Here we are in a COVID-19 world. Many of us are stuck in our homes and working remotely. Others are not as lucky. But, we are all social distancing and the world is not what it was just a few months ago. As a result, every aspect of our lives has been impacted including the world of comic books. We are now in our second week of no new comic books. So, what does a comic book website do as we enter a second week with no new comic books? Well, I know I immediately return to my favorite comic book franchise: The Legion of Super-Heroes.
I love re-reading old issues of the Legion of Super-Heroes. In particular, I love the fun and interesting extras that we have gotten in older regular issues, annuals, and special edition resource issues. The Legion of Super-Heroes has such a colorful and a bit zany past. There are so many neat extras that we have gotten over the decades. I figured I would begin these series of articles by taking a look at the Legion of Super-Heroes Headquarters.
Now, I love blueprints, diagrams, and schematics of any headquarters or facility. We used to get these in the world of superhero comic books all the time back in the day. This was a fairly common occurrence back in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and 1990s. However, since 2000, this approach has largely been absent from Marvel and DC’s comic books. Which is too bad. We need more of this kind of stuff. Jonathan Hickman has managed to try and revive this approach with his great maps and diagrams in House of X and Powers of X and his ongoing X-Men title. All right, let’s go through the years and take a look at all the different diagrams and schematics of the Legion of Super-Heroes’ various headquarters!
Here we have the original Legion of Super-Heroes headquarters. Actually, this is not a headquarters. This is the Legion’s Clubhouse. The Silver Age Legion was always written as younger teens (13-16) than the Bronze Age and Modern Age Legions who were written more like college-age students from ages 19-25. The only exception to this would be the Archie Legion from the 1990s that was also written young much like the Silver Age Legion.
At any rate, since the Legion’s original headquarters is actually a clubhouse, this building has a very playful design that remains an absolute classic. I have always loved the clean and simple lines of this mid-modern space-age design of the original Legion headquarters. The rocket ship design reflects the Atomic era design which was prevalent when the Legion of Super-Heroes first debuted in 1958. Sadly, we never got a serious schematic of the original Legion headquarters. What we did get was a “diagram” of the original Legion of Super-Heroes in the Legion of Substitutes Heroes Special #1 from 1985. Once the Legion of Super-Heroes moved to their new headquarters around 1967, the original Legion Clubhouse was given to the Legion of Substitute Heroes to serve as their headquarters.
This “diagram” was done by Keith Giffen and is done as a complete gag aimed at getting some yucks. This is consistent with Giffen’s view that the Legion of Super-Heroes franchise as nothing more than a punchline. Giffen never actually respected the Legion at any point in his career. Still, this is technically a diagram so we have to include it in our article.
Next up is the second Legion of Super-Heroes headquarters that was unveiled in Adventure Comics #367 in 1968. After a decade of using the playful rocketship as a headquarters, the Legion moved into a headquarters that conveyed far more seriousness and grandness than the original headquarters.
I adore this gorgeous mid-modern style headquarters. This more serious and impressive looking headquarters symbolized a pivotal moment for the Legion of Super-Heroes. After ten years of being minor characters in Superboy’s adventures, the Legion was beginning to step forward as the stars of their own show. This also represented a shift within DC Comics to take the Legion franchise more seriously. The large “L” on the headquarters is an iconic logo. And that fantastic 1960s space-age sculpture in front of the headquarters? Absolutely fantastic!
In Adventure Comics #403, published in 1971, we get the first schematic of the Legion’s second headquarters. And what a fantastic diagram! Click on the image and just take a few minutes and soak in that lovely diagram. I dig that we have a plaza and several buildings that comprise the Legion’s campus. Again, we see the Legion continue to grow and evolve into something larger and more impressive. I love the little wacky details like the walls of the headquarters being made out of Thymo-Plastic and lined with Manganium Inertron.
Another brilliantly silly detail is that the chairs in the Legion’s meeting room are ejector chairs. The dome in the meeting room opens and the chairs eject the Legionnaires out of the building and then their flight rings kick in and have them off and flying to their latest adventure. Why?! They have flight rings. Just have the dome open and let the Legionnaires fly out via their flight rings!
It is small silly details like this that make me adore the Legion. And it is also small silly details like this that make older comics so much more fun than most modern comics. Also, note that the headquarters is powered by an atomic generator that runs on power crystals. I also love that this headquarters does not just have a mere gymnasium. No way! This is the Legion! They have a super-gymnasium!
Do you know what takes a diagram of a headquarters to the next level? A tour through the headquarters! This is a real treat as the reader gets taken on a tour of the Legion headquarters. I love how the narration is written during this tour. We even get cameo appearances by Porcupine Pete and Infectious Lass!
The tour continues for a second page. I love that we get a mini-story within the tour. We see Karate Kid lounging in the Monitor Room with Dream Girl excitedly approaching him. Why is Dreamy in such a state? Well, we see in the next panel that Karate Kid’s girlfriend, Princess Projectra, has been injured and is in the Medic-Center. What a great way to make this tour even more dynamic and interesting.
The Legion of Super-Heroes was not just restricted to their headquarters located on Earth. In Superboy #188 from 1972, we got a glimpse of the Legion’s Exploratory Station. This is a cool design. I dig the crazy mechanical arm that the station has to grab samples for studying. It is unfortunate that we never get a diagram of the Legion’s Exploratory Station.
We get schematic of the Legion’s third headquarters in Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #2 from 1980. The Legion’s third headquarters is quite similar to their second headquarters which ended up getting destroyed. The third headquarters is built on the same location as the second headquarters. I love the introduction of bio-dome to the Legion’s campus.
Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1 from 1982 unveiled a diagram of their third headquarters. What makes this schematic of the third headquarters so unique is that it shows a sideways cutaway of the building. Up to this point, this was the most detailed and complex schematic of any of the Legion’s headquarters. Go ahead and click on the link and get lost in the immersive details of this schematic. It is absolutely fantastic.
In Legion of Super-Heroes #300 from 1983, we got a tale of the adult Legion of Super-Heroes from an alternate universe. This adult Legion had a satellite headquarters that is reminiscent of the old satellite headquarters that the JLA used to have back in the day. What is interesting is that this satellite style headquarters for this adult Legion from an alternate universe would eventually return for the regular Legion at a future date. At any rate, I love this Dave Cockrum design. This is very 1980s looking and I wish we have gotten a nice diagram of this satellite headquarters.
Legion of Super-Heroes #311 from 1983 unveiled the Legion’s fourth headquarters. I love all of the Legion’s headquarters. But, the fourth headquarters is probably my favorite. Of course, that is likely just childhood bias since this is the Legion headquarters that I grew up with when I was a little kid. At any rate, the fourth headquarters boasts a cool design that makes it the largest of all of the Legion’s headquarters. Another unique trait of the fourth headquarters is that it levitates in the air. All in all, the design for the Legion’s fourth headquarters is rather timeless. I think this design has aged very well.
In Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #320 from 1985, we get an impressive diagram of the Legion’s fourth headquarters. This schematic is the most impressive of all of the Legion headquarters diagrams up to this point. There is so much to love about this diagram. Go ahead and click on the pic and soak it all in.
What is particularly enjoyable is that we finally get to see where the individual Legionnaires’ quarters are located. You also get fun details like how the Legion’s headquarters got special waivers from the Metropolis construction code. Also incredibly cool is the detail that it is unconfirmed that the top section of the headquarters is actually a detachable space worthy vessel. Also, note that the directional compass in the bottom left corner is in Interlac! Yes!
In Whos Who Legion of Super-Heroes #5 from 1988 gives us an updated version of the diagram of the fourth Legion headquarters that we got in Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #320. The downside of this version is that you do not get to see where the various Legionnaires’ quarters are located. But, on the upside, this diagram is better colored to help differentiate between the contents of the various rooms.
But, that is not all! Whos Who Legion of Super-Heroes #5 also gave us a fantastic walking tour of the inside of the Legion’s fourth headquarters! This is reminiscent of what we got back for the Legion’s second headquarters. This tour is a wonderful look inside of the Legion’s fourth headquarters. I love the small details packed into the panels. In particular, the Legion’s trophy room that has items from various Silver Age Legion stories. It is a great Easter Egg hunter for long-time readers.
What is great about this page above is that we see the Legionnaires Recreation Room. We see Sun Boy and Wildfire playing Advanced holovid DUNGEON & DRAGONS!!! I absolutely cannot think of anything more 1980s than this! I love everything about this panel!
The best part of the above page is the humorous way that Phantom Girl explains how Brainiac 5’s lab is actually safe.
I dig the detail about the weapons and how the Science Police maintain everything and make sure they are custom-crafted for each Legionnaire.
We wrap up this excellent tour with the hangar and a good look at the Legion cruisers.
Legion of Super-Heroes #26 from 1991 gave us a diagram of the Legion’s fifth headquarters. Giffen did this diagram so it is done with his usual “humorous” style where he displays his lack of respect of the Legion and his view that they are just punchlines to his jokes. I would rank this diagram as the worse of all of the diagrams of the various Legion headquarters. Which is actually quite appropriate given that the TMK Legion is easily the absolute nadir of the Legion of Super-Heroes history.
Legionnaires #1 from 1993 gives us the Legion’s fifth headquarters. This was the Reboot Legion’s first headquarters. The Reboot Legion prior to DnA taking over the title is known as the Archie Legion. The Reboot Legion was a complete and total reboot for the Legion franchise so they received an updated version of the original Legion Clubhouse that the Silver Age Legion had when they debuted in 1958. I always loved the design of this headquarters. It is a well-executed update of the original Legion Clubhouse.
In Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #6 from 1995 we get an excellent in-depth look at the Legion’s sixth headquarters (The Reboot Legion’s second headquarters). The Legion’s sixth headquarters boasted an interesting flattened and squared-off version of the Legion’s Clubhouse. This design is unique and a visually distinct direction for the Legion’s headquarters.
Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #6 also gave us a fantastic diagram of the Legion’s sixth headquarters. This diagram is impressively detailed. I dig that we get a peek at the underground part of this headquarters. There is so much to delve into with this diagram. My favorite part is Brainiac 5’s secret lab/time lab tucked away in the basement of the headquarters.
Remember when we saw the Legion’s satellite headquarters from the alternate universe tale starring the adult Legion in Legion of Super-Heroes #300 back in 1983? Well, we finally see the Legion gaining such a satellite headquarters during the Reboot Legion’s run. In Legion of Super-Heroes Secret Files #1 from 1998, we get a cool diagram of the Legion’s seventh headquarters (the Reboot Legion’s third headquarters). This is the most colorful and dynamic of all the Legion headquarter diagrams.
Next up is the Legion’s eighth headquarters (The Reboot Legion’s fourth headquarters). This is the infamous Legion World headquarters. First, I want to give a hat tip to kenaustinw in the comment section who asutely pointed out that I skipped over the Legion’s Legion World headquarters that first appeared in The Legion #3 back in 2002. There is a good reason for my gaffe. I was never a fan of DnA’s Legion and often naturally censor it from my memory banks much as I do with the TMK Legion. However, I am so glad that I was reminded that I did not include this headquarters!
Anyway, the design for the Legion World Headquarters is bland. It is a generic Sci-Fi sphere with the classic “L” Legion logo on one side. I am sure it is my traditional bias that makes me prefer the Legion to have a headquarters that is located in Metropolis. A giant world in space just feels like something that does not fit with the aesthetic and vibe of the Legion of Super-Heroes franchise.
In Legion Secret Files 3003 published in 2004, we got a cool in-depth look at the interior of the Legion World headquarters. Sadly, we never got a diagram of the Legion World headquarters. This is such a shame since such a massive style headquarter is just begging for an intricate diagram. Instead, we got another walking tour much as we did back in Whos Who Legion of Super-Heroes #5 from 1988. The similarities between the two walking tours are notable right down to the female reporter who is being taken on the guide through the headquarters.
First up on the tour is the Command Deck. Here we see that Chuck Taine (you may know him as Bouncing Boy) is the Chief Engineer of Legion World.
Next on our tour is one of Legion World’s Medical Units. Please note the cameo of the one and only Dr. Gym’ll!
During the Threeboot Legion of Super-Heroes, we got yet another new Legion of Super-Heroes headquarters. This Legion headquarters never received a diagram that I know about. Which is too bad. I like this design quite a bit. This version of the Legion’s headquarters is quite unique. However, you can still see an homage to the original Legion Clubhouse in the rocket shape design of the Threeboot Legion’s headquarters.
And we end this article pretty much where we started. After Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, DC Comics reinstituted the Pre-Crisis Levitz Legion as the true Legion of the DCU. We get a good look at the headquarters of the reinstated Pre-Crisis Legion in Legion of Super-Heroes 16, 2012. We see that the Legion’s headquarters is another modern re-imagining of the Legion’s original Clubhouse. This proved that the more things changed the more they stay the same. This modern version of the original Legion Clubhouse is another excellent design.
All right! That concludes our tour of the various diagrams of the Legion’s headquarters throughout their 62-year history. As you can see, we get plenty of these diagrams in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. But post 2000? Nada. Too bad. Given that Bendis has avoided giving the Fourboot Legion their own headquarters and choosing to make all of Metropolis their “headquarters” I doubt that we will be getting a new diagram anytime soon. Hopefully, DC and Marvel will start doing more of this kind of stuff. I certainly hope that whatever creative team takes over from Bendis will eventually treat us to another kick-ass diagram of the Legion’s latest headquarters. Long Live the Legion!
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