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Monday, July 27, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes Key Issues Part 9

Finally and definitely within the Bronze Age of Legion of Super-Heroes key issues, and to be honest, Part 9 isn't really all that spectacular in terms of key comics. There are some interesting tid bits behind the scenes, however.

Anyways, this Part 8 link will bring you back if you missed it. If not, hope you enjoy Part 9.

Wedding of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel

It was bound to happen in the Legion, and finally Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel are the first among the team to officially get married. Not a big key unless you like the wedding of characters, but it won't be the last wedding for the team for sure.

Well, at least this Legion of Super-Heroes key issues isn't all about 1st appearances. Actually, there is an interesting story that is related to this issue.

Apparently, Dave Cockrum left DC Comics over a dispute concerning ownership of his original artwork produced for this issue. The pages supposedly in dispute was the double splash page featuring the wedding of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel.

DC refused to relinquish the pages and Cockrum left after issue #202. Superboy #200 was published February, 1974.

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1st appearance of ERG-1 as Wildfire
1st appearance of Infectious Lass
1st appearance of Porcupine Pete

Although initially denied membership into the Legion at first, ERG-1 makes his comeback in this issue because fans called for it. However, the creatives had to give him a more appropriate name than the generic ERG-1.

So enter Wildfire and he would save the butts of the Legion and prove his worthiness. Wildfire would officially join in the next issue of Superboy.

However, two more new applicants of the Legion aren't so lucky, and they are Infectious Lass and Porcupine Pete.  Both are created by Cary Bates and Dave Cockrum.

Drura Sehpt is Infectious Lass from the planet Somahtur, in which all the inhabitant's bodies are homes to colonies of microorganisms. So basically she infects others with diseases while remaining immune to them.

Needless to say she ends up joining the Legion of Substitute-Heroes as does Porcupine Pete. Peter Dursin was born different and with rough skin that later developed into quills.

As Porcupine Pete, he can release them as flying projectiles. Not exactly major characters, and April, 1974 is the publishing date for this comic.

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Lightning Lass gets new costume
1st Mike Grell comic work
Last Dave Cockrum issue

Mike Grell first worked on the comic strip Brenda Starr for the Chicago Tribune, but Grell had no prior experience drawing for a monthly comic book. Grell recalls he got the job drawing for the Legion of Super-Heroes because he was there at the right time.

He walked in the editor's office asking for work right when Dave Cockrum was leaving the series. As mentioned before, this was over a dispute concerning the return of his original artwork, and Dave Cockrum would go to Marvel to change X-Men history and revitalize the team into one of the most popular comic book super-hero teams ever.

Mike Grell started on the Legion of Super-Heroes inking for this issue. By the next, he would take over pencils.

Lightning Lass or Light Lass would get a new costume in this issue as well. Many fans mistake this redesign as a Dave Cockrum redesign but that is a mistake.

Like Saturn Girl, the redesigned costume was submitted by a fellow comic fan who was another female reader of the series. Carol A. Strickland is the fan who designed the new Light Lass costume, and she has been credited with the contribution though not at first.

Not that well-known, however, and deserves an honorable mention. According to her site, she had designed Light Lass' new costume off of Cockrum's Lightning Lad redesign, and even received a letter from Cockrum stating that he had already redesigned Lass' costume but liked hers better.

Of course, Cockrum was on his way out and the credit to Carol Strickland got lost in the shuffle. Tom and Mary Bierbaum, who were fans of the Legion and also members of The Legion Outpost like Carol, would be the future Legion writers to give Carol the printed credit she deserved.

I thought it was a cool story, and neat that the Legion creatives gave fans such opportunities to contribute and feel a part of the comic series they loved so much. Superboy #202 was published May, 1974.

Death of Invisible Kid
Mike Grell art begins on series

Dream Girl has a premonition that one of the Legion members will die, and Invisible Kid is one who gets the ultimate smack down from Validus. As with most deaths, Invisible Kid or Lyle Norg will come back with all the continuity reboots, so no real big deal there.

Superboy #203 sees comic artist Mike Grell take over drawing for the series, and it was published August, 1974.

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Origin Karate Kid

I think this is the first origin of the Karate Kid, but not 100% sure. Anyways, it's in this issue where Karate Kid learns that his father was the infamous Black Dragon and that his adoptive father White Crane (Sensei) is the one who killed him.

Jim Shooter writes this tale. August, 1975 is the publishing date for Superboy #210.

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1st Legion of Super-Rejects

Oh, jeez, they've got the Legion of Substitute-Heroes and now there's a Legion of Super-Rejects? Getting ridiculous here a bit. So basically, these guys are members who were rejected because they had duplicate powers with already existing Legion members.

So they formed this lame group to try to battle those Legion members who had the same powers they had. So basically, Magno Lad the same powers as Cosmic Boy, Phantom Lad the same phasing powers as Phantom Girl, and so on.

First appearances of Calorie Queen, Magno Lad, Phantom Lad, Micro Lad, Esper Lass, and Chameleon Kid in Superboy #212. Magno Lad, Esper Lass, and Micro Lad went on to join the Legion of Super-Villains.

Calorie Queen? Pretty dumb name, but she is Tayrn Loy from Bismoll like Matter-Eater Lad, and she does reappear in future Legion stories unlike Chameleon Kid and Phantom Lad. October, 1975 is the publishing date for this comic.

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1st appearance of Tyroc

This character has an interesting and kind of funny story to it, because the creator Mike Grell hated the character of Tyroc. In an interview Grell mentioned that he had previously tried to introduce black characters but had been continually snubbed by then editor Murray Boltinoff.

"I kept getting stalled off...and finally comes Tyroc," Mike Grell recalled. "They might as well have named him Tyrone. Their explanation for why there were no black people [in the Legion] was that all the black people had gone to live on an island. It's possibly the most racist concept I've ever heard in my life...I mean, it's a segregationist's dream, right? So they named him Tyroc, and gave him the world's stupidest super-power."

He was not the only creative to have been appalled by the character. Jim Shooter, who had previously tried to introduce Ferro Lad as an African American super-hero in the Legion but was denied, also said,  "I always wanted to have a character who was African-American, and years later, when they did that, they did it in the worst way possible....instead of just incidentally having a character who happens to be black...they made a big fuss about it. He's a racial separatist....I just found it pathetic and appalling."

Even fan-favorite and legendary Legion writer Paul Levitz had reportedly admitted to dodging the character as long as possible during his long run on the comic series. So who is this Tyroc?

Tyroc is Troy Stewart and was the only superhero who lived on the island of Marzal. The island was entirely populated with black citizens and the island was even located in another dimension. They were extreme isolationists, and in Tyroc's initial first meeting with the Legion of Super-Heroes, Tyroc and the citizens of Marzal were not happy with the intrusion.

Tyroc had the power of  reality warping screams. In his initial appearances his scream could create portals into other dimensions, destroy objects and create force fields.

Later, his power was just reduced to a sonic scream like that of Banshee of the X-Men or Black Canary. Paul Levitz thought his power was stupid as well.

Despite the controversy surrounding this character by certain creatives, Tyroc is the first black super-hero to join the Legion in issue #218. He is also one of DC's first black costumed super-heroes. Superboy #216 was published April, 1976.

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1st appearance of Pulsar Stargrave 

Another creation by Jim Shooter with co-creator Mike Grell, Pulsar Stargrave is a Legion villain and from Colu like Brainiac, Vril Dox, and Brainiac 5. Pulsar has the ability to harness and control stellar energy and is on par in terms of power with powerful Legion foes such as Mordru and Time Trapper.

Post-Crisis, he is referred to as Mr. Starr and is from the 20th century instead of the 30th century. Superboy #223 was published January, 1977.

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Most of the Bronze Age key issues in Part 9 might be over-looked in the current market but they are hard to find in high grade online. So if you're a fan, it's probably a good time to snag 'em up while they're still cheap. The PREVIOUS link below will bring you back to Part 8.

Continue to Part 10 by clicking the link below.


  1. learning a lot about legion thanks TCM. jw

    1. Heya, JW, sorry for the late reply, but the Legion series wasn't easy at all to whip up since I literally knew nothing about them and had no interest in them whatsoever before. I don't think this series has sparked any interest in the group for me after finishing it either.

  2. lol yeah legion covers so much dude has to be damn near impossible to do this list lol JW