In Abandoned an' Forsaked, we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically "overturned" by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent).
Today, sort of based on a question from my pal, Will H., we look at how Jerry Siegel changed the history of the Legion of Super-Heroes for good (while luckily NOT changing a certain aspect of their history that he also tried to change)!
Okay, as you probably know by now, the Legion of Super-Heroes were introduced in 1958's Adventure Comics #247 by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, the same creative team that would introduce Supergirl a year later. That's a pretty decent turnout in just a little over a calendar year, right? Legion of Super-Heroes in one year, Supergirl in the next. The closest I've seen another creator come to something like that was when Steve Ditko and Stan Lee invented Spider-Man in 1962 and then Fancy Dan in 1963.
Anyhow, so these teens from the future show up and bring Superboy to the future where he competes against them to find out whether he is accepted as a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Here are those competitions...
Notice that Saturn Girl notes that some guys on Saturn taught her to read minds (it reminds me of how Aquaman's Golden Age origin was basically "Here, let me teach you how to breathe underewater") and that Cosmic Boy was given magnetic eyes (OF super-power? Huh? What kind of turn of phrase is "Magnetic eyes of super-power"?) via a serum. By the way, doesn't that seem like it could be a horror story with just a slight twist? "Serums gave him magnetic eyes!!" Spooky! We don't learn how Lightning Lad got his powers (they called him Lightning Boy at this point, so they didn't even seem to be interested in what his superhero name was). I imagine that everyone just kept telling him that no one cared so she stopped sharing.
Still, it is pretty clear that they're all intended to be Earthlings who were given superpowers, right?
As an aside, people think that the Legion was originally just three members, but when Superboy joins (after the Legion are finished being jerks to him. He "failed" the three times because the Legionnaires cheated because they're jerks. There is a reason why every time a Legionnaire does something secretive in the Silver Age that the others assume the worst, because the Legion are all often total jerks), it sure seems like there are bunch of team members, right? How in the world has no writer filled in who those mystery Legionnaires were?
Okay, so that's their introduction. Jerry Siegel takes over for the next two stories. The next appearance of the Legion is twenty issues later and it is a straightforward story (they're jerks to Superboy again, but at least they're not doing it just to be jerks).
Then it takes us to the game-changing THIRD appearance of the Legion!