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The Legion Companion Is Good

I meant to mention this awhile ago, but you know what is a really good book if you get gift certificates for Christmas?

The Legion Companion.

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Tons of fascinating interviews in there!

The Titans Companion is pretty good, too!

15 Comments

I agree!

I buy pretty much all the TwoMorrows books, but the Legion Companion is my favorite. It was so good, it inspired my next project, actually.

I also like the All-Star Companion, but for very different reasons. While the Legion Companion is all interviews, the All-Star Companion is actually a helpful reference tool which adds depth and perspective on some classic golden age comics.

But, yeah, the Legion Companion is a great recommendation.

I have a bunch of TwoMorrows books, and I will buy them pretty much sight unseen simply because they’re just so well thought out and put together.

I particularly love the Modern Masters volumes. I have the Walt Simonson and Mike Wieringo ones, and I plan on getting the Kevin Maguire and George Perez ones as well.

I also will recommend the All-Star Companion (both volumes) as well as the Krypton Companion and the Comics Gone Ape stuff.

Just so many good books, and so little time to read them.

I have no idea why I don’t own this.

A lot of good stuff in this book. I haven’t opened mine in some time, but I recall the Keith Giffen interviews were extremely informative and candid, as can be expected for anyone familiar with his interviews. The comments about what he had in mind for the “Five Years Later” story compared to where it ended up going, and the fandom (over)reaction were especially sobering.

If you like the Legion one, I’d like to recommend the Krypton Companion too. It’s all Superman up until 1986. I’ve got their new “Silver Age Sci-Fi” companion coming in the mail. I love all their stuff. I wish the “Muck Men” book they solicited would come out!

My favorite is the JLA Companion because it has a great issue by issue summary of the Silver Age JLA issues (the other Companions I have–the Legion and the Titans–lack such a feature). JLA all the way!

Comics Gone Ape is a classic – worth it for the Ape-vengers cover alone! (Oh – Merry Xmas everyone!)

This is a really nice book. What’s even nicer is that former editor KC Carlson goes to the same comic shop I do, so I’ve been able to talk to him even more about the Five Year Later Legion stuff he edited. Extremely nice guy with a big love for the Legion.

The Other Other Mike

December 24, 2007 at 12:43 pm

While I have no doubt Carlson is a nice guy, I’ve always had kind of a (very) low-level fanboy grudge against him because he was the editor on the book when I finally stopped reading the Legion after more decades than I like to think about.

I seem to recall hearing at the time that he wanted to make the group more mainstream and have more contact with the rest of the DCU, and accordingly, moved Giffen off the book and began bringing back the costumes and code names which it seemed to have outgrown at the time.

Of course, I realize I was in the minority liking the Five Years Later stuff – the LOC page was full of people calling for the blood of Giffen and the Bierbaums – but even so, I’ve always wondered how much of the reboot was Carlson’s idea and how much was dictated from above him to service Zero Hour. One should always make sure one’s grudges are aimed properly. :)

You know, that’s a good question, I’ve never asked him about the reboot directly. I know he came in during the middle of the 5 Year Later run and got handed a mess, with Giffen blowing up the Earth and then leaving just before he took over the editorial reins. He said there was a scramble to figure out what to do next. That may have lead, directly or indirectly, to the reboot due to people feeling like Giffen had written them into a corner, so to speak.

As for Zero Hour, well that title marked the beginning of a period where I barely touched comics for 6-7 years. So, the less said about that the better. :P

Other Other Mike: It wasn’t Carlson who moved Giffen off the book – Giffen wanted the infamous “fight to the death” between the SW6 group and the adults (as documented here), and when Carlson said no, that was what made Giffen leave (he was on the fence whether or not to leave anyway).

Andrew: Carlson used to tell a story at conventions where he, Mark Waid, and Tom McCraw would commiserate about what had happened to the Legion, with someone (metaphorically?) rolling on the floor crying “it’s broken and we don’t know how to fix it”. They decided a reboot was the only way out.

Haha, thanks Michael, now I can’t get the image out of my head of Waid rolling around on the floor crying… :)

The Other Other Mike

December 25, 2007 at 12:56 pm

Michael: Interesting stuff, thanks for the link.

I knew that Giffen’s plan all along was that the SW6 Legion was the real Legion and that the older ones were clones, but I hadn’t heard of the planned slamdown between the two teams before. I’m probably still in the minority here, but I kind of wonder how the Omega Men idea would’ve played out. That might have turned out to be interesting. Then again, it could have turned out to be one huge mess, I don’t know.

Anyway, it mostly answered my question of how much of the ending to 5YL was because of Carlson and how much was due to the higher-ups. I never really had any great animosity toward anybody about the way the Legion ended up back then. My main dislike of the reboot was the, in my mind, giant step backwards from science fiction to more standard, run-of-the-mill super heroes. More than anything else, however, was probably that the whole thing was tied into Zero Hour, an event that pretty much put me off comics en masse all the way up until this year.

And, just to get back to the point of this post, I really need to get that Legion Companion. Why I don’t already have it is beyond me.

I own a few of Twomorrows great books.
Just finished reading the SILVER AGE SCI-FI COMPANION by Mike W. Barr and it is almost everything that I wanted about this dream-that-came-thru project.

I would have liked a few more interviews, even reprints from old fanzines or something. The only one interviewed in this book is with Murphy Anderson. Why no interview with Carmine Infantino who drew about half the stories that are analyzed here? There should have been at least a page on each major contributors of this period: Julius Schwartz (the brain), Gil Kane, Mike Sekowsky, etc.

The LEGION COMPANION is a must for any classic (read pre-reboot) Legion fans. Lots (mainly) interviews in this book. What was even better was the interviews pretty much covered all of the Legion’s different eras. I was a huge fan of the Five Years later Giffen/Bierbaum era and stop reading the LoSH when they were kicked out of the title. The LEGION COMPANION was worth the cost for me if only to learn of Giffen’s plan for the SW6 group. Making them the original legionnaires was the best and only “reboot” the LoSH really needed without actually doing a reboot. It would have brung the LoSH to their glorious, younger years (with the more classic costumes).

On the Giffen/Bierbaum years, I also liked the fact that the LoSH title was more sci-fi/Space Opera oriented than just a futur-super-hero title. War was not cool, left casualties and scars.

I also recommend the KRYPTON COMPANION, especially if you are a fan of the Bronze Age Julius Schwartz editorial era on the Superman titles (my favorite period).

I own a few of the MODERN MASTERS SERIES of books. They are basically long, career-spanning interviews with a lot of rare arts and sketches. But the interviews are not always balanced on covering the featured artist whole career. For example, I thought the Walter Simonson book was mostly about his Marvel years, not a lot on his early years at DC. The John Byrne book barely mentioned ALPHA FLIGHT and the Dark Horse/Legend imprint creations. They are still worth getting though.

Great book! So many cool interviews, so much are and previously unpublished artwork! I was kinda sorta interested in the Legion when I bought this (I mainly got it because I love Dave Cockrum’s art) but after reading this book, I went out and bought a bunch of Legion Archives volumes and back issues.

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