Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Who's Who: Bacard Barley Circus

Bacard Barley Circus
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Bacard Barley Inter-Stellar Travelling Carnival and Sideshow
Super-Power(s): Varied
Planet of Origin: No fixed address
Relationship to Legion: Group victimized by villain from the inside

Legion Log
The unique entertainment that Bacard Barley Circus offers is based on the 19th-Century Earth ideal of a three-ring circus. It boasts such traditional attractions as a strong man, a magician and his lovely assistant, clowns of various species, and in place of a "lion-tamer," a wild beast tamer who faces such threats as a Jovian Attack Squid. As a troupe that is willing to go to the more remote areas of the United Planets, Bacard Barley Circus created a legend of good will and good entertainment for centuries.

Bacard Barley Circus was founded as an interstellar carnival, Bacard Barley Inter-Stellar Travelling Carnival and Side-Show by an Earth woman. "Old Grandmother" Barley was the founder and kept the organization in the family even after the troupe moved its head-quarters to the planet Cygnus IV.

It was during one of their good will tours in Earth's solar system that the Bacard Barley Circus had its run-in with the Legion. Several members of the circus "family" were killed, until ringmaster Aton Gissark began to suspect murder. He asked the UP government for security, which in turn asked the Legion to join the circus and uncover the murderer.

Eventually the Legionnaires discovered that the murderer was the ringmaster himself, using Bacard Barley Circus to try to create discord between Earth and Cygnus IV. When confronted by the Legion, Gissark attempted to escape into hyper-space without a space-suit, killing himself.

The Bacard Barley Circus continued to tour, as the incidents with Gissark led to the creation of peaceful diplomatic relations between the Cygnus Confederation and Earth.

The troupe consisted of dozens of members, all traveling together in a rag-tag group of individual space ships. Several members of note were:
  • the Fire-Eater
  • the Weight-Lifter (portrayed by Mon-El during LSH #260-161)
  • Rogyr, gymnast (murdered in LSH #260)
  • Assistant Manager Clovis (murdered in LSH #261)
  • members of the Sideshow,  consisting of humanoids resembling Man-Bat and future Legionnaire Gates, as well as a Fat Man (portrayed by Star Boy)
  • the Fortune Teller (portrayed by Princess Projectra)
  • Imik, juggler (murdered in LSH #261)
  • Magician (portrayed by Brainiac 5) 
  • Tyrus, a composite clown (murdered in LSH #261)
  • Wild-Animal Trainer, featuring such creatures as the Venusian Night Shark
No version of the Bacard Barley Circus ever appeared after the Reboot or the Threeboot.

After Infinite Crisis, the Circus' original history has presumably been more or less restored.

Only Bacard Barley Circus stories:

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #260

Ringmaster Gissark begs for UP protection for his traveling show; 
the Legionnaires go undercover to find a murderer

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #261
The Legion reveals Gissark's complicated plot to stir up war between Earth and Cygnus IV. 


  1. What's with those descriptions ove the logo on the cover?!

  2. This is the kind of crap you get when the writers have run out of ideas !

  3. So harsh! The Circus coming to town with trouble attached is a common trope, simply adapted to the SF setting, that's all.

  4. Any group of heroes, if involved in a serial story for long enough, will eventually be called upon to pretend to be part of a travelling circus. (Amnesia is optional).