Silver Age DC Runs To Collect Early Legion Of Super-Heroes Appearances

Silver Age DC Runs To Collect Early Legion Of Super-Heroes Appearances

Legion of Super-Heroes. The stories that started the DC Silver age Team Comic.

The year was 1958, the place Adventure Comics 247, the intention, a throwaway Superboy story with a happy ending. What happened next is DC Comic history and the dawn of the Super Team book. The Silver Age Legion of Superheroes run encompassed that initial appearance in April 1958 and would end in March 1969. The run would encompass various titles from the Superman family of comics, however, despite their popularity, they never received their own standalone non-reprint comic until 1979.

Anyway, here is a brief synopsis of these early issues together with the easiest way to actually read the stories and some thoughts on future values… because comics are not just for reading right?

The Return of the Super Team

Prior to Adventure Comics 247 being published DC had toyed with the Super Hero team comics idea via the Justice Society of America (JSA). They made their first appearance in All-Star Comics  3 in 1941 during the Golden Age of comics. This title had been cancelled back in 1951 and despite this being DC’s most creative period, the focus was on single characters going about their superhero ways.  However, Otto Binder & Al Plastino’s story would set the tone for team-based Super Hero comics going forward.

The ultimate cameo appearance as statues in Adventure 289

Prior to getting their on-going run in Adventure Comics in 1962, the team made numerous appearances – some more spurious than others i.e Adventure 289 pictured above technically the 8th appearance but only as statues in one panel. Similarly in Action Comics 290 characters from the team only show up in 3 panels.

Anyway, the thirteen issues listed below, and spanning various Superman titles are the ones of most significance:

First Appearance of The Legion of Super-Heroes

Adventure Comics 247 April 1958

This features the three founding members Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy & Saturn Girl (good old 50s Sci-Fi names) testing Superboy out for membership. It was not meant to be anything other than a filler but popular demand led to the minor phenomenon they would become.

This is by far the key issue in the run and although low-grade copies turn up from time to time, consider taking a loan or even getting a second mortgage if you want a CGC 9.8 as an investment. Having said that given the price of other key Silver Age Comics both from Marvel & DC it is still comparatively cheap.

Fortunately, this issue has been reprinted in comic form a few times of times with the Silver Age Classic issue being on similar style paper making it as close to the original as you are likely to get.

Three cheaper options

Digest Format 5″ x 6.75″


Standard Size Reprint from 1992


Gold Foil stamped Millennium edition from 2000

Both the Digest and the Millennium edition are quite hard to find so your best bet for a reading copy is the 1992 reprint which can be picked up on e-bay quite cheaply currently.

Second Appearance

Adventure Comics 267 December 1959

Adventure 267 is difficult to find, especially in high grade and much sought after for the classic Curt Swan cover.  Still given its significance it is currently quite reasonably priced compared to other key books from the Silver Age. Although most copies on the market are from the USA they do turn up with UK pence distribution stamps on them from time to time. This is because the official UK newsstand distribution kicked off around this time.

Adventure Comics 267 DC

Adventure 267 is included as a reprint in the DC TPB the Greatest 1950s Stories Ever Told, but never reprinted in comic form (yet).

Quite hard to find but full of classic stories.











Action Comics 267 August 1960 3rd Appearance

This issue – “The Three Super-Heroes!” saw the team expand with the additions of Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, and Invisible Kid – all making their first appearance in comics. Scarce in high grade but affordable in low grade (comparatively) and a nice mid-grade CGG or CBCS graded one currently (2019) costs around £200. This issue has a bit of historical significance as it was the famed Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel’s first take on the characters.


The Early 1960s Appearances The Team Spreads to More Titles

Given the continuing popularity of the team, appearances became more frequent post-1960 and soon they would appear in all the main Superman-related titles.

Superboy 86 – 4th Appearance

“The Army Of The Living Kryptonite Men!” (got to love these titles)

Superboy 86 DC


Jerry Siegel again worked on this one, and it sports another classic cover. Published in 1961 this featured the 1st appearance of Pete Ross who would become an honourary LOSH member going forward. Given the significance of this issue it is reasonably priced and if you just want to read it and are US based then grabbing a copy of The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest No. 15 is the cheapest way. However, it is hard to find outside of the USA.

There were nine more appearances prior to the team getting its own defacto title with the classic 80 issues run in Adventure Comics, these being:

Adventure Comics 282 “Lana Lang & The Legion of Super-Heroes” 5th Appearance

A 13-page story with Superboy & Star Boy plus some flashbacks to the Legion. Still more standalone, unlike the saga which would unfold.

Action Comics 276 May 1961 – 1st appearance of Brainiac 5. Their 6th Appearance

Superboy 89 From June 1961 – Classic Story featuring the 1st appearance of Mon-El.

This is a bit of a key book for Legioncollectors and is surprisingly difficult to find. Expect to pay upwards of Four figures for a high-grade copy.

Fortunately, it has been reprinted in comic form in Adventure Comics 494, it’s self not easy to find but available for around £10 in acceptable condition, a much more affordable option for the reader.

Superman 147 – 1st Legion of Super Villians August 1961

This issue was a bit darker than the preceding appearances and is quite pivotal in that it showed the Legion as adults indicating they were now serious characters in the DC universe. Not expensive currently given its the first appearance of the Legion of Super Villians, and its historical importance in the series. If you want a Silver Age reprint of this issue, grab Superboy 147 (DC 80pg Giant  G-47).

Superboy 147 from 1968 80 pages of classic reprints including the Legion of Super Villians story.

Adventure Comics 290 November 1961

Featuring a doppelgänger Sun Boy and a Clark Kent Lookalike!… Who thought this story up – well it was Robert Bernstein’s only Legion Story. This has been reprinted in Superboy 147 and as with all the issues here it is included in the excellent Legion of Superheroes The Silver Age Omnibus vol 1.

The cheapest way to read the early stories is via the Legion of Super- Heros omnibus edition Vol 1. This includes all the early issues and the start of the main run in Adventure Comics.


1962 The Year It all Takes Off.

The preceding nine issues were sufficient to prove the concept at DC and in 1962 the Legion became a semi-regular feature, cumulating in them getting a monthly series. This commenced in Adventure Comics 300 Published in September 1962. Such was its popularity it would run for 80 issues. However, before this 1962 also saw:

Adventure Comics 293 February 1962 – 1st Legion of Super-Pets (yes honestly).

Jerry Siegal returned to the title and wrote one of the more bizarre stories of the 1960s, which sticks in the mind thanks to the panels showing Lightning Lad riding into battle on Super Dog Krypto, who is about a third his size. There seems to be plenty of low-grade issues around but it is scarce in a higher grade, probably due to them having been well-read due to the fun storyline.

Action Comics 287 April 1962

Supergirl teams up with the LOSH

Jerry Siegal was now pretty much establishing himself as the go-to Legion writer,  this time going for a Supergirl team-up issue. This proved to be very popular and he did a Supergirl story again in his next issue.

Action Comics 289 June 1962

Another Supergirl story – this time featuring her and Superman as grown-ups.

Superboy 98 July 1962 – Word of the Week “Penetra-vision”

Jerry Siegal again, inventing Penetra-Vision for Ultra-Boy as opposed to Superboys X-Ray Vision. Sought after as it has a classic Curt Swan cover.

By now the Legion of Super-Heroes were hot commodities in the comic world and it was no surprise when DC announced they would get a monthly outing going forward starting with Adventure Comics 300. The run kicked off in September 1962,  written by – you guessed it, Jerry Siegal. But that’s a story for another day.


Want To Read Them – Then Grab The Legion of Super-Heroes Omnibus Edition

Legion of Super Heroes Omnibus Edition

By far the easiest and cheapest way of reading these classic stories is via the above mentioned Legion of Super-Heroes Silver Age Omnibus. This is a meaty Hard Cover book weighing in at around 688 pages! Content-wise, as well as covering the above key issues it includes the first 28 from the classic Adventure Comics ongoing run commencing with Issue 300. There are additional appearances fin Superboy & Jimmy Olsen comics included.

With a cover price of $75, it’s not an impulse buy, however, given the number of classic issues it contains, and the cost of putting even a tatty reader copy run together it is excellent value for money. Plus it looks great on the bookshelf or coffee table.

This Omnibus Edition collects a significant chunk of the early Silver Age appearances including a chunk of the ongoing run. It is usually available to purchase on Amazon 


Future Value.

So what are the prospects value-wise for these early Legion of Super-Heroes appearances?

Unlike modern comics valuations on Silver Age issues tend to be less volatile and the prices on these early issues have been relatively static. We had a look back at an old price guide from the early 1990s, and apart from Adventure 247 which has jumped a lot (mid-grade listed at £825 then compared to around £5-6K now) the prices have not moved dramatically.

For example, if we compare the price change on a fairly major character like the first Mon-El, to the first appearance of a Batman villain such as Poison Ivy the price difference is staggering.  In the mid-1990s a mid-grade copy of Super Boy 89 (1st Mon-El) was listed at £52.50 but is now usually offered for sale in the £200-£300 range. Still a nice jump, however, compare this to a mid-grade Batman 181 (1st appearance of Poison Ivy) which was listed then at £12 but now commands around £500-£600! So as you can see this title has been left behind.

Why So Cheap (Comparatively)

The reason? Well the LOSH has had little in the way of TV exposure, having been limited to a rather fun animated series, and a one-episode guest appearance in the TV series Smallville. However, with their rich history and wealth of characters, it is only a matter of time before a producer decides to tap into this. Thus from a speculative viewpoint, these issues are either massively undervalued or comparable titles are similarly massively overvalued.

Whichever the downside of picking up mid to high-grade run of issues looks low and the upside could be huge.

For the more general collector picking these up in low grade is a challenge, but shouldn’t break the bank and as mentioned for the reader some of the issues can be found reprinted in the DC 80 page Giants of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which are themselves worth picking up.

New collectors looking to get into this title might want to start with the ongoing run in Adventure Comics between 300 & 380, which will be covered in a future article.

In meantime don’t forget to check out our dedicated comic site or try one of our growing range of comic quizzes.



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