Tuesday, May 20, 2014


If these are from the fans, imagine what their enemies would design. 

Adventure Comics #403 - besides being a giant-size issue reprinting several of the Legion of Super-Heroes' most dizzingly improbable escapades (complete with editorial footnotes gamely attempting to make sense of the mess - these poor old cats would've had heart attacks if they'd had to ride herd on Zero Hour ...) - showcases one of my favorite (and long forgotten) features in old school comics: COSTUMES SUBMITTED BY READERS! Madness given form in spandex and thigh-high boots, a cornucopia of bare midriffs and leisure suits with capes!

It's hard to do wrong by the Legion of Superheroes, a team of fashion-challenged tyros who often resorted to writing their names on their shirts, like a sort of Summer space camp near a gas leak. On a good Wednesday, the Legion is already home to a wardrobe full of waist-baring belly-covering cuts, flared shoulders, short pants with patriot boots and copious pinkness, so go ahead and bring your worst, fans, I say.

At least two of these costumes ended up getting long-term usage, and three others were used for a backup story, so if nothing else there was some longevity to them.


Duo Damsel's bisected orange-and-purple costume advertises her love of Nerds candies and - when she activates her sole power of taking up more space than one person - also gets it rubbed in her face that her third body is dead dead dead.

"Light Lass here..." to bring you an in-flight magazine! Here's Ayla Ranzz during her brief stint as the Legion Cruiser's first and only flight attendant. She made the peanuts float! I know that doesn't sound like much, but you really had to be there.

I guess we're uncovering the greatest flaw with the Legion of Super-Heroes as a concept, endemic to its very nature - how do you create a believable world of the distant future without defying contemporary concepts of fashion, style and design sensibility. Well, I'm sure that requires a complicated explanation, but I know for a fact that at least part of the equation is DON'T MAKE NONE OF THEM A GODDAMN HIPPY!

It's great that Shrinking Violet goes from the character too timid to speak up to being the character who goes on for hours about why brown rice is better than white rice and never stops quoting the Bhagavad-Gita.

The highlights of the costume parade, however, come courtesy of Paul Decker of Oconowomoc, Wisconsin

Paul starts by predicting the whims and tendencies of an entire internet subculture by hypersexualizing Phantom Girl. Or, to some perspectives, he merely crammed her into really unflattering Frederick's of Hollywood fashions. Either way, I really like slowly pronouncing Oconomowoc in my head every time I have to type it.

I'm not sure if it's the stockings or the absurdly gigantic disco medallion I adore more. All I DO know is that this is comics, and so that goddamn medallion would have been stuffed with crime-fighting gadgets and space cameras and nutrition pills and so on. I mean, if Daredevil's cane had a radio transmitter and speed jammed in the handle, this 30th-century eyesore's bound to have a flat HDTV screen, a couch and a butterfly vibrator.

Paul's Night Girl costume also evokes the idea of stripping for tips, or at least what a Go-Go dancer might wear to the opera. Is her abdomen in jail? Meanwhile, Chlorophyll Kid has a pouch that carries all his seeds, which is just Biology 101, man.

And lastly, here's Saturn Girl looking like she's in a tampon advertisement from the early Eighties:

"I like to stay active, but I also like to feel FRESH!"

The alternate Legion costumes make their debut - and, I believe, their only appearances, for these specific characters - in the back of Superboy vol.1 No.183 (March 1972) 

Oh boy!
The story starts with Princess Projectra, Shadow Lass, Mon-El and Karate Kid hitting the spacelanes to discover Space-America, wearing clothes so painfully hip that they won't even be fashionable until the 30th century - if then!

Comic books are full of smart advice for dumb kids.
In the middle of their space-jaunt, the crew of four are sideswiped by some strange alien force - which critically damages their ship and apparently burns all the sensible clothes they'd thought to bring with them.

"How's your dignity holding up?"
The quartet are subsequently possessed by the four space-ray-beam-people-things, because apparently that's the thing they do. Little time passes before the inexperienced, mind-controlling phony baloney cosmic phantom things find their host bodies in mortal danger from ... whatever this thing is.

Yeah, I don't ... I don't think that's what you're saying it is.

When azure-skinned hottie Shadow Lass is critically injured by the thing that is obviously a penis Vege-Demon, it shocks the phantomy-thingie beasts out of their host bodies, or possibly they passed a mirror and caught a good look at what they were wearing.

If this ain't terrifying it already,
no illusion's gonna make a diff.

Anyway, it all wraps up with this weirdly cheery half-huddle at the end of the story, which purports to 'explain' the things which 'happened' during the 'story'.

"Can we get out of these things, now?"

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