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The Adorably Moronic Origin of the Legion's Bouncing Boy

In every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Feel free to e-mail me at brianc@cbr.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

In the late 1950s, Mort Weisinger hired Jerry Siegel to start writing for DC Comics again after roughly a decade apart. Siegel was fired in 1947 when he and Joe Shuster tried to regain the rights to Superman from DC Comics (then National Comics). Enough time passed that DC cut Siegel a break and brought him back and Siegel's second stint at DC was extremely impressive. Siegel became one of the main writers for the Legion of Super-Heroes in the early years of the group (after Otto Binder and Al Plastino had introduced them in Adventure Comics #247).

Siegel was one of the writers who mastered the art of the "Superheroes seem like jerks but are actually good guys using some convoluted plan" in this era. Years later, this would be described as "Superdickery," because it would seem like Superman or a Legionnaire was being mean and that was what the covers would show to draw in the reader. Mort Weisinger was big on the importance of comic book covers. Lots of comic book editors were at the time, of course, but Weisinger was right up there with Julius Schwartz as an editor who stressed shocking covers that the writers would then explain away inside the comic itself.

Keep this in mind when you read about Adventure Comics #301, which is the first issue after the Legion became a permanent fixture of Adventure Comics (with Superboy as the lead feature), running every issue until Adventure Comics #380 (when they moved to another title), as the story, with art by John Forte and a story by Siegel, opens with the Legion telling Bouncing Boy that he can't be a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes...

Now, remember, the Legion actually debuted with their attempt to recruit Superboy for the Legion, so adding new members to their team is a big deal and sure enough, in the years since their 1958 debut, they seemed to add new members in every issue that they showed up in (they made sporadic back-up appearances in Adventure Comics and Action Comics until they got their aforementioned regular gig in Adventure Comics starting with #300).

Bouncing Boy actually first appeared a year earlier in Action Comics #276 (by Siegel and Jim Mooney), as one of the other applicants to the Legion, along with Supergirl and Brainiac 5 (who made his first appearance in that issue, as well)...

Bouncing Boy and Sun Boy did not make it on the team there, but when Supergirl visits the Legion in Action Comics #287, both Bouncing Boy and Sun Boy are now members of the team...

Okay, so Adventure Comics #301 features another membership drive, and, as usual, there are some actual jerks trying to join the team...

Eventually, Cosmic Boy decides that the possible new Legionnaires should hear about how one of the members of the team came to make it on the Legion. He randomly selects Bouncing Boy, who shows up to give his origin to them.

It's one of the dumbest origins of any superhero ever.

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