In the very first superhero comic book I ever bought with my own money, a character — a major character, a superheroic one — died. Maybe this is why the contemporary trend toward “stunt deaths” and sensationalism, superhero decadence, or whatever, doesn’t bother me so much. I never knew an innocent period. My superheroes were always tainted. I’m a Bronze Age baby, baby.
This was also Mike Grell’s first big assignment for DC Comics. He had inked over Dave Cockrum’s pencils in the previous issue, and, I think, maybe, had drawn an Aquaman story. Or not. (Before my time! Remember — this is my first superhero comic! None of that stuff happened, as far as I’m concerned!) On a related note, this issue also gave me my first exposure to the comic book industry’s tendency to snipe, bitch, and backbite. From the letters page, an unsigned “note from the editor” (presumably Murray Boltinoff) reads:
Dave Cockrum, who was virtually unknown in the field and gained star-artist status only after we gave him the opportunity to do the Legion, has departed.
Mike Grell became my favorite artist for a while, despite his obvious (even to me, even then) weakness: the static poses of his characters. They looked like people in the Sears catalog, even when fighting. Well, okay. Wait. I’ve gotta admit, their outfits were far more fabulous than anything you’d see in the Sears catalog. Grell really excelled at cheesy 70s “sexy” (quotation marks integral to the meaning of this word in this context) superhero costumes.
Unlike many who would follow, though, Grell was at least an equal-opportunity perv, dressing male and female superheroes alike in the skimpiest outfits possible. Witness:
Cosmic Boy (on your right, there) and I spent a lot of time alone together during my pre-teen years, if you know what I am saying. Maybe that’s why I didn’t mind the Sears poses so much. Come to think of it, the Sears catalog and I spent a lot of time alone together during my pre-teen years.