Monday, April 07, 2014

Mon - El spells Monday. Das ist M - O - N - D

I know I said I would put the DAYS OF FUTURE PAST cover homages in the next post but I have decided to do a different Deja Vue post Today.

Usually I put up ONE original cover followed by all the various cover homages from different series. If I manage to get it into one single post.

Now some people may think that I started posting these redone covers because I wanted to comment on how unoriginal the comic industry has become since it has to recycle old covers. But that´s not it. I´m not against using old covers as inspiration or model for a new cover. Well, unless it´s EVERY cover like on the DEADPOOL series. Now mind you, this is only speculation on my part but IF the cover artists do homage covers for every other issue I start wondering if anything exciting happens on the book. And if it does : why isn´t it on the cover ? Wouldn´t that be better suited than version xy of a famous cover that has nothing to do with the series and only reminds readers how good comics should be ?

But I´m not here to bash the DEADPOOL series, or books since for some mysterious reason he always have to have at least half a dozen spin off series. Man, I wish somebody would put him out of his misery for good.

Okay, back to cover homages, sometimes they are a cop out. No doubt about it. Sometimes the artist has no idea so cover xy gets rehashed.

And there´s nothing wrong with that as long as it´s done in a good way, or even better yet in an unexpected way, like showing the scene from a different angle, interchanging bad guys for good guys or only using the basic layout while putting your own spin on it. Sometimes the same cover is used again to show the readers that this new story is either connected to the old story or that it is kind of like that old story. As a kind of visual shorthand if you will. David Mack - as an example - used the same images over and over again in one of his first KABUKI series to get an effect of connection in the story. Without having to show previous scenes in full you instantly knew what a certain person was feeling or thinking because that was what that particular image represented. There also was the effect that a mood was heightened through constant image repetition.

Like I said : visual shorthand. It´s like in Doctor Who when the words " Bad Wolf " are used. It´s a complex code that has so much info on so many levels that it´s difficult to explain to the uninitiated. Back to topic.

Now that we have cleared up that I´m not posting these homages because I find them boring let´s get to the covers of this post. Unlike most Deja Vue posts that are all different versions of the same cover in this post all covers are homages to different covers but all of them have to do with one of my favorite comic series : The Legion of Super - Heroes.

And since originally this post was supposed to be all the DAYS OF FUTURE PASTS covers here´s the Legion version ( I think it´s by Bob Layton ).

I don´t know who did the next one but of course it´s an homage to the first issue of NEW TEEN TITANS by Marv Wolfman and George Perez.

The Legionnaires on the cover really don´t have the same powers as their Titans counterparts or a similar personality, which is something George Perez would probably have done. You know, back in the day when New Teen Titans was the best series published by DC the Legion of Super - Heroes was also one of their top sellers. I always wondered why they never made a crossover of these two groups of super powered teenagers. Aside from Robin I don´t think any Teen Titan ever met a Legion member.

Okay, I know the artist of the next one. It´s Kevin Maguire with another version of his cover for the first issue of the post crisis Justice League also known to fans as the Giffen League or the Bwa - ha - ha League. And instead of the heroes this time it´s the Legion antagonists the Fatal Five.

Here´s another homage cover, this time from Rich Buckler and it took me quite a while to track down the original cover for this on the internet.

Of course I first looked if there really was a series called ALL STAR LEGION. No such luck. Then I looked for ALL STAR SQUADRON and also came up empty handed. Because ( as I finally found out ) it´s ALL - STAR SQUADRON with a hyphen. Here is the cover that was used as a template.

It was also used as a variant cover for issue 1 of the JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA by Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham after INFINITE CRISIS ( back when he wrote good comics ). You know, this is our first homage cover that was used in an actual comic series. And I even read the series.

And speaking about reading series, as I was going over the covers of ALL - STAR SQUADRON I realized that this is a series that I should have read.

First of all you have the brilliant Roy Thomas writing it and he´s especially good when it comes to these World War Two super hero teams like Justice Society, Young All - Stars, Invaders or Liberty Legion. Then you have great artists like Curt Swan, Paul Kupperberg, Jerry Ordway, Pablo Marcos, Dan Jurgens and Mike DeCarlo on it. And then you have just dozens of characters in one team. Most of whom I knew nothing about before I read the Geoff Johns JSA like the Seven Soldiers of Victory or Amazing Man.

But wait, it gets even better because you have these crossovers between super heroes from Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth 3, Earth X and Earth Prime.

I know that some people get a headache from that but I just love this stuff. They even had some crossover issues with CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. Which reminds me, DC never did a companion book to Crisis like Marvel did for such big crossover events like ACTS OF VENGEANCE ( nope, they really did this ) or INFERNO ( which I should continue reviewing one of these days ). I mean they would have to do a number of these books since Crisis crossed over into all books DC had at that time. Okay, you probably read most of the important crossover series but there must be some interesting ones - or at least some strange or bizarre ones - left.

In any case, I´m definitely going to look for this series on my next visit to the Sammlerecke. Or maybe I can find some issues in Erlangen now that my boss has given me a free Saturday so that I can go all four days. But ALL - STAR SQUADRON definitely looks like a book worth reading to me.

And speaking about stuff worth reading, if you want to read more of Roy Thomas´ work our good pal and link partner Groove from DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND ( which can be found on the blogroll ) posted issue 29 of MARVEL PREMIERE just Yesterday featuring the Liberty Legion. The title is " Lo, the Liberty Legion ! " with art by Don Heck and Vince Coletta.

Okay, back to the Legion of Super - Heroes homage covers, this is issue 54 of LEGIONNAIRES, part of the Threeboot Legion one - two punch.

With all the negative things you can say about ZERO HOUR, as a mini series that was supposed to clean up DC´s continuity and didn´t, some of the fall out of it like the two new Legion series or the stellar STARMAN series was just incredible. And Catwoman wasn´t a prostitute anymore.

I´m not sure if I stayed on the Legion books until they wrapped up, I think I jumped ship just four or three issues shy of that which is a shame. As far as I can recall I had to shorten my pull list and I wasn´t into LEGION LOST. When Panini Germany tried to restart the Legion franchise here after that particular storyline I was a bit miffed because everybody was talking about how great that series was and it was such an important prolog to the stories in the Monster Edition and it was referenced continuously within the stories. But what I could read of LEGION LOST has only encouraged me in my belief that this series was not written for me. So it might have been for the best that they didn´t publish it in german.

Oh yes, the original cover in this case is ALL - STAR COMICS 3 featuring the Justice Society of America. Strangely enough it´s an all male group.

Another popular design was what I like to call the " six square special " cover which was also used for WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW ? It was used for the cover of ADVENTURE COMICS 300

as well as for THE LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES issue 301

and for LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES 41, which introduced the Legionnaire clones. Yes, there was a clone saga that didn´t suck and it was from DC.

It was also used on issue 24 of the Keith Giffen run on the Legion.

The next cover homage is issue 46 of LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES ( do we even care which volume that´s from at this point ? ) by Jim Shooter

which is a nice throwback to ADVENTURE COMICS 346. It´s a very good example of the point I tried to make earlier because while it is exactly the same scene the different camera angle makes it look more exciting.

With the next cover we turn things around a bit because this time a Legion cover is referenced. This is the cover for issue 15 of EDISON REX

after one of the greatest stories in Legion lore, The Great Darkness Saga.

I have to admit, I never read it. Or I may have read some parts of it in spanish or german but I never read the entire storyline. Shame on me.

It was one of the few trades that DC published in the 80s and though I was a big Legion fan I never read it. I mean this was always in stock so how good could it be ? You know what also always was in stock ? The Judas Contract. Boy, was I stupid. Anyway, a few years back amazon offered the deluxe hardcover at a bargain price and I waited too long. I was short on money or I just had ordered something before or whatever and now it´s out of stock. It´s like I always say : if you seize such an opportunity and the comic sucks it´s still better than if you don´t and it´s the best ever.

Coming back to homages in the concluding chapter of The Great Darkness Saga, Legion of Super - Heroes issue 294 Keith Giffen does this double page spread after Michelangelo´s famous Creation of Adam fresco .

You can find more of these homages in comics and other media at this article from IMAKINARIUM , it´s in spanish but with nice pictures.

Since I mentioned Mon - El in the title ( just for a play on words that only works in german ) I have to include him in some form. Here he is looking a bit miffed on the cover to LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES 4 by Keith Giffen

and here´s Jim Lee´s version of it ( also an issue 4 ).

It´s really getting late for me so it´s time to come to an end. I started this post with a cover that was not so much an homage but rather an altered cover with a crossover that never happened between the Legion of Super - Heroes and The Dark Phoenix. Here´s another imaginary crossover featuring the Legion and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

The cover used for this cool combo is LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES 281.

And for anybody who wants to know, the original cover for the Legion / Dark Phoenix cover is LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES 277, the first chapter of one of my favorite Legion stories, the great REFLECTO SAGA which sadly hasn´t been collected by DC in trade or hardcover format yet.

And last but not least, here´s a gorgeous pin up by Anthony Carpenter with a team up of the JSA´s Green Lantern, Alan Scott, and Saturn Girl.

Once again, here are the usual kudos to websites and dropping the links I found during the making of this post. I want to mention PENCIL INK one more time since I found the cover to Legion of Super - Heroes 281 there.

Thanks also to the guys from SUPER - TEAM FAMILY for the Legion / Dark Phoenix and Legion / Guardian crossovers. Go to their website to check out all the other cool combos they have like Indiana Jones and the Hulk

or Dexter and The Spectre ( most awesome crossover EVER ).

Also worth mentioning is COMIC COVERAGE, who has a nice post on all variations of Crisis to Infinite Earths 7 , of which I posted a few.

Well, basically it´s all the covers which have a fallen hero who is carried by another hero but it is an impressive collection nonetheless. Other Legion related links I found during my research is an interview with Paul Levitz from NYC GRAPHIC NOVELISTS , EARTH`S MIGHTIEST post titled WHO THE HELL IS KEITH GIFFEN ? that counts down his top ten works ( and you all know how I like my top ten lists ), the TOP TEN BRONZE AGE WRITERS from COMIC BULLETIN by Andrew Wahl and SCANS DAILY´s Great Darkness summary post . I also found 2 new blogs you might check out : SEDUCTION OF THE INDIFFERENT and COMIC BOOK VIOLENCE . And this ends post number 447 whichs means I have only three more to go till post number 450 which will hopefully be on this blog´s big anniversary.

Since most videos you find on YouTube about the Legion of Super - Heroes are from the animated series ( and you should have already seen all the episodes ) Today I´m posting a video I just watched this Sunday instead.

This would be better suited for a Halloween post but since it´s still a few months till then I´m posting it now. I just found a few cartoons from the Doctor Seuss series I didn´t know since we never get the good stuff here in Germany. It´s HALLOWEEN IS GRINCH NIGHT and I hope you enjoy it. 

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest


Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

All Star Squadron (you could NOT acronym it like JLA...ASS??) was an EXCELLENT title with cameos by the original 1940s Aquaman, Captain Marvel, and a host of others. They killed it off for Young All Stars after Crisis in the 1980s. BIG mistake. There is a DC Showcase Presents book 1 of ASS (in black and white of course and in B&W it looks GORGEOUS).
Roy Thomas' last great comic series.

SUBZERO said...

Thanks for the info. I should know these things but I guess I buy all the wrong SHOWCASE books.

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Odd. The Giffen Mon El cover makes him look tough, like he could bitch-slap Darkseid on his ass and tell him to kiss his Legion Flight Ring. The Lee cover makes him look more like he's contemplating whether to buy the strawberry or banana iced doughnuts. Giffen has the best cover. hmmm. Strawberry iced doughnuts....which I can't eat as I'm diabetic but...hmmm.

Arion said...

What an amazing post. I always love to see homages and reinventions of classic covers. Days of Future Past has been redone dozones of times, but I had never seen a Great Darkness Saga homage like the one your posted. So many great images.

Long Live the Legion!

SUBZERO said...

Thanks for the kind words.

First of I have to say that I owe a lot of these reinventions to other websites who tirelessly put them out. There are dozens who have done this for years.

The reason why I decided to feature some of them on my blog is that I have come across some covers from german or spanish comics or fanzines that you don´t find that often on the internet. Like the Edison Rex cover that´s an homage to the great Darkness Saga. Although I have to say that issue 15 was released on the 2nd of this month so not many people have seen it.

I´ll try to do more Legion content in the future.

Well ( duh, to myself ) where else.

And the Giffen cover of Mon - El really looks better. All it needs is a cover blurb that says : It´s ON, bitch !

Aidan Lacy said...

These are great covers. Thank you for ncluding my " All star Legion". I have a theme where I reimagine publisged covers as Legion pieces.

and week by week until Dc pick up the pen..the Legion in its multiple incarnations will continue to grow