A LEGION OF RICHES IN LESS THAN ZERO HOURS

KC Carlson back in his editing days

KC Carlson back in his editing days


A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

My eyes almost fell out of my head when I saw in the DC Comics listings in Diamond Previews (out today!) that two projects I edited for DC a decade or two ago were being collected in the near future. Plus, a third collection, related to one of the other books, but not edited by me, is also being offered.

I edited a lot of fringe and cult projects for DC, including the Legion of Super-Heroes titles, Adventures in the DC Universe (a title supposedly only for kids — but we sure did have fun with it!), and completely uncollectible things like DC Secret Files (although the lead origin stories from that title were occasionally reprinted). For a while, I was also DC’s collected books editor, so I knew how and why certain projects got collected (or not), as well as where to look for unusual stuff to enhance the collections, beyond simply reprinting 6 to 12 sequential issues of a popular title.

Zero Hour #4

Zero Hour #4


I also edited something called Zero Hour for DC. In 1994. Yes, I’m surprised that I still remember it. These days I can barely remember what I had for lunch two hours ago. (Or if I even ate lunch today!) Written and pencilled by Dan Jurgens, Zero Hour attempted to address issues that came up after (or were unanswered during) Crisis on Infinite Earths. Many of these were continuity-related, but not always. Back in 2012, I wrote a bit about Zero Hour if you’d like to go back and start your confusion in the past…

SO WHY TALK ABOUT ALL THIS NOW?

Good question, Subhead!

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time HC

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time HC


I’m talking about this because Zero Hour is one of the new collections I mentioned above. The cool thing about it is that this is the first time it will be collected in a 200-page hardcover! The solicitation got it slightly wrong by saying it collects Zero Hour #0-4. While technically correct, the story actually starts with issue #4 and counts down backwards from there to issue #0.

Back in the day, DC’s Marketing department came up with an inspired idea for ZH. Pre-publication buzz on Zero Hour was so strong, the decision was made to create a pre-release, oversize, black-and-white “ashcan” of the first 13 pages of Zero Hour #4 (the first issue… counting down to #0, remember…). Some were sent directly to retailers, but a huge amount went with us to the San Diego Comic Con that year (1994) to be given away at the DC Zero Hour panel, in infamous Hall H, featuring Dan Jurgens, ZH inker Jerry Ordway, and me.

The Zero Hour ashcan

The Zero Hour ashcan


Since pretty much everything about Zero Hour was still TOP SECRET, I was the panel moderator (because who else would know what to ask and what not to ask). The weird thing about the panel for me was that I kind of went into temporary shock seeing the size of the crowd from the stage. Dan and Jerry apparently didn’t notice me zoning out, thankfully. I don’t remember a second of it, but I assume it went well. DC gave away A LOT of Zero Hour previews that day — and all three of us signed them for pretty much the rest of the weekend!

Getting back to the actual, upcoming Zero Hour: Crisis in Time hardcover, other cool features include an interview with writer/artist Dan Jurgens, an updated timeline of the DC universe, and other never-before collected bonus material.

The original timeline of the DC Universe

The original timeline of the DC Universe


Speaking more about that Zero Hour Timeline… that was something that Westfield crony and DC Continuity expert Robert (Bob) Greenberger and I worked on together for weeks, much of it in the elevator bank at DC (for semi-privacy). Later, after the success of the Zero Hour project, that Timeline was hugely blown up to a more easily-read size near that same elevator bank (I assume by our esteemed former Publisher — amongst other titles — Paul Levitz). I was always extremely proud to see other DC editors checking it out — either for research or for fun. I have to assume that it probably didn’t make the move to subsequent offices. (My fault for not visiting…)

I am also proud to say that not a single issue of Zero Hour was late. (HINT: That’s why it was only five issues!) The biggest reason that it wasn’t late was because Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway were drawing it! ‘Nuff said!

WHAT ABOUT THOSE OTHER BOOKS?

Impatient much, Subhead? Sheesh!

Legionnaires Book Two

Legionnaires Book Two


They are new collections of Legion of Super-Heroes material from the mid-1990s. Legionnaires Book Two is a 392-page trade paperback collecting Legion of Super-Heroes #69-73, Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #6, Legionnaires #25-30, Legionnaires Annual #2, and a LSH story from Showcase ’95 #6. I didn’t edit that last story, but there’s a Westfield connection anyway. (We’re taking over the world!) It’s written by Westfield’s own (who else would have him?) Beau Smith, with pencils by Mike Huddleston, and inks by Jim Mahfood. Hmmm, most of the characters in this story seem to be women…

All of the rest of that stuff is my fault (i.e. I “edited” it). But don’t mind me — check out all the great work by artists Lee Moder, Jeffrey Moy, Ron Boyd, W.C. (Cory!) Carini, writers Tom McCraw, Tom Peyer, Mark Waid, and others.

Legionnaires Book Two ships in May, so don’t forget to order it this month.

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 2

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 2


Jumping back in time to 1978, the other LSH collection being offered this month is Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 2 — a 448-page hardcover that ships in July (but order this month!). It collects Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes #241-258 and DC Comics Presents #13 & 14 — which teams Superman with both the Legion of Super-Heroes and Superboy. (Wha — ??) It features work by Paul Levitz, Jim Starlin (as Steve Apollo), Len Wein, Gerry Conway, James Sherman, Joe Staton, Dick Giordano, Murphy Anderson, Dave Hunt, Bob McLeod, and others. This is way before my time working on the book, but if you’re hardcore LSH, you’ll want it anyway! However, it’s a shame that it’s unlikely that the Hostess ads probably won’t be collected. Ever. So stop asking.

__________________________________

KC CARLSON hears voices. Ignores most of them. Or maybe he’s just sleeping. He knows how to do that standing up. Learned how to do that at DC Comics. And you thought all they did was comic books…

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. You know, today I’m actually irritating myself. Poke. Quit it. Poke. Quit it. Poke. Quit it. Poke. Quit it. AHHHHHHH!

 

USER COMMENTS

We'd love to hear from you, feel free to add to the discussion!