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DC Showcase Presents: Legion of Superheroes

Volume 4: 1968 -1972

By Tom BakerPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 4 min read
Chameleon Boy about to get whacked.

Stories by Neal Adams, Jim Shooter, E. Nelson Briswsell, and Cary Bates. Pencils by Dave Cockrum, J. Winslow Mortimer, Curt Swan, and George Papp.

One thing I'll say for The Legion of Superheroes: they're the only superhero club I've ever come across that let a fat kid join. Said kid, Chuck Taine, also known as "Bouncing Boy," has one unique superpower: he's fat and he can blow himself up and bounce all around the place. Out of such amazing gifts, superhero legends are born.

However, as much as an exercise in retardation as that seems, it's sort of par for course when it comes to classic DC Legion of Superheroes, which I read about fifty thousand pages of in an anthology of classic issues from the Sixties, where the babes all had Mary Tyler Moore hair, mini-skirt dresses and superhero tights, and intergalactic superheroine gogo boots. These gals (using that term just to reiterate the much-speculated point about me being an Unwoke or Wokeless pig) all have names like Princess Projetra, Shadow Lass (quit laughing), and even, God help us, Duo Damsel. They jitterbug around the stars and dimensional wormholes in Buck Rogers space cruisers, defeating supervillains that inevitably kidnap them and take them to faraway planets so they can be tried by a jury of criminals in one story whose plot and particulars I can't remember.

The boys of the Legion are, similarly, all square-jawed, handsome young whitebread football heroes who run around in tights and never thought about having a pimple or being an unattractive outcast. (All, that is, except for the poor aforementioned Bouncing Boy, and perhaps Chameleon Boy, who has buggy snail antenna and Spock ears. Both of these super critters get involved in a tough tussle in some King Arthur alternate dimensional realm, where the weird King Arthur aliens zap Bouncing Boy back in time or through the dimensional gateway because he tries to make the moves on some Legionairre girl; but then Chameleon boy shows up and does his Chameleon number and transforms into a look-alike Bouncing Boy, and for some reason I can't quite remember, the King Arthur aliens on Planet Camelot are going to behead Chameleon Boy but Superboy flies in and saves the day. I guess.)

'One false move and the fat kid gets it!" Bouncing Boy in "Legion of Superheroes" Vol. 4

Superboy is here with the rest of the Legion in the Year 3000, but he isn't utilized nearly as much as you'd think he would be in a comic like this. I always assumed Superboy was a teenage wiseass version of SuperMAN, but I grok that they may be two different characters or something from an alternate dimension. But, hey, there is also Krypto the Superdog, and even a Superhorse with a cape (Krypto has a cape as well).

There are other weirdies such as Proteus Lad ("Protty") who I think was supposed to be a living blob that could, Proteus-like, transform himself into any shape. But the weirdest has got to be "Matter-Eater Lad," who, goatlike, might snarf up your arm, some tin cans, a block of cement, etc.

Okay, there's a story upfront about the evil wizard Mordru, who somehow got let out of his airlocked cube in New Metropolis (which is ruled over, by the way, by the "Science Police") and then goes back in time to Smallville and then all the Legion kids follow him (or at least Superboy and friends) and they have to get their memories wiped because Mordru is using them to conjure up flame-breathing dragon hallucinations, only for some reason Superboy's memory never comes back and they have to do something, or some other or this, that, and the third to get Superboy back to Supershape. About five hundred pages later there's a story arc about how the Legion kids start charging money for their super hijinks to stunned aliens perturbed at their greed, but it was all a smokescreen so they could get all that alien scratch in one rocket ship so that when some cosmic rays shined on it, it would destroy the bad guys, I reckon.

It sort of reminds me of the Hannah Barbera take on the superhero genre, and after five hundred black-and-white pages, I was a little toasted and completely forgetful about what Duo Damsel, Shadow Lass, and Bouncing Boy did to get out of the hands of those intergalactic supervillains once again. I seem to have had my memory erased. Maybe a supervillain is responsible.


About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.:

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Comments (3)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock4 months ago


  • k eleanor4 months ago

    Bouncing Boy 😂😂 when it comes to comics I love DC!

  • Daphsam4 months ago

    Thank you for sharing! I was more into the Archie and Gang comics. This was very interest.

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