Artistic License by Joe Singleton

Long time readers will know that I'm a huge fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Very soon, the new Legion will be on the stands, a new lease on life, for fandom's favorite title. At the end of the recent Legion Special, with the Teen Titans crossover, we got to see some of this "new" Legion.

Most of the new costumes look fine, to me, though I have issues with Sun Boy's costume. Just doesn't look like something he'd wear, unless they're changing his personality enormously. I won't bother with the characters already shown, this time around. Maybe some other time, if I grow to hate one of the new outfits. for now, I'm just playing with the characters we haven't seen, in the previews or anything.

I'm not going to go into their histories or anthing, because anything that came before is subject to change, and so there's no point in a long-winded description of previous costumes and histories. In most cases, I've drawn some inspiration from earlier costumes, either from the lines of the costumes or merely a color scheme. So let's get started . . .

I'm going to do these in alphabetical order, just to keep things simple. First off, there's Bouncing Boy, a character I always hated, until I drew him for the first time. It was then that I realized how much fun he could be to draw. Besides, it's kinda nice to have a fat hero around, for a change. I used his traditional costume colors, but styled it as more of a dress suit, than the traditional circus acrobat style.

In deciding which characters to include, I could pass up the old Legion of Substitute Heroes, so that make Chlorophyll Kid, next on the list. I gave the Kid a sex change and figured anyone as into plants as Chlorophyll Kid would very likely spend a great deal of time in the sun, so I made her fairly dark-skinned. The green hair is merely a fashion statement. Her costume is actually a living plant symbiote which she can control and change, at will.

Next in line is Color Kid, also an old Sub. In his case, I made him alien, just on a whim. There's nothing about his powers that require him to be human, after all. This Kid's costume is responsive to his powers, so he can alter the colored portions to suit. Or maybe it's like a "mood suit" and changes colors like a mood ring.

Dawnstar is one of those characters you either love or hate. I know a lot of people never liked her, but there were times I enjoyed having her around. As an American Indian, myself, it's sometimes annoying how few of us make it into the comics books as either heroes or villains, these days. I didn't do much with her costume, this time, I just streamlined bits of it.

Next comes Ferro Lad, a character I always appreciated and who never really had a chance to shine, in any of the various Legion series. I styled his costume along the lines of his old ones, keeping the mask and such. I never could understand the reasons for his mask, by the 30th century (now, the 31st) you'd think people would be used to seeing hideous aliens on an almost daily basis, so how bad could this guy's face be? Also, in keeping with the sort of "retro" hero feel of the new series (the new Legion is a youth movement of what amounts to historical re-enactors, fixated on the heroes of the 21st century) I put the "Fe" on the mask in Roman alphabet, rather than Interlac. The belt buckle represents a cross-section of a steel I-beam.

Back to the Substitutes with Fire Lad, now. This is a guy who breathes fire and his head burns like a match, for no apparent reason. I borrowed a little from Firestorm, on this one, figuring a kid with a flaming head might identify with him.

I don't know how they're gonna work this guy into the new continuity, but it won't be the Legion without Mon-El. As I was drawing this one, I thought it had a kind of military feel, but still keeps the essence of his original costume.

Now, we come to Night Girl, a character I've always liked. Back in the 70s, Mike Grell gave her one of the sexist costumes in comics and I borrowed a bit from that one, but reworked it to make it a bit more practical. I like the occassional night-black costume. As she comes from a world with no daylight, I figure Night Girl would be quite pale, as well. She probably has night vision to rival a cat's, too.

Back in the 80s, Polar Boy became the first Substitute Legionnaire to make his way into the Legion-proper. For my design, I made him a humanoid alien. I know there's already one blue-skinned alien in the Legion, but I don't see why that should be a problem. There's lots of pink-skinned folks!

I was thinking, as I was deciding on characters to include, whether or not I should use Blok. I never liked Blok, he/she/it just never did anything for me. Also, since there's already Stone Boy, from Substitutes, who needs two rock guys? For Stone Boy, I decided to go "alien" as well. I combined Stone Boy with Blok, a bit, for the costume itself.

Now, with the relaunch of the Legion, there's one more chance to get Timber Wolf right! I borrowed from several of his old costumes, for this one. Yes, I like the Dave Cockrum version, best.

One of the more popular characters from the 80s Legion was Dream Girl's sister, the White Witch. She tended to be overused, for awhile, there, but she was always an interesting character.

Last, but certainly not least (actually, this was one of the first designs I did for this article and one of the first characters I considered using) is Wildfire. Once again, I've gone back to the source and kept the costume elements I liked from Dave Cockrum's original design. Other elements, I've reworked to suit my own aesthetic sense.

Well, that's all for this trip. Hope you like them.

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Copyright © 2004 Joe Singleton

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