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Winath and the Ranzzes

           I'm once again taking comments I made in response to a past topic of the mailing in Apa-LSH and posting them here, this time addressing the First Family of the Legion, the Ranzzes, and their home world of Winath.

            Through the 5YL run, we depicted Winath as a pretty idyllic world with a happy, nurturing culture and a general public acceptance of nudity and near-nudity. Over the years I’d kind of assumed Mary and I must have been the ones to come up with the nudity part, but upon re-reading the run a few years ago, I was reminded that Keith had shown Ayla and Vi wearing nothing but little loin clothes earlier in the run and I think there was some similar content late in Paul’s run, so our depiction of everyone wearing not much in the Reunion issue was in fact consistent with what had been recently established.

   

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Recollections of Legion #12



          One of the contributors at the site “Legion of Substitute-Podcasters” was researching the 5YL run in advance of their segments on those issues and noticed I’d never posted an entry covering #12 on this website. I was sure I’d just somehow forgotten to post what I’d written up for the apazines, but when I dug through the old Word documents I discovered to my surprise that somehow I’d just managed to never cover #12 when I addressed those early issues many years ago.

          So, better late than never, I’ll backtrack and cover #12 here and now.

And since I haven’t looked at the #11 and #13 for many years, this will be an interesting look at how the issue reads “cold,” to someone who’s not up-to-date on what’s happening in the complicated 5YL storyline.

The #12 cover is probably one of the most remembered and popular of the run, showing a prominent Legion symbol, with the shadows of some of the members being cast across the symbol and the caption “Rebirth!”

The issue opens with Brainy musing about the meaning of life and more specifically the meaning of death, as he gives up hope that he can save the critically injured Celeste and deals with the (apparent) death of Jo during the prior issue.


    

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Recollections of The Heckler #6

              We come to end of our brief, unforgettable run on “The Heckler,” though the issue didn’t start out as the finale. As had occurred when the “5YL” Legion began and Keith was penciling, the book tended to fall behind schedule, and while “Heckler #6” was in the process of being penciled, more sales figures were coming in and the advisability of continuing the series was diminishing (if we’d been smart, we’d have rushed through as many issues as possible before they had the data in hand that mandated cancellation).

              So as Keith was penciling about the last third of the issue, it turned into the finale. But never fear, the series wrapped up in a characteristically deranged way – in part because of the U-turn necessitated in the final pages by the realization that this would be our series-ender.

     

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"2995" Mayfair Sourcebook: Fire Lad through Infectious Lass

          Continuing with my recollections of writing our "2995" Mayfair Sourcebook, we move into a section that covers the Substitute-Heroes who joined the Legion in its final days during the Five-Year Gap.

          FIRE LAD: His entry begins with a “Friends of the Legion” listing in the teen fan "magazine" “The Legion Groupie” in which we learn Staq's favorite Legionnaire is, logically, Sun Boy (it’s interesting and telling that the poor Subs are treated in this fan forum not as heroes in their own right but as fellow fans of the main team). My favorite little playful touch to this profile is that one of Fire Lad’s favorite hobbies is glass-blowing.

          During the five-year gap there’s a news account of a run-in Fire Lad has with the corrupt Science Police Earth in which some trees get set on fire by Staq’s “involuntary nasal discharge” (police-report lingo for a “sneeze”).

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The Legion's Supporting Cast

Here's another discussion motivated by a "Topic of the Mailing" in Apa-LSH...

It seems so appropriate for the supporting cast of the Legion to compound the group’s greatest “flaw” in the eyes of its detractors, as well as its greatest quality in the eyes of its fans – its huge cast of characters.


There’s no other mainstream super-hero concept that has so many heroes and I doubt there’s any that has so many important supporting characters.

To those who think comic-book concepts ought to follow a set of neatly defined rules of good dramatic storytelling – especially that every character you introduce should have a specific dramatic purpose in the story -- the Legion's cast of dozens of heroes must be intolerable. So I can only relish the indignation such critics feel when the Legion piles on top of its crazy overabundance of heroes the Substitute-Heroes, the Academy members, the Heroes of Lallor, the Wanderers, rejected applicants, the Science Police, the families and relatives of the heroes, U.P. officials, media figures, etc., etc. (and we haven’t even mentioned the 31st Century’s rogues gallery).

In our time, we were lucky to have a lot of resources that kept us aware of established supporting cast members, so, as with villains and planets, we did very little ourselves in terms of making up new supporting cast and largely brought back characters from the past.


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Color Kid

Here are some thoughts on Ulu Vakk from a past mailing of Apa-LSH when Color Kid was one of the subjects of the mailing..


I always liked Color Kid and was glad to see him phase from being just another quickly rejected applicant to a mainstay in the Subs.

I’m guessing that his ascension was a gift from E. Nelson Bridwell, who I believe tossed Ulu into the Subs in the “Devil’s Dozen” story. It would certainly be like Nelson to be aware of a relatively viable recent applicant to add to the Subs team. And it was quite an innovation – at that point every single other member of the Subs was a part of the original team.
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"2995" Mayfair Soucebook: Echo thru Refleto

Boy, I'm surprised how long it's been since I've posted an entry, but getting back in the swing of things, let's continue with a look at some segments of our Legion Sourcebook, still in the "Heroes" section…



ECHO: I indulged myself and threw in the character Echo, who’s always appealed to me since his inclusion among the Legion of Super-Villains in the original Adult Legion tale. Since Echo’s established identity was as a villain, I figured we had to depict him as at least a gray-area character, so we created a background for him as a roguish opponent of Khundish oppression, having been raised in a Khund-controlled region called Calish-Aetia and having been disfigured by Khundish experimentation that did enough damage that he now must wear a respirator / mask.
          

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"2995" Mayfair Legion Sourcebook: Magnetic Kid Through Kent Shakespeare

Continuing with segments of the Legion Sourcebook…
          MAGNETIC KID: We enter a phase where we didn’t have a lot to say about these Legionnaires because they were characters that mostly came and went before our time.  In this case, we do a quick summation of Magnetic Kid, reducing his profile to the “trading card” we used earlier for Dawnstar, and then showing his Interstellar Press obit. Pretty straightforward, and with luck, we fairly accurately described the events that claimed his life during the Magic Wars (keeping in mind that we wrote this information-packed sourcebook over the course of a few months while trying to keep up on all our other assignments, so there was a limit to how thoroughly we could research any one entry).

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Brek Bannin / Polar Boy

For whatever reason, Polar Boy always appealed to me from the time I first saw him at about the age of 7. I was probably even then kind of a fan of winter weather and ice and snow, and I’ve always tended to like characters with interesting headgear. I think I also kind of liked the color purple and it never occurred to me (until they colored Brek's uniform gray in one of the modern reprints) that his purple was ever supposed to be gray (I didn’t even figure out until adulthood that Batman was supposed to be gray and not purple, even though Batman [unlike Polar Boy] was always colored gray on the covers of the comics).

           As a typical fan of Silver Age DC comics, I loved the huge Legion cast and for me it was “the more the merrier” when the Subs were added to that universe. And I liked Brek’s earnest, straightforward heroism and leadership.
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"2995" Mayfair Legion Sourcebook: Tyroc Through the White Witch

         Let's pick up on my notes on our “2995” Mayfair Soucebook, starting with our little section on Tyroc, which starts with a “Meet the Legionnaires” entry through a pretentious era of “The Legion Groupie,” then going by the moniker “TLG.” To me, it fits pretty well with the ambitious but misguided original intent of the Tyroc character (when instead of just seamlessly integrating the U.P. universe, the creators tried to use the Legion’s first African-descended character to comment on prejudice and bigotry).



         From there we jump to the five-year gap and get a chilling Earthgov memo where they discuss slaughtering the population of Marzal as a means to boost Earthgov’s polling numbers through the creation of a “victory” over “Khund conspirators.”  The plan is to use recordings of Tyroc’s sonic yell to bring Marzal into this dimension, then ambush the population and leave Khund bodies and technology strewn within the carnage to create the impression the island was materializing as a sneak attack on Earth.



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