Sunday, March 31, 2013


Unearthed from my Vast Accumulation of Stuff, today’s “blast from
the past” pitch was written in 1976.  I almost didn’t look at the
file folder because, at first glance, I thought it was for another
“Starboy,” the alien teen character I created and wrote for my pal
Carl Gafford’s Minotaur fanzine.  What it was instead was a spinoff
from the Legion of Super-Heroes.

My memory isn’t 100% clear on this pitch, which leads me to believe
it was written quickly.  Here’s what I think was the situation when
I wrote it...

I was having a conversation with Jack C. Harris, who was or would
be my editor on Black Lightning (first series).  Knowing there was
a strong Legion fandom out there, we were trying to think of which
Legionnaires might be able to carry their own books.  This spinning
off from the Legion wasn’t a blindingly original concept as DC was
already publishing a Karate Kid title.

My focus was on the strongest names.  Timber Wolf wasn’t as strong
in my mind as the character’s original name of Lone Wolf.  Cosmic
Boy sounded a little too psychedelic for me.  However, just as the
Star Boy name had appealed to me when I used it for a character in
my fanzine days, it sounded good to me in this instance.  At some
point in the writing, Star Boy became Starboy.

I remember my starting point was to do a sort of Black Lightning in
the future - I had already created that character - and have Star
Boy fighting a vast criminal organization that stretched from one
end of the galaxy to the other.  Somewhere along the line, perhaps
with input from Harris, that changed somewhat. 

Harris definitely helped shaped the pitch because the original has
some proofreading marks that must be his.  The writing doesn’t seem
to be all mine either, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on that. While
preparing this pitch for publication in this blog, I have rewritten
some lines to make them more clear or just because I really hated
what was written originally.  However, what you’ll be reading is a
mostly authentic presentation of the pitch.


Presenting...All-new wonder and excitement in the Legion of Super-
Heroes tradition!

The Interstellar Adventures of Starboy!

The time: the 30th Century, one thousand years in our own fantastic

The place: Metropolis! Capital of the Earth and central hub of the
mighty United Planets!

It is here that the peacekeeping force of the United Planets, the
Science Police, maintain their headquarters.  With knowledge that
makes them famous galaxy-wide for their ability to keep order, the
Science Police are most proud of their young auxiliary, the Legion
of Super-Heroes!

Brought together by multi-trillionaire R.J. Brande, the Legion of
Super-Heroes is comprised of the youth of the 30th Century.  Each
member has proven himself worthy of membership by displaying a
super-power different from any other member’s power. With these
matchless powers, the members of the Legion aid the Science Police
in their efforts against the evils that still lurk a thousand years
from our own time.

The Legion’s ranks are filled with the most powerful teens in the
universe: Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, Shadow Lass and
many others! Joined by the common cause of justice, the Legion has
sworn to uphold the law justly and without undue force.  Sacred to
them is their honor code against killing!

One time - and only one time - this code was broken by Legionnaire
Thom Kellor.  Born in an orbiting space-observatory, his parents
were astronomers from the planet Xanthu.  Due to the unusual place
in which he was born - a “starlight” research center - Thom has the
ability to draw mass from the stars and impose it upon any object
or person, making it super-heavy.

In later life, Thom piloted his parents’ one-man space ship through
the tail of a comet.  This temporarily gave the power of electrical
vision and other abilities that were similar to those of Superboy.
With these increased powers, he joined the Legion.

When his temporary powers faded, Thom (or Starboy as he now called
himself) proved his mass-increasing ability was also an asset to
the Legion and was allowed to remain in the group.

Then came a dark day for Starboy and the Legion.  In self-defense,
he killed a man.  In a spectacular trial, Starboy became the first
Legionnaire to be expelled from the Legion.

After many months and eventually proving his worth once more,
Starboy was readmitted into the Legion along with his girlfriend,
the beautiful Dream Girl.  From the planet Naltor, Dream Girl has
the power to predict the future in her dreams.

And what is the future for Starboy and Dream Girl?

Deep within the shadows of Metropolis, there lies a lurking danger.
A secret empire in the underground plotting to overthrow the United
Planets and replace it with an evil and unjust rule.  Contemptible
earthmen and aliens alike plan unspeakable deeds.  Diplomatic ploys
and subversion are their weapons.  Both the Science Police and the
Legion are almost powerless against them.

With unequaled evil cunning, the Underground kidnaps Dream Girl to
force her to predict the political sway of the universe.  Because,
with their evil puppets in power at the right time and place, the
Underground could take the universe as their own.

The life of Starboy changes! Turning to his friends in the Legion,
he seeks their assistance to find and rescue Dream Girl.  But the
Legion is powerless.  Interference in this situation could cause an
interplanetary incident and destroy the increasingly fragile union
that is the United Planets!

Angered, embittered, Starboy seeks to rescue Dream Girl on his own
and fails! His mass-increasing power is not enough to challenge the
vast might of the mysterious Underground.  Even his failed attempt
has dire consequences.

Making Starboy an example of what happens when they are defied, the
Underground uses its ultimate weapon against Xanthu, Thom Kellor’s
home planet.  They wipe out every man, woman and child in Xanthu,
leaving behind a cold dead world.

Starboy stands alone! The Legion unable to stand by him! The world
and people he called his own dead! The girl he loves in the hands
of an incredibly powerful enemy!

Starboy makes a final appeal to the Legion to fight these enemies
to the death.  The Legion will not change its code against killing.

More alone than he has ever been, Starboy seeks out the very stars
from which he has taken his name.  He seeks the comet that gave
him his Superboy-like powers.  In his old one-man rocket, he again
exposes himself to the mysterious forces swirling within the tail
of the runaway comet.

Forces that alter and change him.

Strange forces that mutate Starboy in a dramatically different way
than in his first exposure.

From the heart of this shooting star comes a new Starboy!

Starboy now possesses a more potent density-increasing power he can
also turn on himself.  It can make him nearly indestructible while
increasing his strength to an astonishing degree.  He has regained
his electrical vision, also more powerful than before.

Starboy begins his campaign of vengeance against the Underground.
One super-powerful youth against a galaxy-wide network of cunning
alien and human criminals.  It is a battle that will range to the
farthest reaches of space.

Expelled from the Legion of Super-Heroes once again, alienated from
the Science Police and the United Planets, Starboy stands alone as
a grim vigilante pitted against enemies who can topple governments
and destroy worlds!

Can he succeed? Can one young man outwit the Underground and keep
surviving to continue the fight?  What will be the ultimate fate of
Dream Girl?  Those are the compelling questions to be answered in
issue after issue of...



ADDENDUM: The more I read this pitch, the more I am convinced that
it was written very fast.  Maybe in as little as an hour.  There’s
some very clumsy writing there.  Indeed, I must confess, I rewrote
the last few paragraphs of the above because I just couldn’t stand
the writing.  Not my finest hour.

I’m not sure what I had in mind for this series.  I’m gonna guess
it was Mack Bolan of the 30th Century, inspired by the Executioner
novels of Don Pendleton.  But it’s just a guess.

I don’t think this pitch was actually ever submitted to publisher
Jenette Kahn.  I remember access to her decreasing as DC added all
sorts of unnecessary bureaucracy and levels to the creation of the
comic books.  It may have been stopped somewhere along that chain
of command or, as I said, may never have gone beyond the two typed
pages I found in my files.

I’m working on a couple non-comics pieces at the moment, but am not
happy with either of them.  Whatever I end up writing, I’ll be back
tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. late night FerengiApril 1, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    Tony, I like a lot of these pitches and wish they became comics back in the 1970's. Perhaps if they gave you a break instead of creating a re-print title, which was a notorious in the 70's, we might be watching a movie about one of your characters. The 70's was the era I grew up in, and I remember the material some companies thought of as new and innovative. A lot of them were old ideas re-dressed as new ones. Your ideas, as I have read them, I think would have worked.