from L3W #3

  • Someone captured this Jeepney in Manila, bearing the Legion on its side. The picture looks familiar; is it from anywhere specific, or just an iconic picture?

  • Tilting at Pinwheels has a Legion sketchbook.

  • The Comic Book Catacombs retroviews LSH v2 #260, aka The Space Circus of Doom (part 1).

  • The San Antonio Express News' GeekSpeak blog looks at Arm-Fall-Off Boy, with predictable results.

  • Colleen Doran has a sketch commission of Element Lad (who else?).

  • Matthew at the Legion Abstract thinks he's figured out the model for the character progression of Superboy-Prime in L3W.

  • Silver Age Comics takes a look at the Legion rejects, part 1, and identifies the four major reasons for rejecting a candidate.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Join the Legion of Super-Gamblers this August in Las Vegas

If you're interested in joining us in Las Vegas for the 13th annual "Legion of Super-Gamblers" weekend, let me know. A group of 8-10 or so of Legion fans get together every summer for a long weekend of gambling, partying, and socializing. This year we haven't quite decided on a weekend in August yet (we have too much free time), but it'll be a Thursday through Sunday, or whatever part of that you choose to show up. Anyone who joins us is welcome to hang out with us as much or as little as they like. The earliest it will be is the weekend immediately following San Diego - so you'll have a few days from the con to recuperate.

We've got a private Yahoo group (no spammers allowed!) and a public Facebook group to discuss the details, so if you think you might be able to make it, I'll get you set up. Nothing like Vegas in the summer, I hope you can handle the heat. This will be our 13th annual trip, with people flying in from places like New York, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Houston, Seattle, and Phoenix, among others.

Friday, February 13, 2009

DiDio comments on LSH #50, Legion's future

From his weekly column at Newsarama:

7. One question that came up a few times in the thread – what happened with Legion of Super-Heroes #50?

DD: It’s pretty clear, and I answered this at one of my panels at the con, but I’m more than happy to address it again. What happened was that upon the author’s request, there was a name change and a pseudonym used and we obliged that request. We made those changes at the very last minute because we did not want to miss our shipping date on the book. We made a couple of changes in order to get the book out on time, and we felt that it summed up the story to the best of its ability, and we’re ready to move on to the next chapter of Legion wherever that may be, following the conclusion of the series.

12. Moving on to a question about something you said about DC having an increased commitment to the Legion of Super-Heroes in 2009. Last year at this time, there were two series, and an animated series. This year, the regular book has been cancelled, and they’re going to be doing what looks to be a time-share thing in Adventure Comics. What’s the increased commitment going to consist of, coming up?

DD: Well, we also have Legion of 3 Worlds coming to a conclusion too, which is a very important book for the Legion franchise. But the commitment is that we’re bringing a level of clarity to the Legion and one direction that shows the potential for the future of the Legion, but also how that future is springing from the current storylines in the current continuity.

So what you’re going to see is how the Legion has ties to our current timeline, and once we establish those ties to the current time, we’ll spring forward to the future an d see what the future holds for those characters.

NRAMA: So mostly, we’re going to see more of firmly-established clear-line continuity than it’s had previously?

DD: Right. One of the things that I found most interesting about Legion of 3 Worlds was that the delineation between the three Legion teams were slighter than we had originally thought. They were variations of each other rather than different focus, different plans between them. What we’re trying to do right now is to bring a level of clarity to everything, the Legion included. Following Blackest Night, we’re looking at a much clearer, iconic interpretation and a much more committed determination to the direction of our characters. Legion is no exception, and we wanted to clear the decks a bit, straighten things up and get things rolling again.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Action figures spotted in Toyfare

This month's issue of Toyfare (#140) has a small article spotlighting the upcoming 4-pack of Legionnaires: Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl, all in the animated version from the Superman and Justice League Unlimited series. Sorry for the cellphone picture (click to enlarge).
A famous person once said that three is a crowd and four is company, just like the famous TV show. Hmmm. Doesn't sound right to us either, but that hasn't stopped Mattel from unleashing fan-friendly 4-packs in the JLU animated style starring the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Marvel Family. Later this year you'll be able to buy Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl in one easy package along with Black Adam, Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel (called Shazam!), and the Wizard in another easy package, both on this year.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

REBELS, REBELS, you tore your dress...

Are we ever going to be able to look at the R.E.B.E.L.S. comic without hearing the David Bowie song "Rebel Rebel"? Sorry.

I don't know if I'm going to be keeping track of this title here, but there are some significant Legion connections at least in the first issue:
* The captions for Dox and Supergirl are the same as in the threeboot Legion book.
* Supergirl mentions her 31st century Legion stint, and it turns out that at some point before she went back to the 21st century, Brainiac 5 loaded a DVD into her brain with something Dox could build.
* Threeboot Brainiac 5 has a virtual meeting with his ancestor.

In other thoughts, Tribulus doesn't appear to be of the same "race" as Validus, as their heads are very different. Validus has a humanoid head with the open brain case and rudimentary eyes and nose, whereas Tribulus has a very elongated head with no eyes or nose. Hakk looks like a Khund. Skwaul looks like he might be from Hykraius (Tellus' homeworld), but Tellus didn't have fingers like Skwaul does.

I'll keep it on my list for a while. I love the artwork and the story of what happened to the L.E.G.I.O.N. looks interesting.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Another Adventure 247 on eBay

Anyone want to buy a copy of Adventure 247? There are several this morning:

But the most affordable one by far is this unslabbed copy with the top third of the cover missing (it was cut off by the store and sent back for credit, and this was supposed to have been destroyed) for only $299.99. I don't expect this one to be hanging around long.

Dan Didio: "We finished and cancelled and put the book out the door"

Update 2/9 Paul Newell pointed me to the updated version of the CBR report. Andy Khouri, who wrote the original report, wrote this:

"Actually, DiDio did not say "shove." That was a misquote on my part, and was been corrected in the article. The accurate quote is as follows (emphasis mine)

We finished and cancelled and put the book out the door.

I don't know if that change makes all that much difference to you, but there it is for accuracy's sake. This is a consequence of the live-reporting process, whereby we transcribe and publish as fast as we can every few minutes during the panel discussion. 99% of the time, the information is accurately conveyed -- if not exactly word for word -- but in this case it seems the substance of DiDio's remark may have been improperly conveyed, so for that I apologize to all.

Thanks for reading."

Dan DiDio, November 2008, via Newsarama:
Legion of Super-Heroes has been a key franchise to the DC Universe since the ‘60s.

Dan at the NYCC, Feb. 2009, via CBR:
Q: What happened to the end of Shooter's Legion of Super-Heroes?

DiDio: We don't cover that. It was a pseudonym at the author's request. We cancelled the book, finished it and shoved it out the door. Thanks for asking that.

Q: I was really looking forward to the end of Jim Shooter's run on "Legion of Super-Heroes." Can you tell us what happened there and why fans weren't informed of the creative change?

DiDio: Well, first of all, that is a pseudonym, it's done by request of the author and we really don't talk about it. We finished and cancelled and put the book out the door. I'm not really sure what the question is, but thanks for asking it.

Way to respect one of your franchises there, Dan...

However, playing devil's advocate here, what else could he have done? He's the executive editor of DC Comics, and his primary responsibility is getting books out on time. The book was cancelled and the writer apparently chose not to do the final issue. So you find someone who could do it; why delay it a month and get a new writer just for the final issue of a cancelled series, especially when the reason it was cancelled is to make room for a new series?

That said, it was very tactless and insulting how he said it.

NYCC09: Day 2 - Johns, Manapul, Didio dish (update)

CBR talks to Geoff Johns about the new Adventure Comics:

CBR: Why is this project being released as “Adventure Comics” and not a “Legion of Super-Heroes” book?

GJ: I think it will be quite clear when the comic comes out, and we announce more about it, and when some more of the “Legion of Three World” issues come out. But there’s a reason it’s called “Adventure Comics." If you’ve seen the cover, there’s still some details we’re not revealing about it.

CBR: Brainiac, Lex Luthor and Bizarro are three villains we’ve seen you explore in “Action Comics.”

GJ: Really, it’s a culmination of what I’ve been doing with Superman for the last couple of years. It’s all spilling over to this book. Also, with me leaving “Justice Society of America,” Starman is coming with me to “Adventure Comics.”

CBR also talked to Francis Manapul about the new series:
CBR News: Obviously, you must be thrilled to be on “Adventure Comics.” Was your run on “Legion of Super-Heroes” with Jim Shooter what landed you the job?

Francis Manapul: Probably (laughs). I’d been talking to Dan Didio through out the summer conventions on what I could do next after “Legion.” We had bounced around a few ideas on characters and titles, but most importantly I gave Dan a short list of writers I’d really like to work with. Geoff Johns was at the absolute top of my list, and to my surprise, he wanted to work with me, too. Big thanks to Dan for making it happen. We then talked about what books Geoff was working on and where my services would be best suited. Initially, I was really bull headed for another book, but the more we talked about “Adventure Comics,” the more I got excited and the more in tune the book was with where I was going artistically.

CBR covers the DC Universe panel:
- What's the future of the Legion or the different versions of the Legion? Read the Superman books and "Adventure Comics. "

- What happened to the end of Shooter's Legion of Super-Heroes? DiDio: We don't cover that. It was a pseudonym at the author's request. We cancelled the book, finished it and shoved it out the door. Thanks for asking that. [see below]

Q: I was really looking forward to the end of Jim Shooter's run on "Legion of Super-Heroes." Can you tell us what happened there and why fans weren't informed of the creative change?

DiDio: Well, first of all, that is a pseudonym, it's done by request of the author and we really don't talk about it. We finished and cancelled and put the book out the door. I'm not really sure what the question is, but thanks for asking it.

Newsrama's coverage of the DCU panel didn't include that. Wow. Way to respect one of you franchise books.

Update 2/9 Paul Newell pointed me to the updated version of the CBR report on the DCU panel immediately above. Andy Khouri, who wrote the original report, wrote this:
"Actually, DiDio did not say "shove." That was a misquote on my part, and was been corrected in the article. The accurate quote is as follows (emphasis mine)

We finished and cancelled and put the book out the door.

I don't know if that change makes all that much difference to you, but there it is for accuracy's sake. This is a consequence of the live-reporting process, whereby we transcribe and publish as fast as we can every few minutes during the panel discussion. 99% of the time, the information is accurately conveyed -- if not exactly word for word -- but in this case it seems the substance of DiDio's remark may have been improperly conveyed, so for that I apologize to all.

Thanks for reading."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

NYCC09: Day 1 - LSH action figures coming

Action Figure Insider reports from the New York Comic Con that Legion action figures are coming this year (though we've heard that before):

Mattycollector 4 packs: Brainiac 5, Lightinig Lad, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy.

You may recall this was announced at last summer's San Diego con, and more info came out in 11/08 and last month). Sounds like they intend to release them sometime this spring.

NYCC09: Day 1 - Johns/Manapul on Adventure!

Notes from Day 1 of the New York Comic Con...

DC Nation, via CBR:

Q: Where can we see Bart Allen next?
Geoff Johns: He'll be in "Legion of 3 Worlds" and in "The Flash: Rebirth."

Lightning round:
Bigger commitment to the Legion in 2009? Yes.

Via Newsarama:
DiDio then brought a fan in a Kid Flash outfit up to the dais to pose for a picture with George Perez. The fan asked about the future of Bart Allen: "He'll be in the 31st century in Legion of Three Worlds," said Johns, adding that he'll be back in the Flash universe as of Flash: Rebirth.

Superman - Building a Better Tomorrow, via CBR
In the main Superman books, you're going to see Guardian, Supergirl, Mon-El and Zatara -- "Who is a little SHIT," Robinson remarked. "There'll be a lot of interesting plot threads and character beats. Mon-El has his own personal arc that you'll see is almost tragic. I think you'll be thrilled with that. And the Guardian will be searching for his humanity as they deal with things spilling over from 'New Krypton.'"

Johns next talked about 'Adventure Comics,' the Legion book that will launch in June with Francis Manupal on art. "It's a book that spins out of 'Legion of 3 Worlds,' and obviously Starman's there. If anyone's reading 'JSA,' he's taking a central lead in the book. Francis taking his work in a whole direction, it's just stunning." The book will feature painted artwork.

- Which book should we follow for more on the Luthor sibling? "Legion of 3 Worlds," said Johns.

- Is" Adventure" taking place in the present or the future? A little of both.

- What's the format of "Adventure Comics?" "There's going to be a lead character in Adventure Comics" was all Johns could reveal.

- How much of a role does Superman play in "Adventure Comics?" "He's in it, but he's not the lead character in it," Johns said. "His presence is felt. It's definitely a Superman Family book."

Via Newsarama:
Moving to a slide of an upcoming issue of Superman showing The Guardian, Robinson said that while Superman is off planet, it will take more than one hero to protect Metropolis, and listed Mon-el, Steel, Zatara, and Black Lightning as some of the other protectors that readers will see. Describing Mon-el as a “goofy good guy,” Robinson said that his arc will be somewhat tragic as his clock ticks down on his time on earth; while the Guardian’s overarching arc will be about him trying to find his humanity.

...Next up was a slide of Adventure Comics, which Johns said that he will be launching in June with Francis Manapul. The cover, Johns noted, shows two shadows “One’s good and one’s bad,” Johns said. The cover also shows Starman, and Johns said that this is the series that spins out of Legion of 3 Worlds. Robinson pointed out that the cover is fully representative of the interior artwork.

Following the slides, Johns said that Superman: Secret Origin is due out in summer, and will focus on the stories of Superboy, Bizarro, Clark Kent, Lex Luthor, the Parasite and the Legion, among others.

...Asked about the tease of the idea of a sibling to Lex Luthor, Johns said to continue reading Legion of 3 Worlds.

Asked if readers will see Supergirl interacting with heroes of her own age, Gates and Igle said that there will be more coming up, but she has a lot of things going on. The same audience member then thanked them for hints about Conner Kent returning (as seen in this week’s Adventure Comics #0), and said that he hoped to return next year to thank them for a full return of the character.

...Asked if there are plans for older Kryptonian characters such as – Tor-am, Dev-Em, Jax-ur, and Ak-va r– Rucka, who completed the list of Kryptonians with Johns said, “Oh yeah. You notice how we have those names on the tips of our tongues?” Rucka asked. “Like we might be talking about them a lot?”

...Adventure Comics will be set in both present day and the Legion’s time, according to Johns. “And maybe a third time,” the writer added.

...Asked about the format of Adventure Comics, Johns said that there will be a lead in the series, but many characters will appear in the series as well.

Here's the upcoming cover to Adventure Comics v3 #0 with the good guy and bad guy blacked out.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Trivia Answers #32

Answers to my random leftovers trivia quiz...

1. In a dusty file room in a sub-basement somewhere in Legion HQ stand some file cabinets. Next to the one marked "Substitute Heroes" (no, really, there was a filing cabinet) is a cabinet labeled "Secret Weapons". What did we ever see that was in that cabinet?

Kid Psycho, Secret Weapon #1. I don't think we ever found out any other Secret Weapons. Here's a recap of his first (and only) significant appearance prior to his death. Scroll about halfway down for the filing cabinet scene.

2. Where would you find Mog Vagor, Nimbok of Vaalor, and Duke Harrington of Maine?
Shanghalla, of course. Mog and Nimbok were buried there (or will be), and Duke has a blog of the same name. The Comic Treadmill has a picture from ADV 341 of the various burial sites.

3. In the suit he wore to his first tryout, which Legionnaires' powers did ERG-1 demonstrate?
Superboy, Chemical King, Colossal Boy, Shrinking Violet, and Phantom Girl. Too bad he blew himself up.

4. Last week's issue of LSH v5 was "written" by a pseudonymous person named "Justin Thyme". Other than Jim Starlin's "Steve Apollo" (which is too obvious and too well-known), can you come up with another pseudonym who worked on a Legion (or related) book, and who was behind the fake name?
I can't believe this one was revealed so quickly. The one I was thinking of was Barry Jameson, who wrote several issues of "Karate Kid" in the late 70s, who was actually David Michelinie, sometimes with a young Paul Levitz. According to John Censullo's Karate Kid Index (pdf), the name was derived from his middle name "Barry" and his father's name "James". Legion Archives volume 12 says that "Barry Jameson" is a pen name for the co-writing team of David Micheline and Paul Levitz.

5. What's the significance of "Zeeta-Y, Zeeta-Y, Zeeta-Y"?
It's the secret Legion code that summons all the Legionnaires wherever they are to return to the Clubhouse, as seen in the first part of the original Computo story (ADV 340). Or course, it was never used again (as far as I know). [Thanks to Amarta at the DC message boards for this one.]

6. Name three instances in which we saw Kryptonite affect different non-Kryptonians (in a Legion-related context).
The Emerald Eye was shown to be vulnerable; Gold K took the powers away from Darkseid's Superman Servant; it was part of the serum Mon-El used to stay out of the Phantom Zone; Streaky received his powers from X-Kryptonite; and in a comment that came out just today from Andrew, an unnamed Durlan in the Super-Stalag of Space is killed by "Kryptonite force-rings" that we're told would "kill anyone, Kryptonian or not".
[Thanks to elsofer from the DC Message board for that one]

7. Not counting Supergirl, who was the first Legion reject to appear on a cover?
It was the green guy with the camera eye, on the cover of ADV 307 (Element Lad's intro). Thanks to the Comic Treadmill for picking that one out. He was never given an official name, but general consensus is that his code name was "Camera Eye".

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Mystery Legionnaires

The release of Adventure Comics v2 #0 - reprinting the Legion story in Adventure Comics v1 #247 for the 10th time - gives me the opportunity to repost something here that I originally wrote up several years ago on my other site.

When Adventure 247 was released, Superboy went into the future where he met and joined the Legion. A "Legion" implies many members; in fact, several of them were shown in that first issue. But the only ones named were Saturn Girl, Lightning Boy (Lad), and Cosmic Boy, all with different costumes than what's known today.

But who were those other Legionnaires in those panels? Let's look at the historical record....

Adventure 247 (April 1958)

page 5 panel 3

page 10 panel 4

page 11 panel 6

Adventure 247 was first reprinted in Superman Annual 6, minus the last page showing Superboy winning the "Super-Hero Number One" medal. Notice that they recolored one guy in the last panel to be Colossal Boy, and recolored the founders' costumes to be the color scheme of their traditional Silver Age costume, not the weirdo colors from the original. They even "corrected" Garth's name as Lightning Lad instead of Boy.

Superman Annual 6 (Winter 1962-63)

page 5 panel 3

page 10 panel 4

page 11 panel 6

The next appearance of the reprint was in "DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest" 1 (March/April 1980), followed by "Adventure Comics" 491 (September 1982). The coloring was identical to the original, although some panels were trimmed or extended to accommodate the digest size's different height/width ratio.

The story didn't get reprinted again until the first Archives volume, which had much whiter paper. This is the first retroactive appearance of Brainiac 5 in the story.

Legion of Super-Heroes Archives (1991)

page 5 panel 3

page 10 panel 4

page 11 panel 6

In this set of panels (from the DC Silver Age Classic reprint), the various mystery Legionnaires have been recolored (supposedly against colorist Tom McCraw's wishes) to show Brainiac 5. This color guide has been used ever since, including Adventure v2 #0.

Silver Age Classics Adventure 247 (1992)

page 5 panel 3

page 10 panel 4

page 11 panel 6

Mark Waid's "LSH Index" speculates that since we never saw them again, they were unsuccessful applicants. Other clues in later issues put the following Legionnaires behind the scenes, in terms of order of joining: Triplicate Girl, Phantom Girl, Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid, Colossal Boy, Brainiac 5, and Shrinking Violet.

There's one other panel with a mystery Legionnaire: on page 7 panel 4, the person in the lower right corner is caucasian with blue-black hair, but he appears the same way in each reprint. Since none of the members at the time had black hair except for Cosmic Boy (who is in that panel in costume), this must be a rejected applicant.

Here's what Waid said in the LSH Index #1 under the entry for ADV 247 regarding the mystery Legionnaires:
Although Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad (Boy) are the only Legionnaires shown clearly in the story, several other unnamed members are in evidence. Since no members resembling some of those characters have ever appeared in subsequent stories, some must merely be unsuccessful applicants. As shown in issue #323 in a flashback to Superboy's induction at the end of this story, Triplicate Girl, Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid, Colossal Boy, and Brainiac 5 are among those present behind the scenes. The presence of Brainiac 5, who joined the Legion at the same time as Supergirl, indicates that the story takes place some time after the Supergirl story in Action #276, in which Supergirl and Brainiac 5 are inducted. Since one panel in this story shows three female members (presumably not unknown applicants) other than Saturn Girl, and since Superboy does not react as he would to the appearance of Supergirl, Phantom Girl and Shrinking Violet must be the other two females present.

Adventure Comics #0

Not much to review about Adventure Comics #0. I like the cover a lot on an artistic level, and I'd love to see Aaron Lopresti on a Legion book based on this cover.

Yes, the costumes on the cover don't match, but I can easily forgive that since (a) this isn't a full reprint book and (b) it's kicking off a new series and they want to have recognizable characters on the cover.

However, it's an EPIC FAIL for what it's supposed to be replacing. On the original cover, the Legionnaires are voting NO against Superboy, telling him he's not worthy of their group. On this one, Superboy's just standing there, we see only two of three name plates, and we don't even know that those are yes/no lights.

Not much to say about the interior. It feels weird to see the dots for colors like in the olden days, when it's printed on good quality paper and the backup has modern coloring. My only real gripe is that they have used the retcon coloring that shows Brainiac 5 there (page 5 panel 3 and page 11 panel 9).

The backup story is unrelated to the Legion, it's a lead-in to Geoff Johns' "Blackest Night". Nice to see Francis Manapul one more time, though.

The back page has a small reproduction of the cover to issue 1, coming in June. It is reminiscent of the Deja Vu covers like we saw on Adventure (v1) #300. The figure in the middle is blacked out, but it's most likely Kon-El as we saw on the last page of the backup story. But that looks like Starman in the upper right corner.

Also: IGN reviews the backup story, while Comic Book Jesus reviews the whole thing.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Annotated "Legion of Three Worlds" #3

When I got to the 2-page splash with the combined Legions, I actually yelled out "YES!" Fortunately I was in my car in the parking lot and nobody could hear me.

I fixed some of the mis-identifications on pages 4-5 from the preview and found lots more Interlac to translate. Also updated with the first 2 comments.

Also check out the annotations by Douglas Wolk's Final Crisis Annotations, Gary Greenwood's The Annotated Final Crisis, and Tim Callahan, who will all have theirs up shortly.

Keeping my Annotations notations, the three Legions as L1 (Pre-Crisis + Lightning Saga), L2 (Post-Zero Hour), and L3 (Post-Infinite Crisis).

The solicitation:

Written by Geoff Johns; Art by George Pérez and Scott Koblish; Covers by George Pérez
The Legion of Super-Heroes call in the reinforcements against Superboy Prime and the Legion of Super-Villains as the Crisis of the 31st Century continues. While Superboy Prime comes face-to-face with the last of the Green Lanterns, Brainiac 5 and XS attempt to ignite an electrical storm using the lightning rod, which is destined to turn the tide of the war. And what are Polar Boy, Dawnstar and Wildfire up to in the 20th Century? DC Universe | 40pg. | Color | $3.99 US On Sale February 4, 2009

Cover A (full): L1 Cosmic Boy, with images of L2 in his right hand at top and L3 in his left hand at bottom
Cover B (sliver): looks like a closeup of Sodam Yat's eye, reflecting L1 Shadow Lass, L1 Mon-El, and a Green Lantern symbol

Page 1
  • Panels 4-8: Looks like the body of Rond Vidar is dead. Beyond that observation I can't say anything else for certain. The guy with the mohawk is Sodam Yat, a Daxamite from the 21st century who was a major player in the Sinestro Corps Wars.
  • Panel 16: Obviously we've missed a lot between the Sinestro Corps Wars and now.

Page 2
  • Panels 1-2: more references to the Sinestro Corps War. Brainy also cured Mon-El's lead poisoning, though it did wear off in a post-Crisis story that may or may not still be canonical (Legion v3 #23).
  • Panel 4: Mon-El was in the Phantom Zone for 1000 years... oh wait, he just said all that.

Page 3
  • Panels 4-9: that's a new version of the Green Lantern Oath, reflecting the wars with the other colored Lanterns.
  • If only the first 3 pages had more Legion stuff and not as much GL stuff...

Pages 4-5
  • Ah, that's better. I'll try to take it left to right, top to bottom. All are L1 versions. None of the civilians are recognizable.
    * Beauty Blaze; Lightning Lord; Universo; Neutrax; Black Mace; Silver Slasher, Timber Wolf, and Terrus; Hunter II (legs only)
    * Superboy-Prime; Storm Boy; Zymyr; Saturn Queen, Saturn Girl, and Esper Lass; Lazon; Marella Tao (on screen)
    * Grimbor, Titania, and Night Girl; Spider Girl; Lightning Lad
    * Chameleon Chief; Colossal Boy; Chameleon Girl as Validus; Earth-Man; Ultra Boy; Mordru; Echo; Shrinking Violet and Micro Lad
    * Ol-Vir; Mist Master and Cosmic Boy; Magno Lad
    * Dr. Regulus; Blok and Tusker; Sun Emperor; Radiation Roy; Golden Boy's leg; Lightning Lass; Cosmic King
  • Interlac:
    * lower left, just to the right of Hunter: "klein motors" (after Todd Klein?)
    * behind Saturn Girl and Esper Lass: "h***l*on" (can't read it all, but it's "hamilton" according to inker Scott Koblish)
    * covered up by Lightning Lad's right foot and Lazon's arm: "al plastino 9"
    * behind Lightning Lad's calf: "[m]oldoff mo"
    * top right: "daily pl[anet]"
    * between Shrinking Violet and Magno Lad: "dp ticker / bismol stock exchange down 69"
    * below Cosmic King: "prison breakou[t] takron galt[os] / galtos missing fro- / wanderers repo-"

Pages 6-7
  • Panel 3: Invisible Kid II "appears" with Tyr.
  • Panel 5: Invisible Kid II vs Echo (wouldn't Tyroc be a better choice?)
  • Panel 7: Dr. Regulus was fired from his job by Derek Morgna, father of Dirk, when Dirk and a friend accidentally ruined Regulus' experiments. He tried to kill Dirk but instead turned him into Sun Boy.
  • Panel 12: That was Chameleon Girl as Validus.
  • Geoff Johns subtly reminds us that Sun Boy and Element Lad are still MIA.

Page 8
  • Panels 3-11 a flashback to Superboy-Prime's life on Earth-Prime, from DC Comics Presents #87.
  • Panel 6: Young Clark has Action Comics #550, Green Lantern #171, and LSH v2 #306 [Star Boy history and new costume] sticking out of his backpack. The issues don't have anything in common other than they are all from Dec. 1983; however, that Legion issue was the one with the Star Boy history and which highlighted his costume on the cover, which is shown to be important later in the first "Legion of Three Worlds" flashback.
  • Panel 12: Ouch.

Page 10
  • Panel 8: Scratch one more Karate Kid, the 4th one of that name to be killed off.

Page 11
  • Panel 1: If Tusker's bones are unbreakable, how did he lose half a tusk?
  • Panel 3: Members of the UP delegations, last seen in issue 1, including members from Braal, Taltar, Durla, Winath, Earth, Colu, Titan, Talok VIII, and Kaffar.

Page 12
  • Panel 1: The Legion's touchstone - the UP building?
  • Panel 4: Mordru's got his own Shadow Demons, like the ones the Anti-Monitor had.

Page 13
  • Panel 9: Each of the statues has their name in Interlac on the base. Lightning Lad's costume is miscolored - he should have a blue cape and orange legs. The statues depict the Legionnaires in their original costumes. There were many stories that depicted the statues (what was it called, the Avenue of Heroes or something?) in the Adventure days.

Pages 14-15
  • One of the greatest 2-page spreads in Legion history. This is where I yelled "YES" in my car. OK, let's rotate it clockwise a bit and take it from the top, front to back:
    *L2 Chameleon, L3 Shadow Lass
    *L3 Colossal Boy, L2 Andromeda, L3 Saturn Girl, L3 Star Boy, L3 Light Lass, L2 Gates
    *L2 Cosmic Boy, L2 Triad (split), L3 Chameleon Boy, L2 Sensor, L2 Karate Kid, L2 Wildfire
    *L1 Brainiac 5, L3 Lightning Lad, L2 Kinetix
    *L2 XS, L2 Ultra Boy, L2 Kid Quantum, L2 Dreamer, L2 Valor/M'Onel, L3 Atom Girl, L3 Sun Boy, L2 Timber Wolf
    *L2 Umbra, L3 Ultra Boy, L2 Brainiac 5, L1 White Witch, L2 Spark
    *L2 Shikari, L2 Livewire/Element Lad, L3 Brainiac 5, L3 Triplicate Girl
    *L2 Ferro, L2 Saturn Girl, L3 Triplicate Girl, L2 Violet, L3 Triplicate Girl
    *L3 Karate Kid, L3 Invisible Kid, L2 Star Boy, L2 Gear, L3 Princess Projectra (not evil?), L3 Element Lad
    *L1 Timber Wolf, L1 Phantom Girl, L2 Apparition, L3 Phantom Girl, L2 Invisible Kid

    Sheesh! Now THIS is truly a Legion!

Page 16
  • Panel 1: When did L2 Andromeda meet this Superman?
  • Panel 2: L2 and L3 Saturn Girls
  • Panels 3-4: I need help with Karate Kids. This is L1 Ultra Boy, whose Karate Kid died, was somehow resurrected, went back to the 21st century in the Lightning Saga, and died again during Countdown, but Ultra Boy doesn't remember all of that? That's L3 KK in panel 3 and L2 KK in panel 4.
  • Panels 5-9: Three Tinyas and three Jo Nahs, plus a statue of Ultra Boy in his original costume, getting the best of the three "fire guys".

Page 17
  • Panel 6: I don't think we ever saw L2 Ferro ever turned into another substance, did we?
  • Panel 7: That's L2 Garth Ranzz inhabiting the body of L2 Jan Arrah.

Page 18
  • Panel 1: L2 Garth-in-Jan's-body meets L1 Garth.
  • Panels 3-4: I love it when Brainiac 5s argue. L1 Brainy has the magic lightning rod they obtained during the Lightning Saga.

Page 19
  • Panel 1: L1 Wildfire, Dawnstar, and Polar Boy are back in 20th century Smallville.
  • Panel 6: In this version of Superman's past, the Luthors came from Smallville (as in the TV show).
  • Panel 8: They've got everything in here, including the kitchen sink.

Page 20
  • Panel 3: I don't recognize anything Luthor-ish in the bedroom.
  • Panel 7: In this re-re-re-rewritten past, I have no idea what Luthor's history is in Smallville or how he starts losing his hair, or why that's important to the story. But it's important enough to be Phase 2 of L1 Brainiac 5's plan...

Page 21
  • Panel 3: the L1 Trophy Room. At the far left are statues of L1 Life Lass and L1 Evolvo Lad of the Heroes of Lallor; a statue of Darkseid, apparently taken from the cover of the Great Darkness Saga trade paperback, and the heads of three of his Servants; the corpse of Proty I; the Vanguard Satellite from Adventure 247; an unknown green and yellow robot; the first Computo; and the Time Trapper's robe (hey, where has he been lately?). Jenni remarks that they fought Darkseid too, which in retrospect is interesting because (a) in neither of these stories did Darkseid travel through time, so he shouldn't have been visiting multiverses, and (b) given the events of Final Crisis, Darkseid didn't even look the same.
  • Panels 4-5: I guess this is one way of solving the Great Floating Pronunciation Flamewar. L1 Winath is "WINE-ath", L3 Winath is "WIN-ath", and L2 Winath is "win-ATHE". Who knew? In the background of panel 4 are two Starfinger costumes.
  • Panels 7-8: How would the lightning in the rod (given that we find out later what it actually is) amplify a Trommian's powers? If he could transmute himself into whatever he wished, why did he keep his robot arm? Maybe he was wishing to get back to being himself, and this is the last known condition he was in.
  • Panels 11-12: Geoff Johns begins to work his retcon magic, restoring XS and Impulse to continuity together. Earth-247 was last seen in Infinite Crisis, where Shikari had found the Legionnaires. It was destroyed in the Great Smushing along with other alternate Earths, but rather than think that the Legionnaires are the last surviving members of their entire universe, I'd like to think that Earth-247 is presently one of the 52 universes as the multiverse is currently known.

Pages 22-23
  • Panels 1-2: Them's the Tornado Twins, first seen in Adventure #373 with the L1 Legion. We also saw them with the L2 Legion after Zero Hour; this explains how. Barry and Iris came to the mid-30th century after Barry's trial (Flash #350), which is where her parents were from (long story). Iris got pregnant with Don and Dawn, after which Barry died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. That's the Cosmic Treadmill in panel 1.
  • Panels 4-5: My memory of the Zoom/Thawne saga is incomplete, I don't remember the details that Brainy's telling XS. But Zoom had a mad-on for Allens through time, as did his ancestors, the Thawnes. So L1 Don & Dawn moved over to Earth-247, where the L2 Legion would eventually form.
  • Panels 6-9: this appears to be the flashback to the original Legion of Three Worlds. The middle tier places the L1 Legion to be somewhere between Adventure 372 (Chemical King joined) and Action #392 (Saturn Girl gets her pink bikini); and the L2 Legion sometime before LSH v4 #83 (death of Leviathan), though Brainiac 5 is incorrectly depicted as the upgraded Brainiac 5.1 which didn't come til much later.
  • Panel 8: This one has some odd chronology. Star Boy is depicted with his starfield suit. The first time he wore it (Superboy #199), we had already seen new costumes for Saturn Girl, Duo Damsel, Chameleon Boy, Shrinking Violet, Karate Kid, Phantom Girl, Colossal Boy, Lightning Lad, Timber Wolf, Element Lad, and Princess Projectra. Also, Koko is seen in the lower right; he shouldn't be there, as he wasn't adopted by Brainy (shown here incorrectly as 5.1) until the 20th/30th century split.
  • Panel 9: In the Glorithverse, the Tornado Twins were killed by Dominators. How did it go down in Post-Zero Hour Earth-247? This panel suggests that Iris went with her kids and grandkids to Earth-247.
  • Panel 13: How simple an explanation. "When time traveling one can shift into the multiverse." L3 Brainy is thinking of the Post-52 version of Supergirl, who was an L3 member, not the original Pre-Crisis version who was an L1 member. L3 Brainy asks which world he's from.

Page 24

Page 25
  • Second Legionnaire casualty: L3 Sun Boy, frozen and shattered by Superboy-Prime. L1 Sun Boy feels it.

Page 26
  • Panel 2: Mon-El and Shady return with Sodam Yat.
  • Panel 8: Never figured out how Tharok returned from the dead yet.

Page 27
  • Panel 4: Jenni is on the Cosmic Treadmill, with the magic lightning rod stuck on the handlebars getting charged up.
  • Panel 12: Cool, five lightning wielders. The sound effect "Kra-kkoomm" looks familiar.

Page 28
  • Panel 7: trying to buy some time, that's L1 Mon-El, L3 Shadow Lass, L2 Kid Quantum, L1 Timber Wolf, L1 Shadow Lass, and L3 Colossal Boy.

Page 30
  • To little surprise, it's the return of Bart Allen, aka Impulse, aka Kid Flash, aka dead Flash. Well, there was some speculation that it might have been Barry himself, but don't forget that even as far back as last summer they spilled the beans about Bart returning.

The bit with XS made me think about something I wrote here a while back, a theory about the multiple Legions. I guess I wasn't too far off, that each of the Legion worlds is just a parallel universe. We never saw the L1 universe (which was the future of the original Earth-1) after Zero Hour, at which point we started following Earth-247. Time travel doesn't necessarily put you on the same Earth that you left.
Page 22

Monday, February 02, 2009

New York Comic Con preview

The big east coast New York Comic Con is this weekend. Here's what's on tap for Legion fans:

Superman: Building A Better World
The future is looking bright for the world's first and greatest hero! Join Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, Senior Editor Matt Idelson, and some high-flying writers and artists for an exciting look at the challenges the Man of Steel and the Superman Family will face in the coming year!
2/6, 2:15 PM-3:15 PM
Don't forget, Mon-El is somehow involved here.

DC Nation
The first official 2009 meeting of the DC Nation happens here -- and your presence is requested. We're always looking for new recruits, so be sure to bring your friends as Senior VP and Executive Editor Dan DiDio is joined by the industry's top talent to discuss where the DC Nation is heading in the new year!
2/6, 2:15 PM-3:15 PM
I really want to hear the responses when someone asks "WTF happened to Legion #50?" and "Is Legion of Three Worlds a quarterly now?"

DC Universe
The repercussions of Final Crisis are still to come -- and with the future overshadowed by Black Lanterns, could the days of the DC Universe be numbered? Your guides to this brave new reality include Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Dan DiDio, Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, and the industry's best writers and artists!
2/7, 3:00 PM-4:00 PM
I really want to hear the responses when someone asks "WTF happened to Legion #50?" and "Is Legion of Three Worlds a quarterly now?" if they weren't asked the previous night. Hell, even if they were asked.

Jim Shooter's How To Write, Draw, and Tell The Story
Hall of fame comic creator Jim Shooter teaches writing, drawing and, especially, the art and science of storytelling, passing on the wisdom and knowledge of the all-time greats he learned from during his 40-plus years in the business! If you want to write or draw comics, this experience is a must!
2/7, 6:45 PM-7:45 PM
I doubt it, but he might spill how his story was supposed to have ended.

Trivia Quiz #32

I didn't get much of a response to the holiday Festivus trivia, so I'll repeat them here along with some other random leftovers.

1. In a dusty file room in a sub-basement somewhere in Legion HQ stand some file cabinets. Next to the one marked "Substitute Heroes" (no, really, there was a filing cabinet) is a cabinet labeled "Secret Weapons". What did we ever see that was in that cabinet?

2. Where would you find Mog Vagor, Nimbok of Vaalor, and Duke Harrington of Maine?

3. In the suit he wore to his first tryout, which Legionnaires' powers did ERG-1 demonstrate?

4. Last week's issue of LSH v5 was "written" by a pseudonymous person named "Justin Thyme". Other than Jim Starlin's "Steve Apollo" (which is too obvious and too well-known), can you come up with another pseudonym who worked on a Legion (or related) book, and who was behind the fake name?

5. What's the significance of "Zeeta-Y, Zeeta-Y, Zeeta-Y"?

6. Name three instances in which we saw Kryptonite affect different non-Kryptonians (in a Legion-related context).

7. Not counting Supergirl, who was the first Legion reject to appear on a cover?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Jim Shooter's Adventure Comics

Mark Waid's "Legion Index" (published by ICG in the late 1980s) credits Jim Shooter with pencil layouts for his issues, which is very unusual for a writer. Over on the mailing list for the Grand Comics Database, a question came up about what that really meant, what role he actually played. Shooter replied back to the list (via a third party), and here is the reply, reprinted here with Shooter's permission.

I did very thorough layouts for every single issue of every book I wrote for DC in my first stint there, 1965-1970. I also provided a cover sketch in color, no less. My drawings weren't professional quality, but they weren't childish scrawls or sketchy scribbles, either. I drew as well as I could. I drew every detail. I designed every new character and every new costume and everything else. It makes me laugh when I see in Wikipedia and other places the penciler of an issue I wrote and laid out credited as "co-creator" of a new character therein, when I was the one who created everything, including the visual. It also is amusing when I see Mort given credit as co-plotter or even co-writer on stories I sent in over the transom that were published as delivered. Oh, well.

There were a few cases where my design for a character or something was, at Mort's behest, changed (usually for the better) by the artist. Mordru comes to mind. But, that was rare.

Most artists followed my layouts pretty faithfully. A few of the guys would simplify or cheat if I called for something too time-consuming to draw. Every artist improved my layouts, some generally, some here and there. Mostly they drew what I called for, as indicated. My drawings were much more than thumbnails. Obviously every artist who worked from my stuff drew better than I did, so the final drawings were way better than mine.

The covers Neal Adams did from my sketches followed the layouts in a general way, but with him, it was more like he saw the intent and drew the picture I imagined but lacked the skill to draw. It was as if he was reading my mind.

In the first letter I received from Mort in response to my first submission, Mort invited me to send another sub and actually suggested that I might become an artist for DC. P.S., he eventually bought that first sub, the Doctor Regulus story, and everything else I sent him.

Back then, DC (or at least Mort) didn't run credits. On the issues I did with Woody, he lettered in a credit for me on the splash. Woody hated writers (and editors and art directors) so I wondered about that. Years later I asked him about it, and he told me it was because I wasn't just a writer -- my layouts qualified me as an artist, and therefore worthy of credit.

Gil Kane said in an interview once that I was the only writer he liked to work with because my layouts saved him so much time. I think he actually light-boxed some of them (and improved them tremendously on the fly -- he was genius enough to do that).

Curt Swan used to send me letters occasionally neatly lettered on huge sheets of vellum replete with many drawings, in which he'd give me drawing tips and advice regarding angles, layouts and storytelling. I learned a lot from him. He was so nice.

DC pays me for layouts as well as script when they reprint that old stuff.

Does that answer the Q?