The “Futurity” of the Future

(Soundtrack: Four Non Blondes — Bigger, Better, Faster, More?… I can’t believe they’re on this list! What’s up with that? Sure, they’re a Concrete Blonde rip-off, but still–“Drifting” is a magnificent song!)

Matt Rossi has a fine post up about Superboy’s importance to the Legion of Superheroes. I have to agree. As Matt points out, the spectacle of a 20th century legend barreling around the universe a thousand years after his prime catches the reader in a “crossfire of wonderment”. It’s no accident that things got awfully dark for the Legion the moment that Kal-El disappeared from their continuity–without that connection to the past, and to the ideals that inspired them in the first place, their adventures inevitably slid into postlapsarian gloom. I appreciated the film noirish tone that Giffen & the Bierbaums brought to series during their run–but still, one of the joys of the old Legion was the way it communicated the vast gulf of time that separated the Legionnaires from their sometime comrade-in-arms without whining about it. It’s sort of like Portrait of Jennie that way.

Time to go get my passport photos!

Good Day Friends!



  1. Is Four Non-Blondes really a Concrete Blonde ripoff? I guess I never really heard enough of them to know for sure, but they seem fun in a different way. I know I’m not being insightful, but it’s been way too long. I just don’t think theyr’e really drawing on the same traditions and vocally are worlds apart. I like both, but I go for female vocalists.

    As for Portrait of Jennie, have you read the book? I read it when I was 13 or so, and even then it seemed to over-romanticize the artistic temperament, but I still liked it. In retrospect and from what I recall, it was in some ways like Vertigo, the same sort of frenzied obsession with an idealized person you thus can’t quite catch. I haven’t seen the film version though (butassume they’re related) and of course have no idea how this ties in with The Legion, but I suppose I trust you.


  2. You’re right, Portrait of Jennie (I’ve read the book and I liked, despite the fact that yes, it surely does go too far in its romanticization of the artist–the movie does too, but somehow it doesn’t bother me at all there… I know this is rare, but I feel pretty confident in stating the film is far more interesting than the novel!) and Vertigo (a little “fun fact”, which maybe everyone knows–Vertigo‘s original title was Darkling I Listen, which I had forgotten until after I self-published a novel with the same title…it’s kind of embarassing, but it makes perfect sense!) are very similar, although I feel that they use the ungraspable past in diametrically oposed ways–in POJ, it’s this weirdly numinous thing to push off against, although certainly not something to build upon), in Vertigo it’s just a quagmire… I guess it’s obvious which approach I like better, which doesn’t mean that life really works the way I want it to!

    Superboy kind of plays Jennie’s role in the Legion stories–he just keeps showing up out of nowhere, interacts with them, and then disappears again into a past they all know about. Each time they see him, they wonder, has he done this yet? Have his parents died yet? Etc… I’ve always loved that… I’m using a school computer and my time’s just about up!

    I’ll address the non-blondes later!

    thanks Rose!


  3. just a note on the four non-blondes:

    I think Rose is right when she claims that they’re coming from a substantially different place than Concrete Blonde. I put that comparison in there as a preemptive strike against the usual comments that Linda Perry sounds a lot like Johnette Napolitano (she does, but–if we’re talking about the type of music they played, and, more importantly, the subject matter they explored–the 4NB have a lot more in common with Pearl Jam than with Concrete Blonde, which is kind of like Goth music for people with a pulse…)

    Still, for me, both 4NB and CB are notable chiefly for their all-out female vocals, and I often think of them as the crypto-riot grrls that nobody knows… Joan Jett + the Ramones + Linda Perry=Sleater-Kinney…or somethin’ to that effect…


  4. Hmm, I tend to hear strains of Johnette Napolitano mostly in male singers, but at least you’re reminding me to seek out some of the stuff I used to listen to all the time!

    Like I said, I don’t really remember Portrait of Jennie other than vague impressions and a surprisingly good grasp of the silly pastel cover it had. I imagine Jennifer Jones could pull of the unattainable innocence, though, so I should seek out the movie.

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