A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson
It’s gotten to the point that I don’t even notice when DC Comics collects some of the work I edited for them in the 1990s. (It happens so infrequently these days.) It was Roger who first pointed out to me that there was a “new” Legion of Super-Heroes trade paperback collection in the latest Diamond Previews for books shipping in April, reprinting stories from my run as editor.
“New” is in quotes because this book is based on an earlier TPB from 1999 titled The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Beginning of Tomorrow. That volume collected stories from both of the Legion titles of the era — the core book Legion of Super-Heroes and the then- (relatively) brand-spanking new Legionnaires spin-off title, confusingly starring a younger version of the original team. A lot of us LSH folk back then hoped this TPB would be the first of a series eventually collecting all of that seemingly beloved run. (LSH fans swarmed the creators at comic conventions for years while the series ran, topped off by a congregation of over 100 fans in a Chicago hotel lobby late into the night. I left around 1 AM and it was still going strong.)
But it was not to be. To date, that book was the only collection of that era of the LSH. Almost every other run was eventually collected, most notably the first (and best !?!?) Mort Weisinger-edited 1960s series as hardcover archives. That was famously one of the better-selling Archive Editions along with the Superman and Batman Archives.
IS BOOK ONE JUST THE BEGINNING?
Luckily, this new volume (encouragingly titled Legionnaires Book One) is a more fortified collection than the original 1999 TPB, offering up more stories and featuring a more iconic cover (from the 1993 Legion of Super-Heroes #0) than the original collection. For the record, it collects Legion of Super-Heroes #0 and #62-68 and Legionnaires #0 and #19-24 (that’s five more issues of comics beyond the 1999 TPB). I hope that the current collected book editors take a little more care this time around. They should include ALL the covers (without overlapping them) and tone down the garish background color choices a bit from the original front-and-back matter.
A pretty great lineup of talent is included here, including writers Mark Waid, Tom Peyer, and Tom McCraw (moonlighting as writer/idea-guy when he wasn’t coloring ALL the LSH stories of this era)! Artists include Stuart Immonen, Jeffrey Moy, Lee Moder, Ron Boyd, W.C. (Cory!) Carani, and a few others (but these were the main guys)! Our long-suffering letterers were Pat Brosseau and Bob Pinaha, and the Assistant to the Stars was (and in many ways still is!) Mike McAvennie. I don’t know what I would have done without him. It feels great to type all their names again after so many great memories (and stories!).
MORE HIDDEN GEMS STILL LOCKED AWAY
I’m not really sure why the volume starts here, other than it’s pretty tempting to start a book with a #0 issue. But I have to tell you (and remind DC if they’re reading this) that a lot of the earlier issues of both titles are pretty cool as well. Those early stories have many future superstar artists lurking in them. I’m very proud of the fact that the earliest issues of Legionnaires were illustrated by Chris Sprouse and Adam Hughes, all held together by inker supreme Karl Story.
Stuart Immonen fans should seek out his earlier issues of LSH to see the evolution of a superstar artist (especially since there’s just the one story, his last on the Legion, by him in this TPB). Stu was on the book for a long time before he got the call to pencil Superman (both Adventures of and Action Comics), which is a job you just don’t turn down when asked. Colleen Doran was also a great LSH fan, and she illustrated many wonderful (and occasionally controversial) LSH tales during this era, whenever she had a break in her always-very-busy schedule.
WHY THE WHAT?
So why is DC suddenly producing a new collection of the Legion of Super-Heroes during a time where those characters have barely been seen for at least a year? Hmmm… would it have anything to do with a certain co-publisher/artist at DC thinking that it would be fun to draw the LSH for a bit? Seeing as how he and his wife have nine children, it sounds like he’d have plenty of reference for drawing youthful characters. In space. In the future.
Expect more LSH news in the coming months… I hope I hope I hope…
Long Live the Legion!
LEGIONNAIRES BOOK ONE is 384 pages of LSH goodness from most of the folks mentioned above. It’s scheduled to be in comics stores on April 12. But don’t forget to pre-order it THIS month!
KC (Editor Lad) CARLSON edited the Legion of Super-Heroes “franchise” from late 1992 to 1998 for DC Comics. He has been reading and loving the series since about 1966. And it has been a looooooooooooooong several years without a regular series. Hopefully not too much longer before news of a new revival of the series! My Flight Ring is getting twitchy for some action!
P.S. The column title this time doesn’t mean anything. Or does it…? LLL!
WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. Yay! It’s finally a New Year. Hey, 2017 — nobody dies this year, okay!?!