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How the Kung Fu Boom Led to the History of the First Legion by a Famous Legion Writer

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, find out how the Kung Fu boom gave an iconic Legion writer his first chance at the Legion of Super-Heroes

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and thirty-sixth episode where we examine three comic book legends and determine if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions. Click here for the first part of this episode’s captions. Click here for part two of the captions from this episode.

NOTE: If my twitter page reached 5,000 subscribers, I’ll be doing a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Good deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!


The Kung Fo boom led to Paul Levitz’s first work on the Legion of Super-Heroes characters.



One of the great truisms in comic book history (Paul Levitz has certainly used this term before, but it’s a very common take, but hey, feel free to credit Paul Levitz if you want! C ‘s cool to me) is that when a comic book company starts to discover a pop culture fad, it’s the surest sign that the fad is over, and that was clearly the case when came to DC and its attempts to cash in on the Kung Fu boom of the early 1970s.

For example, the popular Kung Fu TV series from the early 1970s…

had already wrapped up its television run by the time DC first released a Kung Fu-themed comic intended to tie into fashion, Denny O’Neil’s Richard Dragon, Kung Fu fighter

Yet even thinking it was obviously far behind the trend’s actual timeline, DC editor Carmine Infantino still wanted to do more with the Kung Fu trend and he looked to his editors to try to come up with more new ideas to tie into this fashion.

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At the time, Paul Levitz was 19 years old and an associate editor for Joe Orlando, whom Infantino had asked to create a Kung Fu comic book title. Levitz and Carl Gafford discussed the concept and Gafford suggested that why not use Legion of Super-Heroes’ Karate Kid because that way you could appeal to both Legion fans AND martial arts fans alike. !

Orlando got into it and Levitz got the chance to write the Karate Kid series, which debuted in early 1976.

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However, Infantino felt that Levitz was too inexperienced at the time to write the series, so he told Orlando to get rid of him. David Michelinie was brought on board with the second issue.

A year passed, however, and Infantino was fired, and Denny O’Neil took over as editor of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes by retired Murray Boltinoff and soon lost its lead writer, Jim Shooter, to Marvel Comics (where Shooter went to work as associate editor. Wonder what happened to Shooter at Marvel?), so the book was now free for the taking and Levitz was both a year older and no longer had Infantino to block him (not that Infantino would have blocked him permanently at that point, who knows?) And so he got the gig with Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #225…

I don’t know if his previous experience on Karate Kid affected O’Neil to give him the book or not. I’d love to say yes, but that’s only because it makes it a bit more interesting story (like the Karate Kid You could say the assignment is how the Legion got one of its most famous writers, which is a good idea, isn’t it?), but who knows.

Its first run was cut short by the DC implosion (DC canceled many titles and Levitz, as a staff member, felt it was more reasonable to give freelance writers who lost their jobs on other book assignments because unlike them he had his teamwork in addition to his freelance gig), but a few years later Mike W. Barr took over editing duties on Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes with Roy Thomas writing it, but Thomas wasn’t very interested, so a deal was struck where, through musical chairs of assignments between Thomas, Gerry Conway and Levitz, Levitz ended up on Legion of Super-Heroes for a second time, and he wasn’t going to give up this time and went on to have an iconic run on the book (not that his first run wasn’t good, of course).

Thanks to Michael Eury and Paul Levitz for this much information thanks to an informative interview in issue 68 of TwoMorrows!


OK, that’s it for this episode!

Thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I actually don’t even have anymore, but I used it for years and you still see it when you see my old columns, so that’s fair enough to thank him again, I think.

Feel free to (hell, please!) write in with your suggestions for future installments! My email address is And my Twitter feed is, so you can also ask me for captions there! Also, if you have any correction or comment, feel free to email me as well. CBR sometimes emails me with emails they receive about CBLR and that’s fair enough, but the fastest way to get a fix is ​​to just email me directly, honestly. Corrections don’t bother me. Always better to get things accurate!

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