The Liberty Legion's first comic book cover.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1976
Creator: Roy Thomas
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When comic book writer Roy Thomas (Night Nurse, Morbius the Living Vampire) became the first Marvel Comics editor-in-chief to follow the legendary Stan Lee, he indulged his boyhood interests in superhero teams and heroes of the 1940s by creating The Invaders, a group made up of 1940s superheroes …

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… and set during World War II. Apparently, one wasn't enough, because the following year he created another, The Liberty Legion.

Thomas contrived to have The Invaders (which consisted of Captain America, The Human Torch, The Sub-Mariner and their sidekicks) incapacitated in an early issue, in a way that makes sense only in the pulp-style fiction of comic books. Bucky, Cap's sidekick, escaped, and interrupted a radio show by The Patriot (a second-rate Captain America knock-off, and no relation) to issue a call to America's other superheroes, to help get his buddies back in action against the hated Nazis. Six of his costumed listeners heeded the call, with The Patriot making a seven-member team. This happened in Marvel Premiere (a try-out comic book along the lines of DC's Showcase) #29 (April, 1976). Thomas wrote the script, which was drawn by Don Heck (Iron Man, The Avengers).

The story was continued, first in the following issue of Marvel Premiere and then in a crossover in The Invaders' own title. After that, the new group went on to — well, not fame and glory, exactly, but they did become at least a footnote in the history of the Marvel Universe. They never again appeared as headliners in a story of their own, however.

The reason for this may be that, aside from the Big Three that made up The Invaders, Marvel didn't have very many superheroes in the '40s that were worth using. Perhaps not all were quite as bizarrely uninteresting as The Thin Man (who had first appeared in Mystic Comics #4, August, 1940), whose super power was that he could make himself real, real thin and slip under doors, but they tended to be in that range.

The Patriot (first appearance in the back pages of Human Torch #3, Winter 1940-41) had nothing going for him that wasn't shared by the more popular Captain America (and for that matter, The Spirit of '76, another Cap clone Marvel did right about then). The Blue Diamond (from Daring Mystery Comics #7, April 1941) could make his body extremely hard, like Stone Boy of The Legion of Super Heroes, also a no-account (tho Blue Diamond did have a modicum of super strength to go with his invulnerability). Red Raven had a title of his own, but only for one issue (August 1940), and it didn't generate enough interest to warrant his appearing anywhere else. Jack Frost (USA Comics #1, August 1941 and no relation) could turn things cold, like The X-Men's Iceman, but otherwise was pretty much a nonentity.

The only two with "legs" were The Whizzer and Miss America, no relation, both of whom had held membership in The All Winners Squad and more recently figured reasonably prominently into the continuity that forms a backdrop to most modern Marvel series. But one was just a Flash knock-off with a goofy name, and the other was just a token female with a generic name and generic super powers.

Whatever the reason, The Liberty Legion (no relation) did not make a very big splash in the world of comic books. It went on to a couple more guest shots with The Invaders, a time-traveling guest shot with The Thing of The Fantastic Four, and not much else. Still, like most Marvel characters that don't have series of their own, it lurks in the background, ready to be made use of by any writer who can find a use for it.


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Text ©2004-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Marvel Comics.