Sunday, May 06, 2007

Review of Subtraction, By Johnathan

Not the mathematical activity (although all math that I can do in my head is automatically JOHN APPROVED) but the editorial activity. Confused? You should be, because I'm not making any sense. Read on, and (hopefully) be enlightened!

A while back (say, January, 1964) The Legion of Superheroes had gotten big enough that somebody felt the need to give people a scorecard and so produced "The Origin and Powers of the Legion of Superheroes" and stuck it into Adventure Comics No. 316. Now, I would love to Take each of the little images in this thing and deconstruct them in a humourous manner, but my fellow Haligonian and nerdboy Ben has done that job first (and so well!) over at Good Book Readin'.

Instead (Curse you, Ben!), I'll present you with an interesting bit of editorial decision-making, as well as my theories on how it came about.

Okay, first let's look at the original "Powers and Origins" page 1:

And now here's the same page from Adventure Comics No. 365, republished (and recoloured) after the Legion had been growing for a few years and people had begun to get confused again:

This second printing featured all kinds of new Legionnaires like Karate Kid and Ferro Lad, but what really stood out for me was the little change that was made to page 1. See, things had changed a bit since No. 316 Triplicate Girl -

- seen here surprising some suitor who obviously had no idea who he was asking out - got into a bit of a scrape with a murderous, box-shaped Computo and ended up one-third dead. So now:

Duo Damsel! Duo Damsel, who had the amazing power to... be two people! I know that it's a better superpower than I'll ever have, but if she hadn't been the very first person to join the Legion after it'd been founded she wouldn't have stood a chance.

My theory about why Duo Damsel's picture is the same as Triplicate Girl's: Though it could've been deliberate on the part of the DC editorial staff, part of an attempt to show how losing a whole third of her being wasn't affecting her sunny outlook on life and tendency to pull the same joke on all of her dates (or maybe just on guys who suffer from short-term memory loss, if that's the same nebbish), I'm betting that nobody noticed that they had one purple-suited Carggite too many and sent the 1960s intern-equivalent scrambling to daub carcinogenic correction fluid onto one of them. Or someone just did a really half-assed job.

Either way, the whole business is



Ben said...

Thanks for the shout out!

Some of your pictures are broken!

Johnathan said...

Try it now!