The story goes that Superboy was lonely.
Hey, you’ve got powers far beyond those of mortal man and you live in Smallville, with some bald nut who used to be your biggest fan and now he wants to kill you and Her. The girl of your dreams.
And no one to talk to. No one that understands.
Enter the Legion of Superheroes: Boys and Girls from the 30th Century, who all have powers and want to hang out with Superboy and punch stuff.
It was light Fifties Sci-Fi Superfun and kids kinda either really liked it or paid no attention to it.
Then, comicbook-dom aged, and as fans grew up, they wanted to see older Legionnaires. So, in 1972 or so, artists Mike Grell and Dave Cockrum redesigned the whole team.
My little brother dug this oversized Treasury comic. He had a bunch of Legion comics and I thought they were … alright? All those new costumes looked pretty nuts, though. I liked that.
A fan, from Australia no less, pitched the idea of making THE ENTIRE TEAM for his collection. Those 70’s designs were pretty PROJECT:RUNWAY-level insane, so I kinda liked the idea. Another fan (Australia again!) caught wind of this and went double in.
What follows is a visual diary of the entire team- 32 members I think?- over the course of the several years it took to make them and make these guys happy (hopefully). To make it a game for myself, I mostly did the members in the order they joined the Legion. Mostly.
First up: Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, and Saturn Girl (they kept the same code names after puberty. The 30th Century has no shame).
I think Cosmic Boy is wearing a man bodice. And that is one hot pink sparkly swimsuit. Plus boots.
Next up to join were Chameleon Boy, Duo Damsel, Superboy, and Phantom Girl.
The girls were a ton of work, down to casting new hands for Phantom Girl and using metal pegs to get her pig tails right. I really liked how Superboy turned out. Almost looks like Christopher Reeves. The red and purple dude wound up being top-heavy, because of the sculpted vest. He had to be sent back for a lot of fixin’ after a tragic shelf accident.
Next, we took these guys:
And transformed them into Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Invisible Kid, and Star Boy
In this batch, I picked the same Superman because the figure was supposed to be his cousin.
Pictured are Ultra Boy, Shrinking Violet, Mon-El, and Sun Boy:
At some point, the Legion decided a teen-aged Supergirl should join.
It turns out teenage Supergirl is the only Legion figure DC Comics made, so I asked the guys to add her to their collection:
As the project went on, life would happen and the project would d-r-a-g. I think my biggest challenge was to push these guys:
Into Element Lad, Light Lass, Bouncing Boy, and Matter Eater Lad (Yeah. And that name wasn’t helping to inspire).
I still don’t think the facial expression on Light Lass is quite right and it was very challenging to sculpt the obese Bouncing Boy onto the heroic formed toy figure.
By far, perhaps the most extensive work was to get from here:
Pictured are Shadow Lass, Princess Projectra, Karate Kid, and Dream Girl
I had to cast and sculpt necks, heads, etc., with lots of sculpted hair. I also came to the conclusion that the women in my life would laugh (or chuckle) as they walked past these figures drying.
Again, as scale-consistent figures were hard to come by, I used yet another Superman to go from:
To get Chemical King:
And Timber Wolf:
For reasons that escape me, I was somehow asked to do the final three members first.
This meant taking another old Superman and a Green Lantern:
And with the most popular requested figure, Dawnstar.
She was supposed to be an American Indian with wings.
And a costume with yellow fringe.
And, it finally happened: It was over.
It was a valuable learning experience for me. I am convinced artists Grell and Cockrum were either geniuses or exotic dancer aficionados.
Legion comics will always make me think of my brother.
I was contacted by a guy who worked for the BBC and he wanted his favorite Legion character- a girl who tried out for the team and was rejected! Since she was again designed by Dave Cockrum, I couldn’t refuse the challenge to do… (wait for it):
He needed one for his best friend, too.