The Mort Weisinger-era of the Superman Family titles ruled. Super pets. Adults and teenagers getting turned into babies. Durlans turning themselves into rubbish cans.
These were fun comics. I love this stuff, as goofy as some (all?) of it may seem. All of that stuff is awesome and the Legion of Superheroes featured in Adventure Comics was ground zero for these zany ideas.
In the 1960s, the Legion was so popular Superboy became a supporting character in his own series and it was selling about 500,000 a month (consistently in the top 10 and outselling every single Marvel series by at least 150,000 units).
A comic could never move 500,000 units a month in 2020 because modern comics suck and they have horrible covers. Comic covers were designed to get people to buy the comic. That’s what the covers on this list are all about: selling comics to kids.
Curt Swan’s Legion covers are amongst the best ever to feature these famed stalwarts of the 30th Century. I could have easily picked 25 different covers from this series as I love them all. It was a tough choice and I just went with it.
The Legion is one of the least accessible comics of all time so this article is going to be that same way. I’m not explaining much and I’m going to use code names, nicknames, and real names all interchangeably. You’re smart. You can figure it out. Everybody else did.
Let the countdown commence!
25. Adventure Comics 352
Jeckie and the gang run off to take on the Fatal Five.
24. Adventure Comics 346
Based on the names of the 4 new Legionnaires can you guess the identity of the traitor?
23. Adventure Comics 344
DC cashes in on The Great Escape with the Super Stalag of Space!
22. Adventure Comics 335
DC cashes in on the Goldfinger craze with Starfinger!
21. Adventure Comics 332
One of the greatest adversaries of 30th intergalactic lore is the Moby Dick of Space that turned poor Garth into a cripple. Sob.
20. Adventure Comics 347
Karate Kid betrays the Legion…or does he?
19. Adventure Comics 328
Supie kicking the crap out of the only 2 Legionnaires that are close to his equal. Good times!
18. Adventure Comics 329
Only in the Silver Age could you get a badass story like this one.
17. Adventure Comics 317
The first baby Legion cover to make the list but not the last. First appearance of Nura Nal, the narcoleptic fortune-teller called Dream Girl!
16. Adventure Comics 360
The Legion breaking rocks and digging up gems convict style.
15. Adventure Comics 293
In the early Legion appearances, the team pretty much jerks to Superboy every single time.
14. Adventure Comics 267
The second appearance of the Legion is a misunderstanding between Supie and his futuristic friends. It all works out Three’s Company style.
13. Adventure Comics 364
Comet kicking Supes, and Krypto biting Rokk, pale in comparison to Imra being accosted by Beppo. Meanwhile, Streaky does nothing.
12. Adventure Comics 353
The Legion duking it out with Validus and the rest of the Fatal Five on this cover. Great stuff.
11. Adventure Comics 300
This is a pretty iconic cover that isn’t flashy at all but it pretty much announces that the Legion will be a prominent fixture going forward.
10. Adventure Comics 318
Sun Boy cracks up on a space mission, accuses the other Legionnaires of mutiny, and exiles them into space.
9. Adventure Comics 312
A Legionnaire must sacrifice his or her life so that Lightning Lad can live again.
8. Adventure Comics 322
Proty II joins the Legion of Super-Pets. Poor Beppo and Comet don’t even have names yet.
7. Adventure Comics 326
The girl Legionnaires get tired of all of 30th Century mansplaining and revolt. That Salu Digby is a surly one.
6. Adventure Comics 338
The Legion faces the Time Trapper who had been a background villain for a couple of dozens of issues (at least) by this point. Superbabies are awesome. Baby Tenz eating that dude’s gun is the stuff dreams are made of.
5. Adventure Comics 340
Computo killing one of Triplicate Girl’s bodies. That’s a pretty big deal.
4. Adventure Comics
The wedding of Imra and Garth. Those action figures on sticks is the best part.
3. Adventure Comics 354
This was an awesome issue that laid the groundwork for years to come. A future look at Legion members that were supposed to die in future issues. Shadow Woman (Lass) is miscolored (she’s blue), but she wouldn’t officially appear for 11 more issues so whatever.
2. Adventure Comics 356
The greatest Legion baby cover of all time. Clark and Lar destroying that ship, Dream Tot, Element Infant, and PLEASE ADOPT ME. It’s awesome. Possibly my favorite Silver Age cover of all time.
1. Adventure Comics 247
The second most homaged comic book cover ever (after Fantastic Four 1). Arguably the second most iconic cover of the Silver Age DC (after Action Comics 252). Not as flashy or as gimmicky as some of the others on this list, but a legendary cover nonetheless.
These comics are a big reason why the Legion is my favorite DC super-hero team. I like some other eras, later eras of the team’s history (Levitz, DNA) more than this one but this one has great lore, stories, and artwork.
To order Legion Omnibus 1 click here.
To order Legion Omnibus 2 click here.