A THUNDERSTORM SO BAD WE COULDN’T SEE ANYTHING FOR 30 MINUTES, A SEMI-TRUCK ON FIRE, AND BEAU SMITH… OF ALL THINGS…

KC Carlson & friend

KC Carlson & friend


A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

Hello, I’m glad to be alive.

Johanna and I have been on a short vacation, driving from Madison, WI, to Richmond, VA, to visit her parents to see their new home (and to pick up a few heirlooms that they no longer wanted). Plus we encountered the awful things in the headline above. Hands down, the worst was Beau… But I’m getting ahead of myself as usual…

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES SILVER AGE OMNIBUS VOLUME 2

Legion Of Super-Heroes Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 2

Legion Of Super-Heroes Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 2


This chunky volume shipped about a week ago, on June 27, and of course we bought one. That evening — before ripping off the shrink wrap — I played a mental guessing game as to who was going to write the Forward/Introductory Text Piece. There’s only so many people around these days that can still write intelligently about the LSH, since the Legion has seemingly all (except for one member) disappeared from the pages of recent DC comics.

It turns out that all my guesses were wrong about who wrote the introduction. After getting the book out of its wrapping, I jumped to the contents page where I was stunned and shocked to see the words “Forward by K.C. Carlson” — to which my first reaction was “when did I do that?” followed by my usual frustration of seeing my name “misspelled” again. (“KC” is not initials, so there are no dots in it. KC Carlson is my professional name. I’ve been using it for writing work for almost 50 years.)

ANYWAY…

Legion Of Super-Heroes Omnibus Vol. 1

Legion Of Super-Heroes Omnibus Vol. 1


After the “when did I write an Intro for the Omnibus?” thoughts stopped churning in my head, I remembered that I had written a couple of Forwards for the Legion of Super-Hero Archives from a decade or so ago, and most likely it was picked up from there. A trip to my bookshelf confirmed that I was correct. My Forward was first written for The Legion of Super-Hero Archives Volume 4 in 1994. (Since I was already at the bookcase, I also confirmed that the cool Forward that Mike Gold wrote for the Legion of Super-Heroes Silver Age Omnibus Volume 1 originally appeared in The Legion of Super-Hero Archives Volume 1 in 1991.)

Part of the reason that they did appear again without us knowing about it (although I’m pretty sure that Mike probably knew; he seemed to know everything) was because both of us probably signed what were then called “buy-out vouchers”. They probably had a more “legal” name, but everybody I knew called them buy-out vouchers, because that’s what they were. In real-world terms, we were paid very well for writing these pieces in exchange for DC never having to pay us again if they decided to re-use the piece. Who would have thought in 1994 that DC would need to reprint something in 2018 that I considered a one-time thing back then? Certainly not me. (I hope former DC VP Terri Cunningham, who handled payments and related matters, isn’t reading this. She’d probably pull me into her office and slap my head silly. Or just look at me confusedly, just like pretty much all the DC VPs did to me back then.)

WHERE’S THAT LSH REVIVAL, BOYS?

I’m sorta surprised that DC even remembers that the Legion characters are still around. I think the last appearance of a Legionnaire was Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen) in DC Universe Rebirth Special #1 — the giant-sized 80-page single comic book from May 2016 that “rebooted” (can we still use that word?) the entire DC Universe.

Months later, in Batman #9, she is shown as being incarcerated in Arkham Asylum as an inmate known only as “Doe” who steams up a glass door with her breath and draws the LSH symbol with her finger. She later fleetingly appears in Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, “The Button” crossover between Batman and The Flash, where she’s seen screaming about the death of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and Doomsday Clock, where she assists Rorschach II’s escape from Arkham.

Loose talk over the last couple of years had it that both Jim Lee and Geoff Johns each wanted to work on a new LSH series, but since both of them are most likely the two most overbooked people at DC Comics, that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. And recent personnel changes at DC seem to have moved Johns up and out of DC (but still at Time Warner) pretty much altogether.

This story is not over yet.

BY THE WAY…

Adventure Comics #346, Jim Shooter joins the Legion

Adventure Comics #346, Jim Shooter joins the Legion


Oops. Almost forgot to mention that The Legion of Super-Heroes Silver Age Omnibus Volume 2 hardcover is 580 pages of Silver Age teenage fun, mostly written and drawn by old men. That would change soon — and it actually happens in this volume! Ladies and gentlemen — Jim Shooter in his debut as a 13-year-old professional comic writer! It collects Adventure Comics #329 through #360, plus material from Superboy #124 and 125.

MEANWHILE, IT’S CHRISTMAS IN JULY!

KC & Beau, the early years

KC & Beau, the early years


While in Richmond, Johanna and I were joined by the ever-lovely Stephen Scott Beau Smith (we get to just call him Beau because that Smith-thing is just too confusing) and his actually-lovely wife Beth. We had a very fun time trading old and new stories. (I’ve been stopping off to see Beau and Beth for over 20 years of driving back and forth from Virginia to Wisconsin, and they’ve offered me many a warm bed and a good meal on overnight stops in my nomadic travels.)

Disney's Christmas Classics

Disney’s Christmas Classics


Beau’s currently working for Dean Mullaney (yet another old friend) at the Library of American Comics/IDW, and, true to form, Beau handed me one of their books after our meal together. It’s the Disney’s Christmas Classics hardcover book that was originally released last year (which I somehow missed). I doubt that Beau could have known this, but, while I originally missed the book, I was very familiar with its contents!

Every December beginning in 1960, the Walt Disney Comic Strip Department would produce a two-to-four week brand-new Christmas comic strip starring their characters (most of them from their popular feature-length cartoons like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Peter Pan or The Jungle Book). Notably, Disney’s biggest stars — Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck — were sidelined! Many of the Disney Villains were annually spotlighted in various schemes to somehow ruin Christmas!

The strips ran every Christmas from 1960 to 1997 with the exception of the years from 1988 to 1991. The series restarted in 1992, with more of an emphasis on the current movie characters (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), finally retiring with The Little Mermaid in December 1997.

What Beau couldn’t have known, when he handed me the book, that I was a regular reader of many of these strips in their original newspaper presentation! What an awesome surprise!

________________________________

KC CARLSON is almost back to normal. Whatever that is.

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. It’s KC, dammit!

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