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Collecting the Legion 017: Colossal Poster and Shrinking Cards

Here's a look at one of the biggest and one of the smallest Legion collectibles, one hard to find at a reasonable price, the other just hard to find.

The biggest, and probably most expensive, is the 1999 Alex Ross poster. Measuring an impressive 29x54", the poster "Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes" was an exclusive to the late, lamented Warner Brothers Studio Stores. The limited edition (500 pieces) was curiously one of the few (only?) Ross lithos that did not sell out. The original list price was $575 plus tax, and they now go for a couple hundred above that on eBay.

In April 1999, The WBSS Gallery News had a 3/4 page ad for the poster, to be coming later in the spring. For those of us who don't own the poster, it's as close as we'll get (at 8-1/2x11").

The Glendale California Galleria had a special signing event with Ross on April 11th, and issued a special panorama-size postcard to send to collectors. The front of the card is the same as the poster, while the back is info on the signing.

Looking at the poster, it's fairly easy to pin down when the "group shot" would have been taken. It features every Legionnaire plus Night Girl in their newly-redesigned costumes. But the key facts are the appearance of Dawnstar (who joined in "Superboy" 226) and Chemical King (who died in "Superboy" 228). CK is the small green figure reflected in Wildfire's helmet. Bouncing Boy is shown using his powers, though, which he lost in issue 200 and didn't regain until issue 230.

The poster came with a nifty identification key on the back (though it did have some errors). I got a photocopy of one but it seems to be AWOL at the moment. And it does identify Chemical King in Wildfire's visor.

The small one comes courtesy of fellow obsessed fan Joe Morano, who happened to be in South America on business in 1995 and picked these up. I don't know much about them other than what Joe told me. Sometime around 1995, after the DC Master Series cards came out, a smaller version of the cards (branded on the back as Takatelas) was distributed in bags of potato chips in Chile. At least two of the Legion cards (Valor and Virus/Pulse, originally cards 11 and 16) made it into this set of 1x2" cards. There's a number on the card, which according to Joe had something to do with a game but he didn't know the rules. From the image on the back, it looks like slapping the cards down might have had something to do with it, but who knows. Joe's the only one I know who has these cards, but I have seen and held them.

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