Monday, December 28, 2015

The Numbers Game

click to enlarge to Colossal Boy size
In September 1998, a poster of the DC Comics line-up was given out on the summer convention circuit. It included most of the company’s characters at the time, with the Legion represented by the three founders and Brainiac 5. Although the figures were small in comparison to the size of others, they were featured smack dab in the center of the poster.



   The unsigned piece has been attributed in some circles to Jerry Ordway (pencils) and Karl Kesel (inks), but it very much looks like Tom Grummett’s or Dan Jurgen’s work to me.
   The poster was subsequently released as a limited edition lithograph (250 copies) by the now-defunct Warner Bros stores, and given a name in the Warner Bros newsletters: Strength In Numbers. It was a name that would later also be used for at least two other DC Comics posters: a JLA one and the poster depicting the threeboot Legion.
   The artwork was milked for all its worth. It was also used in a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle produced by the Warner Bros store, only this time the set was called Heroes of the DC Universe. In addition, the central part of the poster, featuring the Legionnaires, was excised for use as an American Library Association bookmark with the @your library branding, to promote DC Comics.


The Heroes of the Universe jigsaw puzzle (above) and bookmark (below)



Strength in numbers indeed!

*** The Warner Bros store promoted another DC Heroes lithograph in the same year, illustrated by Mike Deodato. An image of the poster was featured in promotional material such as the company's newsletter at around the same time, featuring the same four Legionnaires. But it is not known if this litho actually went on sale. If you have a copy, let me know!


The image from a Warner Bros store newsletter.

Mike Deodato's original art for the piece.


Bits Boy runs the comprehensive Legion completists’ site Bits of Legionnaire Business.

4 comments:

  1. It's definitely Ordway pencils, but I'm not sure about the inks. The finishes are much slicker than you'd get from either Ordway or Kesel inking.

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  2. The poses of Aquaman and Batman make me think it's Dan Jurgens.

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  3. How much would this poster Strength in Numbers poster be worth today?

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    Replies
    1. I have one mint condition framed. Original cost was $300.00 in 1998.

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