I'm going to regret this...

Unlike the other major superhero teams (the Justice Society, the Justice League, the Avengers, etc.), the Legion of Super-Heroes developed gradually, appearing as guest stars throughout all the Superman titles until they go their own series in Adventure Comics #300. As a result their early adventures were uneven and sometimes contradictive. I'll be rereading them in order to put things in perspective and point out the highlights (hopefully).

I have a great love for the Legion as it was the first book that I bought regularly without noticing that I was doing so. I will be using the Legion Archives for this so there will be minor appearances being skipped over. I welcome additions.

I will also try not to comment on events yet to happen, publishing wise and chronologically and focus on each story individually.

Beyond FIRST APPEARANCES, REJECTED APPLICANTS and COSTUME CHANGES I will be pointing out

  • FUTURE FORGOTTEN--concepts introduced yet dropped just as quickly
  • "AS IF"--the Legion's rudeness factor which usually seques into...
  • SOBS OF STEEL ---how many times the Legion makes Superboy and Supergirl cry!
  • SUPER-ITIS--how often elements of the Superman mythos are seen in the series
  • PERSONAL THEORY--my own theories about the whys and hows of the Legion chronicles

First, let me say that I do not plan to visit any Legion sites while I do this. I may remember some facts about the stories but I am hoping not to regurgitate the same stuff over and over again. If it gets too repetitive, please let me know.

Second, I will add when I can and hope that you will all bear with me.

Third, this is a thread for all Legion fans but please don't get ahead of me! I'm not as fast as some of you. However any input is more than welcome!

Long Live the Legion!

Next: Greetings From the Future or "In Smallville One Day, Clark Kent Receives a Sudden Shock!"

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Those were pretty naff Legionnaires. That green kryptonite cage would have killed Superboy eventually.

Just the name of the outfit makes you wonder about these guys. "Call me Legion for we are many." Naming your team after somebody possessed by demons is the sort of thing you'd expect from villain groups.  

Why would anybody want to join this team?!?? Although, these sorts of stories show that the writers understood what kids feared most. Elementary school kids in my day were pretty terrified that nobody would like them, and I bet they still are.

Anyway, in between this Legion appearance and its previous one, Jimmy Olsen became Elastic Lad for the first time, which is significant since he will eventually become a Legion Reservist or Honorary Legionnaire or something like that. (Calling Commander Benson!) Also, some websites like to claim the Time Master in Wonder Woman #101 is the first appearance of the Time Trapper. Since the two characters had different names, different editors and different writers, that seems purely a fan invention. But just so's you know.

It at least seems more likely than Kamandi being Tommy Tomorrow.

E. Nelson Bridwell claimed that WW's Time Master & the LSH's Time Trapper were the same guy in some issue of Super-Friends that I can't remember the number of.  While lots of people claim that anything from that title wasn't really in continuity (rather ironic, since ENB's work on that book, at least, had more continuity both internally and with the characters other titles than any run of Justice League has ever had!), as far as I'm concerned there was nothing in the Super-Friends comic that was any more embarrassing to recognize than much of the material in the rest of the DCU stuff published concurrently.

Captain Comics said:

Why would anybody want to join this team?!?? Although, these sorts of stories show that the writers understood what kids feared most. Elementary school kids in my day were pretty terrified that nobody would like them, and I bet they still are.

Anyway, in between this Legion appearance and its previous one, Jimmy Olsen became Elastic Lad for the first time, which is significant since he will eventually become a Legion Reservist or Honorary Legionnaire or something like that. (Calling Commander Benson!) Also, some websites like to claim the Time Master in Wonder Woman #101 is the first appearance of the Time Trapper. Since the two characters had different names, different editors and different writers, that seems purely a fan invention. But just so's you know.

Ron M. said:

What about these many nameless heroes from different worlds? I remember one Superman story that showed him beat several nameless heroes and one that was obviously supposed to be Captain Marvel.

I am pretty sure you're thinking of a Lois Lane story, drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger, which (from memory) shows a triumphant Superman (with Lois) surrounded by aforesaid "several nameless heroes and one that was obviously supposed to be Captain Marvel" on the splash panel.

Unfortunately, I can't recall the issue, but I think was a mid-1960s Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane. The Commander may have much better recall!  

That's it. Since Captain Marvel was a real character Superman destroyed I wondered if any of the others were characters from defunct companies, like Fox's Wonder Man. Has Wonder Man ever been reprinted anywhere?


Lee Semmens said:

Ron M. said:

What about these many nameless heroes from different worlds? I remember one Superman story that showed him beat several nameless heroes and one that was obviously supposed to be Captain Marvel.

I am pretty sure you're thinking of a Lois Lane story, drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger, which (from memory) shows a triumphant Superman (with Lois) surrounded by aforesaid "several nameless heroes and one that was obviously supposed to be Captain Marvel" on the splash panel.

Unfortunately, I can't recall the issue, but I think was a mid-1960s Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane. The Commander may have much better recall!  

I suspect the story both of you fellows are recollecting is "The Monkey's Paw", from Lois Lane # 42 (Jul., 1963).  I've provided the splash panel below.  That should confirm it.


Captain Comics said:

Anyway, in between this Legion appearance and its previous one, Jimmy Olsen became Elastic Lad for the first time, which is significant since he will eventually become a Legion Reservist or Honorary Legionnaire or something like that. (Calling Commander Benson!) 

Honorary Legionnaire.

The easy-peasy way to remember is that there were only three honorary Legionnaires during the Silver Age.  The first two---Pete Ross (honorary membership established in Superboy # 102 [Jan., 1963]) and Jimmy Olsen (honorary membership awarded in Jimmy Olsen # 72 [Oct., 1963]) were "Superboy's Pal" and "Superman's Pal", respectively.

The third honorary Legionnaire is tougher to keep in mind.  Rond Vidar, who was made an honorary member of the Legion for helping the Super-Hero Club defeat his super-villain dad, Universo for the second time.  That was in Adventure Comics # 360 (Sep., 1967).

I suspect the story both of you fellows are recollecting is "The Monkey's Paw", from Lois Lane # 42 (Jul., 1963).  I've provided the splash panel below.  That should confirm it.

That was the story I was thinking of.

Thanks, Commander!

If memory serves correctly, I am fairly certain (and I am too lazy to try and dig up my copy at the moment!), when the story was reprinted in Lois Lane #104 (S-O, 1970) "Captain Marvel" was recolored. I don't know if it was ever explained why; possibly E. Nelson Bridwell was behind the change.
   

The other two look like extras from Flash Gordon but that's definitely the Big Red Cheese lying on the ground.

Perhaps, since they didn't own Captain Marvel back then they recolored him to avoid complaints from Fawcett. I believe they were still in business at the time printing Dennis the Menace.

Since the Captain deems this noteworthy:

SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN #31 (S'58) The E-L-A-S-T-I-C Lad! by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnsley.

  • Superman brings Jimmy a chest he found floating in space then immediately flies off to rescue a plane in distress.
  • He forbids Jimmy to touch anything inside the chest even though he's allowing Jimmy to open it!
  • Jimmy sees a bottle of green liquid and fears that it may be kryptonite (weirder things have happened)!
  • But he trips with it, trying to dispose of it and it spills on him!
  • He soon finds himself able to stretch, bend and contort his body.
  • This embarrasses him o much that he doesn't want Superman or anyone else to see him.
  • Yet the first thing he thinks of is to join a freakshow!
  • The promoter dubs Jimmy "Elastic Lad" and gives him a lime-green rubber suit with Elastic Lad written on the front much like the Legion's original outfits!
  • Jimmy desperately wants a cure and is easily duped by a crime boss pretending to be a famous scientist.
  • He stretches under the locked door and unwittingly lets the crook steal kryptonite which he uses on the arriving Superman.
  • Jimmy rolls himself into a ball and bowls the crook over!
  • But he soon finds cured as the kryptonite negates the elastic liquid!

FIRST APPEARANCE: Jimmy Olsen as Elastic Lad, though I was surprised that his outfit was green originally.

PERSONAL THEORY: Superman loves setting Jimmy up in these situations and is greatly amused by what follows. Jimmy is Superman's Reality TV!

Next: Girl Power or Time, Time, See What's Become of Me!

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