Genres, Science Fiction, Super-Heroes

Long Live the Legion

In 1958, DC Comics introduced The Legion of Super-Heroes to the world in Adventure Comics #247. I first encountered the group in 1961, and for me they were a game-changer. No longer limited to one or two super-heroes in a story, they were a perfect example of how to handle a large cast in short stories with limited pages. Super teenagers from the 30th century, they mixed super-heroes with science fiction, thereby creating an entire universe of possibilities. Since 1961, they’ve remained my favourites. The top image is a 3D render of the “founders”, the first three to meet Superboy and take him on his first adventure… to the FUTURE!

If I recall, the only actual group of Super-Heroes appearing at the time was the Superman-Batman-Robin team-ups in World’s Finest. The thought of many super-heroes in a single title was exciting. Sure, there’d been lots a decade or so earlier, but nothing was being published at the time.

When I first encountered the Legion, it was in Adventure Comics #308, in the Legion story, “The Return of Lightning Lad”. It featured 13 Legionnaires. Wow. Lightning Lad, it turned out, was still dead, but his twin sister had stepped into take his place. By the time Lighting Lad did return from the dead, the Legion membership was up to 20. Here’s a render I did recently of what I call “Young Legionnaires”, as I still like to think of them (and would like to see them again) as young teenagers. I’ve kept the costumes, for the most part, versions of the originals from the era, with slight changes to modernize them a little (and to reduce the time it took me to put the models and image together). Some, like Lightning Lass’s costume, is a newer costume that was a little less sexist than the bathing suit she used to wear and Shrinking Violet’s a nod to the animated version.

Lots more Legion fun to come in the days ahead.

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