Monday, September 4, 2017

Giffen Legion Of Super-Heroes Poster

Between my recent reviews of the last newsprint Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen Legion issues over on the Legion of Super-Bloggers to my guest starring on several episodes of the Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes podcast to my interactions with Keith Giffen at Terrificon, I have been looking back at the Legion of the Super-Heroes of the 1980's a lot lately. A lot.

It is a great comic and a great run featuring my favorite super-hero team of all time.

One of the curiosities that I love from that time period is the Legion of Super-Heroes poster by Keith Giffen. Done in 1983, this massive poster included every character that had appeared in the Legion mythos up to that point. It is an amazing piece of art. The sheer volume of characters is amazing. Kudos to Giffen for being able to do this.

But did you know that there is a character that appears on the poster three times?

But before we get there, let's take a look at Supergirl.

This was at the time when she was just switching costumes, going to the red shouldered look which she adopted in (Daring New Adventures of) Supergirl #13. Note the lack of a headband! When the costume was first conceived, she wasn't wearing it!

Anyways, it is a gorgeous rendition of Kara. I love her pose here, graceful and almost playful. Just gorgeous.

But who is represented on the poster three times?

Well, look who else is on the poster. It's Satan Girl from Adventure Comics #313.

As we know, Satan Girl turns out to be a Red K clone of Supergirl! I would like to think that Giffen gave a little clue to those who don't know that by having Comet the Super-Horse be nearby, a visual cue.

So we've seen Supergirl.
And we've Satan Girl who was also Supergirl.

And look who else is on the poster.

It's The Unknown Legionnaire from Adventure Comics #334.

As we know, The Unknown Legionnaire also turns out the be Supergirl, amnestic from another bout with Red K. I'd also like to think that Giffen was giving a little clue to that by putting Krypto near by. Remember, this poster came out well before the internet and initially it didn't even come with a key! Unless you read the story, it is unlikely you knew this metal-helmeted character was Kara.

So to tally.
Satan Girl (Supergirl).
Unknown Legionnaire (Supergirl).

That's right! Supergirl appears three times on the poster!

I also feel compelled to showcase Brainiac 5, Kara's love from the future.

I'd like to think that Giffen put Streaky the Super-Cat next to Brainy on purpose given how both have strong connections to the Maid of Might.

I have this poster in small form in the back of my Great Darkness Saga trade. But you can see the image on-line.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a real fantastic poster. Initially I couldn't spot Kara. And it turns out there're three versions of her!

I have the feeling that Giffen is definitely a Kara fan, but he didn't care very much for other Supergirls. Thus, Reign in Hell and "Convergence: Matrix" where Matrix was refered to as "a protoplasmic matrix that thinks it's Supergirl". On the other hand, Kara in "Justice League 3001" was powerful, snarky, mature, led the Justice League and was determined to save the universe without giving up her and her teammates' souls.

I think there's a split between Silver/Bronze Age and Post-Crisis fans. The older fans saw their universe jettisoned and their favorite characters getting killed/crippled/"updated"/replaced/fridged for fifteen years. During those years, they were told over and again by the newer fans that their favorite characters were boring, dull, outdated, one-dimensional, lame and uncool and their replacements were infinitely more complex, interesting, engaging and modeeeeeern. So, what happened was inevitable: the older fans got severely pissed, some of them became creatives and brought the Pre-Crisis Multiverse and their loved characters back to the detriment of the others. And they're making sure that those are the versions that are reaching the mainstream audience (Exhibit A: DC Super Hero Girls. The Flash and Green Lantern are Barry and Hal). And now it's the fans who grew up with Post-Crisis Superman, Matrix, Wally West, Kyle Rayner or the Reboot Legion who are mad because they feel their favorite characters are getting disrespected.

Several months ago I read online a Kara-bashing, Linda-worshipping rant where a fan stated Linda should have her own movie because "it's time for the best Supergirl make it to the big screen". Yes, not happening. I like both Kara and Linda, but IMO, the best Supergirl already made it to the movies in 1985. Anyway you'd have to convince a big studio to greenlight another Supergirl movie, not a easy thing after her 80's movie bombed. And even so, Kara would be the main character because "Superman's cousin" is easier to understand and shorter to explain than "Satanist girl got merged with a protoplasmic entity and became an Earth Angel".

I really went off-topic, didn't I? Okay, back on topic. It's interesting to see Giffen drawing Satan Girl. Since he drew Kara taking on Darkseid and headubtting Weber's World out of its orbit, I'd like seeing him drawing a throwdown between Kara and her evil counterpart.

It'd be... glorious. And world-shattering, given the power level involved.

Brainy staring at Streaky is funny. Man, I need some Kara/Querl fanservice. Come on, DC, Brainy is the only Supergirl's love interest has survived the endless reboots and stuck around! Throw us a bone!