Friday, October 20, 2017

THE WRITE STUFF: PT 6



SMALLVILLE 32 (2009)
This was a glossy product published in London by Titan Magazines, and devoted to the CW television series of the same name.
    As fans know, the show's version of the Legion debuted in Season 8, along with the Persuader and shortly after, Brainiac 5. Booster Gold and Supergirl also made appearances.
    This issue featured extensive articles with the actors who portrayed the Legionnaires, as well as episode writer Geoff Johns, who of course handled the Legion in the comic book as well.
    Actors Calum Worthy (Lightning Lad), Alexz Johnson (Saturn Girl) and Ryan Kennedy (Cosmic Boy) all profess to being fans of the show, as well as having passing knowledge of the Superman comics, if not the Legion. And they certainly did their homework before getting to work.
    Calum: “I knew about the Legion before I booked the role. The fans were the most amazing source. It also helps having head writer Geoff Johns on the set, because he really knows the Legion and exactly what he wanted.”
    Ryan: “I went out and bought all the Cosmic Boy and Legion comic books. I saw a bunch of variations of the group, and some very unfortunate costumes! I researched a lot online and read a lot about Cosmic Boy's past.”
    Alexz: “Ryan had tons of comics books and it was cool just seeing how incredible the drawings were. Our first scene is taken directly from some of the comics the Legion is in. It gave me a visual idea of how to portray Imra.”







    The actors describe what they feel their respective characters are like, and also the first meeting with Superboy. 'It's like meeting Elvis. Going back in time to meet someone who's a big influence on popular culture,” Calum says.
    Geoff Johns explains his participation came about after discussions with former Smallville producer Jeph Loeb, with Geoff pitching the concept of introducing the Legion.
    Geoff also believes the Persuader is “one of the greatest villains in the Legion pantheon”. “He looks cool and I thought he'd translate well on the screen” he said. “He's a fantastic character with this atomic axe that can cut through anything – even time itself.”





    Was Geoff tempted to put the Legionnaires in their traditional costumes?
    “They're very down-to-earth and not Spandex,” Geoff said. “They're normal clothes with the colors and the symbols of the Legion. I'm really happy how they turned out.”





SMALLVILE 33 (2009)
Following on from the Legion profiles of the previous issue, the magazine this time focuses on the history of the Legion, in a segment named From Strip to Screen.
   The article looks at the Legion from its first appearance, the early years, and growing to adulthood, with images of the group drawn from various comics. The reboots are covered, right up the “modern Legion”.









TOYFARE 158 (2010)
The Mattel 12-pack takes center stage in this issue, with senior brand analyst Scott Meitlich and project designer Bill Benecke being interviewed.
   They reveal there was an initial working list of 22 characters which they had to whittle down to an even dozen.
   Benecke: “We wanted to celebrate the Dave Cockrum era and a bit of the Steve Lightle era, just because those outfits were so cool. This pack was really intended to celebrate the Bronze Age Legion.”
   The reasons for choosing each character are given. Garth, Imra, Rokk and Brainy were the “top four guys” and indispensable. Superboy was included to “get him out” as a figure, flight ring included (look closer!). Cham had a great exotic look and costume, while Gim was a shoo-in because a 10-inch basic figure had already been tooled up. Val was considered a must because his costume was so distinctive, while Tenz was Benecke's personal choice, as he felt fans loved off-the-wall characters. Jo had a neat costume, Brin was considered a vital part of the 70s Legion, while Wildfire's faceplate was different and interesting. Proty and the “invisible” Lyle were included to imbue a sense of fun into the 12-pack.





   But what if they could have added more members?
   Neitlich: “Mon-El is one that came up a lot … I really wanted to do Dawnstar, Blok .. I don't know! We had wanted to do Bouncing Boy but he would have been a 100% new sculpt. I wanted Dawnstar in there but that would have been a lot of tooling.”
   Benecke: “Another one that didn't make the cut was Ferro Lad. He's so tied in to the Shooter era that we thought, hold off on him for now. Sun Boy was the one I went back and forth on. The honest answer would be Phantom Girl, the original Invisible Kid and Sun Boy.”
   Neitlich: “We thought about doing Triplicate Girl or duo Damsel and doing two or three of her, but was making the pack more and more expensive. We wanted to keep the pack under $200.”
   Benecke: “If the reaction to this pack is anything like what we're expecting, the sky's the limit. We've got a lot of characters to explore.”
   Indeed. It would be interesting to interview the pair again. The pack eventually retailed for $180. Despite it being a complete sellout and a second batch made, there has never been a follow-up pack consisting of other Legionnaires.





WONDERFUL WORLD OF COMICS 1 (1977)
While intended as an ongoing magazine, this title only lasted one issue, but it featured the Legion as its cover subject. The article was basically a rundown of the Legion's history, and interestingly singled out what it felt were the weakest members: apart from Chuck and Tenz, the list included Cham, Val, Rokk, Ayla and Thom.

   This odd one-shot was from a company named Irjax, a comic book distributor and boutique publisher active in the early 1980s during the growth of the direct market.




   After the distribution arm of the company went out of business in 1982, its processing centers and warehouses formed the basis for Diamond Comics Distributors. The company also published under the name New Media Publishing, with its most well-known product being Comics Feature.




TO BE CONTINUED!


Bits Boy runs the comprehensive Legion completists’ site Bits of Legionnaire Business.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

THE WRITE STUFF: PT 5

It's been a while, but we're back! And we continue our look at magazines which contain Legion-related articles and features.
   When last we left our reviews, we had completed an alphabetical rundown up to "C". So now it's "D"-day and beyond ...






DRAW! 3 (2002)
Published by TwoMorrows, this quarterly magazine is described as the professional "How-To" magazine on cartooning and animation, each issue featuring in-depth interviews and step-by-step demonstrations from top comics professionals. It’s still going strong after 15 years, quite an achievement.
   In its third issue, artist Paul Rivoche contributed an article on “designing and dreaming”, explaining how he visualized layouts.
   One of the example he used was his conceptualization of the Bouncing Boy, the Legion's vessel from the threeboot (LEGION WORLDS #3).





GTM 164 (2013)
The long-running GameTradeMagazine splashed the Legion on its cover to promote the Heroclix Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes Series.
   Unfortunately, the article itself only ran for half a page and the only depictions of figures shown for this set were of the non-Legionnaires.
   But if you're a Legion completist, you know you'll want this item for the collection.






HERO SPECIAL EDITION (1994)

The concept wasn't bad: a book enumerating the 100 most important comics of all time (up till then, of course).
   Such lists are always going to be subjective, but most of the usual suspects are there, including
 ADVENTURE 247.
   
There are other nifty features in the book, such as a rundown of oddball comics, and a feature on charity comics and heroes “lending a hand”.
   The big letdown is a section on the “doofiest” issues ever, compiled by the magazine's staff, some of whom clearly show their ignorance of comics history.
    Among the entries is ADVENTURE COMICS 398, the lead story of which is presumed by the un-named writer to be an original tale,
  and which is then slammed for its silliness. He's completely unaware this story, “The Maid of Doom”, starring Supergirl and the Legion of Super Pets, was a reprint of a story from the 60s, when most of the Weisinger run was equally as ludicrous and pretty much accepted as the norm at the time.


 

HERO ILLUSTRATED 16 (1994)
It's 1994, and there are two Legion groups out there … the original, and the Dominator batch of clones. (Although, as writer Tom Bierbaum has stated elsewhere, it had been his intent for the SW6 group to have been the originals, had his run continued …)

   This issue does an exemplary job of providing a historical account of the group, showcasing the major conflicts, adventures and events up to the present, embellished with nice short little bios of almost every major member (Dragonmage is missing).
   Interestingly, the timeline includes revelations from the Legion Sourcebook, such as Atmos, Crystal Kid, Storm Boy, Echo, Reflecto and others joining the Legion during the Black Dawn crisis.
   
There are good interviews with the likes of Tom McCraw, Jim Shooter, Keith Giffen, Tom Bierbaum and even Mark Waid (before he became the Legion's scripter).
    And t
o round things off, there's a price guide for Legion books and Legion trading cards, for which there is also a short article.





TO BE CONTINUED!


Bits Boy runs the comprehensive Legion completists’ site Bits of Legionnaire Business.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

DIAL H FOR HEROCLIX





Today we talk about Legion-related HeroClix figures, of which there is fittingly a whole legion of. Most fans collect them just for those miniscule figurines, rather than to use in actual game warfare, this writer included. Legion fans who are also HeroClix players are thus twice-blessed, so to speak.
  
If you don’t know what Heroclix is, let’s use this extract from Wikipedia: "HeroClix is a collectible miniatures game that uses the Clix system which centers on the world of superhero comic books. Players construct teams of heroes, villains, or characters from various video games series and engage in a turn-by-turn battle on grid maps based on various storyline locations.
   
 The game utilizes the "combat dial system" , which keeps track of a figure's game statistics via a rotating dial in the base. As the figure suffers damage, the dial is turned a required number of "clicks" to reveal new stats and possibly special abilities."
    
For many, part of the appeal in collecting the figures lies more in the astonishing quality of detail in them than the actual game. And without a doubt, most of the Legion figures are sculpted beautifully. But finding them all can be tricky, because the figures are scattered throughout various HeroClix series, sometimes for no apparent reason (for eg. Element Lad and the LSV founder members within the Arkham Asylum set).
    
Then there are the various figures of Superboy, Superman and Supergirl which can be found in several DC expansions. Even though Superboy and Supergirl were members of the Legion, it would be impractical to include them as part of a Legion set simply because of that connection, inasmuch as collectors would not attempt to include every appearance of the Kryptonian cousins as part of their Legion comic collection. However, some of the HeroClix models come with character cards which clearly mention an affiliation with the Legion, and some of them even bear Legion symbols on the dials, so these will certainly qualify for inclusion in a Legion set. .

So here’s a list of who you can find in the various HeroClix releases.





(January, 2003)
Members of the various DC groups are just a few of the characters that make appearances in Cosmic Justice, the first expansion for the DC HeroClix game. The Legion is represented by the founding members Saturn Girl, Live Wire (not Lightning Lad) and Cosmic Boy, with limited edition figures bearing the characters’ civilian names on the dials. (The LE figures have similar sculpts as the commons, but either have different names on the dials or can be bigger in size.)  Among the villains, Mordru is featured.
   Each series spotlights many  of the heroes and villains in REV (Rookie, Experienced, Veteran) sets, so essentially there are three versions of most common characters.

043-045: Cosmic Boy
046-048: Live Wire
049-051: Saturn Girl
092: Mordru
215: Rokk Krinn
216: Garth Ranzz
217:Imra Ardeen




Cosmic Boy and Rokk Krinn (LE)


Livewire and Garth Ranzz (LE)



Mordru






(January, 2004)
The second DC HeroClix expansion brings “the power of the past, present, and future together in one mighty set, where long-awaited villains match wits with the heroes of yore, while the most popular figures return from the pages of Kingdom Come, ready to battle to the bitter end”.
    The Legion is represented by generic Science Police officers, Chameleon, Brainiac 5, and Supergirl, while the LE Legion figures are Shvaughn Erin, Querl Dox, and Kara Zor-El. The Supergirl chase figure has the Legion symbol depicted on the dial (unlike the common).

010-012: Science Police
019-021: Brainiac 5
037-039: Chameleon
076-078: Supergirl (no Legion symbol on dial)
204: Shvaughn Erin
207: Querl Dox
218: Kara Zor-el (Legion symbol on dial)




Science Police officer and Shvaughn Erin (LE)


Brainiac 5 and Querl Dox (LE)


Supergirl and Kara Zor-El (note Legion symbol on dial)







(January, 2005)
The set includes a mix of characters from the DC Universe and Kingdom Come storyline, in addition to popular Batman opponents. The Legion entries are Kid Quantum, Wildfire, Superboy (the Connor Kent version who was a Legion member), and the Persuader, with the LE figures being Drake Burroughs, Connor Kent, and Nyeun Chun Ti.
   There is an Overconfidence feat card which bears an image of Mordru. In HeroClix-speak, feats are cards that can grant characters additional abilities, if they meet the prerequisites for using it and users pay any associated costs for including it.

043-045: Wildfire
064-066: Superboy
067-069: Persuader
203: Drake Burroughs
210: Connor Kent
211: Nyeun Chun Ti
BF004: Overconfidence card

Wildfire and Drake Burroughs (LE)

Persuader and Nyeun Chun Ti (LE)

Overconfidence feat card with image of Mordru

 






(January, 2006)Collateral Damage featured some of the most detailed sculpts in the HeroClix line at the time. The Legion figures are Shadow Lass/Umbra and  Emerald Empress, with the latter also represented as an LE collectible as the Emerald Eye of Ekron. There’s a figure for Kypto, should you wish to consider him as part of a Super-Pets collection.
    There was also a collector’s set within the series called Giants, featuring over-sized HeroClix models. Appropriately, the Legion-related characters were Colossal Boy and Validus. Strictly speaking though, the figure is of Micro Lad from the threeboot. If you’re a completist, you’ll probably want to own the two different versions of Gim: the common one with a gold/bronze ring on the dial, and a promotional one which had a purple ring.

034, 036: Shadow Lass
035: Umbra
061-063: Emerald Empress
209: Emerald Eye of Ekron
217: Krypto
G002: Validus
G003: Colossal Boy
Shadow Lass and Umbra


Krypto




Colossal Boy (Micro Lad) .. the promotional figure came with a purple ring on the dial.






(January, 2007)
The solicitation says: “
Origin unveils a new Golden Age of 3D superhero gaming. Relive classic battles or build your own myths in the epic DC Universe—the possibilities are endless! Exploding with cool retro costumes, sharp new looks, and the hottest heroes and villains, Origin brings both the latest characters from the current 52 storyline and the Golden Age appearances of your favorite superheroes together for the first time on the field of battle.”
    So who do we get for the Legion? Triplicate Girl, Supergirl (which you may choose to omit), Mon-El/Valor/M’Onel, and an LE Duo Damsel. If you think you can see a Legion flight ring on Booster Gold, you can include him. A token named Legionnaire depicts a generic
hero (a bystander token is a character which does not have a combat dial).

022-24: Mano
052-054: Triplicate Girl
055-057: Supergirl
073: Mon-El
074: Valor
075: M’Onel
204: Duo Damsel
B002: Legionnaire



Mon-El, M'Onel and Valor.


The Legionnaire token.







(January, 2007)
At the same time as  Origin, a starter kit for the Legion was released, in the form of a box with eight Legionnaires (including a plain dial for Shrinking Violet, implying Vi is so small we can’t see her). Accompanying these are two battle units, a newsbot (which many collectors have assumed to be Quislet in their collections) and a Com Dish. It was made to cash in on the animated Legion series, which had just begun airing on TV.
   There are also a couple of feat cards inserted in the pack, which have more connection to the game itself than to the Legion.

001: Lightning Lad
002: Saturn Girl|
003: Cosmic Boy
004: Timber Wolf
005: Phantom Girl
006: Ultra Boy
007: Young Superman
008: Shrinking Violet
S001: Newsbot
S002: Com Dish
News Bot or Quislet?




Can you see Violet?








(January, 2007)
The set is among the first to introduce character cards with the figures, at the apparent expense of the REV sets. It highlights the friends and foes of the Justice League,  its many versions and associates. And this of course includes the Legion, but only Dream Girl, Bouncing Boy and the Time Trapper are included. There’s also a feat card included in this set named Legionnaires.

016: Bouncing Boy
048: Dream Girl
056: Time Trapper
F004: Legionnaires


Bouncing Boy

The Time Trapper

The Legionnaires feat card







(January, 2008)
The annual release of DC characters this time includes Legionnaires Dawnstar (original version) and Karate Kid (threeboot) and villain Mordru. The “common” figure of Supergirl comes with a card mentioning her link with the Legion, while an LE build is included of Superman holding a dying Supergirl as part of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. There’s also a token for Matter-Eater Lad.

022: Dawnstar
024: Karate Kid
042: Mordru
B001: Matter-Eater Lad


The threeboot Karate Kid.


The Supergirl card mentions the Legion.

The Matter-Eater Lad token.





(October, 2008)
Arkham Asylum pits Batman against his most psychotic foes, and lets players re-wage the wars of their favorite comic, film, and television storylines. So naturally … NOT … the set includes Element Lad (threeboot), Cosmic King, Saturn Queen and Lightning Lord. Lyssa Drak is also there, if you wish to include this character from Shadow Lass’ home planet.

032: Lightning Lord
037: Element Lad
039: Cosmic King
057: Saturn Queen

Threeboot Element Lad.

Cosmic King.

Saturn Queen









(October, 2010)
To mark DC’s 75th year in 2010, HeroClix released this expansion set filled to the brim with classic and current characters from throughout the ages. You might think this would allow for several Legion characters to be included, but not so .. only a couple of different caste Dominators and Superboy are included, the latter making it only because of the Legion affiliation mentioned on his card.

003: Dominator
019: Ruling class Dominator
026: Superboy
Dominators of different castes.

Superboy's card mentions the Legion.








(January, 2011)
Now we’re getting somewhere.
The Superman expansion featured more than 50 figures in standard five-figure boosters, celebrating over 70 years of history.  Popular sub-themes in the set included the Legion,  All-Star Superman, the World of New Krypton, and Flashpoint.
   This set included more Legion characters than any previous one, including a beardless Star Boy and a bearded Star Man. Joining them were Brainiac 5, Supergirl (with Legion membership mentioned on card), Sun Boy, Earthman, Invisible Kid, Matter-Eater Lad,  Princess Projectra, and Wildfire, while one of the villains was the Legion-related Composite Superman.

007: Star Boy
008: Brainiac 5
010: Supergirl (LSH link on card)
022: Sun Boy
023: Earth Man
024: Invisible Kid II
025: Matter-Eater Lad
036: Composite Superman
038: Princess Projectra
039: Wildfire
041: Starman

Supergirl with Legion link mentioned on card

Sun Boy

Earthman

Invisible Kid

Composite Superman







(November, 2011)
The Fast Forces series was basically released as starters for new players, consisting of groups of figures assembled in blister packs. This set included both Superman and Supergirl, which both came with character cards which listed Legion affiliation and also bore Legion symbols on their dials.


001: Superman
002: Supergirl


Supergirl with card mentioning the Legion

Superman with card mentioning the Legion






(May, 2013)
The Titans received their own dedicated set in 2013, which included a couple of characters with Legion links.  These were Terror Titans members Sun Girl and Persuader, believed to be connected to Sun Boy and the Fatal Five member, but never expanded upon in the comics. The female Persuader wields an atomic axe (just like her male counterpart), while Sun Girl is from the future and shares Sun Boy's surname.

058: Sun Girl
060: Persuader

Sun Girl
Persuader







(February, 2014)
With Legion fans’ appetite whetted by the 2011 Superman release, they got a full smorgasbord with this series, which consisted of more Legionnaires than ever, but with some odd side dishes thrown in (such as Solomon Grundy, Toyman, Big Barda and Takion).  By now the figures were getting more intricate in detail and all the characters were beautifully sculpted.
   If you managed to get the whole set, you’d own Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lord, Saturn Girl, Mon-El, Triplicate Girl, Shrinking Violet, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Sensor Girl, Tyroc, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy,  Blok, Wildfire, Gates, Dawnstar, Chameleon Girl, Colossal Boy,  Shadow Lass,  Glorith, Superboy (with Legion symbol on belt),  White Witch, Black Witch, and Tellus.
   Related characters were a Science Police Officer and a Daxamite, while representing the villains were a Blight member,  the Fatal Five members, an exquisite Computo, Universo, and Darkseid and his servants of darkness.
   A handful of common Legionnaires were also made available as part of the gravity feed releases, with the only difference being numbers assigned to each character. If you are truly completist, you will probably want to collect both versions.
   There was an organized play (OP) set which included a map of Legion HQ to play the game on, which also came with an oversized figure of Mordru and a flight ring token.
   ***NOTE: All the characters in this set, including those not affiliated with the Legion in any way, were all mounted on dials which bore the logo for this series: a belt with the Legion symbol. For this writer, an unashamed Legion completist, the non-Legion "outsiders" do not fall within the parameters for collectability.*** 

001: Cosmic Boy
002: Saturn Girl
003: Lightning Lad
004: Science Police Officer
005a: Daxamite
005b: Mon-El
006: Triplicate Girl
007: Shrinking Violet
008: Phantom Girl
009: Blight
010: Polar Boy
011: Sensor Girl
012: Tyroc
015: Timber Wolf
018: Ultra-Boy (sic)
020: Blok
021: Wildfire
022: Gates
025: Mano
029: Tharok
030: Dawnstar
031: Chameleon Girl
032: Colossal Boy (threeboot)
035: Shadow Lass
036: Glorith
The Blight

Tyroc

Glorith
040: Emerald Empress
041: Universo
044: Darkseid
045: Computo
046: Superboy
047a: White Witch
047b: Black Witch
048: Tellus
054: Persuader
055: Validus
056: Mordru
Emerald Empress


White and Black Witch

Computo

057: Lydea Mallor (dark servant)
058: Kalibak (dark servant)
059: Guardian (dark servant)
060: Orion (dark servant)
061: Superman (dark servant)
101: Mordru
102: Mon-El (as GL)
103: Shrinking Violet (dial only)
S101: Legion flight ring token

Gravity Feed figures (same as commons)
201: Cosmic Boy
202: Saturn Girl
203: Lightning Lad
204: Ultra-Boy
206: Triplicate Girl
207: Shrinking Violet
208: Phantom Girl
209: Science Police officer
210: Daxamite



The OP map

The Triplicate Girl token
 






(June, 2014)
This Green Lantern set came in two waves, but really all that concerns Legion collectors are the Legion-related figures:  Rond Vidar and a couple of different Controller constructs.  Completists may also want to include the figure of Sodam Yat, the GL from Mon-El’s home planet. And there’s a token for Daxamites.

009: Controller construct
010: Controller
026: Sodam Yat
103: Rond Vidar
H005: Daxamite token



A Controller "construct"

A Controller

Rond Vidar

The Daxamite token








November, 2014
After a GL set naturally  comes one for the Flash. In this set, look out for XS and the Tornado Twins. The paint job for XS is strangely poor, but the Twins are well-made.

004: XS
036: The Tornado Twins

XS

The Tornado Twins








July, 2015
As the name suggests, the set focuses on DC Comics’ power couple — their past, present, and even alternate universe versions — as well as their supporting cast of characters. Legion-related characters to look out for here are Superboy, Supergirl, Lana Lang and Jimmy Olsen.  Why? Because they come with character cards which confirm Legion affiliation, with Lana’s bio in particular mentioning Insect Queen. And there’s another figure for Krypto to collect.

027: Jimmy Olsen
029: Lana Lang
031: Superboy
050: Krypto
053a: Supergirl

Jimmy Olsen and card citing Legion link

Lana Lang and card citing Insect Queen and Legion link

Superboy and card citing Legion link





October, 2016There was an unusually long period between the  release of this set and the previous one (more than a year).  This set does not feature any Legionnaires, but is notable for the inclusion of Streaky the super cat.

100: Streaky
Streaky, the original grumpy cat








And as of now, that’s it for Legion-related HeroClix characters. There’s no denying that the group has had a good run, with many of its members from its various incarnations featured. In due course, we may see the likes of the deceased Ferro Lad and Chemical King, and 5YL members such as Devlin, Catspaw, Dragonmage, Monstress and Kinetix.

The next Heroclix release to look out for is the DC Comics 15th Anniversary Elseworlds series, due out this July. As the name suggests, it will include alternate versions of the iconic characters shown in the comics. One can only wonder which interpretation of the Legion, if any, will make it.
  


*This blog depicts some of the Heroclix figures from the lists. To see full images of every character, visit this page.*

Bits Boy runs the comprehensive Legion completists’ site Bits of Legionnaire Business.