Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Welcome to the Silver Age!

When people talk about "the Golden Age" of The Legion, some of us don't agree when that actually is. For some, it's the Renaissance due to Dave Cockrum in the early Seventies. For others, it's the Paul Levitz-Keith Giffen era in the mid-Eighties. And for some, it's the Keith Giffen "Five Years Later" series at the end of the Eighties.

That being said, EVERY Legion fan knows what we mean when we refer to "the Silver Age."

The Silver Age of Comics was, roughly, from 1956 (the debut of the "modern" Flash) thru 1970 (the debut of Green Lantern-Green Arrow). And it was during this time that The Legion of Super-Heroes was created, and flourished.
As you probably already know, the Legion originally appeared as a "one-off" guest-star in Adventure Comics #247 in April 1958. However, fan reaction to this trio of characters was so positive that DC decided to do a sequel. A year later they returned, in Adventure Comics #267 (Dec 1959).
Superman Group Editor Mort Weisinger then added them to the stable of characters in the Superman Family, and they began to pop up in various cameo appearances throughout his books. In dream sequences and imaginary stories they attended Superman's funerals or weddings. In anniversary ceremonies they showed up to honor their friend. And in certain stories, they are used as Superman's (or Superboy's, or sometimes Supergirl's) "hidden weapon."
Or the Legionnaires appear in diverse situations as "walk on cameos" or as plot devices, adding nothing in particular to the individual story but reminding readers that yes, Virginia, there is a Legion of Super-Heroes out there, somewhere.

After three years of these various cameos, guest appearances, and defacto attempts to build up a fan-base, Weisinger finally gave the Legion their own series. From Adventure Comics #300 (Sept 1962) the Legion were the stars! After proving their worth in the first six months, they ended up holding that berth for more than six years....nearly until the end of the Silver Age itself.
The Legion of Super-Bloggers had always intended to cover this era, but as we wrote back when we started this blog, we didn't think The Silver Age was many fans' "starting point." So we began our reviews with more recent versions of the characters, trying to build up OUR fan-base! It worked, and now we're ready to look deeply in the waaay back machine.

The Legion of Super-Bloggers has already done a few Silver Age reviews. We file them under the header "The Original Series." You can find them by clicking on the Adventure Comics icon on the right column. The majority of these reviews are what we call "Round Robin" Reviews. A group of us LSBers get into a chat room and go  at it. They're fun, but they were difficult to coordinate with so many planets and alien races involved in the conversations. This is one of the reasons we ended up skipping "minor" stories such as when Lana met Star Boy or when Sun Boy came to Smallville. We didn't want to "waste" our resources on questionable stories.

As we've decided to commit to the Silver Age reviews, we promise to cover those stories now. 
Also, we have decided to try to handle them a little bit differently.  

First of all, we will try to do atleast one "Round Robin" review each month. That is our intention. If you enjoy reading them, please let us know and we will re-commit to them.

Secondly, we will try to do "group reviews" of these issues, similar to "Round Robin" but closer to "annotated" reviews. The basic plots of the stories will be summarized, and then several of the Legion of Super-Bloggers will add comments to it.

Lastly, we will try to do rotating reviewers. For example, if one of us hates Bouncing Boy and doesn't want to review his origin, maybe that week somebody else will step up and review that story.
"I'm sorry, I just can't stand the silliness!" 
We thought of this more complicated style because several of us really love these stories, while some of us merely tolerate them. So we hope to present a few different opinions. In the end we hope to be entertaining, even if the story features a character drinking a super-bouncing elixir instead of a Coca-Cola.

Moving forward, our Tour Guide to the 30th Century is going to be based on The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives reprints. This is mostly because it is a resource that all of us can (theoretically) reference. DC already did our work for us, telling us which Legion stories they deem important.
This is the Table of Contents for Volume 1.

Sometimes, however, we will add stories to the mix, such as two Jimmy Olsen vs Legion of Super-Villain stories we have lined up that were NOT reprinted in The Legion Archives. 

So check out your local library if you don't own these great books. They re-present plenty of Silver Age goofy goodness. (I'm not sure if The Archives mirrors the Showcase Presents B&W reprints. If you own the Showcase Presents books leave us a comment  and let us know when there is any difference between the two series.)

Lastly, here is the list of the issues we have already reviewed.

....which means that we will be here next week with a review of "Lana Lang and the Legion of Super-Heroes" from Adventure Comics #282! 

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