Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In the Beginning....

It all started here....in Adventure Comics #247, April 1958.

It what was a simple throw-away story for the newest issue of Superboy's feature. Writer Otto Binder and artist Al Plastino came up with the idea of teenagers from the future, coming back to the past and pulling a prank on young Clark Kent. As part of his initiation into their Super-Hero "Club," they tease Superboy and make him think they've rejected him. At the end he shows his true worth and they award him membership and a medal with "super hero number one" embossed on it.

And so a super-hero universe is begun in the unlikeliest of places...! 
For this silly little story somehow attracted enough attention amongst enough fans for Adventure Comics editor Mort Weisinger to notice. Fans wrote in asking for more of these kids. A year after their initial appearance, they re-appeared in Adventure Comics (#267). Then Weisinger tried something different: in an effort to build up the characters' popularity, he tried these characters out as guest-stars in various other "Superman" titles. It was as if he told his stable of writers: here are these crazy future characters, try writing them into your story and see what happens. They appeared with Supergirl in Action Comics, as adults in Superman, in Superboy's own book, and eventually even in Jimmy Olsen, too.

Then, finally, in 1962 "The World of Bizarro" series in Adventure Comics was not selling as well as Wiesinger had hoped it would. So starting in #300 he made the fateful decision to give the lead feature to "the kids," Superboy and The Legion. For nearly 80 issues, until 1969, the Legion of Super-Heroes were the stars of their own comic-book.

During this time "the Legion of Super-Heroes" came into its own for a generation of fans. The majority of major characters, planets, institutions, and environments all made their debuts during this time. During their Adventure Comics run the stories were written by such greats as Jerry Siegel, Otto Binder, E. Nelson Bridwell, and, most famously, Jim Shooter. The artists were such masters as Pete Costanza, John Forte, Win Mortimer, and, most famously, Curt Swan. This was their Golden Age.
Everything about this blog has something to do with these stories, what we call The Original Series. However, we are not going to start our Chronological Reviews with them. Firstly, these stories are more than 50 years old and *not* the "jumping on" point for the majority of current Legion fans. Secondly, all of these stories are readily available in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives collection, which is in fact where I read the vast majority of them. (So if you really do want to know about them, track down those books. They are awesome!) And thirdly, some of these early stories are just so darn silly.

Instead, we will focus this blog on reviewing "newer" Legion series, discussing the Legion cartoons, thrilling to Legion toys, and enjoying various other Legion sightings. And while we are doing that, I promise we will sometimes take a quick jaunt in our Time Bubble back to The Beginning to showcase one of these classics. We'll do them in chronological order, following the list of stories in The Archives. And once we start getting into the more "serious" stories, I promise we will start to follow them regularly.

Long Live the Legion!  

1 comment:

  1. Heard about the blog via Jon M Wilson. This first post is a nice start and I'm looking forward to reading more. I always appreciate any and all Legion related blogs/podcasts. Keep it up!