Thursday, September 25, 2014

Adventure Comics #403 "Fashions From Fans!"

A brief fashion note by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

I know, this is supposed to be the chronological run-down of the Legion in Superboy. I hear the hundreds of fans thinking, What is an issue of Adventure Comics doing here? Well, I'll tell you. You might find it interesting....or odd.

After the Legion got the boot from Adventure Comics in #380 they went over and staked out the loft apartment in the back of Action Comics. They were relatively popular (more so than, say, The Private Life of Clark Kent). They were getting fan letters and regular costume designs. In fact,  somebody at DC actually decided to use a fan's costume design for Saturn Girl's hot pink bikini. So DC decided to test the Legion waters, sort to speak, and made the next Giant Sized (reprint) of Adventure Comics #403 (April 1971) into a Legion special. ("Ya know, Mort, we prolly shouldn't have cancelled that Legion crap....!")

This reprint special featured the stories of Lightning Lad's death and resurrection. Which is all well and good, except that there were still five pages to fill. So...E. Nelson Bridwell, the reprint editor and long-time Legion fan, commissioned Ross Andru & Mike Esposito (in some of their last DC work before they moved to Marvel) to illustrate "Fashions From Fans!"

....Which would have been fine; great, even, if none of these ever appeared again after this feature. Because as you're about to see for yourself, all but one of these costumes are hideous. Hideous as in "hide" them and never show them again, ever.

Unfortunately, nearly a year later, in the March 1972 issue of Superboy, three of these atrocious togs actually make it into a Legion story! A copy of Adventure Comics #403 was probably laying around when Mr. Tuska was looking for source material, and he included Karate Kid, Princess Projectra, and Shadow Lass in these new uniforms. Mon-El is also featured in the story, but as he wasn't given an update in this featurette, he got to keep his classic costume.

So here it is, an *almost* forgotten bit of Legion history...It is noteworthy if only because it gives another credit to Saturn Girl's bikini outfit (K. Haven Metzer of Columbia City, Indiana, credited in its debut and then again here) and to Duo Damsel's new orange and purple suit. Cary Bates and Dave Cockrum took this idea and put her in something similar to it in Superboy #193. But the original idea  was designed by Nick Pascale of Brooklyn. Haven't I seen his name around elsewhere in the DC Universe? Anybody know whatever became of him?

Also, this new Phantom Girl uniform shows up once in the back-up of Superboy #188. Then Dave Cockrum re-designed her and gave her the Tinya Wazzao look we all know and love!

And now, without further ado (but maybe a quick "adieu" as soon as you see them....) here we go! 

Next week:
we resume our chronological review of the Seventies' Legion as three of these Calvin Klein rejects (and Mon-El) become involved in "The War of Wraith-Mates!"


  1. Saturn Girl has never seemed hotter to me.

    Chlorophyll Kid almost legit.

    Most atrocious? Ultra Boy and Cosmic Boy. More absurd: Shrinking Violent. Most inappropriate for young readers: Night Girl. Most physically improbable: Projectra.

  2. I'd have gone for that Night Girl costume. I think she would have won every "Hottest Legionnaire" contest if they'd actually put her in that! Grrwlll!!!


  3. My memory is fuzzy, but I seem to recall Night Girl appearing in a similarly skimpy costume during the Grell era. My original thought was that it was in the story in which the Subs salvaged the original Legion Clubhouse from the dump (Superboy #211), but according to the DC Comics Database entry for that issue, she wasn't in that story.

  4. The Night Girl costume is really fun. The Lightning Lad one is the worse. He even looks uncomfortable in it, like when I try to put clothes on my cat.
    It’s funny how some fans think that Cockrum or Grell redesigned the Legion’s Bronze Age costumes, but they started trickling in before and many were fan designs (with modifications).