Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Legion of Super-Heroes v1

As we here at Legion of Super-Bloggers have finished our reviews of the third volume of Legion of Super-Heroes and gear up to start profiling the second volume, we thought we should stop and talk about the unheralded and often forgotten FIRST volume of that title...

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v1) appeared in early 1973. It was part of an effort by DC Comics (then called National Periodical Publications) to maintain news-stand percentage. Marvel Comics had recently expanded the number of titles they were publishing, and DC wanted to keep up with the quantity. They therefore rushed out several reprint titles, such as WANTED!, Secret Origins, and Legion of Super-Heroes. By 1974 they were all gone.

In fact, The Legion of Super-Heroes was the first to fail, lasting only four issues. Of these, only two got new Nick Cardy illustrations for their covers. So it is not surprising that the series did not last.

The Legion of Super-Heroes #1 reprinted the story from Adventure Comics #328, "The Kid Who Wrecked the Legion!" by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney. The original cover was by Curt Swan and George Klein; the 1973 version was by Nick Cardy.

Who drew it better? I like the in-your-face danger of Mon-El being swung out at us in the Cardy version. I have to admit that I like Mon-El's look of "WTH?" in Swan's version, though.

If I had to pick one over the other, I think I would pick Cardy's version, if only because his point-of-view angle allowed him to include Phantom Girl and Cosmic Boy in the illustration, not just Mon-El and Ultra Boy as in Swan's version.

The Legion of Super-Heroes #2 reprinted the story from Adventure Comics #333, "The War Between Krypton and Earth!" by Edmond Hamilton and John Forte. The original cover was by Curt Swan and George Klein; the 1973 version was by Nick Cardy.

Who drew it better? This one is a little harder to evaluate, as they are both a bit too static for my tastes. Perhaps Swan gets the nod this time, for including more Legionnaires and making the scene look a bit more as if war is about to start.

Also, it's a plot point that the sun is red in the story, so the coloring of the Adventure version is correct. And lastly, Lightning Lad never had TWO artificial arms, so points off the Cardy version for drawing him incorrectly....although it looks like on the Swan version, Garth has two healthy arms!

The Legion of Super-Heroes #s 3-4 reprinted the classic Computo story from Adventure Comics #340-341, "Computo the Conqueror!" and "The Weirdo Legionnaire!" Both issues were by Joe Siegel and Curt Swan. The inker of the first was George Klein; the second was Sheldon Moldoff. Both covers were by Curt Swan and George Klein, and as mentioned above, were used for the reprints as well.

Here they are all, just to compare how editors re-jigged them to fit their 1973 space.

I like the coloring of the beige-gray on the original Computo cover better than the white of the reprint, but I prefer the coloring of the reprint Colossal Boy cover (buildings and machines).

I would have liked to have seen a Nick Cardy illustration of the Legion battling Computo...! Ironically, the actual story inside is NOT called "Colossal Boy's One-Man War."


  1. And here's the worst of all of the Legion's logos.

    And some really odd choices for reprints. (Not doing the origin, not doing any classics really instead of three mediocre stories and Computo. The editor in charge of the first digest did a much better job at story selection than whoever was picking these.

    1. The funny thing is, I think they were both E. Nelson Bridwell!

  2. I still have all four issues of this series and it brings back great memories walking up town to the news depot and buy them .