Monday, March 12, 2012

Ol' Groove's Request Line: "Murder Most Foul" by Levitz, Starlin, and Rubinstein

Cover art by Mike Grell and Joe Rubinstein
Greetings, Groove-ophiles! The REQUEST LINE is back and we're sharing a rare Jim Starlin turn on DC's Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes thanks to Groove-ophile Mr. Anonymous! In a comment on our Jim Starlin's Warlock Splashes post, Mr. A wrote:  

"Dear Mr Groove
Speaking of Jim Starlin;a story I haven't read in more than thirty years is "Murder Most Foul" written/penciled by Mr Starlin and inked by Joe Rubinstein (co-writer:Paul Levitz ?, editor:Al Milgrom,colours/lettering by ?)in "Superboy and The Legion of Super-Heroes" number 239 (cover date May 1978). Do you know if it's available in any collection from DC?
Or maybe a future post,Oh Groovy One?
If I beg?Pretty please,with sugar on top."

How could Ol' Groove pass up a request like that? Besides being a very cool mish-mash of sci-fi, super-heroics, and crime noir, and besides the fact that Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #239's (February 1978) "Murder Most Foul" brings together a high-powered talent team-up featuring Jim Starlin (plot/layouts), Paul Levitz (script), and Joe Rubinstein (finishes/inks), the story-behind-the-story is veeeeeeddy interesting!

Seems that Jim's pal and sometimes artistic partner Al Milgrom (remember Gemini?) was editing S&LSH and mentioned to Judo Jim that he could use some fill-in stories. S&LSH was a double-sized (34 story pages) mag at the time, mind you. Jim plotted and laid out "Murder Most Foul" which is actually the prelude to what was to be a 64 page epic for a planned S&LSH Spectacular (as part of DC Special Series) to be completed by the same team. The story was plotted and laid out, but plans for the Spectacular fell through, leaving the mystery hanging until S&LSH #'s 250-251 (January-February 1979). By the time the story saw print, inker Rubinstein was tied up with other projects and the 64 page story had been whittled down to 42 pages. Starlin wasn't a bit happy about the truncated story (not to mention that he'd laid out the comic playing to intended finisher Rubinstein's strengths leaving actual inker Dave Hunt pretty much holding someone else's bag since his style was so radically different from Rubinstein's), so he requested his name be taken off the credits. Editorial told Jim they needed a name for the credits...and Steve Apollo was born. That was pretty much it for Jim Starlin and the Legion. Should'a been a match made in heaven. Sure looked like one in ish 239! See for yourself...


  1. Thank you so much for posting this issue! One of my all time favorites!

    Because of that issue I became I die hard fan of the LSH. I had read a couple issues previously and loved the bang for my buck large cast. I was 7, so that mattered.
    But in this issue, the story and characterization was so rich and complex.
    Their relations with each other went way back and were tangled. The LSH didnt sugar coat its history. I mean, there is Superboy. Nobody explains what he is doing in the future. You just have to roll with it.

    I didn't care how complex it was. It was an interesting challenge for my kid brain to figure out the setting and cast. No internet to Google the info. I pieced it together over time. When I got caught up I felt like I was part of an exclusive club. I understood the LSH.

  2. Thank you,thank you,thank you,Mr Groove!
    A truckload of sweet coming your way!
    /Mr Anonymous
    p.s.And thank you for giving us a glimpse behind the scenes.

  3. "Steve Apollo's" #251 was so unremarkable that we never tracked down this Starlin issue. Boy did we miss out! This is easily the best of the limited appearances Starlin made on the title. Thank you for posting!

  4. Crap!! I had this book when I was a kid!!! I thought the blonde with the overdone green eyeshadow was hot..

  5. this is one of their best issues. I enjoyed reding this so much.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!