Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Crack
I'll admit that I never read Legion of Super-Heroes until the infamous "Five Years Later" series by Keith Giffen and Tom & Mary Bierbaum. I'd enjoyed it enough that I went back and read some of the Paul Levitz issues as well, but when it comes to LSH history, that's as far back as my knowledge really went. So the idea of the Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes book? I was over the moon. Instead of dropping $150 for three Archives, for just $16.99 I could experience over 500 pages of the early Legion of Super-Heroes in all their glory.
I'm about two-thirds of the way through the book, and I must say that "glory" is one word to describe it. "Acid in DC Comics's water cooler" is perhaps another. This stuff is completely and utterly crazy, and I cannot get enough. The early stories feature the Legion of Super-Heroes as nasty teenagers who apparently have nothing better to do than freak out Superboy and then Supergirl over pretending to reveal their secret identities, then taunting them with the promises of membership into the LSH.
From there it just gets stranger by the minute. Entire stories revolve around Lex Luthor leaving messages for the future to find and create a Legion of Super-Villains (who then seconds later travel back in time and break Lex out), or the Legion playing pranks on Jimmy Olsen, or our "heroes" just generally being juvenile delinquents. When they're not coming back into the 20th century from the future (and that future, depending on the story, is the 21st, or 30th, or 40th century) they're handing out consolation prizes in the form of flying belts to anyone they don't deem worthy of joining their exclusive little club (of which the rules for joining seem to change on a daily basis, no doubt sketched out in-between hits from the Legion of Super-Bongs).
I think the part in which I finally lost it and just started laughing non-stop was when there's a big two-part story in which you aren't supposed to know that the Legion of Super-Heroes have been replaced by aliens, because the only clue is that the Legion are now acting like jerks and trying to kill the Legion of Substitute Heroes. In other words, nothing particularly new. "Oh look, the heroes are trying to kill the kids that worship them. Pass the salsa."
This stuff is crazy. It's funny. And it's really cheap. (It's also a little surprising in places. I had no idea that Jerry Siegel wrote a bunch of the early LSH stories, for instance.) Now I'm wondering which Showcase Presents book I need to get next, especially with the great $16.99 price tag. I'm sure those Superman books have a lot of crazy gigantic-gorilla action, which is always good. Then again, Superman Family will no doubt feature a lot of cross-dressing, shape-changing Jimmy Olsen and if that isn't good for a laugh I don't know what is. And what about Metamorpho? Someone told me it was crazy, too. Decisions, decisions... Any suggestions?