May. 20th, 2010

jmatonak: (Default)
OK, so... when Jim Shooter came back to Legion of Super-Heroes, I was happy about it, and I posted about it, and ultimately it turned out to be less than great. Now, Paul Levitz, my all-time favorite LSH writer, is doing the book again, and I'm really happy about it, and I hope my happiness continues to be justified by the book this time.

For those of you who don't know, the Legion is a group of Super-Heroes (as we can see by the name) who operate in the 31st century. (It used to be the 30th century, but I think it ticked over when the 20th century ended.) Because readers' conceptions of the future, and particularly the technology of the future, have changed over the course of the book's history, early LSH issues look anachronistic and weird. As Levitz himself puts it:

Be warned that the phenomenon of "chronicler's error" lurks in all Legion tales- because technology changes so much in the next thousand years, it's impossible to neatly fit all the facts together, much less correctly depict all the changing technology (we once believed they used jet packs or flying belts, but in all probability the flight ring was their most important device from close to the team's inception.

In other words, "don't blame us because no one saw the personal computer coming in 1958." It's a fair point. And I don't mind. But I think it should apply to sociology as much as it does to engineering and history.

I think some Legionnaires should be depicted as what we would today call "people of color." It makes no sense to me that the future is as lily-white as it's usually painted. And I think it would be really nice if, without announcing any in-story reason for the change, some Legionnaires (and I don't really care which ones, frankly) were drawn to indicate non-white heritage. Because assuming the vast majority of Legionnaires are white makes just about as much sense as assuming the microchip was never invented. Maybe even less.

I'm not going to lie. I won't boycott the book over this. (Considering I'm boycotting Marvel over plot changes to Spider-Man, I'm not sure I like my priorities.) But I think any LSH artist that doesn't do this is missing a bet.

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