Sunday, March 28, 2010

RIP: Dick Giordano

The comics industry lost a giant on Saturday when Dick Giordano passed away. If you grew up reading comics in the 1970s and 1980s, you saw his handiwork as an inker (often with Ross Andru pencilling) on just about every cover during those years, as well as inking Neal Adams in the early 70s on Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow (and the soon to be re-released Superman vs Muhammad Ali). And in the 1980s he moved up into being an executive editor at DC, which you may recall with his "Meanwhile..." columns in the back of the comics. It's fair to say that between the talent he either brought over from Charlton in the early 1970s and the artists he helped develop in the 1970s-80s on the creative side, and the changes in the comic marketplace he helped usher in during the 1980s and 1990s, the industry wouldn't be what it is today without him.

Giordano wouldn't be considered a Legion artist, but like I mentioned he did ink the covers of many issues starting in the late 1970s. According to the Grand Comics Database, he did over 30 Legion covers (pencils and/or inks).

  • His first work was inking Neal Adams for a pinup of the Legion as a group, for the 1976 DC Calendar (that was later reprinted on the Tempo paperback).
  • He inked the lead story in "Superboy & the LSH" #246, pencils by Joe Staton, that took place on  Mercury
  • Inks on S&LSH issues 247-258 in 1979 over Joe Staton and his own pencils
  • Issues 259-276 (minus a handful) of "LSH v2", from 1980-81 (over his own, Jimmy Janes, and Rich Buckler pencils). He contributed Saturn Girl to the jam cover of issue 300 in 1983 and inked the "Dark Man" episode in that issue
  • Inks on "Secrets of the LSH" in 1981 on issue 1 over Janes and issues 2 and 3 over his own
  • Then he returned in 1982 for the LSH Annual 1 cover featuring Computo (over Giffen), "Tales" 314 in 1984 (inking over Larry Mahlstedt, who was normally Giffen's inker), 348 (over Ron Frenz), and 351 (over Curt Swan), both in 1987. 
  • His last Legion work was in 1988 in "Who's Who in the LSH" 2, where he inked a few pages of Steve Lightle in the history of the Legion timeline at the front, and LSH v3 45 where he pencilled two pages (inks by Mike DeCarlo).
The BEAT, Newsarama, CBR, and Mark Evanier have more on Giordano's career, as do many others.

The Legion in 1976, pencils by Neal Adams and inks by Dick Giordano, from the DC Calendar.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mike Grell's "Savage Empire"

This is a long-shot, but with long-time Legion fans I might get a lucky hit. Back in 1973, Mike Grell did a newspaper strip called "Savage Empire" which he showed to Julie Schwartz, and that got him a 3-part Aquaman strip and then the Legion (Savage Empire was reworked into "The Warlord" - and he used the title for the first Warlord trade paperback). The strip was later published in the Chicago Star newspaper in October 1975. Does anyone happen to have either the originals newspaper strips or scans of them? The only image I have is this low-res scan from an eBay auction years ago that I didn't win, and it appears to be the only Savage Empire image in Google Image Search.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Boys vs Superduper

For those of you who track alternate publisher's versions of the Legion, keep an eye out for "The Boys" #40. Via Will Morgan (reposted here with permission, from a Legion mailing list):

For completists who may not be aware, Dynamite Entertainments' 'The Boys', issue 40, begins a story arc, "The Innocents", which features a thinly-disguised Legion pastiche, much as previous issues have co-starred re-tooled versions of the JLA, Titans, Avengers, X-Men, et al.

Summary for those unfamiliar with the series; 'The Boys' is set in a world where super-heroes have slightly less skill and intelligence than the average reality TV show contestant, coupled with short attention spans and insane lust for fame and power.

Consequently, the collateral damage among civilians in incidents involving 'The Supes' tends to be high, but they are feted by corporations and media moguls, and their worst excesses covered up, for political or financial gains, by the Men In Suits.

The 'Boys' of the title are a covert ops squad who monitor the 'Supes' and take down renegades whenever the body count gets too high or too public.

The Legion-alike team, named 'Superduper', are described in the Boys' files as " C-list, kept around for the nostalgia market. Sci-fi thing with a Peter Pan twist, permanent teenagers from 5000 AD or whatever."

Unlike the other 'Supes' in the Boys' world, Superduper, though inept and not very bright, are also presented as well-intentioned, sweet, and nowhere near as selfish or corrupt as the other metahumans, and for that reason are looked down on as quaint and out of touch.

The seven-member team - Ladyfold, Stool Shadow, Kid Camo, Black Hole, Bobby Badoing, Klanker, and Auntie Sis - includes obvious Bouncing Boy, Phantom Girl and Ferro Lad analogues, plus the newly imported team leader, Malchemical, appears to be a dark version of Element Lad or Chemical King, described by the Boys as; "One o' the all-time worst (f-word) (c-word) in spandex".

Anybody thinking of checking this out should be forewarned that the Boys is a Mature Readers title, with blood, giblets, swearing, nudity, blasphemy, extreme gore & violence, and worst of all, politics.

Whatever the creators have in store for Superduper, it's unlikely to be kind....
Having been forewarned, a preview of issue 40 is on the Dynamite site.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MegaCon '10 & Emerald City '10: There Will Be Flight Rings?

I forgot that MegaCon was in Orlando this past weekend (and, since I'm just getting back from vacation, a delay in the reporting). Unless I missed something, CBR covered Emerald City but not MegaCon and Newsarama didn't cover either. What's up with that?

Conflicting news over whether and when we'll get Legion flight rings...

The DC Nation panel, via Superman Homepage (emphasis added in the 2nd paragraph):

... Didio mentioned that the generational gaps with certain characters can be the DC Universe's great strength and also a weakness. There was much discussion that some readers are turned off by a certain version of The Flash or The Legion of Superheroes, but stressed that if it's a good story, it should remind the reader why he or she loved The Legion or The Flash in the first place. The goal is to find one strong interpretation and build the fan base around that. It alienates some people, but that's not at all the goal. Palmiotti added that he embraces how some creators can take one version and rework it into something fresh and cool.

...Thanks to the popularity of the Lantern Rings as promotional items, there will be a Legion of Superheroes ring available soon, as well as a Flash ring. I asked if there would be a "Supermen of America" ring like the limited edition ones from the 1940's and someone asked about an Alan Scott/Green Lantern ring, but the answer to both was "no."

Adventure Comics will feature a "Secret Origin" story of the Legion, and they will also have their own title back soon. Although it's in no way Superman related, Batwoman will finally receive her own title as well.

...Concerning how co-features like the backup stories in Action Comics will be handled in collected formats, Didio explained that if the backup story is integral to the main story, it will be in the collection, but when it's not, it will either be collected separately or not at all.
Via the Airship Over Water blog:
DiDio said one of the big problems of the DCU is that properties get fractualized and that fans develop favorite versions of properties such as the Legion or Hawkman, creating generational conflicts. He said the goal now is to find a strong interpretation of the characters and build upon it throughout the comics and other media. “It’s not just resetting the wheel every time,” he said.

Another bit I noted was the fact that he mentioned Hawkman and the Legion. I love every version of Hawkman and Jim Shooter and Francis Manupal’s Legion of Superheroes is the only Legion I’m familiar with. Either way, I agree with what Didio is saying. Some characters have an iconic legacy that has been represented far differently multiple times. With Hawkman you have fans of Carter Hall and fans or Katar Hol, and with the Legion you might have fans of Jim Shooter’s Legion and some of Geoff Johns’ Legion. I think trying to come together with that icon and connect for all fans is a key thing to do.
Via Comics Continuum:
...DiDio said one of the big problems of the DCU is that properties get fractualized and that fans develop favorite versions of properties such as the Legion or Hawkman, creating generational conflicts. He said the goal now is to find a strong interpretation of the characters and build upon it throughout the comics and other media. "It's not just resetting the wheel every time," he said. 

...Bedard was asking if the Starro story will bleed into other books, and he noted there will be a little more crossover between R.E.B.E.L.S. and the Green Lantern Corps. 

...DiDio said backup features will continue, noting Coven in Teen Titans, rotating stories in Action Comics, the Question in Detective Comics and more in Adventure Comics. 
...DiDio said Legion rings are a possibility.

I don't know why I can't find info on this weekend's Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle at Newsarama, but here's some news on the DC Nation panel via CBR:
...Next up, an attendee commented on how he’s enjoying his Lantern rings – and can’t wait for his Flash ring – but he still wanted to know…when is DC going to be giving out Legion rings?
Johns smiled and replied, “For every Marvel comic you rip up and send to us, you’ll get a ring.” The crowd laughed loudly at this answer.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Obit: Mike Valerio of Interlac

Via RAB comes word that long-time Legion fan Mike Valerio has passed away.

Mike was a very active and prominent member of Interlac when I first got involved with Legion fandom, and the people he met through Interlac were instrumental in starting his career as a writer and director.
Mark Evanier has more.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Emerald City Comic Con '10

Convention season starts this weekend. Anyone going to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle?

Guests with Legion credits include Kurt Busiek, Geoff Johns, Barry Kitson, Jason Pearson, James Robinson, Mark Waid, and Wil Wheaton.

Saturday programming:

The DC NATION comes to Seattle! We’re always looking for new recruits, so be sure to come on by as Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler and some of the industry’s top talent give you the inside scoop on all things DC. 

One hundred minutes. That’s all it will take. An interstellar conflict waged at super-speed that is sure to change the Man of Tomorrow forever. Intrigued? Find out more at this panel hosted by Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler with the architects of this war: Sterling Gates, James Robinson, Greg Rucka, Eric Trautmann and Pete Woods

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Listen up: Legion Podcasts

Did you know that there are some dedicated Legion podcasters out there? I know of two who publish on at least a semi-regular schedule - the Legion of Substitute Podcasters and the Super-Future Friends.

The Legion of Substitute Podcasters "is a podcast celebrating the Legion of Super Heroes. By Legion fans, for Legion fans. Join Paul, Darren, Matt and Scott as they dive headfirst into the history of the future!" The LSP guys are up to episode 74, which is pretty damn amazing all by itself. They publish weekly, I think. They have covered a run of the Adventure era, then the first year of v4, and then skipped a bunch and re-started at LSH v2 #283 when Levitz came back on for his second stint as writer. Episode 74 covers the Dr. Regulus vs Sun Boy issue, #286. Next up is #287, when the Levitz/Giffen team really get going. They are without a doubt the best Legion podcast based in Canada.

In a similar format - reading the book and describing what's going on, with considerable amounts of snark - is the Super-Future Friends podcast. Adriana and Kristen have started with Adventure 247 and 30 episodes and a couple years later they're up to Adventure 306, with postings roughly monthly. They are without a doubt the funniest pair of American women doing a Legion podcast. They also track the really important stuff, like are there statues and tunneling, questionable decisions, misuse of science, robot murder, and bizarre clubhouse trappings.

The Super-Future Friends, by the way, will be at Emerald City Comic Con Artist Alley in Table C-03 this weekend.

Awkward Pause Boy made the lotsalegion podcast, but that's been on hiatus since September 2009. He started covering the Bronze Age, beginning with Superboy 183 and ending with 210. I just recently found this one but I have not gotten a chance to listen.

Honorable Mention to Superman Fan Podcast, whose episode 115 last month was all about the Legion. There's a lot more info on the Legion and the SFP here.

Also, I've got to plug Major Spoilers. Last fall they did a Legion special that I got to listen to on a road trip. You may have read their Legion hero histories which are extremely well-researched and thorough.

More Bits of Legionnaire Business

More stuff...

I think I'm about caught up now.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

One (Flight) Ring to Rule Them All

I'm late to the bandwagon here, but in case you hadn't heard, there's an effort going on to get DC to issue Legion Flight Rings, just like the 9 multi-flavored Lantern rings and the Flash ring that have come out or are coming out soon. A new Legion title is a great reason (not that we need any) to promote with a ring.

Svengali Lad (Sven Staatveit) started the ball rolling with this post:
Recently, DC mounted a postcard drive to see if readers were interested in renumbering the WONDER WOMAN book to #600. DC received over 800 postcards (as of their last post regarding this) and the change in numbering will happen this year. What worked for Diana’s fans can work for us, Legionnaires.

To put in simply, just mail a postcard filled out like this to DC:

c/o Dan DiDio
1700 Broadway
New York, NY

WONDER WOMAN fans only needed 600 postcards to make their change happen, we can do this, Legionnaires.

I would also like to remind DC that a plastic LSH FLIGHT RING has already been tooled, so there is no cost to them to design or sculpt a new one. This plastic LSH FLIGHT RING I’m referring to is the one that came with the DC DIRECT action figures of COSMIC BOY, LIGHTNING LAD and SATURN GIRL.
The Flight Ring Saga has been picked up by CBR's Robot 6, Progressive Ruin, Comics Alliance, the Miracle Machine, Major Spoilers, the Legion Abstract, the Comic Book Closet, and even a Facebook group.

The Emerald City Comic Con is in Seattle this weekend, anyone going to it who can ask about this?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Trivia Answers #45

Answers to the special no-theme trivia quiz...

1. How did Mon-El make Element 152?

Mon-El was shown making it in Adventure 305. From his speech balloon: "Swiftly, while concentrating mightily, I super-rub the block... thus rearranging its molecules so that Element 152 is created, an element which never before existed on this planet! You see, the atomic weight of gold is 79... silver is 47, and iron is 26! Add them up together - and the total is 152 - a new element..." (ellipses verbatim). No, really, it's he manually performed nuclear fusion on gold, silver, and iron without killing everyone. See the 30th century rare elements page.

2. Which Legionnaire(s) appeared on the covers of all three Legion Sourcebooks from Mayfair?
Only Ultra Boy appeared on the Legion Sourcebook vol 1 (Mayfair #213), vol 2: The World Book (Mayfair #216), and the 2995 Sourcebook (Mayfair #263).

3. What is inertron made of?
I'm pretty sure it was never explicitly explained in the comics, but according to the Legion Sourcebook vol 2 (page 71), inertron is "an alloy of 20 parts titanium to 1 part dwarf star metal". I'm not even going to try to work that one out.

4. Who were the Legionnaire counterparts to the Legion of Super-Rejects?
The Rejects were Micro Lad, Magno Lad, Esper Lass, Calorie Queen, Phantom Lad and Chameleon Kid, so their counterparts were Shrinking Violet, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Matter-Eater Lad, Phantom Girl, and Chameleon Boy. (This was my very first-ever Legion issue, by the way.)

5. Which Legion villains have been related to each other?
Hunter and his son Otto Orion; Jungle King and his brother Marden King; Lars "Starfinger I" Hanscom & Molock the Merciless; Charma, Grimbor, and their daughter Charma II; Tharok and his clone the Dark Man; Lightning Lord and his nephew Validus; GDS Darkseid and his Orion Servant of Darkness; L2 Darkseid and his older self; and, since I'm allowing clones, the various members of the Dark Circle.

IDLE suggested Lex Luthor and his descendant, and Mr. Mxyzptlk and his descendant, but in the Adult Legion both 30th century descendants were good guys. There was another evil Mxy, true, but the original is not a Legion villain.

6. Which Legion-related character was inspired by Tom McCraw?
From the June 7, 1996 LSH AOL chat report (back in the days when we had a weekly chat on AOL with various Legion creators):
Atom'x--who appeared in LSH #82--was intended to be a preboot character named Atmos, but a switch was made in production. The switch was made because Lee Moder drew the character incorrectly. Tom stresses that the mistake was not Lee's fault. The mistake was not caught until after the book had been inked, and it was faster to create a new character rather than redraw the book.

Tom Peyer used the Atom'x name--which is based on Tom McCraw's screen name [ATOMC]--without McCraw's knowledge. McCraw vows revenge, and promises that the revenge character will wear pink or pastel purple. Tom did not know that the character would be named after him when he was coloring the character.

7. How many domed cities made up New Earth following Earths' destruction in v4?
The 2995 Sourcebook (page 171) says that there were 94 domed, linked cities that made up New Earth.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Brainiac & the LSH/Last Stand of New Krypton schedule

DC press release:


With the hot new story “Last Stand of New Krypton” set to get under way in this week’s ADVENTURE COMICS #8, DC Comics offers this guide to this epic event.

The story (the March issues of which were solicited under the title “Brainiac and The Legion of Super-Heroes”) will run in these titles.

  • Prologue: ADVENTURE COMICS #8 (JAN100253), in stores March 3.
  • Part 1: SUPERMAN: LAST STAND OF NEW KRYPTON #1 (JAN100249; Variant edition: JAN100250), in stores March 10.
  • Part 2: SUPERGIRL #51 (JAN100259), in stores March 17.
  • Part 3: SUPERMAN #698 (JAN100258), in stores March 24.
  • Part 4: ADVENTURE COMICS #9 (JAN100255; Variant edition: JAN100256), in stores March 31.
  • Part 5: SUPERMAN: LAST STAND OF NEW KRYPTON #2 (FEB100143; Variant edition: FEB100144), in stores April 7.
  • Part 6: ADVENTURE COMICS #10 (FEB100147; Variant edition: FEB100148), in stores April 14.
  • Part 7: SUPERGIRL #52 (FEB100149), in stores April 21.
  • Part 8: SUPERMAN #699 (FEB100152), in stores April 28.
  • Part 9: SUPERMAN: LAST STAND OF NEW KRYPTON #3 (FEB100145; Variant edition: FEB100146), in stores April 28.
  • Epilogue: ADVENTURE COMICS #11 (MAR100195; Variant edition: MAR100196), in stores May 12.

LSH v6 #1 comes out in May, presumably falling out of this long storyline. Then Levitz takes over Adventure with #12 in June. Yay!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Bits of Legionnaire Business

Got way behind on these links, so here's a shot at catching up. Sorry if some of these are old.

More coming soon.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Trivia Quiz #45

Special no-theme trivia quiz!

1. How did Mon-El make Element 152?

2. Which Legionnaire(s) appeared on the covers of all three Legion Sourcebooks from Mayfair?

3. What is inertron made of?

4. Who were the Legionnaire counterparts to the Legion of Super-Rejects?

5. Which Legion villains have been related to each other?

6. Which Legion-related character was inspired by Tom McCraw?

7. How many domed cities made up New Earth following Earths' destruction in v4?