TreasuryCast #67 – Superboy and The Legion of Super-Heroes

Rob is joined by writer and podcaster Sara Century to discuss ALL-NEW COLLECTORS' EDITION #c55, starring Superboy and The Legion of Super-Heroes!

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18 responses to “TreasuryCast #67 – Superboy and The Legion of Super-Heroes

  1. On the question of how the leader is chosen, their constitution prescribes regular elections, with the second most vote getter becoming Deputy Leader. The early stories had a sort of randomizer doing it, but it soon became straight one-Legionnaire, one-vote. A number of them were actually decided by readers, especially in the Internet era.

    It led to some crazy stories like when Saturn Girl fixed the election so she would be leader to face a certain threat. Wildfire was elected leader despite not winning the most votes because the winner, Superboy, was not a full-time Legionnaire. If you wonder why he ran anyway, he didn’t. You can vote for ANY Legionnaire even if they don’t campaign for votes. So those voters didn’t read their constitution too closely!

    Sara is correct that Cosmic Boy is default leader because if something happens that we’re in between elections and leaderless, the leader role reverts to him, or if unavailable either of the two other founders, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad.

    1. I’m fairly sure Wildfire was a reader-elected leader, an unexpected one that the writers never really knew what to do with.

        1. Great “put up or shut up” opportunity, though — lets the loudmouth complainer see how difficult the job really is.

  2. it’s not important enough to be rule 1 but it’s like rule 4. Any long runing superhero story that does not happen NOW! has time travel.
    Also remember wildfire does’nt REALLY HAVE a body! Bitter kids in wheelchairs LOVE THE GUY he’s sorta kinda their BEN Grim.
    AS a very casual Legion fan (you can only sell something based on Superboy so hard cuz superboy will not die) I know two things 1. the miricle machine can do anything. 2 Matter eater lad ate it once and went nuts.
    Anybody else aching for HULK/legion crossover? dream with me
    1 Time traper is clearly Kang right?
    2 Kang kidnaps Hulk (like he did A FREAKING LOT) to kill the original 3.
    3. Hulk has fought Superman 3 times but he’s never fought Superboy! Could he kill him? What does that do to space time?

    1. Rob, that’s all I knew about the Miracle Machine, too, and I think I learned it from this treasury. I would happily buy and read your crossover.

      1. Just correcting myself: I have the hardcover now, and I did NOT learn it from the treasury. Must’ve been the actual issue I remember the image from — Tenzil’s eyes filled with stars, just like the Monolith from 2001. Wait — do you think the Monolith was a Miracle Machine? Were the aliens Controllers? Since Marvel had the 2001 license and counted the series as in-continuity, do the Legion issues with the Miracle Machine count as crossovers? Were Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke Legion fans?!?

  3. Oh, yeah! What a great Treasury to talk about: even more than the first Legion treasury, I wanted this one soooooo much based on that cover, which I only saw, and gazed at longingly, in house ads. Alas, as I noted in the comments to your coverage of that other treasury, neither of them showed up in any magazine racks that I normally haunted when I was on the prowl for comics.
    As for the content of this book, and specifically the art – although I occasionally find myself defending Colletta’s inks, I’ll readily agree that he did Grell’s work no favors here based on the images in your gallery post. I agree it would have been much better if Grell had done the inking himself or, even better, if Terry Austin had done it – because that way we’d have gotten cameo appearances by Olive Oyl or Flash Gordon.
    Well, despite all of this, I hope Sara enjoys her hard-cover reprint of this book once it arrives.

  4. Known to Legion fans as That Damn Tabloid, due to the difficulty in find it at all, and then in a decent condition. They *will* store easily in a standard briefcase.

  5. Way back in the usenet Era this book was known as TDT, That Damned Tabloid. Impossible to find, and I’d you did find it, impossible to store, and yet containing two developments of long-term Legion interest: the wedding itself (sort of. We never do see the wedding as it happens in the real time-line) and the Time Trapper as Controller business. Maybe three, sort of since this kind of thing is why the Time Beacon gets built.

    I didn’t get to read it until a few years ago when it was reprinted in one of the Superboy and the Legion trades, so not proper sized even at that…

  6. Fun episode! I also struggled to enjoy The Legion of Superheroes. I tried to get into the title in several occasions since I enjoyed team books due to getting several superheroes all together. Unfortunately no matter how I tried, I always felt like I was late to the party and left out of the conversation. For years I thought it was due to my unfamiliarity with the characters, but, I was also unfamiliar with the vast majority of All-Star Squadron and I never had any trouble following that book. Oh well, DC and Marvel certainly gave me plenty of other books to enjoy.
    Now I’d like to raise a glass to DC for reprinting these beloved treasuries, and helping to preserve the format and the original stories presented in them.

  7. I really, really enjoyed this episode. Thank you! Rob, you were excellent as always despite your apathy toward the material, and Sara Century (great name!) was a delight.

    This is the second most important treasury in my personal pantheon, surpassed only by the superb Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali. And yes, I accept that the story is bonkers. That’s part of the appeal. I shall elaborate.

    My parents bought this for me when it came out, either in response to my pleading or because they saw it and picked it up. I can just imagine their hearts swelling with affection for me and their minds eagerly anticipating the hours of silence this comic would bring. Money was tight in the seventies, but oh my, was this worth it! I was but a wee bairn, neither big enough to ride any of the good rides nor old enough to tie my shoes. However, thanks to good parenting, good schooling, and good comics, I was beginning to read a little. I, of course, was already a huge Superman fan, but who was this Superboy? And the Legion of Superheroes in the 30th century? This was an unknown world to explore! Over the next few years, I returned to the story again and again until I could almost follow it, which is where I still am today. I studied and referenced the bonus material again and again just so I could follow additional Legion comics. For me, this comic worked exactly as Sara surmised it would — a spectacular sampler and primer that enabled me to understand Legion comics and encouraged me to buy them for years. I eventually got rid of my original copy, because the cover was gone and the newsprint was torn and folded like a true tabloid. But thanks to this podcast and a gift card, I have a hardcover replacement on the way! A few more random points:

    Time Trapper: In my heart, the Time Trapper will always be a Controller. This is where I learned what a Controller is! Also, no comments on the costume? He cribbed it from Destiny! Or actually, vice versa. Regardless, the design was phoned in, and Destiny wore it better. Finally, being defeated by Gleek does not diminish the Time Trapper as a threat. People underestimate Gleek at their peril.

    The Wedding: Of course they went to the wedding before they solved the crisis and defeated the bad guy! I thought this was one of the most sensible decisions in the story. When the resolution requires time travel, and there’s no immediate threat to one’s ability to time travel, the problem is not really that urgent. A wedding ceremony, regardless of its importance on a cosmic scale, is always urgent. All the guests are waiting, and that shrimp at the reception hall only has so long before it goes bad. These are truths you will soon be made aware of, Mr. Kelly!

    That’s it for now. Thanks for finally covering this. I’ve literally waited years, but the payoff was worth it.

  8. Love the Legion!

    Like many, I have never seen this tabloid in the wild and don’t own it. I suppose I will need to rectify that now that it has been rerelease.

    But dang, Colletta really strips Grell down to the studs. The pages are just so lifeless.

    The Time Trapper was a Controller, was the living embodiment of inertia, was even Cosmic Boy once. The real Trapper could never be beaten by Gleek. Always liked him more as a cosmic being than something as ‘mundane’ as a rogue Controller.

    Great show and great to hear Sara talk about the Legion!

  9. Fun discussion! I remember ads for this in some of my earliest comics. I don’t think I’ve ever laid eyes on the real thing, but from the sounds of things, copies are pretty scarce and pricey, so the deluxe reprint makes sense.

    There’s been a lot of talk on our network of late about Colletta. From everything I read, he WANTED to be the rush guy, because he wanted LOTS of work. He had a pretty extravagant lifestyle by all accounts, so if he could ink two books a week, mores the better. But of course he damaged his own reputation, and caught the ire of artists like Grell who were saddled with him.

    I look at Colletta as a slumming actor in lots of ways. Take John Carradine for instance. Fine actor, with one of the best voices in the history of motion pictures. But the man wouldn’t turn ANYTHING down. Yes, all the horror icons slummed a bit, but Carradine would literally do anything for a buck. And although he is fondly remembered, it’s with the caveat that he was in some TRUE stinkers way beneath him. Colletta could have said “No, I can’t do that, I already have a stack of pages to ink”, taken his time, and turned out great work he was obviously capable of. But he didn’t. He wrote that angry letter to the comic industry when Jim Shooter was pushed out at Marvel, because Vince knew his gravy train had just derailed. Shooter would give him all the work he could take, just to keep those trains running on time, artistic integrity be damned.

    The story sounds absolutely bonkers, and in that way, the Legion really was a closer analog to the X-Men than the New Teen Titans. The continuity was almost inpenetrable at times. I bought the title spoaradacially, but I don’t think I ever really knew what was going on. It was more like “Oh, hey, Mon-El is on the cover. I like him”.


  10. Great episode, Rob. Sara was a delight. Hopefully you’ll have her on again soon.

    I’ve had this treasury since I was a kid in the 80’s. Picked it up at my local comic store. I had always seen ads for it in other comics so when I saw it, I thought I’d struck gold! It was so cool.

    The Grell issues were what got me hooked on the Legion. I think it was probably because I was 11 and all the girls were 80% naked.

    One correction to your discussion. No, Saturn Girl was not in a gown. She was rocking’ bell bottoms on her wedding day. They came in handy for movement as she and Lightning Lad ran under the laser gun salute being fired about three inches over their head! Speaking of the wedding, it’s been a while since I read this. I forgot about Lightning Lad’s “oh well” moment when he was going to commit a maitre d murder-suicide with his wife on their honeymoon because they were ALMOST out of air! Saturn Girl might want to call Lawyer Lad and check on a space annulment.

    They threw in some fun Legion cameos, too: The Subs, Duplicate Boy, Rond Vidar ( who always dressed like a space maitre d), and the miracle machine, which was always this weird looking deus ex machina that would pop up now and then. My favorite was when Matter Eater Lad actually ate it. That actually happened.

    My favorite part is the history lesson breaking down the order of when Legionnaires joined. I used to have it memorized when I was a kid. By the way, it was illustrated by James Sherman who is secretly the BEST Legion artist. Unfortunately he only did about three issues.

  11. What a FUN episode, because Sara clearly loves the Legion, and Rob clearly loves the format (and hates Vince Colletta’s inks!). I remember seeing the ads for this book and then being wowed by the all Grell cover, and then opening the first page to see….Colletta. 🙁 One of my all-time greatest comic-book disappointments. Why in the world use the super-sized format if you’re going to erase the majority of the backgrounds?!? Uggh.

  12. My favorite treasury comic, just edging out Howard The Duck!

    I used to try and make Science Police laser rifles out of my Tinker Toys.

    The best part was the Who’s Who entries in the back, with Element Lad’s awesome one-time only Kirby Kostume, and Shrinking Violet hanging out with the 70’s aliens.


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