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Collecting the Legion 020: Tempo Books and Polar Foils

First up, a paperback reprinting Legion stories. It's in regular paperback book size, and is known as "the Tempo paperback" because of its publisher. The book (ISBN 0-448-14535-9 for those of you keeping track) sports a cover that's often been mistaken for Mike Grell artwork, but it's a recolored and rearranged version of the Legion page from the 1976 DC Calendar (see enclosed). For example, note Wildfire's location on the book cover below Karate Kid, and note that he's got something trailing from his helmet. You can see that on the calendar page he was actually below Lightning Lad, and someone in the production office wasn't as handy as they should have been with that X-Acto knife since they left a little bit of Lightning Lad's chest on top of Wildfire's helmet. And Lightning Lad has lost his flag, even though he's still got his hand in a fist on the book cover. Not to mention the bad speed-lines trailing Colossal Boy. Cropped from the picture were Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Cosmic Boy, Chemical King, Phantom Girl, and Matter-Eater Lad.

The book reprints four stories apparently chosen at random - "Superboy's Darkest Secret" (Superboy 158; Jor-el and Lara survived Krypton's destruction), "The Six-Legged Legionnaire" (Adventure 355; Insect Queen joins), "The Curse of the Blood Crystals" (Superboy 188; Chameleon Boy is possessed by some of Mordru's magic), and "The Legionnaires Who Never Were" (Action 392; Saturn Lad and Prince Projectur). The panels were cut and pasted from the original format to make them fit one or two per page, and if they had a long panel, well, it got cut in half (see the enclosed sample page). They also moved word balloons and redrew some art to fill in gaps where needed.


There were four books in this set - Superboy and the Legion, Superman (ISBN 0-448-14532-4, which reprints "The Legion of Super-Villains" story from Superman 147), and I think Wonder Woman and the JLA - which also included a slipcase. The slipcase did not have any Legion stuff on it.


Second, if you thought the "Secrets of the Legion" bumper sticker or the Takatelas cards were hard to find, this one is up there with them in obscurity and difficulty. I found it in a batch of issues of The Comic Reader that I recently bought on eBay (looking for an issue with an unpublished Mike Grell Batman cover). Back in 1980, during the Conway run we all remember so well (remember "Lord Romdur's Castle" in issue 276 - was anyone fooled that Romdur was just Mordru with the letters scrambled?), a proposal was floated for a Polar Boy one-shot spinoff titled "Polar Foils".

Written by newcomer Daisy Paforoll with art by Jimmy Janes and Dave Hunt (who were just getting ready to move to the regular Legion title) and edited by Paul Levitz, the story would have been a humorous look at the 30th century, something that might have inspired Levitz a few years later in his DC Comics Presents issue with Ambush Bug and the Subs with Keith Giffen. Remember Apollo, part of the Prince Evillo's Devil's (Half) Dozen from the Adventure days? Now known as Apollo Sirf and joined by the Spiral Fool (formerly known as Vibrex), Paforoll's story would have been "a madcap romp pitting Polar Boy, having quit the Legion of Substitute Heroes, against a pair of has-been villains trying to make a comeback." Wacky hijinks would ensue, I'm sure. Sadly, the project never made it past the drawing board but here's the info with an art sample from The Comic Reader #177 (4/1/80).


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