Monday, November 19, 2007

Space Wuxtry

I have been requested to provide my take on what an Earth-2 Legion would be like.

It's actually kind of a tough question. The first difficulty is, what's Earth-2?

Some chronology:

1944: First appearance of Superboy
Jun. 1951: Captain Comet, an obviously Earth-1 character, makes his debut.
Oct. 1956: Debut of Barry Allen, the Flash of Earth-1. Unofficial but widely accepted start of the Silver Age.
Apr. 1958: First Legion of Super-Heroes story.
Feb. 1960: First Justice League story.
Sept. 1961: 'Flash of Two Worlds' story establishes Earth-1 and Earth-2 as distinct from each other.
Aug. 1963: First JLA/JSA crossover.
1969 (JLA #73): First appearance of Kal-L, the Earth-2 Superman, as a distinct character from Kal-El of Earth-1

What I'm trying to get at here is this. Just when exactly did the Superman stories DC was publishing stop being Earth-2 stories and start being Earth-1 stories? It's the sort of thing that can only be decided retroactively. After all, nobody had any idea about Earth-2 until late 1961, at which point Superboy had been appearing in comics for almost two decades, and the Legion for a couple of years. So it's perfectly defensible to say that the Silver Age Legion is the Earth-2 Legion, because as far as anyone could tell, there was only one Earth at the time, and it was just as much 2 as 1.

But that's what we mathematicians like to call 'the trivial answer'.

Here's another question. What do we know about the future of Earth-Two? I just checked wikipedia, and all it had to tell me is that there was no Legion in Earth-2's future. (Although it did say some other stuff about the present. Quebec independent? Atlantis raised? Huh.) Seriously: if anyone ever revealed anything about Earth-2's future, I missed it.

(Note: there was an issue of either Legion of Super-Heroes volume 4 or Legionnaires that reimagined the Legion as a Golden Age team. I'm not bothering to look up which one it was because I know nothing about it anyway other than that it existed. My expeditions into the Back Issue Mines have not yet surrendered this treasure to me. But my impression is that it was pretty cool.)

So let's come at this another way.

The Legion, as it was created in 1958, was set in a Tomorrowland kind of future just like the Jetsons were. The Legion was an artifact of the High. Clean-cut teenagers, working together to defend a rational, scientific status quo? Wait twenty years before introducing that concept and you'd never get it off the ground. A Legion conceived in an Awakening would be a strange thing indeed (although I suspect Cockrum and Grell accurately imagined what it would look like).

But it also wouldn't have worked any better if they had done it twenty years earlier. And that's what we're talking about here: a Crisis-era Legion. Earth-2 may not have a future, (or, really, much of a present) but it very definitely has a past, and that past covers the relatively small time-period from 1938 to 1950. Give or take. And, during that time, people's ideas of the future were quite different from what they were in the '50s. For one thing, they were worried that there was even going to be a future. I'm thinking of George Orwell in particular. I'm not an Orwell expert, but I have the impression that one reason he embraced socialism is that he, like many others, was convinced that either fascism or communism was going to sweep the world, and he had seen to much of fascism in the Spanish Civil War to be comfortable with that outcome, so he picked the other one. Imagine thinking that way, though: you have to choose between two types of totalitarianism, because one of them is inevitably going to eat liberal democracy. My idea is that that's the kind of future they were looking forward to in the '40s.

Let's keep that in mind when putting together this Legion. Here are the elements we'd have:
- instead of a bright shiny stable future with food pills and Planetary Chance Machines and pens that write upside down, we'd have a chaotic, collapsing society where Vandal Savage's hordes are nibbling at the edges of the ancient, decadent Degaton Empire (where Vaclav Degaton VI is secretly the Ultra-Humanite...); the Legionnaires could be young adults of the Empire, chafing under Vaclav VI's tyranny, and searching for the one thing that can turn the tide against Savage: Professor Zodiak's Philosopher's Stone. Maybe. I don't want to go too far with this, loading the 2940s down with all kinds of 1940s lore; the Earth-1 Legion had very few ties to the 20th century DCU that didn't go through Superman.
- there ought to still be a way of keeping the Legionnaires as teenagers. What if they were cadets at some kind of military academy who got drafted into some kind of time-science program? They wouldn't all have powers, and the ones that did wouldn't have single-use powers like the Earth-1 Legionnaires. Most of them would be from Earth, but there could be some nonhuman ones from around the solar system. There could be a Saturn Girl, for instance; she could be used almost as is.
- this way we could still have Superboy being recruited from the 20th century.
- Superboy would be our viewpoint character: when first recruited, he'd help the Legion fight petty crime in the Degaton Empire, and then eventually work up to battling Savage's forces, and the Ice Fiends of Pluto. But the whole time they'd be getting closer to the idea of trying to establish some kind of freedom for humans that acts as a viable third choice between the Kang of Vandal Savage and the Kodos of the Degaton Empire. In this case, the Legion is learning a thing or two about liberty from Superboy.
- no Brainiac 5, as Brainiac is clearly an Earth-1 character (he was created by Legion creator Otto Binder, a couple of months after Binder created the Legion. How 'bout that?). No Mon-El, either, but how about using Halk Kar?
- when imagining the composition of this Legion, think of World War II movies. We'd need a strong leader, a nerdy guy, a guy from Brooklyn, a cowboy, an Italian guy, a black guy... expand that in a sensible way to bring in people from elsewhere on the Earth, and then one from the moon, one from Mars... No reason not to make about half of these characters female, of course.
- no flight rings. Nothing that flashy.
- maybe there could be something where Superboy uses his embryonic journalistic talents to get the Legion to start up a free press... they'd be like a futuristic Newsboy Legion! I think that actually works, a little!

Anyway, that's what I came up with.

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Blogger Michael said...

Superboy is certainly an anomaly. It was later established that the Earth-2 Superman never had a career as Superboy, which retroactively places Superboy on Earth-1 (although set 20 years prior to the "present", you have to disregard topical references to the 1920s).

But even though his early career took place in the 1920s, that's not when it was written. The writers of the 40s had the hindsight to interpret what they had lived in to project backwards, seeing the 20s in light of the 40s. There's no reason to think that they wouldn't have filtered the future through the lens of the postwar 1940s, too.

Given that Superboy first appeared in 1944, it would have been a couple of years until he joined the Legion. You're well into the post-WWII time frame here, not the late 30s Depression/Spanish Civil War/Hitler/facism time frame prewar. Things were a lot different then - we had just defeated the world's greatest menace only to run into the Cold War, so the postwar optimism about the future of the country (which certainly included democracy, not a totalitarian government in the US). We were the world's biggest superpower.

I think the future would have been brighter than what you predict.

Now, given all that, we know (because someone said it during the Crisis on Infinite Earths) that there was no Earth-2 Legion. My elegant solution to the whole v4/Glorithverse issue would have been to say that when Mon-el rebooted the universe by killing the Time Trapper, not only was the future different than it had been (Valor and Andromeda for Superboy and Supergirl, for example), but the past of that world did not have a Superboy. Thus, it's obvious that the Glorithverse Legion of v4 was really the Earth-2 Legion.

11:34 PM  
Blogger snell said...

Not to set too big a research task for you, but isn't it possible that all 52 multiverses have their own Legion? (OK, not Earth-15 anymore...thanks alot, Superboy Prime!)

To put it in pre-Crisis terms, Earth-S or Earth-X could have their own versions of the Legion. And wouldn't you love to see the Legion from Earth-3??

In fact, this could be the answer to the "real Legion" question, as each boot or retcon could actually be the legion from a separate Earth.

Of course, it might not be easy to figure out which Legion is spawned by which Earth. Since we've already had the Time Trapper shunting all of the Legion's travel to the past to a pocket universe instead of Earth-1, it might be impossible to say which Legion is attached to which 20/21st century. The real Legion might not even be from Earth-1; some space-time bypass could be forever connecting, say, the 31st century of Earth-51 to the 21st century of Earth-1, and no one would ever know...and all the 'lost records from a great disaster" and "inspired by legends" leaves enough wiggle room for virtually any present to have spawned the legion's future...

12:37 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Snell: you read my mind. After I posted what I did here, I covered your exact topic over at the Legion Omnicom.

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post and for the record, the golden age reimagination of the legion was in Legionnaires #54

I didn't like it very much though

1:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Legion types need a good psychiatrist, I think.

LOVE the Earth-2 Legion as the Newsboy Legion of the future! Good God, that's some Grant Morrison-type stuff right there. And pleasantly surprised (though I really don't know why I should be surprised) to see it based on the Turnings -- innovative approach, especially if the Superboy you propose here is not actually "Superboy", but (oh my God!) young Superman.

Now you've got me interested. I think I'd like to try one, too, but I'll have to think about it a bit...something about magical agencies having been suppressed since the 20th century, I imagine, although I'm not quite certain how that could be fit nicely with Superman...however I do like the idea that an Earth-2 Legion wouldn't necessarily be based on Superman's example, might not even know of Superman, but they might just meet him by accident! There's a good solid old-fashioned SF story there, plain as day...

Very interesting, Matthew! Worth the wait. But, a bit more on this later...

3:46 AM  
Blogger H said...

Good stuff. I can't help with any Earth-2 Legion lore, but I can vouch that the 1970's revival of All-Star Comics established that there was an independent Quebec.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

This topic was also raised in the Legion fandom of the late Seventies, funnily enough.

One widely-held view among the old gang was the 30th Century of Earth-2 produced Iris West, bride of Barry Allen, who was said in The Flash to have come from the year 296-something. Making Iris a time-travelling refugee was never a particularly good or evocative idea...but making it the future of Earth-2 at least gives you the twist that Barry Allen's heroic inspiration, his superheroic identity, and his wife all came from the same parallel world depicted in his favorite comic books. The Iris West future was however apparently devoid of superheroes, so no basis for a Legion there.

Another idea with maybe a bit more potential was that the LSH of Earth-2 would be none other than the Justice Society. The JSA had members who were either magically immortal or came with built-in successors: Dr. Fate, the Spectre, a Hawkman who was reincarnated, a Wonder Woman effectively ageless due to the purple ray...if these guys kept the Society going for centuries, it would fill the role which might otherwise be filled by a Legion. I remember this theory was inspired by a throwaway line in the JLA-JSA-LSH teamup.

For me, a parallel LSH should go along with the spirit of the Earth-1/Earth-2 divide if not the details. As a start, I'd have made it an Adult Legion, contrasted with the teenagers of the Earth-1 group. And hey -- let's include a Cosmic Man who gets his magnetic eyebeams from a special serum, and a Lightning Man whose hands have opposite electrical charges so that bolts issue forth when he claps them together.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On re-reading the Crisis Turning stuff, I wonder if the threeboot Legion wasn't already in the Crisis Legion spirit?

Just a thought...

Here's my little noodling about this: an Earth-2 Legion could be set in a future where instrumentalities aren't examined very closely: due to the historic prevalence of both magic and science (following on from the slapdash template of the Golden Age), the distinction between these two things has been lost. There are simply things like "a magic serum", "his electrical power" (yes, I can't resist RAB's Cosmic Man and Lightning Man) -- causes are decentred, and personalities correspondingly more important. I don't know what kind of room this leaves for Superman/Boy, really, but maybe it wouldn't be too bad: the early Krypton was just "super", after all, and not as firmly justified by science (even comic-book science) as we think of it today. "Why, they haven't even developed X-ray vision yet!" Yes, that's crazy primitive, clearly these Earth people are little more advanced than cavemen...

I think I'd go with a Legion that was all business, a bunch of terse, tough, duty-obsessed supermen whose philosophies run the gamut from Ditko to Ditko, teaming up not to fight various menaces per se, but to bring some sense of guidance or recourse to an imperilled society...and perhaps also suddenly or unexpectedly eclipsing whatever government's in place. Representing the ideal of a World Government (okay, not exactly Ditko), instead of a few (or maybe just two) fractured mini-empires always at each other's throats? Even if some of the agencies of "super"-ness are known to readers from Golden Age comics, it might be in keeping with Matthew's Crisis Turning bias (I'm not using that word pejoratively, of course) if the Legionnaires really didn't give a damn how their powers worked, at all. Maybe they wouldn't even question the powers' existence in the first place. Maybe Earth is like an amnesia planet, in a way: frequent crises cause displacement, and over time family heritages are forgotten...people don't remember that their great-grandfather was from Planet X or found a mysterious jewel in an old Egyptian tomb once, so they don't make the connection between their powers and their heredity -- except, possibly, later on down the road. Hmm, maybe Superman would be useful in this context after all...

Although something tells me that Earth-2 was pretty low on aliens from outer space, except for Supes himself...

8:08 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Wow. Lots to respond to!

Michael: I was taking my cue from Orwell in a lot of ways, and he didn't write 1984 until 1948. So just because WWII was over doesn't mean everything was a bed of roses. (Although it was better in North America than in Britain and Europe.) Anyway, it's not about so much whether the future would have been brighter as it is about what do I feel like putting together as a premise for an Earth-2 Legion.

Michael and Snell: My own take on the multiple-Earths/multiple Legions situation is that you don't need multiple Earths to have multiple futures. This is all stuff that hasn't happened yet. It might happen in any of a number of ways. We could get Kamandi or the Legion or Chris KL-99 or Tommy Tomorrow or JLA 1000000 or Thundarr the Barbarian. In some ways it makes things simpler.

anonymous: Thanks.

plok 1: You Legion types need a good psychiatrist, I think.

Join us! You know you want to.

And, but Superboy is young Superman! He had to start becoming a reporter at some point, right? When the Daily Star guy, George what's-his-head, introduces Clark to Lois and says he's a damn good reporter, I want him to have a basis for that statement. Bringing down the Degaton Empire with a space-mimeograph, Saturn Girl as Rosalind Russell, and Johnny Flashbulb pounding the pavement is a qualification if ever I heard of one.

H: Honestly, I don't know why all these alternate-history types insist on having Quebec secede from Canada. It's not necessary, desirable, or likely. Maybe they just do it because it's the only thing they think of when they think of Canada.

RAB: Well, as you almost certainly know, Iris and her descendants later became much more closely associated with the Legion. Which I liked! But it all went into the dumper when the threeboot hit. As for your other ideas, I like the Adventure-247-style Adult Legion a lot better than I like the immortal-JSA idea. If I want to read a JSA comic, I'll read a JSA comic. But that other one could be something. Collect up all the false starts and things that got revised away later, like Star Boy having powers that surpassed Superboy's, like Ultra Boy only having one super-power (penetra-vision)... It could work.

plok 2: The threeboot stuff was and is being written in a Crisis era, or so I believe, and therefore can't help but absorb some of its flavour... but other than that it's as close to an Awakening as you could hope to ask for. That was my conclusion when I started this blog and it remains my conclusion. (Not sure what Jim Shooter's take is going to be, though.)

Definitely not many aliens in the Golden Age. I can't think of a second one.

The Legion you're describing reminds me a bit of Kell-El (aka Superman-X) from this season of the Legion cartoon. Although providing guidance to anybody would be beyond him. It also seems kind of like a bunch of Stephen King-style gunslingers or Jedi knights. I'm not sure; I don't have much of a picture of it. A lot of what you're saying sounds like the kind of thing that's a good detail but shouldn't be mistaken for a core concept.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think New Earth should be the only one with a "future" -- maybe that's what could make it special?

Matthew, you nailed it: it's the Legion as my Jedi conceit from the comments the other day. "Gunslingers" would not be inappropriate. I don't know, I guess I was thinking how open and ungoverned the early Superman strips seem, the world not quite fully sketched-in, but full of extremely vigourous people doing their thing with very little time (or desire) for reflection. Throw in an analogical Cold War setting, and then turn them all loose to mobilize its defeat.

In other words, yeah: surface detail, but not a core concept, as your Newsboy Legion of Super-heroes (I think, anyway) is. In fact really what I've said there is just embroidery on what RAB said, when it comes down to it...

And by the way, I would totally read the adventures of Young Superman, two-fisted champion of the downtrodden! I know he's technically "the same" as Superboy, but imagine if he weren't! Imagine Lana Lang and Pete Ross and Smallville and young Lex Luthor and Kryptonite gone, and eighteen-year-old Clark Kent just wandering around doing brand-new stuff...

Oh. Kind of what you're talking about, right. Anyway, what a cool idea!

Unlike the independent Quebec of the future, I think...

Say, speaking of the threeboot

Is it just, pftt!, gone? What's going to happen to it? Has it simply been discontinued? Because I think that would be a waste of work...

10:58 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Young Superman, two-fisted champion of the downtrodden! I know he's technically "the same" as Superboy, but imagine if he weren't! Imagine Lana Lang and Pete Ross and Smallville and young Lex Luthor and Kryptonite gone, and eighteen-year-old Clark Kent just wandering around doing brand-new stuff...

Or, even, imagine it in Smallville! (I'm just embarking on a flight of fancy now.) Imagine Clark discovering that Chief Parker is corrupt, and deciding to take care of it the hard way: without breaking character, Clark uses the Smallville High newspaper and manipulates Pete and Lana and everyone into bringing him down with the truth and the power of the press and stuff. Because if you teach a man to fish...

It sounds a little like an episode of Smallville. But it doesn't have to.

If the other Earths don't have futures, what do they have?

As for the threeboot Legion, it's still there. It's the Legion starring in (Supergirl and the) Legion of Super-Heroes. Tony Bedard and Dennis Calero are just finishing up a nice little fill-in arc. There's some speculation that the revival Legion Geoff Johns is experimenting with in Action Comics is going to shoulder them aside, but I think that's just wishful thinking on the part of the speculators. I don't expect the threeboot Legion to go anywhere. I do, however, imagine that Shooter's going to bring a different sensibility to it than Waid did, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the generational stuff I noticed in Waid's (early) issues was swept aside.

Although I could be wrong. I noted in an earlier article that Mike Baron continued Gerry Conway's themes admirably when he took over Atari Force way back when, and I just noticed recently how Gail Simone did the same when she took over writing The Legion from DnA. So maybe Shooter will preserve more than I think he will.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They have eternal presents, and "conjectural" pasts.

Or at least, that's what they would have, if I was in charge. Who wants to open the can of worms represented by the question "what happened to the LSH of Earth-15", after all?

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice idea's. I like the ones about how the Earth-2 legion starts the first free press. That seems really in the theme of what the legion is. I actually think that all of the idea's here are good and would be very happy if the writers went with one of them, depite not being all that interested in earth-2. I think that they might cover this in the Legion of three worlds, that they're possibly doing for the aniversary.
And yeah who would'nt want to see the evil versions of our favorite Legionaires.

1:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were a few things depicted in Golden Age comics that realistically should be attributed to Earth-2's future, at least before COIE eliminated it, though only a couple touch on the 30th Century. GL Alan Scott found a time-traveller who called himself Knodar the Last Criminal in a 40's comic (All-American, I think) who later popped up in Infinity, Inc. during the Crisis. Knodar's only from the 25th Century though. I think there were a few Superman stories set in the 2950's, but those were published in the mid-50's during the switchover period. In the year 3000, there was a decendent of Bruce Wayne's who wore a Batman costume to help Earth defeat the invading Saturnians and freed the peaceful Saturnians from despotic rule. (Batman 26, published in 1945) Then in Batman 67 (1951), Dick Grayson (and later Bruce Wayne) are brought to 3051 to substitute for the Batman and Robin of 3051. People in the 31st Century (no specific year that I remember) once summoned the still-legendary JSA to save them from an alien race of chameleons, who could hold their shape 24 hours. (All-Star 56, published in 1951) So there's a few things out there, but nothing that would completely contradict an Earth-2 Legion, especially one set in the 2940's, which would also provide symmetry to the age difference between the JSA and JLA.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the 40's, whenever we saw heroes visiting the future, it was generally more of a Flash Gordon type scenario...also stuff cribbed from Weird Tales, Amizing Stories, etc.

I think the Earth-2 Legion would have been well and truly embedded in a pulp style tale.

Heh, imagine if National had drafted in that popular writer for the pulps, Edmond Hamilton, to create them...Maybe in the style of Captain Future? ;)

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, here's my idea.

It's the year 2945. The Solar System, ruled by the Council of Planets, based on Earth, is threatened by the machinations of criminal scientist, Luth-Or. Submit to his domination or he will unleash a barrage of doomsday plans that will destroy every planet.

A time travelling Superman comes across this state of affairs and decides to try and do something to help defeat Luth-Or. Each planet has its own humanoid race of aliens and Superman gathers together a group of teens, with amazing abilities or powers, to combat the various strikes made against the Solar System. In effect, he helps build an defending army. Saving the Solar System time and again and in honour of their achievements, the Planetary President appoints them the Guardians of the Solar System...Not just a Legion of heroes, but a "Legion of Super-Heroes" that would protect the planets from the threat of Luth-Or and other conquerors like him.

How's that?

6:35 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Man what an interesting mental game and conversation. I think a "Golden Age" Legion mini-series or graphic novel is really sellable, especially with the proper visuals. As Paul Newell says, very Flash Gordon or even Metropolis art-deco styling to the space craft, architecture, costuming, etc. The Orwellian overtone, the Newsboy Legion, great stuff. It seems a nice backdrop for a Ferro Boy sacrifice.

There were likely many Golden Age aliens, though I'm not sure about National. Villains certainly, Mr. Mind and many more in Capt. Marvel. Timely had the original Vision originally an alien cop from Smokeworld, which was both in outer space and in another dimension.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Who wants to open the can of worms represented by the question "what happened to the LSH of Earth-15", after all?

We've already got more Legions kicking around than we can use anyway.

Jackalyn: Ever since it was first mentioned, I've been seeing people invoke the 'Legion of 3 Worlds' story at every possible opportunity. I wouldn't be surprised if someone claimed it could cure la grippe. I, for one, am not going to believe in it until it's solicited. As for evil versions of the Legionnaires... well, we've got them already, haven't we? Lightning Lord, Cosmic King, Chameleon Chief, Sun Emperor...

I wonder if Sun Emperor and Dr. Regulus would get along.

lizrdprnce: Cool stuff. Yes, let's use all of that. Pretend it's all the 30th century, why not.

Paul: Perfectly workable. One thing though: it reminds me a little of that Legion 'Legends of the Dead Earth' Annual, where Wildfire tries to keep the Legion going all by himself down the centuries. The problem I had with it is he kept bringing in Braalians and Carggites and Durlans and what have you, people who have powers because everybody has those powers on that planet. But the Legion also always had a lot of people whose powers were unique in any society, and it's boring not to see any of them.

Adam: Actually, if DC's going to do anything with the Golden Age, I'd prefer they get Roy Thomas on the phone and get him to do All-Star Squadron all over again from the start. Give him from September 2009 through August 2015 to tell the whole DC World War II story. Never mind this Legion stuff, I want to see Alan Scott and Jay Garrick and the original Beefeater and the Crimson Avenger and Abin Sur and Dan Garrett and General Glory and Uncle Sam and Hippolyta and the Flying Fox and Max Mercury and the whole works. (Nice blog, by the way. Remind me to put it in my sidebar.)


What I don't get is why the notion of an Earth-2 Legion is so intriguing to everyone. I only wrote about it because plok was browbeating me into it; I certainly don't care if I ever see such a thing. Yet I run into speculation about it on message boards all the time. I guess that's why they make chocolate and vanilla.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't it explicitly stated somewhere pre-COIE that there was not a Legion in Earth-2's future? I vaguely remember the Legion being used as an example of differences between the two Earths, similar to Dr. Fate or the Martian Manhunter. Sure, there were alternate Legions (such as the evil one from Smallvile and the ones from LSH 300), but the first I remember hearing about a Earth-2 Legion was during the Glorithverse run, with some fans wishing that was actually the Earth-2 Legion.

Something I meant to mention about the All-Star Comics story was the method of time travel used. In the 31st Century, the time traveler caught a time-bus back to 1950. He was lucky he was at the terminal when he was, because the next time-bus travelling to the 20th Century didn't leave until two hours later. And to think people say time travel is too easy in DC these days.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

That probably was stated, but it hasn't stopped anybody from bringing it up.

A time bus? Rip Hunter probably has to lie down with a cold cloth on his forehead at the very thought of it.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I like it because I like the gonzo nature of the Golden Age -- and the Legion is just so darned orderly! It's not so much the Earth-Twoness of it all, it's the Golden Age aesthetic I yearn to see translated into the Legion's decidedly Silver Age future kookiness...not unlike Tolkien's made-up English expressions that might have developed out of its philological roots, but didn't. We did get the Silver Age, after all!

But what if we hadn't?

That's the whole source of my fixation with it, really. RAB's Lightning Man with his two oppositely-charged arms...

3:13 AM  
Blogger Reboot said...

Re: lizrdprnce
Why would it be a "Legion" of Super-Heroes anyway? After all, Justice Society/Justice League.

Why not a Corps of Super-Heroes, or a Century of Super-Heroes? A CSH would nicely get round the "no Legion" thing :)

3:42 AM  
Blogger Reboot said...

One other thought - while it's been exaggerated at times, there was certainly a heavier magic bent to GADC than SADC, which was all about the pseudoscience (with the SA LSH being 100% pseudoscientific in its' membership). Wouldn't that in and of itself affect how a "CSH" was made up?

3:49 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

plok: Orderly? Orderly?!

Reboot: Both good points. I think if I was on the ball I should have been able to come up with the Corps/Century/Battalion/Platoon thing myself.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Paul: Perfectly workable. One thing though: it reminds me a little of that Legion 'Legends of the Dead Earth' Annual, where Wildfire tries to keep the Legion going all by himself down the centuries. The problem I had with it is he kept bringing in Braalians and Carggites and Durlans and what have you, people who have powers because everybody has those powers on that planet. But the Legion also always had a lot of people whose powers were unique in any society, and it's boring not to see any of them."

Oh I think you could still work something like that in. The great thing about the Solar System is you also have the asteroid belt and all those moons to place alien races....almost 160 moons according to a table I checked.

It would be easy to have some races powerless, but say a couple of kids recieving lightning powers. :)

8:03 AM  
Blogger Reboot said...

Something else - names. Obviously, some (but not all) of the names would have been "reused" for the SA attempt at reviving/revising the *SH team. But just a thought on the JLA/JSA principle. Here's the non-"Big 3" (who played a tiny part, especially Superman & Batman who appeared I think once, while Wonder Woman was the secretary!) roster of the GA JSA:

Green Lantern
Johnny Thunder and Thunderbolt
Black Canary


Doctor Fate
Doctor Mid-Nite
Mister Terrific

Notice the breakdown, with most of the roster not having *man names, and a couple of scattered (title) * names. And, of course. only five got SA versions, and the SA Sandman was a flop.

Combination of thoughts to keep in mind when imagining a "CSH" roster.

> (Note: there was an issue of either Legion of Super-Heroes volume 4 or Legionnaires that reimagined the Legion as a Golden Age team. I'm not bothering to look up which one it was because I know nothing about it anyway other than that it existed. My expeditions into the Back Issue Mines have not yet surrendered this treasure to me. But my impression is that it was pretty cool.)

The basis for it was that they were all gimmick heroes (it was Legion-as-WW2-team ala JSoA, BTW, not a "LSH as they would have been imagined in the 1940s") - Cosmic Boy had a bunch of "magnets" that would individually stick to something and collectively stick to just about anything; Colossal Girl (Vi) was just really tall, Triplicate Girl was three sisters posing as one person like the Ladyhawks from Spider-Girl, Chameleon played dress-up like the Marvel Chameleon originally did, etc.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Paul: True.

Reboot: Yeah, but it's tricky, because the Silver Age Legion was actually kind of a pioneer when it came to their particular type of name. Did anyone use 'Lad' or 'Lass' as part of a superhero name before the Legion came along? I kind of think they didn't.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Escher is orderly, isn't he?



Oh God, I think I DO want to join you. So the AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!'s on me, I guess.


5:41 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Oh God, I think I DO want to join you.

Start with LSHv2 Annual #1 (1980).

8:38 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Just in case anyone ever looks in here again...

I picked up a copy of Legionnaires #54 the other day. That's the Golden-Age-pastiche-Legion issue mentioned above.

I liked it! I think they got it right.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What're you talking about? I look in here all the time!

1:13 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I didn't mean the blog in general, but older posts such as this one, where it seems like the conversation had coasted to a halt.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Magnus1964 said...

Back in the '70s, some Legion fans speculated that an Earth-2 Legion would likely model themselves on Power Girl, Robin, and the Star-Spangled Kid (then appearing in All-Star Comics as "the Super Squad"). The idea didn't have much traction because Power Girl didn't fly (back then, at least), and nobody could figure out how she'd break the time barrier by making prodigious leaps. For PG or the others to get to the future, they'd have to depend on the Legion to shuttle them through time. Enough had been written about prohibitions on time travel (which writers were free to ignore or emphasize at will) that it seemed like a bad idea to base an Earth-2 Legion on the idea.

Now, if you want to write an Elseworld's story about Billy Batson and the Newsboy Legion taking part in the "Newsboy Strike" of the late 19th Century, I'd love to read that...

8:16 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

For that I'd really rather use Freddy Freeman than Billy Batson.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Xander said...

Well, if you think the possibility of a LSH of Earth-2 is necessary to consider a few things:
a) This LSH debut in 2928-2929 (Superman debut in the 1938 and is a man in is mid-twenty, the story of the legion are set 1000 years in the future from the adolescence of Clark Kent);
b) On Earth-2 there is no Mon-El, but Halk Kar ;
c) On Earth-2 there is no Phantom zone technology;
d) Powergirl is the equivalent of Supergirl and knows Superman when he is 50 years old

7:12 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I suggested Halk Kar above, but your point about the Phantom Zone is a good one. If there's no Phantom Zone then the Halk Kar story can't work out like the Mon-El story, now can it. Which is fine; if things weren't going to be different there'd be no point to the exercise.

12:25 PM  

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