Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Life and Death of Ferro Lad by Jim Shooter

Years ago I met Jim Shooter a few times very briefly at conventions just to say hello and tell him how fondly I recall his Legion of Super-Heroes tales from the swinging 60s. That got a smile out of him. He was fourteen when he penned his first comic book story. The Legion of Super-Heroes premiered in Adventure Comics # 247, April, 1958. It was always a fun series to read, up until it ended in 1969. The many reboots later failed to spark my interest. Jim Shooter helped redefine the characters and created some unique characters and plots that made the series memorable. The seven comic books reprinted here in full color, including covers, remain iconic points of nostalgia for comic book fans from my generation. The DC comics continuity at the time included Superboy as a major selling point, and the Superman mythology was enhanced by the Legion stories featuring Superman as a boy. I read these comic books over and over, memorizing dialogue and marveling at the imaginative worlds and galaxies they visited. In Adventure Comics # 346, July 1966, Jim Shooter introduced Karate Kid, Princes Projectra, Ferro lad and Nemesis Kid as members of the Legion. Only Karate Kid and Princes Projectra would remain members, while Ferro Lad’s short appearances concluded with his death in Adventure Comics # 353, February, 1967. The artwork in these seven stories is by the great Curt Swan and George Klein. Reading these stories today, almost fifty years later, and I still enjoy the colorful, imaginative artwork, and the idealistic heroics that were so inspiring to me as a child. Yes, these tales are decidedly juvenile in tone, hardly comparable to modern comic books which are targeted to adults rather than young readers (and therein lies one of the major problems with comic books today), but Jim Shooter and Curt Swan created some amazing worlds here, and their visions and dreams fairly jump off the pages. This hardback compilation was published in 2009 and after-market copies sell for about $25.00.

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