While The Knights of the Dinner Table are how I maintained contact with the broader gaming community while not gaming much it is not my one true love in comics. That honor is reserved for my first love in comics, The Legion of Superheroes. I still remember my first Legion comic. My grandfather bought me Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes Limited Collector’s Edition in the summer of 1976 and I fell in love. The book as a large sized reprint format both big comic makers tested in the 70s.
As noted above the book was reprints. The principle story was a reprint of Adventure comics #369-379 which were the first appearance of Mordru the Sorcerer, one of the greatest of villains the Legion would face. He was the creation of Jim Shooter who was about 15 at that time having written his first Legion story about a year earlier. His run is the Legion’s first Golden Age and saw not only the introduction of Mordru but also the Fatal Five, my favorite super villain team of all time, and the death of Fero Lad, one of the few genuine deaths in superhero comics.
I would go on to semi-collect the comic for the rest of the 70s starting with issue #226 which introduced Dawnstar. I suspect the fact she was long my favorite Legionnaire and inspiration for my first RPG superhero (a heroine called The Nightingale who I created for Champions and played in Superworld). This was during the Legion’s second golden age with Paul Levitz writing and Dave Cockrum (later famous for helping reboot the X-Men) and then Mike Grell drawing. Dave’s classic costumes are still THE costumes for many of the Legionnaires in my mind, especially the side laced Princess Projectra and Phantom Girl costumes. I also followed the Karate Kid spin-off comic at that time.
I would drift away for the book about 1980 until 1983 when spurred by the purchase of Champions I would ride my bike to every nearby convenience store to purchase comics. I just missed the classic Great Darkness Saga although I did get Annual #3 as it was released which included the story’s epilogue. My actual return issue was #298 and I would be a regular reader until I joined the Navy.
I would be an irregular reader after that until about the same time I started up with KoDT. By this point the Legion was in its first reboot. While the rebooted Legion was interesting I enjoyed the Threeboot Legion that would begin in 2004. It’s run, including the very enjoyable Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes period would come to an end with the return of the DC Multiverse. Starting with the Lighting Saga that ran in both JSA (my other favorite DC super team which I followed during its 70s All Star run) and JLA, the original Legion is back in mainstream DC continuity although the other two teams remain official in alternate universe and even worked together in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds. The Legion returned with the return of Adventure comics and now once again have their own book. The run in Adventure now features the Legion Academy.
I’ve skipped a ton of stuff including the short lived Wanderers comic and the first reboot Legion becoming the New Wanderers, the time the Legion joined the annual JSA/JLA cross-over, the bouncing from Action to Adventure to Superboy to kicking Superboy out of his book to different series, and tons of other great material. With a history as long as the JLA and nearly as constant a presence there is a ton to mine.
While as noted above Dawnstar would show up in my Champions learning experience and as a character in a Superworld game, although melded with Black Canary, I never ran a Legion game or, despite loving the Legion, the JSA, Infinity Inc., and the All Star Squadron owned the Mayfair DC RPG. I have tried to generate interest in a Legion oriented game or at least a Legion influenced game. My recent alternating Thursday campaign pitch is an example of the later. I’m not sure why I never got the MEGS DC Heroes back in the day. I had bought the earlier MSH (I had dutifully collected X-Men like all good early 80s geeks as well as Defenders which is the only Marvel team I ever really bought into until recently). I think it was a combination of the game coming out as I left high school, already owning several supers games (Champions, Superworld, MSH, V&V, and Superhero:2044). It wouldn’t be until I started collect the reboot Legion that I got Blood of Heroes. I did eventually get both Legion books and the Time Trapper adventure series. If the M&M derived DC game comes out with Legion books I’m sure I’ll get them (and wind up upgrading M&M).