Welcome back for another Fabulous Find! This time I’ll focus on a fanzine from the Seventies entitled, The Legion Outpost. If you can’t tell from the title, it’s a fanzine about D C Comics’ Legion of Super-Heroes comic book! The fanzine ran ten (10) issues. Though I’m only going to cover the first five (5) this time around.
Legion Outpost Fanzines 1 & 2
The first issue was more of a club newsletter than an actual fanzine and was brought to the world by editor: Mike Flynn and managing editor: Harry Broertjes. It was numbered Vol. 1/No. 1 – Election Issue and dated June 1972. The issue mostly featured ads for members of the Legion Fan Club running for the offices of President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer for their fan club. Though there was a nice one page Legion Fact File done by Brad Lawrence Petzke featuring Mon-El. Harry Broertjes wrote up his history and involvement with the Legion and Legion fandom and went on to discuss the current state of affairs with the Legion in the summer of ’72. If you don’t remember the Legion of Super-Heroes had been running as a sometime back-up feature in Superboy during this time period, having lost their spot in Action Comics, which came after their long run in Adventure Comics.
The other main feature of the first issue of The Legion Outpost was a large listing of pen-pals. The youngest were twelve year olds. The eldest two, were young women, who were twenty-one. One very interesting name jumped out at me and that was of sixteen year old, KC Carlson, of Janesville, Wisconsin. Carlson grew up to become an editor at D C Comics, and spent time as the editor of The Legion of Super-Heroes comic, as well.
This first issue did not even feature any artwork on the cover, but did sport a logo of sorts. That was pretty much it for this fourteen page first issue, but it was to improve with the future issues.
The second issue did not have any cover art either, but did use a clearer logo designed by Mike Chen, which featured the Legion Clubhouse. Issue number two was dated November 1972, and cost the mere 35 cents! This issue gave the results of the voting for the club officers, with Mike Flynn being elected President by a landslide, Shelly Rabin being elected Vice-President by a large margin and Don Windham squeaking into the Secretary-Treasurer position in a very close race.
The very first Legion Update was provided by Jay Zilber, who reviewed the Legion of Super-Heroes stories that had appeared beginning in 1977, since the Legion lost its spot in Action Comics, through their most recent appearance in Superboy #191. Margie Spears wrote an article on “Those Awful New Uniforms” that were introduced in Adventure Comics Giant #403. I understand fans designed these costumes, but I do not have that issue in my collection to check to see if this is correct. I guess I’ll have to add it to my search list, eh?
Broertjes wrote that the press run for The Legion Outpost # 2 was 300 copies, and that this was a fifty percent increase over issue number one. Flynn attempted to list his top ten best Legion stories. He tried to do it by assigning points for plot, action, characterization, art, importance and innovation. What was his all time best Legion story, you ask? Well, beating out the “Colossal Failure” from Adventure Comics #371-372, “The Rogue Legionnaire” from Adventure #349, “Mordru the Merciless” from Adventure #369-370, “The Super-Moby Dick of Space” from Adventure #332, as well as, “The Super-Stalag of Space” from Adventure #344-345 was …”To Save a Galaxy” from Adventure Comics #352-353.
This issue was the first that long-time Legion fan, Mercy Van Vlack’s, artwork appeared in. She supplied the back cover and also a couple of untitled, but fun, Legion comic strips! Comic historian and fan, Rich Morrissey, also made his first appearance with an article entitled, “On the Lifespan of the Inhabitants of Colu”. A second Legion Fact file, this time provided by Harry Williams, featured; Karate Kid, and also a third Legion Fact File by Petzke, featuring Brainiac 5. Margie Spears did a nice page on Duo Damsel. Morrissey appeared a second time with another article, this one entitled; “Should the Legionnaires Age?” Harry B. did a long review article covering the Legion stories that came out in the first half of 1965 and James Balko provided a look at Legion traitors in an article by the name of “The Legion of Super-Traitors”.
This issue also featured the first letters page and the second letter printed was from KC Carlson. Mike Flynn brought everyone the first continued fan-fiction story with “The Ytterbium Trail”, with other fan-fiction printed from Ted Delorme, Petzke, David Chester, and also by Tim Coun.
Legion Outpost Fanzine 3 & 4
Issue number 3 showed many improvements to this fanzine. It sports a very nice Dave Cockrum (who was the current Legion artist), cover of Lightning Lad in his new costume. Also, elsewhere in this issue were Cockrum’s drawings of new costumes for Shrinking Violet, Chameleon Boy and Phantom Girl. He explained his reasoning behind the various costume changes and why some Legionnaires did not get new costumes, like Brainiac 5, who it would never occur to change his costume. Along with this artwork, Cockrum provided a two page article, “Ack! How Dare You Tamper with the Legion??” In this article, he talks about wanting to kill off a dozen members, or retire them, or get them lost semi-permanently in another dimension to trim down the membership to a more manageable size.
Cockrum goes on to discuss the introduction of a new character, ERG-1 coming soon and about his apparent demise and how they are planning to bring him back with a “better name, like Thunderbolt, Spitfire, Nova or some other equally destructive-sounding name”. And as everyone now knows, bring him back they did, as Wildfire!
Many more articles were found in this issue; The LFC Gab Corner by Flynn, Fandom Report by Broertjes, Legion Update by Zilber, My Place by Flynn, Lore of the Legion: The Legion’s Ten-Most Wanted List by Balko, How Superboy Joined the Legion by Haven Metzger, Legion Lowdown: The Admission of Members by Richard Foster, part 2 of The Legion – 1965 by Broertjes and Public Popularity by Margie Spears.
The letters page was back with letters from fans; Ken Gale and Rich Morrissey. Flynn continued the fiction story “the Ytterbium Trail”, as well. The Legion Fact file was also back with a focus on Ferro Lad by Clint Thomas and Petzke. There was also a new Review column where fanzines, books and records were reviewed. I found it interesting to see that the phonograph record reviewed is Marvel Comics’s “From Beyond the Grave” featuring the Amazing Spider-Man that was issued on Buddah Records. I actually own this album, believe it or not! Mr. Broertjes did not give it a very good review. Maybe I need to pull this collector’s item out and give it another listen, now that thirty years have passed since I last listened to it. Hey it could be an upcoming Fabulous Find!
The Legion Outpost number 4 featured a cover reprinting the cover to Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes # 197 and is dated the Summer, 1973. Last issued featured art and an article by Dave Cockrum and this issue features a short piece from Legion editor, Murray Boltinoff, and an interview with Legion writer, Cary Bates.
Mike Flynn was back with another Gab Corner, as well as another My Place. Jay Zilber provided another Update, Balko another Lore of the Legion focusing on the villains of the Legion. Petzke provided another Legion Fact File, number 6 in a series, this time focusing on the Legion Rogues’ gallery and Universo! Ed Kurpis reported that in a poll of Legion fans revealed that if they could have one Legionnaire’s power, which would, they want? And the answer was: Element Lad (29%), beating out Chameleon Boy (26%), Mon-El (11%) and Saturn Girl (10%). Other Legionnaires that followed with lesser percentages were, Ultra Boy, Karate Kid, Invisible Kid and Duo Damsel.
Other articles were provided by Zilber (The Time Paradox Syndrome), Morrissey (Romance in the Legion) and Broertjes (The Legion – 1966). Terry Curtis Fox provided an article on WARP, the Broadway play, which tanked, with costumes and sets designed by Neal Adams. Mike Flynn’s “The Ytterium Trail” fiction story was wrapped up in this issue, as well. Artwork this issue was supplied by Van Vlack, Petzke, Laney Loftin, Spears, Mike Harkins, Neal Adams and Dave Sim. Yes, that Dave Sim, the creator of Cerebus the Aardvark!
All in all, this was a pretty nice issue. Besides the items above, space was taken up by ads from members listing comics for sale, an ad for the 3rd edition of the Comic Book Price Guide from Bob Overstreet and for only $6.00 in softcover and $8.50 in hardback. The Neal Adams art was a convention sketch of Superboy and looks like it took all of one minute. Carol Strickland, Jim Balko, Mike Flynn and Harry Broertjes provided other fiction.
Legion Outpost 5
Legion Outpost number 5 is my favorite of this 10-issue run of fanzines. This may be true because it is the first issue I ever purchased when it first came out. So I would say that I am definitely prejudiced in this case, but it still is the best issue of the first five. It’s dated; Fall, 1973 and Harry Broertjes is listed as the Editor and Publisher, with Mike Flynn listed as Associate Editor. It leads off with a nice Night Girl cover drawn by Willard Harrison and finishes with a nice “retro” Legion founder back cover by Dave Sim. Other terrific art was provided by Spears, Allen Matsumoto, Bob Layton, Duffy Vohland, Cockrum, Mike Harkins, Van Vlack, Neal Pozner, Gary Roberson and the afore mentioned Misters Harrison & Sim.
The issue leads off with Legion writer, Cary Bates, providing a one-page article entitled, “Action over Characterization … for now”. He starts off by saying, “the only thing harder than writing the Legion is writing about writing the Legion”. He goes on to say that the biggest problem he has with the Legion “is how to make the strip easily understood and enjoyed by a completely new reader … yet at the same time make it accurate and intriguing enough for long-time Legion freaks”. He goes on to say, “I’m happy to say it’s beginning to look like maybe our efforts have been successful … which is quite a relief, because dropping Superboy out of his own book to guest star status was a risky gamble”. He wraps up by writing, “as for those we haven’t been able to please yet … perhaps the stories to come will be closer to your ideal of what a Legion story should be. Of course it’s impossible to please everyone … but that doesn’t mean we won’t bust our balls trying”.
Next up was Harry’s column, “For the Record”, followed by Flynn’s “My Place”. Then Harry again with “The (still!) Protracted Conflict” which went into detail why the Outpost was late, yet again. Then he moved into a rebuttal of a review of The Legion Outpost # 4, which ran in issue number 102 of The Rocket’s Blast/Comicollector (RBCC), which in reprinted in total this issue.
“Legion Census” by Rick Foster appeared this issue. Rick gives a count of the appearances, of each and every Legionnaire,by panel. Yes, that’s right, by panel. Next up was an interview with C. C. Beck the creator of Captain Marvel, at this time known as Shazam, since Marvel Comics snapped up the trademark on Captain Marvel while D. C. Comics dropped the ball. Next up is the best article, at least in my opinion, “Mon-El is not Lar Gand … Saturn Girl knows this … So why isn’t she telling?” by Margie Spears. Professional writers; Tom & Mary Bierbaum, used some of these ideas during their run on the Legion of Super-Heroes comic!
After a nice Karate Kid gallery, there is a long article about Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster by Dennis Dooley. Then a report on the New York Comic Art Convention of 1973, by Mike Flynn, which also included pictures of some of the pro guests, including Dave Cockrum, Russ Heath, Bernie Wrightson and Alan Kupperberg. He also ran pictures of some of the fans that participated in the costume contest. The pictures featured two different Vampirellas, the Demon (the Jack Kirby character) and Ming the Merciless (who was the final winner). Next, Morrissey wrote the “History of the Legion of Substitute Heroes”, Zilber provided another edition of “Update”, followed by “The colonization of Titan” an article written by Strickland. The last of the articles was another “Lore of the Legion” by Balko covering the Legion’s 10 most wanted list of villains.
More fan fiction was presented this issue, as well. Wrapping up this fine issue is a long review column focusing on books and other fanzines and a letters column, plus ads from fellow comic book fans selling comics. By far, I feel this fifth issue was the best to date!
That wraps up this column, but I’ll be back with part two, covering the Legion Outpost issues six (6) through ten (10) soon. Maybe I’ll slot it in next week and delay my next RETRO REVIEW, or just wait for two weeks and the regularly scheduled Fabulous Find. Stay tuned and you’ll find out! Be seeing you …