Oh, man. Remember the "I am a huge nerd." part of the last post? Not that I think that anybody would ever disbelieve me, but there's a bit of evidence to that effect that I should have shared with the world years ago. Check it out this slice of my desktop:
INVISIBLE KID II
There is a rule that I just came up with: Invisible Kids have lousy costumes. The original, Lyle Norg, had that brown-and-green workout outfit with the headband and all and poor Jaques up there has that yellow-and-black monstrosity. Heck, even the current, totally rebooted and up-to-date and not dead Invisible Kid looks like he just grabbed four or five random things from his closet and called it a costume. It's kind of like they want to be sure that their power will be appreciated every single time that they use it. "Oh, thank Space-God, Jaques. That thing was starting to sear my retinas."
Jaques Foccart got to be the second Invisible Kid basically through random chance. He had come to Legion HQ to get Brainiac 5 to make his sick sister well and then Computo had shown up again and possessed said sister, possibly using nanotechnology. Since Jaques had no powers or anything, Computo just totally ignored him to focus on beating up Legionnaires and in the confusion our pal drank some of the original Invisible Kid's formula (that was just, you know, lying around) and saved the day somehow (it's been a while since I've read the story, okay?). Computer-tyrants take note: underestimate Frenchmen at your peril. Afterward, Jaques joins the team and does okay. Oh, and at one point he starts teleporting as well as turning invisible and ends up in some weird hellscape and finds out that poor Lyle Norg didn't end up boinking some ghost-babe for the rest of time but rather was suffering eternal torment, which was a bit of a bummer.
I like that Invisible Kid II was named Jaques Foccart, because I was an English major and so occasionally read it as Jaques Focault, who would have the combined powers of Jaques Derrida and Michel Foucault, and have a giggle while I imagine him deconstructing the semiotic of the super-hero team (or something like that. I was an English major a while ago). Also, he's from Côte d'Ivoire and as far as I know is the only superhero ever to come from there. Dammit, except for his sister, eventually.
This picture, however... eesh. I kind of hope that it was accidentally released unfinished, because invisibility is really the easiest power to illustrate ever. Just make the outline of his legs dotted instead of solid about halfway down and then ask the colourist to fade out the yellow at about that point. Ta-da! You did it! Alternate method: leave the whole panel blank. As it stands, this is just terrible as a showcase for the character. I mean, when Superman has a shot where he's just standing there with his arms folded, he's at least hovering a foot or so off the ground, right? Take some notes, Jaques.
Invisible Kid II had two modes: brooding and surprised. In the first, he thought a lot about how his sister was sick (she was in a tube for a couple of years before Brainiac fixed her) and how invisibility was a lame power, which showed that he didn't think about the implications of having superpowers so much as read old Maxim articles about lame super-heroes. Don't listen to them, man! Sure you can't fly through the sun, but the sun's boring. You can fly through, say, the changing rooms of the stars. Plus, you can punch villains on the back of the head, which I for one have always wanted to do to Universo. In the other mode, Jaques shocased the fact that he wasn't a super-scientist or an adventurer or something, just some guy who had drank some goop. Every time that Validus or Darkseid or whoever would show up he would jump about a foot and shout "WTF!" Okay, he would shout "Sacre coeur!" but the spirit of the thing was the same. For me, it never got boring.
And that's pretty much that, Invisible Kid II-wise. Except to note that of all of the bad hairdos, post Five Year Gap, his was the worst. Still, on the balance:
Here we go, here we go, here we go now. Today we're taking a look at what happens when a Legionnaire kicks the bucket. In Adventure Comics No. 341, the awesome yellow robot Computo seemingly vaporised Triplicate Girl (but really only 1/3 of her, so it was okay). The Legion, mildly wracked with grief, was moved to honour her thusly:
By signing their names. That's right, the Legion of Super-Heroes treats the death of a close friend in the same way that they do the approach of an eight-year-old clutching a duotang with 'Delia + Ultra Boy' and 'Mrs. Delia Nah' scrawled all over it. Luckily, the other 2/3 of Triplicate Girl don't show up until after the funerary rocket has left, so she doesn't have to see that Sun Boy absent-mindedly scrawled 'have a bitchin' summer - S.B.' across her engraved face.
Lame tributes aside, it is pretty cool that they shoot what little Triplicate Girl that they could scrape up into space. Not only that, but the charred hero-bits have a destination!
Shanghalla's another one of those things that got built up in my mind by the little entries at the back of Jeff Rovin's Encyclopedia of Super-Heroes. It's a neat idea, if little-used. I kind of wish that there were an issue of Secret Origins or something dedicated to it, but what are you going to do? Me, I'm gonna check out some tombstones!
Every hero interred in (on?) Shanghalla has his or her own little rocket ship, complete with a character synopsis and picture on the side. Uh... here they are:
Mog Yagor: Mog Yagor is a neat name, but recently I've been thinking that it sound a bit too much like something out of H.P. Lovecraft to be a coincidence. My current theory/hope is that Mog Yagor is the green thing up above and that the 'space beast' was a hostile astronaut. Because nothing brings greater joy to my solitary existence than reading way too much into the single-panel appearance of a dead character forty-odd years ago.
Hate Face: Oh, man. Hate Face. Possibly one of my favourite super-hero names ever. I was absurdly excited when some random character was referred to as Hate Face in a bar during the run of (I think) L.E.G.I.O.N. in the 90s. And he's so tragic! I mean, how many other people are ugly enough that their epitaph bears the phrase 'revolting visage'? My guess? Not too many. Someday Hate Face. Someday, someone will tell your story.
Beast Boy: Eh. Beast Boy is the only one of this corpsey crew that had appeared pre-mortem. He was similar to the other Beast Boy (the green one) in that he could change into animals, but dissimilar in that he was a complete wuss. He got all upset and quit his super-team and declared war on humanity or something because people sometimes found it disconcerting when he turned into a huge alien bear or whatever. Then he got killed saving a child, so everything was alright. Booooring.
Nimbok of Vaalor: I gotta say: the people of Vaalor need a good editor. First off, they really shouldn't refer to themselves as 'his alien race' on the tomb of their planet's champion. Secondly, they need to clear something up a bit more: was the sorcerer disguised as his best friend or did Nimbok (great name) think that the sorcerer himself was his buddy when really he wasn't?
Thirdly, nobody should end an epitaph with an exclamation point.
Leeta 87: Another great name; another horrible tomb-rocket. Is it possible that the best picture that anyone had of Leeta 87 was the one in which she is about to crack her skull open? Is there a connection to the fact that her rocket is shaped like a cocktail shaker? Was Leeta 87 a drunk? Does 'innumerable enemies' really mean 'innumerable martinis'?
Not the mathematical activity (although all math that I can do in my head is automatically JOHN APPROVED) but the editorial activity. Confused? You should be, because I'm not making any sense. Read on, and (hopefully) be enlightened!
A while back (say, January, 1964) The Legion of Superheroes had gotten big enough that somebody felt the need to give people a scorecard and so produced "The Origin and Powers of the Legion of Superheroes" and stuck it into Adventure Comics No. 316. Now, I would love to Take each of the little images in this thing and deconstruct them in a humourous manner, but my fellow Haligonian and nerdboy Ben has done that job first (and so well!) over at Good Book Readin'.
Instead (Curse you, Ben!), I'll present you with an interesting bit of editorial decision-making, as well as my theories on how it came about.
Okay, first let's look at the original "Powers and Origins" page 1:
This second printing featured all kinds of new Legionnaires like Karate Kid and Ferro Lad, but what really stood out for me was the little change that was made to page 1. See, things had changed a bit since No. 316 Triplicate Girl -
Duo Damsel! Duo Damsel, who had the amazing power to... be two people! I know that it's a better superpower than I'll ever have, but if she hadn't been the very first person to join the Legion after it'd been founded she wouldn't have stood a chance.
My theory about why Duo Damsel's picture is the same as Triplicate Girl's: Though it could've been deliberate on the part of the DC editorial staff, part of an attempt to show how losing a whole third of her being wasn't affecting her sunny outlook on life and tendency to pull the same joke on all of her dates (or maybe just on guys who suffer from short-term memory loss, if that's the same nebbish), I'm betting that nobody noticed that they had one purple-suited Carggite too many and sent the 1960s intern-equivalent scrambling to daub carcinogenic correction fluid onto one of them. Or someone just did a really half-assed job.
Either way, the whole business is