LSH restart comments from Waid and Busiek

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Tom Galloway

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Jul 7, 1994, 9:52:01 PM7/7/94
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The following is a slightly edited (to remove extraneous remarks) post
made by Kurt Busiek on GEnie about the LSH reboot after Zero Hour. It
includes comments from Mark Waid. Needless to say, spoilers all over the
place.

Sent: 940629 0024EDT
From: [kurt busiek]

To respond to some of what's been asked here, and since the solicitations that
reveal this information come out next week, Mark Waid has, on CompuServe,
outlined what'll happen to LEGION and LEGIONNAIRES after ZERO HOUR, and he's
given me permission to repost it over here. Some interesting things came from
dialogue, so I'm paraphrasing a couple of posts that Mark responded to.

Here goes:

First, a forum member asked about speculation that Legion continuity will
start over from the beginning, with the origin, and move forward from there.
Mark's response:

<<True. LEGION #0 retells the origin of the Legion, as Rokk, Imra and Garth
save R.J. Brande from an assassination attempt. The story continues into
LEGIONNAIRES #0, in which the kids adopt their costumes and Brande strikes a
pact with the (post-Zero fledgling) U.P. whereby Brande will sponsor the
Legion and the U.P. will deputize it. LEGIONNAIRES #0 also features the
induction of Luornu and Tinya, and sets the stage for the next wave of
members.

<<LEGIONNAIRES #0, in turn, continues directly into LEGION #62, in which that
next wave of members comes into the team through (what we hope will be) a
rather surprising turn of events. And to answer your question, we plan to
stay within that timeframe. We have no plans to jump "forward again" in time
to where the Legion is "now"; we're retelling the post-ZERO history of the
team as an ongoing saga.

<<For the foreseeable future, LEGION and LEGIONNAIRES will, similar in
structure to the Superman books, read like the same book twice a month, with
stories and subplots weaving between the two titles. Down the road, we've
talked about informally splitting the team among the books, but right now we
want to build the team up to full fighting force first.

<<Glad to answer your questions. Hope you liked the answers... >>

Response A was delighted, since the writer has found LOSH near-unreadable for
"the longest time" and since LEGION used to be his favorite he was very
positive about the prospect of getting fresh stories along with adaptations of
classic stories and having a good time reading LEGION again.

I mention this to counterbalance Response B, which was decidedly not pleased
at the news, and made the following points:

1. the writer has been reading LEGION for 15 years and finds it very sad to
see 36 years' worth of continuity jettisoned, and while things were in bad
shape, he believed there was nothing wrong a good writer couldn't fix.

2. DC seems once again to be valuing winning new readers over keeping old
ones, and DC should be able to do both.

3. LEGION and LEGIONNAIRES being one title is a matter of corporate greed,
and any reader should be able to read one title and get a complete story.

4. The writer had only one bright spot -- he was willing to try the new
Legion purely on the strength of Waid's FLASH work, and see how it played out.

[Another forum member pointed out in response to point 3 that it wasn't
greed, simply converting the two titles into one biweekly title. Myself, I
think any single issue should be readable on its own, whether it continues
into the following month's issue or a completely unconnected series; I think
Mark generally writes those, though.]

Mark's responses:

To point 1:

<<I think it's sad, too. And I've been reading Legion for TWENTY-SEVEN
years. AND there is no bigger fan of the Legion ALIVE than me. But all the
continuity changes and flip-flops have made the Legion's history an
unsalvageable mess. Continuity wasn't "in bad shape." It was Chernobyl. This
revision wasn't a decision made lightly; KC Carlson and Tom McCraw and I spent
literally hundreds of man-hours over the past year trying to come up with a
less drastic solution to the continuity problems than simply wiping the slate
clean, and we could *not find one.* If you have one, let's hear it. If not,
then please don't accuse me of not being "a good enough writer" to come up
with one.>>

To point 2:

<<Okay. How? Details, please. Yes, I'm making you back this claim up. I'm
sorry if I sound cranky, but this wasn't an editorial fiat from DC. This
drastic change was my choice, and DC chose to back me. I don't want to gain
new readers as the *expense* of older ones, either. The best gambit, in my
opinion as well as yours, is to appeal to both. But Legion *gets* no new
readers. They haven't for *years.* Fandom in general considers Legion to be a
"private club"; the reason LEGIONNAIRES tanked so horribly was because new
readers were asked to follow a history that made *absolutely no sense.* The
Legion's been ailing for some time, James. We're not pulling the
trigger...we're pulling the plug. I'm just as sorry as you to see it go, but
if we rebuild carefully enough, none of it has to be gone forever. If it's
any consolation, our Golden Rule is never to alter known Legion history
capriciously. Whatever changes are made must be made for a well-considered
reason and must reflect the overall Legion spirit of old. That is my promise
to you.>>

Response C was positive and interested, and asked if the new series would be
recounting the original history in a modern style or creating a completely new
Legion history from scratch.

Mark's response:

<<A little of both. Enjoy. >>

At this point -- once the revelations of the last half of "End of an Era" are
out, I'm just a spectator, but one with some inside info, and you can count me
among the delighted. I'm sure there'll be people here who hate the whole
idea, but I hope everyone will at least try the new series before making their
final judgment. I think you'll like it...

...and I will add that 36 years of continuity isn't _exactly_ being
jettisoned -- it's more complicated than that. But the last two "End of an
Era" parts addresses part of that statement, and the rest will be borne out by
the new series. Hope you enjoy both.

Before I turn your computers back over to you, I'll respond to some of the
questions or comments I ran into when I logged on:

Ben:

Wait for it. I _still_ think you'll like it. This is _not_ Legion
continuity being thrown out by uncaring goons. The Legion continuity you know
and love already _has_ been thrown out -- by CRISIS, the Byrne re-set, and all
the cacophony that resulted since. This is a matter of Legion continuity
being _rebuilt_ by people who love and respect (and fully intend to honor) the
old stuff at least as much as you do. I can't _make_ you give it a chance,
but I think you should...

Greg:

<<Does this mean that Every Single 20th Century Story with the LSH in it no
longer exists? Or will those stories still have happened, with visitors from
a timeline that was eventually destroyed?>>

I think that it's a situation much like the post-Crisis one -- those past
stories may have happened differently. This time, though, they intend to
learn from past mistakes and not let that loophole screw things up -- this is
the reason they're starting from the beginning, rather than saying, "Well,
there were 30 years of history and some of it's the same and some of it's
different but you can expect it was pretty much the same until we tell you
that Saturn Girl's married to Proty, er oops." The history will unfold, and
you'll get to see what happened the same and what happened different. And
you'll be able to trust it.

[Unless, of course, they do ZERO HOUR II in ten years, but I can't guarantee
_everything._]

<<It also means that we'll probably not see any of the recent members (like
Kono, Computo, Dragonmage, Catspaw, Celeste, Kent, Devlin) for a long, long
time, if ever.>>

Not necessarily.

Carl:

No, Waid hasn't been infected with "Emerald Twilight" Syndrome; if we could
do it, he and I would be in a race to see who could undo that storyline first.
I promise.

<<At least we'll know what the timeline of the LSH is this time.>>

Good answer! As I pointed out, the history with which we're familiar is
already gone; this is an attempt to rebuild it with a lot of respect for what
was (for a change).

<<On the other hand, I'd rather see the new series take place somewhere
around the same time, with as many of the major and minor changes in LSH
history pointed out somewhere. This won't be a popular suggestion, but maybe
they could do that and stick in several-page LSH stories recounting the old
days?>>

One of my suggestions was that LEGION #0 retell the origin, and LEGIONNAIRES
#0 be a "history book" with each page giving a montage pin-up by a different
Legion artist from Swan to Sprouse re-establishing a major Legion story and
what happened (and what happened differently, if anything), so the post-Zero
issues could pick up with a fully-established Legion with a great deal of
history, but it would be a history readers could know and refer back to. The
problem was that everyone wanted to pick up the regular continuity at a
different time -- the Sun-Eater story, the Great Darkness Saga, the Magic
Wars, etc. -- and it was finally decided that it would just work best, if
history was to be re-set (and it was _already_ broken, he said again) to
explain the re-set right from the start and tell the stories in full.

Ben:

<<So we actually wouldn't have to suffer through retellings ofthe old
stories; just a new version (yet again) of the origin in the 0 issues.>>

One thing to keep in mind: Those Silver Age stories were told in a very
compressed format by today's standards -- they were almost all plot. Even a
pure re-telling, in today's techniques, would by necessity have a different
angle and dimension (said the writer of MARVELS), whether it hews to the exact
parameters of the earlier plot or not.

Don:

<<Considering how delighted we are with Urthlo's hate tapes, Satan Girl, the
SCPA, etc. -- I'm inclined to trust the current creative team. They know their
Legion history (down to some pretty obscure points), and they obviously love
the LSH as much as we do.>>

THANK you!

Good point about the Legion enduring, by the way. I can think of periods I'm
astonished that it _did_ endure, but it came back. Whether this is something
to be endured or a comeback will be judged on its merits, but my nickel's on
the latter, based on what I know.

kurt

"You haven't begun to tote up the real cost of the dreaming being out
of control for most of the twentieth century. Results include the
development of daytime soaps, deconstruction, Piers Anthony, and the CCA."
--Dani Zweig
tyg t...@hq.ileaf.com

Ken Arromdee

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Jul 8, 1994, 3:05:21 AM7/8/94
to
In article <tygCsL...@netcom.com>, Tom Galloway <t...@netcom.com> wrote:
>The following is a slightly edited (to remove extraneous remarks) post
>made by Kurt Busiek on GEnie about the LSH reboot after Zero Hour. It
>includes comments from Mark Waid. Needless to say, spoilers all over the
>place.

I wonder if you could send this back to Kurt Busiek and/or Mark Waid. Maybe
even a r.a.c.m LSH digest. :-)

>Continuity wasn't "in bad shape." It was Chernobyl. This
>revision wasn't a decision made lightly; KC Carlson and Tom McCraw and I spent
>literally hundreds of man-hours over the past year trying to come up with a
>less drastic solution to the continuity problems than simply wiping the slate
>clean, and we could *not find one.* If you have one, let's hear it. If not,
>then please don't accuse me of not being "a good enough writer" to come up
>with one.>>

I'm not a comics writer. And I have no idea if anybody on Genie read this and
came up with one. But I can come up with two.

1) Just reverse all the nonsense--and _don't_use_it_afterwards_.

The Legion, even before continuity became a shambles, had a long, strange his-
tory. But most of it _was_ history. You didn't need to know who Urthlo was,
for instance (except now, as an in-joke), or that Luthor ever battled the Le-
gion; "present-day" stories didn't use or mention those events and were com-
pletely comprehensible to readers who started in 1980.

And when certain past events were important, they _were_ mentioned "now", so
you _still_ didn't need to have read the past stories. You occasionally need
to know that Lightning Lad once lost an arm; but the "present-day" story would
mention it. Lightning Lad wouldn't say "I hope what happened with the space
whale never happens again" while the reader was expected to know the reference
via his back issue collection.

(T&M&K did even worse: references the reader could only understand from the
fan network or from Sourcebooks....)

Now, apply this to the V4 Legion. Garth being Proty is a silly idea. So you
write a story which reverses it... maybe Garth is trying to be a spy and
make some Proteans think he's on their side. Whatever.

But _after_ you made the explanation, is a new reader going to need to know it?
Of course not. If Garth _is_ Proty, that's an important fact that directly
bears on his current personality. You have to know it to make
sense of things. But once it's explained as something more mundane,
it becomes no more important than the Urthlo story; no new reader has to know
"Garth pretended to be a Protean in 1994". Or "Cargg was spelled with 3 G's
between V4#4 and Zero Hour". Or "there used to be a Kid Quantum who got
added to history and then removed again". Or lots of other stuff--once fixed.

The second method of keeping the past is even simpler:

2) Turn back the clock, but not all the way.

Really. The nonsensical, twisted, history is mostly an artifact of V4.
Whether it's T&M&K's fault, or outside editors' fault, or both, doesn't really
matter; it's mostly in V4, and if you turn back the clock to the start of V4
or earlier, you'll get rid of most of the junk while still keeping everything
that happened before that. You'll throw out some stories and have to do some
rewriting if you want to keep some of their elements (particularly reintroduc-
ing the characters who first appeared in V4), but you won't be doing a
fraction as much as you're doing now, or getting a fraction of the complaints.

I suggest rolling back to the Mon-El/Trapper battle in V4#4 at the latest,
and V3#38 (death of Superboy) at the earliest.
--
Ken Arromdee (email: arro...@jyusenkyou.cs.jhu.edu)
ObYouKnowWho Bait: Stuffed Turkey with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

"You, a Decider?" --Romana "I decided not to." --The Doctor

Carl Fink

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Jul 8, 1994, 9:42:30 PM7/8/94
to
arro...@jyusenkyou.cs.jhu.edu (Ken Arromdee) wrote:
> In article <tygCsL...@netcom.com>, Tom Galloway <t...@netcom.com> wrote:
> >The following is a slightly edited (to remove extraneous remarks) post
> >made by Kurt Busiek on GEnie about the LSH reboot after Zero Hour. It
> >includes comments from Mark Waid. Needless to say, spoilers all over the
> >place.
>
> I wonder if you could send this back to Kurt Busiek and/or Mark Waid. Maybe
> even a r.a.c.m LSH digest. :-)
>
> >Continuity wasn't "in bad shape." It was Chernobyl. This
> >revision wasn't a decision made lightly; KC Carlson and Tom McCraw and I spent
> >literally hundreds of man-hours over the past year trying to come up with a
> >less drastic solution to the continuity problems than simply wiping the slate
> >clean, and we could *not find one.* If you have one, let's hear it. If not,
> >then please don't accuse me of not being "a good enough writer" to come up
> >with one.>>
>
> I'm not a comics writer. And I have no idea if anybody on Genie read this and
> came up with one. But I can come up with two.
>
> 1) Just reverse all the nonsense--and _don't_use_it_afterwards_.
>

[deleted for space]

This was suggested on GEnie, but not really considered practical.

>
> 2) Turn back the clock, but not all the way.
>

Ken, this exact idea was in fact suggested repeatedly on GEnie,
including once by me. After some discussion, we had the same
resolution as DC had, as I recall: we couldn't agree on a time, and
anything short of the Weisinger "silly" era would still involve
screwed up continuity.

I was originally opposed to the idea to the point of real anger
(that's me accusing Waid of "Emerald Twilight syndrome" in Tyg's
summary) but when I calmed down, I decided that IF WRITTEN BY WAID OR
ANOTHER GOOD WRITER the reset was probably the best solution. I even
apologized to Waid for the ET crack.
--
Pray, v.: to ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in
behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
--"The Devil's Dictionary" by Ambrose Bierce
Carl Fink ca...@panix.com CARL.FINK (GEnie)

Ken Arromdee

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Jul 9, 1994, 1:55:49 PM7/9/94
to
In article <qAV7kWUd...@panix.com>, Carl Fink <ca...@panix.com> wrote:
>> 2) Turn back the clock, but not all the way.
> Ken, this exact idea was in fact suggested repeatedly on GEnie,
>including once by me. After some discussion, we had the same
>resolution as DC had, as I recall: we couldn't agree on a time, and
>anything short of the Weisinger "silly" era would still involve
>screwed up continuity.

V4#4 seems like a pretty decent spot to me.

Of course, it would still involve screwed-up continuity. But the question is:
_how_much_ screwed-up continuity? Most, even if not all, of the screwups came
after that point. There would be some remaining, yes, but not too much to han-
dle.

Michael A. Chary

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Jul 9, 1994, 2:08:07 PM7/9/94
to

and what's wrong with screwed up continuity? All books
which have been around for a while have some truly insipid story
lines. Most titles don't obsess over them. The Weisinger
era was stupiud. Fine, but it was thirty years ago, we don't
*really* need to worry about it now. Levitz went several
years without even mentioning the planetary chance machine
or Urthlo. I don't think there was a compelling reason to
revive them. (But Tom Bierbaum *liked* the Weisinger era,
so he had to tried and save all that.) They're bringing
back the Spidey clone, and few years back in Hulk- they
revived the space pirates, these were not classic stories (well, I suppose
the Spider clone story is arguable, but I thought it was dumb.)
But the writers of those titles never mention them really.
--
"You were clinically dead for six minutes -- what was it like on
the other side."
"There was an *INCREDIBLE* duty free shop, but I didn't have any money."
-Bizarro "Ipsa scientia potestas est." - Roger Bacon

Jim Perreault

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Jul 9, 1994, 9:14:36 AM7/9/94
to
Kurt Busiek wrote:

> I mention this to counterbalance Response B, which was decidedly not pleased
>at the news, and made the following points:

> 2. DC seems once again to be valuing winning new readers over keeping old
>ones, and DC should be able to do both.

> To point 2:
>
> <<Okay. How? Details, please. Yes, I'm making you back this claim up.

I think that response was from Mark Waid. Is he serious? Does DC really
not realize that they have been driving away long-time fans in a big way?

I have been a big DC fan for at least 15 years, but for the past couple I
have been getting the feeling that DC just simply does not want me to read
their books. That I'm outside of their target readership and that the
could care less whether or not I read their books. In times of severe
cynism I think that DC has had a long term plan to drive away all their
long-time readers. ( I realize, of course, that they are just taking them
for granted as they try to lure in new readers ) As a consequence, my
purchases of DC's comics has fallen considerably.

You want examples. Here goes:

(1) The death of Dove.
(2) The cancellation of the Justice Society.
(3) The murder of a dozen good characters in Eclipso.
(4) The revamping of Alan Scott, with a total disregard for earlier
appearances of the character.
(5) Emerald Thwittle.
(6) The Hawkworld revamp.

The jury is still out on the Zero Hour revamps, but I am a little
apprehensive about the changes to Starman and Dr. Fate.

It seems that each month, DC tries to top itself in ways to drive me from
the company. If I sound bitter, it is because I am.


Jim Perreault

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