Saturday, February 08, 2020

A Field Guide to Unpublished Legion Covers

The Field Guide to Legion Cover Variants, Appendix A: Unused Covers
Unlike my previous Field Guides to Variant Legion Covers, this one is a guide to covers that were NEVER published. For one reason or another, a cover was commissioned, drawn, colored, and solicited but then pulled for something else or significantly altered somehow. Here are the ones that I know about, with the unused solicited cover alongside the actual published cover.

Demand Classics #2, 1978
In 1978, DC was set to release several reprint titles, including Demand Classics. The first issue would have been a reprint of Flash #123, "Flash of Two Worlds", while the second issue would have been (for some unknown reason) a reprint of Adventure Comics #357, "The Ghost of Ferro Lad". The cover had been created, but then that series (and many others) was pre-cancelled in the DC Implosion, and so this cover was included in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade, "published" by photocopy to preserve copyrights. It was never colored or lettered.

Unused cover
Art by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #34 - November 2007
The cover on the left was the one originally solicited, but DC decided to use a different cover for the final version. The solicited one was never published.

Unused cover
Art by Dennis Calero
Published cover
Art by Dennis Calero

Legion of Super-Heroes: 1050 Years of the Future - June 2008
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Legion (thus "1050 Years"), DC published a collection covering the team's history, focused on the pre-5YL run but also including the Reboot and the Threeboot. The book was originally solicited with a Neal Adams cover, reprinting his artwork from the 1976 DC Calendar (and more closely resembling the edited version of that cover that was used on the 1977 Tempo paperback reprint), but what actually saw print was a portion of the Mike Grell cover from Limited Collector's Edition #C-49.

Solicited cover
Art by Neal Adams & Dick Giordano
Printed cover
Art by Mike Grell

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4 - June 2009
Part 4, Brainiac 5 gets the portrait this time. Notice that the printed version is different from the solicited version in the image that appears in the lightning rod (two other versions of Brainiac 5 vs Kid Flash).

Main cover (solicited)
Art by George Pérez
Main cover (as printed)
Art by George Pérez

Legion of Super-Heroes v6 #11 - May 2011
The cover was solicited with Dream Girl carrying Star Boy, but it was replaced with one showing Timber Wolf vs Sun Emperor. The solicited one was never published. 

Original solicited cover (unpublished)
Art by Yildiray Cinar
Regular published cover
Art by Yildiray Cinar

Legion Secret Origin #4 - March 2012
From the "Bits of Legionnaire Business" cover variant blog post:
Another Secret Origins title was issued in 2011, and just like LSH Vol 6 #11, the covers solicited for one of the issues did not make the cut.
Issue 4 of LEGION: SECRET ORIGIN sported a cover featuring Colossal Boy as the central figure. But in the previews, two different covers had been spotlighted, with Star Boy in Gim's place, wearing either his purple or his white costume.
Artist Chris Batista lamented that the covers were done during a confusing time at DC, when the editorial team did not have a firm direction on the Legion's future.
I'm not sure which of the promo covers came out first, whether it was purple Star Boy and Red Ultra Boy or White Star Boy and Gray Ultra Boy, but at some point Editorial stepped in and said "Take out Star Boy altogether, move giant Colossal Boy from the background into Star Boy's slot and replace him with debris, then replace Lightning Lad with Invisible Kid and move Lightning Lad into Ultra Boy's slot."

Unpublished cover
Art by Chris Batista & Mark Deering
Unpublished cover
Art by Chris Batista & Mark Deering

Cover as published
Art by Chris Batista & Mark Deering

Legion of Super-Heroes v7 #19 - June 2013
Via the Bits of Legionnaire Business blog post:
The cover, drawn by Keith Giffen, showed Mon-El in combat with the Emerald Empress. The previous two issues also featured covers by Giffen, so he must have been commissioned to draw the covers for this particular arc, which marked the end of the Legion. 
But for that month, DC decided to publish books with novelty gatefold covers, which flipped open to reveal little surprises … in this case, it was Mon-El losing an arm to the villain. 
JJ Kirby was summoned to provide the cover, with Giffen presumably tied up with other assignments by that time.

Solicited single-page cover
Art by Keith Giffen
Published gatefold cover
Art by JJ Kirby

Superman #15 - September 18, 2019
The first cover below was solicited in Previews, but when the decision was made to change Lightning Lad's skin color, DC opted to have a new, different cover created (both by Ivan Reis). The original cover with the light-skinned mohawk version of Lightning Lad was never published.

Original standard cover (never published)
Art by Ivan Reis
Published standard cover
Art by Ivan Reis

Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #2 - October 2, 2019
LSH: Millennium #2 was also caught up in the effort to change Lightning Lad's ethnicity. In the original solicited version of the standard cover, featuring Saturn Girl holding up a flight ring through which we see Superboy, Bouncing Boy (to the left of Superboy) was dark-skinned and Lightning Lad (to the right of Superboy) was light-skinned. For the final version of the cover, the ethnicities were reversed. The original version was never printed. Here's a close-up comparison:

And looking at the cover, you can see Light Lass change ethnicity too, just above Ultra Boy's shoulder from his raised arm, below Shadow Lass, and above Element Lad.
A version of the entire Hitch image - left half as seen on issue 1 and the right half on issue 2 - was sold at the 2019 New York Comic Con as a convention exclusive. This version is a wraparound cover printed on foil.

Original standard cover (unpublished)
Art by Ryan Sook
Published standard cover
Art by Ryan Sook

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1 - March 2021
The tie-in to the Future State line-wide event had the usual two variants, one on regular cover stock and one on cardstock. However, the issue was originally announced (though never solicited) as "Future State: Legion 5000" #1, but that was shortly changed to the final "Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes" #1, the title under which it was published. (Note that only one image of the Legion 5000 cover was ever released, and it was on Instagram so the cover was cut. I took that image and superimposed it on the final FS:LSH cover, you can see that the original was cut off partially through the barcode at the bottom and was missing a sliver at the top. The only difference between the two is the logo.)

Original announced (but never 
solicited or printed) standard cover
Art by Riley Rossmo
Final solicited standard cover
Art by Riley Rossmo

1 comment:

Legion World said...

Back in October of 2003, Eric Wight, one of the artists that contributed to LEGION #25 provided a few pages of his Legion work including a cover supposedly for an upcoming Legion issue on the Legion World message boards. Despite saying that Steve Wacker (also a member of the board) had given him permission to post the images. He was asked to remove the unused cover. Unfortunately, those images are now all removed from the linked locations.

Fortunately, we preserved that cover here.