Howdy! This page is part of a guide to comic books recommended for younger readers (along with some stuff their parents might like as well. This page covers the letter "B", other books are linked to below.

So, come celebrate that groovy, geeky, magical medium that we all grew up on... and share that special sense of wonder with someone smaller and newer than you. By the way, this is a work in progress, and your recommendations are always welcome... )








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"The Legion Of Super-Heroes: DC Archives, v.1"
(DC Comics, 1991)

A classic old-school superhero title, spun off from the Superman/Superboy Adventure Comics series of the late 1950s. The Legion stories began in 1958, with a trio of superpowered teens traveling a thousand years back in time to meet their idol, Superboy, and to recruit him into their super-club. Conveniently, Superboy was able to fly so fast that he could break the time barrier and visit the future (or the past) more or less at will, so this made setting up 30th Century playdates pretty easy. Many people ooooh and aaahh over the later Legion episodes, when teenaged comics prodigy Jim Shooter took over as the main writer, but I actually think these early adventures, when the concept was still getting fleshed out, are way more fun. The stories are goofy and carefree, there are tons of nonsensical narrative leaps, the characters and their powers are inconsistent, and generally a good time is had by all. Most of the adventures involve Superboy, but his cousin Supergirl also became a Legion member, which allowed her to have more fun in the future than she got to have in the 20th Century of 1950's Eisenhower America, where a paternal Superman kept her under his thumb (see Supergirl, below...) At any rate, this stuff is fun, and although it's not quite a baby book, it's way more innocent and way less violent than most other superhero stuff you're likely to encounter, and should be fine for most younger readers. Covers 1958-1962. Highly recommended! (A)


"The Legion Of Super-Heroes: DC Archives, v.2"
(DC Comics, 1991)

The series continues here, with this second set of vintage adventures. Eventually the Legion stories displaced Superboy and became the lead feature in the Adventure Comics series. Over time their stories became more conventional and less goofy, but for the first half-dozen or so of these Archive collections, it's pretty much straight-up, uncomplicated Silver Age fun. This volume covers (A)


"The Legion Of Super-Heroes: DC Archives, v.3"
(DC Comics, 1991)

(A)


"The Legion Of Super-Heroes: DC Archives, v.4"
(DC Comics, 1991)

(A)


"The Legion Of Super-Heroes: DC Archives, v.5"
(DC Comics, 1991)

(A)


"The Legion Of Super-Heroes: DC Archives, v.6"
(DC Comics, 1991)

Covers Adventure Comics #350-358 (November 1966-July 1967). (A)


"The Legion Of Super-Heroes: DC Archives, v.7"
(DC Comics, 1991)

(A)


"The Legion Of Super-Heroes: DC Archives, v.8"
(DC Comics, 1991)

(A)


"The Legion Of Super-Heroes: DC Archives, v.9"
(DC Comics, 1991)

These are the last of the old-school Legion stories, spanning 1969-1970, when the original Legion series was cancelled. When they came back, the new Legion stories were harder-edged and meant to be more realistic -- they're okay if you're a superhero book fan, but definitely different that the goofy older episodes, and less well-suited for really little kids (which is who this guide is written for...) The stories in this book aren't the best-written, since the series was wobbling to its ignoble end, but these are the last echoes of the Legion's original conception. (A)


"The Legion Of Super-Heroes In The 31st Century: Tomorrow's Heroes - Volume 1"
Written by J. Torres, Scott Beatty, Christine Boyland & Jai Nitz
Illustrated by Sanford Greene, Alexander Serra, et. al.
(DC Comics, 2009)

This is a fun, kid-oriented superhero book, with stylish, manga influenced artwork and clever scripting. This series -- which only lasted twenty issues -- took its cues from the WB animated series and at times the scripting gets a little jumpy; some episodes make more sense if you've seen the TV series. Also, the series takes a slightly mish-mashy approach to Legion continuity (for example, Superboy appears as "Superman"; I guess that's because DC decided at some point that "Superboy" never really existed... Yeesh. Whatever.) Anyway, the revisionist history shouldn't stop most folks from enjoying this fun, funny series. I have been on the hunt for kid-friendly comic books for my very young kid to read, and was not disappointed by this one. It's innocent and simple without being vapid or cloying. I hope DC and other publishers can sustain this kid-friendly tone and bring more titles to the market that are appropriate for younger readers... A pity this one got canceled... I know my kid would be psyched if they started publishing it again. (Reprints issues #1-7) (B+)



"Little Lulu" -- see Little Lulu & Tubby




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