I guess a lot of people visited the blog Yesterday in the hopes of finding a new post celebrating my birthday. Well, as is my usual luck I had to work Yesterday and I got home pretty late so I didn´t go on the internet. But Today I wanted to do a new post - even if it´s a short one - giving props to one of my all time favorite comics, THE LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES.
Thanks to a lot of appointments at my doctor´s, the orthopedist and at the clinic in Markgröningen ( I´ll have to tell the tale how I wasted one of my free days with that one of these days ) I´ve already finished vol 10 of The Legion of Super - Heroes Archives and am halfway through vol 11.
TRAVELLING BACKWARDS AND FORWARD IN TIME
Since I still haven´t gotten past the first day of my Erlangen travel - logue I should probably cover the part how I got those Legion archive editions first. After the very taxing first day things started out rather quietly. Like I already mentioned I slept very good - even if the pillow was to soft for my taste - which is not always a given when you are sleeping in a hotel room. Since I had already made the acquaintance of the slippery shower floor I was very cautious while freshening up ( also not too long although not as extreme to qualify as a catlick ) . Speaking about acquaintances : during breakfast I had the good fortune of meeting up with Haggi, who longtime readers might already know from previous posts as the artist of the brilliant HARTMUT comics, and who was staying at the same hotel. Sadly that was the only time we could talk quietly about comics and stuff outside of the con since I didn´t get up that early for the rest of the con.
Now on the first day I already found out that my plans would not work out and I did a lot of things I have never done before. Since I had problems with my knee and was towing my trolley behind I was always taking the ramp instead of the stairs. On the second day I decided to leave my trolley at the hotel so this was naturally the day when I got the most and heaviest comics. So I spent a lot of time the day before going up and down that ramp until I decided to check out the dealers booth that was behind the ramp. They had some comics for 1 EURO but also a lot of DC Archive Editions at half price which is a real bargain so I got three.
There were more volumes of the Legion, but even for that price you can´t go crazy or you end up spending a hundred bucks or more for mediocre art and forgettable stories so I stuck to the ones I knew and loved from my comic reading youth, which were drawn by Dave Cockrum and Mike Grell.
I already had seen some of them in my regular comic shop but at full price they were just too expensive. There were some other comics I got there but I´ll go into detail about that when I do the full rundown of the comics I got in Erlangen. The only other thing I have to mention is that later on the same day I spent a few hours going through the " comics per kilo " table of the Sammlerecke ( I was too tired to continue on walking through the convention hall so I picked a table where I could spend a lot of time ) and made one of my luckiest picks ever : MV - Comix issue 23 from the 4th of November 1972. It is like the holy grail for german Legion fans.
Because aside from another chapter from ASTERIX AND THE SOOTHSAYER it also contains the first printing in the german language of ADVENTURE COMICS issue 326 and the story " The Revolt of the Girl Legionnaries ! "
Now the reason why this comic is so sought after by german Legion fans is the fact that it was reprinted in 1976 in SUPERMAN 7. SUPERBAND.
But not only was it reprinted here, since the MV Comics were done by the same publisher they used the same text and even the same layout as one can see as there was some space in the MV Comics they had to fill and they did the same in SUPERBAND 7. And it also was explicitly mentioned that this story had been published four years earlier in MV Comics 23.
So that was unusual as most stories that had been published in Germany before changed comic companies and most often got a new translation.
But SUPERMAN SUPERBAND 7 is a good example how comic stories of certain characters or groups like the Legion were published in Germany. The cover blurb reads " Everything about Superboy and the Legion " and while that is true to some extend it´s also a real hodge podge of Legion stories. Normally I wouldn´t delve further into it but thanks to my new Legion archive editions I know where some of these stories were taken from so I´m going to indulge your curiosity and see if I can track them all.
WHERE ARE MY LEGION DOGS AT ?
The first story " The Origin of the Legion ! " by E. Nelson Bridwell and Pete Costanze was first published in SUPERBOY issue 147.
The cover story is the second story in this book, FLAMMENDE FINSTERNIS in german or " The Final Eclipse of Sun Boy " from SUPERBOY issue 215.
I´m sure various bloggers have commented on the fact that Element Lad
should know better than to transmute the cloth of his costume into
asbestos. Being from the future he should know that it causes cancer.
Next up is STAY SMALL OR DIE, a six page story from SUPERBOY 214. In the german version the " Legion of Super - Heroes " blurb was erroneously changed for " I was with Sunboy " which was part of the previous story.
Following are 2 pages of character profiles from the " Lore of the Legion " section contained in SUPERBOY 202 with art by Dave Cockrum. These pages - and the ones following later - are where I learned the real names of the various Legion members since I read them at least a dozen times.
THEY CALL ME MISTER TYROC !
Following is one of the most infamous Legion stories " The Hero Who hated the Legion " from SUPERBOY 216 which introduced Tyroc
the black Legion member with the most " deus ex machina " - esque super power ever created. He could do whatever the story needed by screaming very loudly which was kind of fitting since he always reminded me a bit of the late Bobby Farell, front man of the 80s disco band BONEY M which was very popular in Germany. They always topped the german charts.
A lot of the Legion costumes were very disco. Or at least very skimpy.
I guess when I first read the story it made more sense since I was very young but looking back at it it from Today´s viewpoint a lot of the things in the story become really strange and bizarre. For those readers out there who still haven´t read the story, the Legionnaries visit the city of Marzan where they are met with outright hostility by the populace and their champion Tyroc, who is your typical " angry black guy with a chip on his shoulder " - much like John Stewart in the Green Lantern comic.
According to Mike Grell he had tried before to introduce a black member into the Legion ( there are differing versions out there which story that was ) and this was the final, more or less successful try. Tyroc and the people of Marzan are not on good terms with the Legio of Super - Heroes because they feel neglected by them and Tyroc refuses to be held down by the man. But in the end all their problems are neatly resolved because the " racial profiling " Tyroc accuses the Legion of doesn´t hold up due to the fact that Legion members have " blue skin, yellow skin or green skin. "
While the idea that a society 1,000 years in the future is above such things as racial stereotypes and skin color is very comforting and nice - and I guess that is what writer Cary Bates was going for - it is kind of strange that all black people are living in one city that is cut of from the rest of the world. Also Karate Kid´s skin wasn´t really colored yellow. But in later issues Mike Grell drew him very much to look like Bruce Lee.
Tyroc became a very difficult member not only because of his powers and so he first was used very sporadically and then Marzan was turned into a Brigadoon - like city that could only be accessed every thousand years. In the end the black brother gets the short end of the stick once again.
BEST OF THE REST
Next up is a double page spread of the Legion headquarters from ADVENTURE COMICS 403 followed by " The War of the Legions ! " by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and George Klein from ADVENTURE COMICS 355.
This is a bit strange because it was the second part of the story " The Adult Legion ! " from issue 354, which was never published in Germany.
Up next are two more pages of character profile pages by Dave Cockrum from SUPERBOY issue 202 and the already mentioned " Revolt of the Girl Legionnaries " story with a text insert between the first and the second part about Superboy and the Legion. Then we have another Dave Cockrum character profile page and the second story from SUPERBOY 216, " The Private Lives of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel ". In the story Bouncing Boy has lost his powers and has to prevail against a gang of hooligans. This was a good example how strict the Legion code was : Bouncing Boy had lost his powers so he had to leave the Legion. Of course he bounced back from this setback ( pun intended ) by getting hitched with Duo Damsel.
The SUPERBAND ends with two more Legion member profile pages, this time by Dave Cockrum and Curt Swan and taken from SUPERBOY 205.
Now while the selection seems very arbitrary you have to keep in mind that the available material was limited by the fact that a lot of the Legion stuff had already been published in Germany in issues of SUPERMAN / BATMAN or SUPERBOY. So the comics that were chosen for this SUPERMAN SUPERBAND were not of a certain period but rather seemed to fall into the category of important stories or at least stories that brought across infos or certain aspects of the Legion and it´s member like an early version of the Legion Oath. Together with the profile sheets - and the fact that the SUPERBÄNDE were album sized and of a more sturdy paper - it was an invaluable resource for german Legion fans so it was a part of almost everyone´s comic collection. I still got my battered and worn out copy.
LEGION LINKING EXTRAVAGANZA
So, as usual this post has become longer than intended but I think I have said all I wanted to say about SUPERMAN SUPERBAND 7 and if there´s something I forgot I´m sure to include it in one of the following Legion posts. Before closing for Today I have to give kudos to the websites that have helped to make this post a reality beginning with this THE DORK REVIEW post which provided the profile pages from SUPERBOY 202 and 205. BRONZE AGE BABIES has an extensive post about SUPERBOY 216 and this edition of COMIC BOOK LEGEND REVEALED examines the two stories which Mike Grell cites as his first attempts to introduce black characters.
A story I didn´t get to mention in this post is " The Legion of Super - Executioners ! " from SUPERBOY 205 which mostly stuck in my mind for the scenes where Timber Wolf goes on a rampage and binds Superboy with his own cape, Lana Lang as Inscet Queen stinging Ultra Boy in the back - but mostly because of the way Mike Grell drew Lana Lang in her tight sweater, ( one of the reasons why it took me so long to do this post was that I tried to find a picture of that but only found these inked pages ). I don´t know if I can get around to do a post on that issue but you can find post about it on EIGHTEEN WITH A BULLET , PRISM COMICS and also on Dave´s SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES blog.
More Legion goodies : BRONZE AGE BABIES also has entries on SUPERBOY 197 , SUPERBOY 208 , SUPERBOY 231 and SUPERBOY 233 and Dougie from the MATERIOPTIKUM blog waxes philosophic about SUPERBOY 204 which contained two stories : " The Legionnaire Nobody Remembered " and " Brainiac 5´s Secret Weakness ". STARS AND GARTERS has two Legion entries in its FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS - FEET OF FURY series, one from SUPERBOY 205 and RAGING FANBOY examines The Miracle Machine .
PULP AND DAGGER has a post about The Madness of Brainiac 5 Saga while THE COMIC TREADMILL takes a look at ADVENTURE COMICS 307 to 309 and issue 500 and MAJOR SPOILERS examines ALL - NEW COLLECTORS EDITION 55 , the tabloid sized treasury edition of the Legion. And if you want more Mike Grell art our fellow blogger Old Groove at DIVERSIONS OF THE GROOVY KIND cover his most famous series WARLORD in these posts about the first story in FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL 8 , WARLORD ISSUE 1 and MAKING A SPLASH : MIKE GRELL`S WARLORD part one and part two .
And last but not least I wanted to post this drawing of the Mighty Crusader´s Shield by Steve Rude for fellow blogger Terry Hooper Scharf.
BONUS LEVEL : POP, FRAGGLE ROCK AND ROLL ( AND MUPPETS )
After such a long post my faithful readers deserve something special, so since I already put a Yaya Han video in my last post here´s a street performer doing a wicked rendition of SULTANS OF SWING. Enjoy !
Okay, maybe one video is not enough after such a long post and since the weekend is approaching - and I probably can´t do another post before Monday - here´s a little something extra to help you bridge the time.
Some readers might be curious what " Die kleine Kneipe " by Peter Alexander is ( and if not I´m posting it anyway ). I don´t like all of his stuff - like when he walked around in women´s clothing in his movies - but that´s one of song I like, even if I´m not the biggest Schlager fan. It´s a song about the little pub at the end of the street where people used to meet and which have vanished almost entirely in our modern society.
Now since this is more for my german readers I wanted to also include a few videos for the rest of my followers. One of the things I´m enjoying right now is THE MUPPET SHOW as I recently acquired the first three seasons on DVD. Usually they are very expensive but amazon had a sale and I grabbed the opportunity. Maybe there will even be a new post about The Muppet Show in the future ( I already wrote about Roger Langridge´s excellent Muppet Show comic in one of my Gratis Comic Tag 2011 posts ).
But for now I want to post one of the really excellent musical numbers they do on the show : Billy Joel´s wonderful " New York state of mind ".
Right now I have started with the third season of THE MUPPET SHOW and when I´m finished I´m going to rewatch all the episodes - but in german.
You see, when the show was dubbed in german not only were all the spoken parts translated there are also different people singing the musical numbers in german so it´s like watching Earth 1 and Earth 2 versions of the same show. Except for the Swedish Chef. I´m watching him in german already because in the english version you can´t understand a word he says - which in itself might be funny but I prefer it better when I can understand him. The only negative thing with the german version is that they have the same finale every time. And I have the sneaking suspicion we german viewers are missing out because you can hear the guests and the Muppets continuing in the background.
It´s even more obvious with the third season because they changed the music and now it´s a bit out of synch with the old finale. Anyway, I also wanted to include a longer Muppet video so here is the 1987 special A MUPPET FAMILY CHRISTMAS. Not only is it a really wonderful Special it also served to introduce Jim Henson´s new show FRAGGLE ROCK.
Now the only reason why I knew this pop culture tidbit is that the guys at COMICGEEKSPEAK mentioned it in their Fraggle Rock spotlight and if you have now a nostalgic feeling and want to revisit those familiar stomping grounds again - or if you are a new visitor to it - here is the first episode.
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