DCU Spec – Legion of Super-Heroes

by Douglas Ohlandt

032223B-1024x536 DCU Spec - Legion of Super-HeroesNow that James Gunn has made his big announcement of the upcoming DCU productions, we’re able to dive deep into characters we know will be coming soon and speculate on others who could be making appearances in these projects or ones yet to be announced. Let’s take a look at the Legion of Super-Heroes.

First Appearance

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As one of DC’s most unique properties, the Legion of Super-Heroes could well be on Gunn’s radar for future inclusion in the DCU. There is no counterpart anywhere else in superhero comics to a teen team set 1,000 years in the future.

While some of the original concepts of the team are extremely dated at this point – they’ve been around for nearly sixty-five years – any time travel stories in the DCU would likely include Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and possibly the dozens of other characters who have been members.

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The Legion of Super-Heroes made their first appearance in Adventure Comics #247, cover-dated April 1958. There are 530 graded copies in the CGC census, a surprisingly low number when compared to other Silver Age key issues. No copies graded above 6.5 have sold in the past year, so we’ll need to look at the mid and lower grades to determine any trends. In the mid-grades, we’re seeing a generally flat trajectory.

Take the 5.5 grade for example, where the two most recent sales are for $5,760 in January 2022 and $5,700 in June 2022. In the lower grades, it’s more of a mixed bag, with some sharp increases in some grades and big drops in others.

This is definitely a book worth keeping an eye on. Decades ago, it was considered one of the biggest Silver Age keys. While it’s unlikely to reach that status again, inclusion in the DCU could see a lift for Adventure Comics #247.

 A Legion of Silver Age First Appearances

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Because there are so many members of the Legion of Super-Heroes (it’s likely the largest superhero teams ever in terms of active membership), key comics tend to revolve around the first appearances of new members. The first characters to join the team – other than the original trio – did so in Action Comics #267.

This issue marks the first appearances of Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, and the first Invisible Kid, as well as the third overall appearance of the Legion. There are 201 graded copies in the CGC census. Mid-grades come up for sale fairly often, but high-grade sales are rare. The most recent of these sales was a 9.2 selling in the September 2022 Heritage auction for $1,453, the first time one in this grade had ever sold.

In the mid-grades, we see prices that are generally trending upward or flat, although auction prices are, for the most part, lower than fixed-price eBay sales, regardless of the auction venue.

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There are many other first appearances to consider if you would like to build a Legion collection. They include, but are not limited to, Adventure Comics #282 – the first appearance of Star Boy, Action Comics #276 – the first appearances of Bouncing Boy, Braniac 5, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, and Triplicate Girl, Superboy #98 – the first appearance of Ultra Boy, Adventure Comics #307 – the first appearance of Element Lad, Adventure Comics #308 – the first appearance of Lightning Lass, Adventure Comics #317 – the first appearance of Dream Girl, and Adventure Comics #327 – the first appearance of Timber Wolf.

First Ongoing Series

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While it would be many years until the Legion of Super-Heroes received a title of their own, they were the ongoing stars of Adventure Comics from 1962 to 1969. The issue that started the run was Adventure Comics #300. There are 296 graded copies in the CGC census.

High grades fetch top dollar – $1,500 for grades 9.0 and above. However, prices drop greatly below that grade. 6.0 graded copies and below can be found for $150 and less based on current sales.

A Teenager Writes the Legion?

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In 1966, one-day Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter sold his first comic book script at the age of fourteen! That comic was Adventure Comics #346, an issue that also featured the first appearances of Karate Kid, Princess Projectra, Ferro Lad, and Nemesis Kid. Due to this being Shooter’s first comic book work and the first appearances of a number of characters, this is considered more of a key than your average Legion-starring issue of Adventure Comics.

There are 199 graded copies in the CGC census. An 8.5 graded copy recently skyrocketed to $1,000 in a March 7 eBay sale. The previous sale in an eBay auction on February 9 was for $395. That jump strikes me as a bit much to pay. In other grades, prices are either down or flat.

The Legion Shares the Bill

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The Legion started sharing the bill with Superboy beginning with Superboy #197, although the move wasn’t official in the indicia for a couple years. Still, it’s considered something of a Legion of Super-Heroes first issue. It’s a relatively cheap comic; in grades below 9.8 you should be able to find copies for $175 or less.

The Legion Finally Gets Their Own Series

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DC finally made official what fans had been clamoring for by giving the Legion of Super-Heroes their own series beginning with The Legion of Super-Heroes #259. The numbering was continued from Superboy, so it’s not a ‘number one’ issue, but it is another first. Like Superboy #197, graded copies can be found for low prices. The one-year average for a 9.8 is $160 and lower grades can typically be found for $100 or less.

The Great Darkness Saga

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The most well-known Legion story and a fan favorite is “The Great Darkness Saga.” The series began leading up too the storyline in The Legion of Super-Heroes #287. It really kicked into full gear in The Legion of Super-Heroes #290 and culminated in a double-size issue in The Legion of Super-Heroes #294.

These are really cheap issues with pricing similar to The Legion of Super-Heroes #259. However, as arguably the greatest Legion story ever, its epic scope, and the inclusion of Darkseid at his very best (or worst as the case may be), this is a story ripe for inclusion in a film or TV series. It wouldn’t be the easiest story to translate to other media, but if it is and it works, values will likely climb steeply.

First Legion First Issue

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Decades after their creation, the Legion would finally receive their own first issue: Legion of Super-Heroes #1 in 1984. Again, it’s a cheap comic. You should be able to find 9.8 copies for less than $100. In fact, overall the Legion of Super-Heroes is an inexpensive comic to collect.

Other than some first appearances, just about every issue can be found for low prices. Compared to Marvel comics of a similar vintage, Legion comics are dirt cheap. However, keep in mind that, while the Legion does have something of a dedicated fan base, the average collector doesn’t have a great deal of interest in the team outside of a few key issues. If you purchase Legion comics, do so as a collector. Unless they’re included in some way in the DCU, it’s hard to imagine investing in them with hopes of making a quick buck.

Are you a Legion of Super-Heroes fan? Who are some of your favorite team members? Do you think they’ll be a part of the DCU? Let us know below.

Upgrade2_Footer DCU Spec - Legion of Super-Heroes*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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1 comment

spidertim March 26, 2023 - 11:03 am

there is a set of Legion covers by Jim Lee which I would be speccing hard on if this pans out. Jim Lee is always a hit.


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