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 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!’ ” (Err...sure, Cosmic Boy!)
There's a plethora of commentary about 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!
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