For 11 continuous years from 1981, the magazine Amazing Heroes kept fans and professionals informed with industry news, comics creator interviews, histories of comic book characters and reviews.
Published by Fantagraphics Books, the issues contained mainly straightforward material, veering away from controversial subjects which were often analyzed in other comic book magazines of the time.
In that run of just more than a decade, the Legion of Super-Heroes was the subject of many articles.
AMAZING HEROES #15 (1982):
Adorned by a brand-new Keith Giffen illustration of the Legion battling Darkseid’s servants, this issue featured an interview with the artist himself, one of the first he granted as his star began to rise in the industry.
Among his revelations to interviewer Kevin McConnell are that he was a self-taught artist, his favourite inker on his pencils was Larry Mahlstedt, and that he loved the Legion so much he volunteered to draw the series.
AMAZING HEROES #46 (1984):
This issue featured the first comprehensive index to all the characters associated with the Legion, right down to minor cast members such as the Knights of Nadir, Anti-Lad and Questar, as well as a listing of all Legion rejects at the time.
Compiled by Ray Chan, it stands as a pretty good reference guide to Legion lore prior to 1984.
AMAZING HEROES #88 (1986):
Ever wonder what happens when a Legionnaire falls sick? Kevin Gould answers this question as he takes an in-depth look at the medical facilities and treatment of the infirm in the Legion’s time.
Here you’ll read all about Medicus One, Dr Gym’ll, the intergalactic Medi-Complex, Quarantine World, rejuvium, Seeronian healing chairs, cellular trim-rays, space fatigue, and Princess Projectra’s susceptibility to a hundred different space diseases.
Strangely, there is no mention of Infectious Lass.
AMAZING HEROES #91 (1986):
This special CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS issue included a run-down on all the characters who died in the series, compiled by Mark Waid (in his pre-pro days) and Mike Tiefenbacher. Among the Legion obituaries are those for Kid Psycho and, of course, Supergirl.
The issue also featured other CRISIS articles, including interviews with Perez, Ordway and Thomas, and a comprehensive listing of every character who appeared in the saga (did you know the Earth-2 Insect Queen had a cameo?).
AMAZING HEROES #130 (1987):
Don Rosa used to write a column for the magazine, named the Information Center, run much like Bob Rozakis’ Answer Man section in DC Comics, where fans wrote in with questions about comics.
In this issue, Don provides a listing of all known appearances of Dev-Em and Insect Queen, as well as Mon-El (when not with the Legion).
AMAZING HEROES #138 (1988):
This was the second issue of the popular swimsuit series ran annually by the magazine.
Among the many sketches of heroes and heroines in swimsuits was one of the Legion of Substitute Heroes by Ty Templeton.
AMAZING HEROES #172 (1989)
Seven years later, Keith Giffen returns to the magazine with another extensive interview, this time profiling the Five Years Later run of the LEGION.
Among the revelations are that the youth-oriented codenames would no longer be used, and that the members would be wearing street clothes or paramilitary uniforms.
Giffen mentions the debut of new Legionnaires, including Kono, Devlin O’Ryan (spelled Orion), Ivy (an eight-year-old who can speak telepathically with plants), Celeste (a light energy woman), and Ryko, a cosmic vampire. Of these, Ivy never really joined up, instead spending time at the Quarantine facility for super-powered kids, while Ryko ended up as a villain.
In other Legion-related articles, Robert L Plunkett takes a look at the Legion’s Ten Silliest Moments, Ginger Rapsus investigates religions in the Legion’s time, while Johnny Carruthers offers possible solutions to the paradox of the Tornado Twins: specifically how, as descendants of Barry Allen, they came to be after Barry was killed in CRISIS.
AMAZING HEROES SWIMSUIT SPECIAL #3 (1992):By now, the swimsuit special was so popular that it had its own title, and was distanced from the magazine proper.
This third issue featured a Kerry Callen piece in which we see (or rather, DON’T see) the Legion’s Invisible Kid, Milo Manara’s Butterscotch, and Sue Storm at the beach.
In another piece, Ty Templeton draws the Legion of Super-Pets enjoying a swim.
This was also the last of the swimsuit specials as the magazine folded not long after publication.
The next few entries on this Blog will feature more Legion-related articles from other comic book magazines. Stay tuned!
Bits Boy runs the comprehensive Legion completists’ site Bits of Legionnaire Business.