I can't quite bring myself to include this next character (and I do mean 'character') in the 'Superhuman Detritus of the 30th Century' series. See, way back in the day I loved me some comic books, even though I lived way out in the country and had no real way to get a regular fix. I had to content myself with reading the comics available through my local library as well as the few leftover scraps of my uncle's mid-seventies collection (Spider-Man and Nova vs. Some Guy! I loved it!). The real things that got me through until I had a job and a local comic bookshop were Jeff Rovin's Encyclopedia of Superheroes and Encyclopedia of Supervillains. And the Encyclopedia of Monsters, to a lesser extent. They were chock-full of entries on hundreds of super-folk, with exhaustive info on their costumes and equipment and great catty comments afterward.
Even as a youngster, the Legion of Super-Heroes brought out the super-nerd in me, so it was a pretty damn happy day in the McJohnathan household when I learned that Jeff Rovin apparently loved them too - basically every hero that had ever appeared in a legion tale made it into the Encyclopedia, if only as a three-line blurb in Appendix C. I grew up knowing, for example, that a lot of guys with interesting names showed up in "The Super-Stalag of Space" but had no idea of the circumstances behind their appearance, what they looked like or - at the time - what a Stalag was.
Then I grew up, got some cash flow goin' and started reading all of the comics that I'd previously only read *about*. And that, in an extraordinarily roundabout way, brings me to the subject of today's post:
Blockade Boy. Blockade Boy was the friggin' king of the three-liners. He had a great alliterative name, he had a great weird Silver Age power, and he appeared in the oh-so enigmatic "Super-Stalag of Space". Plus, Proty II felt the need to adopt the identity of Blockade Boy 2 in a later story, so that's saying... something. I was totally curious about Blockade Boy for upwards of fifteen years before I actually saw him, and I was not let down.
Blockade Boy was one of many Legionnaires and Weird Future Silver Age Heroes that were rounded up and imprisoned by the evil, red, three-eyed Nardo, presumably to keep them out of his (terrible) hair while he was being nefarious. A big chunk of the two-issue story arc was taken up with various super-heroic escape attempts and the horrible consequences thereof.
Matter-Eater Lad chews his way to freedom! Presumably with many bathroom breaks along the way, as that is a damn roomy tunnel. I'd move away from that rear end if I were you, Blockade Boy.
Sadly, the writers weren't about to have Matter-Eater Lad and Blockade Boy succeed where Braniac 5 and Superboy had failed, so the two of them get caught basically as soon as they emerge from the tunnel. However, in ignoble defeat Blockade Boy attained his greatest success.
In two panels we have:
a) The first full-length shot of Blockade Boy, showcasing his awesome belt and wristbands, questionable boots and adequate shirt/pants combo. Bonus points for the flattop!
b) Blockade Boy's crazy Silver Age power - he can totally turn into a steel wall! I really, really wish that he had gotten a chance to tell his origin story. I bet it involved falling in a vat of some sort of liquid wall sealant, or possibly being exposed to radiations from an experimental space wall.
c) Heroism! Blockade Boy sacrifices himself to save All Good Persons' Fave Legionnaire, Matter-Eater Lad. If I didn't love him before...
Here's Nardo, acting like a tool. Note the man-breasts and barely-contained gut. Don't worry, Nardo gets his eventually.
So Blockade Boy is JOHN APPROVED.
PS: If you were wondering about Blockade Boy II:
He came about as part of a fight that the Legion of Super-Pets were having with their parent Legion. Proty II and Comet the Super-Horse joined the Legion of Super-Heroes under the names Blockade Boy and Biron the Bowman. Comet pulls a Karate Kid and manages to get in without having any actual powers, while Proty:
Pulls an amazing save! His costume, by the way? I find it creepy - it's more thematic, with it's riveted steel and such, but does it really have to include a giant metal diaper? The answer is no.
The best thing is that after all of this effort, Comet and Proty stayed in the Legion for about two pages.
Blockade Boy II is NOT APPROVED.