Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Legion Lore: Teenagers From the Future!

Hi, guys and dolls...hope you're all sipping pina coladas and enjoying the beautiful summer so far. And let's imagine for the rest of said summer, you can buy only two more books about comics—well, it goes without saying one of them has to be Assembled! Volume 2, right? (Available on Amazon...check out our panel to the right for details!)

As for the second book, if you’re a Legion of Super-Heroes fan–and who isn’t?—do yourself a huge favor and grab a book called Teenagers From the Future. Like Assembled!, it's an anthology of essays, and also like Assembled! it's a great read: informative, enjoyable, and thought-provoking. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every single essay here is worth reading. You may not agree with the contributors' varied opinions and analyses, but you won't be bored--and you'll come away with an increased knowledge of the Legion's rich history.

Some background: Teenagers From the Future is a collection of essays edited by Timothy Callahan, with a foreword by Matt Fraction. The essays are presented in chronological order according to the Legion’s publishing history, so you get a good overview of the Legion oeuvre: the Silver Age Legion, the progression to the 1970s, 80s, 90s and so on, up through today’s Legion (and yes, the reboots are included).

The topics range from fairly standard (but still interesting) such as the “The Death and Resurrection of Lightning Lad” and “Women in the Early Legion” to the more esoteric “The Legion’s Super-Science” and “Decades to Get It Right: Architecture and Utopia” to the provocative “Diversity an Evolution in the Reboot Legion” and “The Racial Politics in the Legion” to…well, you get the idea. And what Legion tome would be complete without a piece on the Legion’s splendiferous sartorial style—so we get “Fashions From the Future, or ‘I Swear, Computo Forced Me to Wear This!’ "

There's commentary on the usual suspects including Mort Weisinger, Jim Shooter, Paul Levitz, and Mark Waid…but there’s also attention paid to the Legion’s earliest scripters Edmond Hamilton and Jerry Siegel. A minor quibble: I would have liked to seen an essay focusing on E. Nelson Bridwell (hey, Timothy Callahan, if you’re reading this and need an extra essay or two for your next volume…)

The book includes a fair number of reproduced panels and covers throughout (in black and white, alas) and there's a handful of factual errors, but it’s a very captivating read and provides a good basic overview of those kids from the future. If your local comic shop doesn't carry Teenagers, head on over to ever-reliable Amazon and order a copy. Happy reading!

7 comments:

MaGnUs said...

I'm the author of the "Fashion From The Future" essay, glad you enjoyed the book... even my essay. :)

Sharon said...

Thanks for the feedback, MaGnUs. Your "Fashions From the Future" chapter was a standout...not a small achievement given the overall high quality of the essays in this wonderful book! I loved how you described the Alan Scott Green Lantern's costume as having a "clear medieval/Graeco-Roman influence, with a dash of Middle Eastern flavor" and your likening Light Lass' 1960s garb to that of a Vegas showgirl--genius! Great essay--I learned and laughed, and who could ask for anything more?

MaGnUs said...

Sharon; I'm deeply honored by your words. Very glad you liked my essay, and that you think it was a stand out.

It was a hard essay to write, but very fun; and I learned A LOT too while doing it. I try to write my stuff with a dash of humor too...

I'm currently trying to secure authorization to publish a PDF version of the essay, revised, expanded, and with all the images I selected and couldn't fit in the book.

Thanks again for your kind words about my first printed foray into the world of comic book essays.

Sharon said...

Wow...if that was your "first printed foray into the world of comic book essays," MaGnUs, then I can't wait to see what you do for an encore!

MaGnUs said...

Good question... we'll see what else comes up. In the meantime, I'm working on a few comic stories, and you can read me weekly at http://thedissector.blogspot.com

Not the same quality as the Legion essay, but I hope the same humor. Thanks again Sharon, you make me blush. :)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Doug said...

Thanks, Sharon or Karen, for removing the spam comment!! You beat me to it.

Doug

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