Thursday, 14 January 2016

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The Clavining Commences!

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I am quite proud of myself right now, because I accumulated a hoard of over 200 Series 3 Bren Derlin cards in Star Wars Card Trader before Series 3 officially took over the card. If you play SWCT you know what I am talking about, though whether or not you approve of my accomplishment is debatable. If you don’t play SWCT, then you may be confused. A very detailed explanation will be forthcoming. But for now, I just needed to share.

Friday, 01 January 2016

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Reading Levitz’s Legion: An Introduction

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I am a Legion of Super-Heroes fanboy. I remember seeing Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes 253 on a newsstand and how that made me want to start collecting comic books (up to that point I was a casual reader at best). I remember going to a comic book specialty shop for the first time and seeing Legion of Super-Heroes 285, the one with Colossal Boy crashing through the front of a spaceship, and realizing I now had a place to get my monthly fix. During one of my early lapses away from comics, I remember an evening when a college classmate filled me in on what had been going on with the Legion’s many characters and how his girlfriend laughed at us, saying we sounded like schoolgirls gossiping about the latest soap opera. (This was deep into Five Years Later and SW6, so there was a whole lot to catch up on.)

I remember buying a Legion flight ring the first time it was offered, paying what felt like an exorbitant amount of money for this tchotchke, and taking on the name Chemically Dependent King.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Legion were a key part of my development as a comic book reader, the cornerstone of my early fandom even. While I didn’t always follow the series in the wake of the reboot – never mind the threeboot and the retcons that followed after that – the Legion remains my favorite superhero series to this day, bar none. I still find myself going back and rereading favorite runs and story arcs. And of all the runs in the Legion, Paul Levitz’s extended second tenure as a writer is the one that I hold as my all-time absolute favorite.

Some people may specify they enjoy Levitz’s collaboration with artist Keith Giffen, spanning the Great Darkness Saga and the Legion of Super Villains arc from the start of the Baxter series. (and maybe even Giffen’s first comeback at the end of the Baxter run). But for me, it was the full length of Levitz’s time on the series and all his major artistic collaborators – Pat Broderick, Steve Lightle, Greg LaRocque, Larry Mahlstedt, Mike DeCarlo – that sticks with me. (Well, almost. The year that Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes ran concurrently with the Baxter run is something I tend to overlook, but we’ll get to that when the time comes.)

So when I decided to take this blog seriously and start it over with a regular feature examining favorite comics, I knew exactly where to start. In future posts I will be examining each issue from Levitz’s 1980s run (well, almost) and sharing my impressions on them. I hope that what emerges will be more than the sum of its parts, that the development of specific characters and themes shows why the series remains so vital to myself and other Legion fans, and why it may be worth your own time to visit this slice of comics history for yourself. It’s a fan’s appreciation and nostalgia trip, but hopefully a critical examination as well.

And at the very least, I get to reread these fabulous comics yet again and bask in all its Interlac-inflected flight ring-powered glory. That alone should be reason enough.