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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes Key Issues Part 8

Welcome to Part 8 of this super-long Legion of Super-Heroes key comics series. We are finally heading out of the Silver Age and into the Bronze Age concerning this team.

'Bout time, but it's a good thing. While the Silver Age was crazy with 1st appearances, the Bronze Age for this team wasn't quite as frenzied.

Sure there are quite a few firsts, but as you'll see in Part 8, we'll be talking about the contributions of another certain artist who not only revitalized this DC comic series, but his work on the Legion would also revitalize the comic series for one of Marvel's most iconic super-hero teams later.

So, definitely something new in Part 8. This Part 7 link will bring you back if you need to, but if you're ready to continue, I hope you enjoy!

1st appearance of Leland McCauley III

When you have a character like R.J. Brande, who happens to be the richest man in the galaxy in the 30th century, you're bound to have enemies, and most likely, rich and powerful enemies. This is where Leland McCauley III comes in.

Just like R.J., McCauley is also one of the richest men in the galaxy as well, and he considers Brande a rival.When you make enemies with Brande, you make enemies with the Legion and so it would be. Leland McCauley III would be a somewhat notable enemy for the Legion.

His son Leland McCauley IV would also be a foe of Brande and the Legion and would resume the vendetta against them that his father carried. This version of the character would be introduced later.

November, 1968 is the publishing date for the first appearance of this Legion of Super-Heroes foe in Adventure Comics #374. and both Leland McCauley III and IV were created by Jim Shooter with Win Mortimer co-creating the pappa McCauley and Mike Grell co-creating the fourth McCauley.

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1st Quantum Queen & the Wanderers

Jim Shooter introduces the team of the Wanderers in this issue and Neal Adams does the cover work. This team would be  allies of the Legion, and the team would go through several incarnations as a supporting team within the Legion's mythos.

The original team consisted of Celebrand, Psyche, Quantum Queen, Immorto, Elvo, Ornitho, and Dartalg. The leader and strategist of the group is Celebrand.

Psyche can control or manipulate the emotions of others, while Quantum Queen can project herself into various types of quantum energy. Immorto has the power to rejuvenate like a healing factor and thus cannot be killed. He is an expert marksman also.

Dartalg is an expert with darts and his weapon is a blowgun. Like Green Arrow, he has several trick darts.

Wielding a badass energy sword, Elvo is a master swordsman of the 30th century. Last but not least is Orintho who can mimic or shape shift into any bird or bird-like creature.

December, 1968 is the publishing date for this comic, and all the members of the Wanderers make their first appearance in this comic right here.

Last Legion in Adventure Comics

All good things or bad things come to an end, and this issue would mark the last Legion of Super-Heroes as a feature for the comic title. Actually, Supergirl would take their place and the Legion would be sent to back up feature status again in the pages of Action Comics.

By this time, the Legion's popularity was waning. Hey, things get stale sometimes, especially in the world of comics.

However, the super-hero team would be revitalized again by one legendary artist in particular. We will definitely be getting to that issue and him soon. Adventure Comics #380 was published May, 1969.

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Legion back up feature begins in title
1st appearance of Urthlo

Supergirl takes over as the featured star in Adventure Comics and the Legion get demoted to a back up feature in Action Comics. Not really a major key or even significant in that regard.

Even the first appearance of Urthlo isn't a major villain. He's created by Lex Luthor to battle Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, but is not a major villain in the mythos or for Superboy and the Legion. Action Comics #377 was published June, 1969.

Legion back up feature ends
Saturn Girl new costume

This issue has the last back up feature for the Legion of Super-Heroes in Action Comics, and the group would be transferred to the Superboy title shortly after. Not really a big deal in that regard, and not really much happens in terms of key issues for the Legion of Super-Heroes during their back feature run in Action Comics.

However, the move would prove to be a good one, as the Superboy title would be the comic series where the Legion would become extremely popular with the help of certain creative legends of course.

Well, Saturn Girl does finally get a make over in this issue, and it's a much more drastic look than her conservative threads from before. Actually, she gets a much sexier costume than her old Silver Age one for sure, but even though I think the update was definitely needed for the time to shake things up, I think her old costume is cool looking as well.

The old outfit doesn't necessarily scream super-hero though. It's more like an outfit for a science-fiction academy like Star Trek or something. The retro 70s Saturn Girl costume is definitely more in-tune to the racy and revealing female costumes we are more familiar with.

This new costume was a pink, one-piece bikini that definitely showed a lot more skin than the old costumed that had her fully covered up. Storm's costume from the X-Men during this era definitely looks very similar. More revealing and racy for sure, this costume is definitely an iconic look for Saturn Girl and many comic fans are fans of this get up.

The redesign was not done by Dave Cockrum or the artist of this issue. It was done by Kim Metzger. She was a fan who sent in her redesign when the creatives at DC were encouraging readers to send in redesigns of old characters or concepts for new characters. 

It was chosen and first appeared in this issue here. Cool little story I thought. September, 1970 is the publishing date for Action Comics #392.

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1st Dave Cockrum work on Legion

Game changer when Dave Cockrum comes on board to draw for the Legion. This is the artist that revitalized renewed interest in the Legion of Super-Heroes during the time.

Cockrum's artwork is credited with establishing an exciting new vibe for the super-hero team in comics. The legendary comic artist would also redefine the look of the Legion as well. Many new costumes and designs replaced the old look for several characters during his work on the comic series.

In his initial redesign concepts, the character of Nightcrawler was suppose to be introduced in a spin-off team called the Outsiders. As we all know, Nightcrawler was introduced as a character for the X-Men instead.

Definitely one to snag for any Legion fan or Dave Cockrum fan. Superboy #184 was published April, 1972.

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Chameleon Boy gets new costume
Shrinking violet gets new costume

As mentioned earlier, Dave Cockrum would redesign much of the Legion member's costumes to a more updated and sleek look from their basic Silver Age garbs. Skin tight is also another good word to describe the Cockrum redesigns, and, although I'm far from the understanding of anything that's fashionable, I will talk a little bit about them just 'cause it's something different to yap about other than 1st this and 2nd that and 3rd whatever. 

So Chameleon Boy shows off his new threads for the first time in this issue. His costume changes color from a blue, black and white loose-fitting garb to a more reddish one-piece. Yep, the black undies over the leggings are gone in Cockrum's redesign as well.

Also, the purple gloves and shoulder flares give the outfit some kind of color and contrast, but it looks odd to me. Black might be a better color to replace the light purple. Just not a fan of light purple with a red that leans more towards the pink side. Then again, I'm no expert at super-hero costume design. Cockrum was, so take my critique with a huge grain of salt.

Although the shoulder flares were used in the earlier costume, the way they flare outwards more instead of upwards is distinct Dave Cockrum, who used the same shoulder flares for Nightcrawler's first initial look and Colossus' first costume. 

The flared out shoulder pads would even be incorporated into Wolverine's look as well when Cockrum was on the series, but it was done to a lesser degree than Night Crawler or Colossus' get up. Welcome to the updated look of super costumes looking like spandex, Chameleon Boy.

Up next is the sexy Shrinking Violet, but if we look at the old costume, it's pretty bland and basically a yellow short skirt dress. Quite loose-fitting as well and no where near the skin-tight or more revealing costumes that comic fans are accustomed to today.

But, hey, those were the time back then, and for those times, this was probably considered sexy and a bit revealing as well. However, as all things, times change and this is evident when Cockrum redesigns the look of Shrinking Violet as well.

Although not quite more revealing than the old look, Cockrum does give her the sexy form-fitting outfit. Actually, this new look is less revealing and covers up more skin than the old Shrinking Violet short dress. 

Doesn't mean it's any less sexy. The yellow is out and is replaced by green and black. Like Saturn Girl's new get up, Shrinking Violet gets thigh-high boots, and if you haven't noticed, quite a few of Dave Cockrum's female character costumes during this era have the good ole thigh-highs - Storm, Phoenix, Ms. Marvel just to name a few. 

Why? 'Cause thigh-highs are down-right sexy! Well on females, that is. However, Scott Summer's pops from the Star Jammers had thigh highs and so did Colossus.  Who created the Star Jammers, Corsair, and Colossus? Dave Cockrum.

I won't be doing this for all the costume redesigns that Dave did on the Legion members. This was just to illustrate and pay homage to his contributions and genius when it came to redesigning and designing classic comic book looks and costumes.

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1st appearance of Wildfire as ERG-1
Phantom Girl gets new costume

The character of Wildfire is a creation of Cary Bates and Dave Cockrum and was another applicant who was rejected by the Legion at first. His real name is Drake Burroughs and he is from Earth.

First introduced as ERG-1, Wildfire became popular with fans and was first introduced wearing a containment suit and had many of the same powers that Mon-El, Chemical King, Shrinking Violet, and Phantom Girl had. Since he is composed of anti-energy, he can produce energy blasts and even make simple constructs with his energy like that of Green Lantern.

Over time, he would lose many of his powers but would still retain superhuman strength, flight, and energy manipulation. Wildfire is known as one of the four most powerful Legionnaires a long with Superboy, Mon-El, and Ultra Boy.

Oh, hell, since I'm on the subject and since this is a good chance to talk about something other than 1st appearance of this lad or first appearance of that girl, I may as well showcase the redesign costumes Dave Cockrum did for the Legion. This redesigned costume for Phantom Girl is also a classic, but even more so than Saturn Girl's 70s look because the current new costume for Phantom Girl is very much based on this one with a few very minor tweaks.

While it's only slightly more revealing, the old Silver Age costume of Phantom Girl wasn't bad. Sure, she was pretty much covered up and all, but the costume isn't horrendous or far from sexy. It's skin tight and probably more skin tight than Cockrum's redesign.

However, the old one is pretty bland, but I actually kind of like it. The old look looks more like a superhero to me, but I do think the 70s look can definitely carry-over into present day with a few minor tweaks of course. The bell bottoms being the first to go. Superboy #195 was published June, 1973.

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Legion series begins in title
1st appearance of Tyr
Lightning Lad gets new costume
Timber Wolf new look

Dave Cockrum creates this super villain for the Legion, and Tyr is the Norse God of War from the planet Tyrazz. He has a cybernetic gun for one of his arms.

Post-Zero Hour, Tyr is the Tyrazzian representative to the Dark Circle. He would join the Legion of Super-Villains on a few occasions. 

Lightning Lad's new threads makes its first appearance in this issue as well and it is definitely an upgrade from the old clunky, Silver Age look. The costume would end up being Lightning Lad's iconic look throughout the years and even to this day. This costume hasn't changed much since Cockrum redesigned it.

The only thing that is taken from the old costume are the lightning bolts on the chest. Cape be gone! Other than that, it's a pretty original new look for the original and founding member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. 

When it comes to Dave Cockrum's character redesigns for the Legion, none is more famous than Timber Wolf. This issue debuts Timber Wolf's new costume and look, and Cockrum made the character look more feral.

Also, if you notice from the pic, the hair style is very similar to a favorite X-Man with feral attributes. Yes, we are talking about Wolverine here, and the famous Wolverine hair-style actually belonged to Timber Wolf a year prior.

An interesting tid bit to know for any X-Men fan, but there are definitely more connections between the Legion and Wolverine. Superboy #197 was published September, 1973, and is definitely a Bronze Age key to get for the Legion.

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Element Lad gets new costume
Princess Projectra gets new costume

It's definitely a time for make overs during Dave Cockrum's work on the Legion of Super-Hereos, and Superboy #198 sees two more Legionnaires by the names of Element Lad and Princess Projectra get new super-hero looks that are more acceptable for the Bronze Age of comics. 

Concerning Element Lad's costume by Cockrum, it's not the best. Some fans like it and some fans don't. It's definitely a sleeker look and looks cooler.

However, the costume was  redesigned later on. It definitely is a step above the old costume with the generic E slapped across his chest.

However, the arrow as the character's symbol is better but not by much. The colors are better for sure in my humble opinion, but looks too much like he could be a Green Lantern. His current costume went back to the pinkish-red color but kept the black.

As for Princess Projectra, her one-piece bikini and cape in the Silver Age wasn't bad. The Scarlet Witch has a similar costume during the Silver Age, and that's held up as an iconic look for the Scarlet Witch since. 

 Princess Projectra's new Dave Cockrum redesign isn't more or less sexy than her old outfit. Sure, it exposes the cleavage area and her tummy a bit more and the colors are definitely flashier, but I'm sure the right artist drawing the old Silver Age Princes Projectra can make her look sexy in that get up as well.

Princess Projectra would go through later outfit redesigns, especially when she becomes Sensor Girl. However, Cockrum's outfit would last quite a while before that happens. Superboy #198 was published October, 1973.

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Usually, I'm not really the one to comment on fashion designs, but since I am a pretty big X-Men fan, it was too tempting not to go into Dave Cockrum's redesigns. Besides, it doesn't hurt to shake things up so a key issues series isn't just all about 1st appearances.

In connection with the Legion and the X-Men, Nightcrawler was suppose to be used in a group called the Outsiders, who were intended as a supporting group for the character of Wildfire. Thank, God, DC denied that submission idea and the character of Nightcrawler went over to Marvel when Dave left DC soon after his work on Legion. 

In the concept art, it's clear that Nightcrawler was brought over to Marvel as is. Also, the character of Trio from the Outsiders was later tweaked into the iconic X-Men Goddess of the Weather - Storm!

Supposedly, Cockrum also proposed another villainous group for the Legion during this time called the Strangers. The idea was shot down, and the only member of the group to make it to the Legion stories was the character of Tyr. 

However, there was a member of the Strangers called Wolverine and the concept art has the date of 72 on it. Clearly, the character of Wolverine from the Strangers inspired the Timber Wolf redesigns, which debuted in September, 1973. Timber Wolf's look would eventually be carried over to Marvel's Wolverine, giving him his iconic look.

Awesome! Fun stuff to know about concerning how the Legion is connected in creating some of the greatest X-Men characters and arguably one of the best X-Men team line ups ever.

A doubly whammy of Dave Cockrum's contributions to the Legion and X-Men in this part here. I hope you enjoyed it if you didn't know about it already. Click that PART 9 below to continue with more key comics regarding the Legion of Super-Heroes.

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