Friday, May 20, 2016

Making a Splash: James Sherman's Legion

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! James Sherman is one of those Groovy Age artist who won and wowed us, but also tantalized us by doing way too few comics. I loved Sherman's style (especially when he got out from under the overpowering inks of Jack Abel and was teamed with guys like Joe Rubinstein, Bob Wiacek, and Bob McCleod. Sherman is probably best remembered as the artist on Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes, replacing Mike Grell. Sherman did either lead stories, back-ups, or entire issues of SatLoS in numbers 225-226 (December 1976-January 1977), 228-231 (March-June 1977), 233 (August 1977), 236 (November 1977), 240-242 (March-May 1978), and 262 (January 1980). As you'll see, Sherman was stunning us by the time issues 240-242 came around, kicking off the well-remembered "Earth War Saga" with writer Paul Levitz. Creative differences with Levitz caused Sherman to leave the title, but he came back for one more Groovy Age Legion hurrah with author Gerry Conway in ish 262.

Sherman had a really cool, organic style that was totally original, but kinda lined up with awesome then up-and-coming artists like Michael Golden, Alan Weiss, and Keith Giffen. We'll dig on more of James' incredible artistry on down the line, but until then, check out these sensational Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes splashes!


  1. Like Golden back then, it was always a leap in quality when he was able to do his own inks, which didn't happen often enough for me.

  2. Jim Sherman's brief flowering during the Groovy Age was a gift to us all. Remember, he also inked Alan Weiss on Steelgrip Starkey, bringing a unique finish to Mr. Weiss' pencils, as well as doing the Challengers of the Unknown run in Super-Team Family. I spoke to him at a convention once and he told me he liked Jack Abel's inks over his pencils. I preferred the aforementioned Wiacek, Rubinstein and McLeod.

    1. If the fates allow, I plan to run all of DC's late 70s Challengers revival, starting with Sherman's run in Super-Team Family.

    2. That's something to look forward to. He also did a story or two of the Sons of the Tiger. Might be nice to see them.

  3. Jack Abel was absolutely the worst inker for Sherman, in my opinion, but I loved Sherman's style.

  4. Love that Sherman! I think Jim may've been being kind when he said he liked Jack Abel's inks as he was the single most unsuitable scribe for his pencils, while Joe and the two Bob's were absolutely the better fit. Look at that splash of Dawny or Wildfire slamming his fist on the table.
    Re: The splash of Saturn Girl & Lightning Lad ( who Jim called Mongo Man! ), I remember that being referenced in an interview I posted on my blog a few years back with Sherman, Frank Miller, Walt Simonson & Howie Chaykin ( who were sharing studio space at the time ), with Jim saying he'd spent 3 days on that one page, and Frank saying he'd never spend that long on a splash, but just look at the result. That's the problem. Sherman was just too slow in those days, so we never really saw him at full effect.

  5. what a great late birthday present-i'm afraid to say i often forget sherman's work when it came the legion-but,boy, when i'm reminded!!!loved mcleod and rubensteins inks-and i see more of a weiss vibe in his pencils than anybody else-thanks for the post grooveman!

  6. Best to worst inks on Sherman's pencils on Legion:
    1. McLeod
    2. Jim himself
    3. Wiacek
    4. Rubinstein
    5. Abel



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