Or – “In The 30th Century, Big Man On Campus Takes On A New, Very Literal Meaning.”

The Legion of Super-Heroes has room for many different kinds of hero. Some, like Sun Boy, Wildfire, Tom Welling and Ultra Boy seek out the spotlight. Others, like Blok, The White Witch, Star Boy, Tellus and others prefer to work more in the background. But only one Legionnaire tends to BE the background, backstopping his teammates and literally crushing everything in his path. Gim Allon is a straight-shooter, the kind of guy who sees life as a choice between right and wrong. If you’re right, he’ll fight any and all who oppose you. If you’re wrong, well… I hope you’re not allergic to five-foot wide knuckles. Though sometimes overshadowed in terms of sheer power, (he does work with a bevy of Kryptonians and Kryptonian-analogues) even his most powerful Legion teammates admire his tenacity, single-mindedness and dedication. Though his talents for mass property damage are as prodigious as his height, Gim is also a responsible hero, using his strength and size to clean up after the battles as well. With a taste in costumes makes even Tyroc look stylish, he was nonetheless one of the most recognizable Legionnaires for over 4 decades. This is your Major Spoilers Hero History of Gim Allon of Earth… Colossal Boy!


As I mentioned previous during the Brainiac 5 entry, Legion chronology is a bit tangled in their formative years. The first appearance of the team, in Adventure Comics #247, shows an LSH already brimming with members, and the general consensus of Legion fandom is that Colossal Boy was present behind the scenes in that story. The first on-panel appearance of C.B. takes place two years later in Adventure Comics #267, as Supergirl finds herself scouted by the Legionnaires in their second appearance…


Is anybody else reminded of the cowboy outfit that Marty McFly got in 1955 before traveling back in time? I guess we’re operating on the theory that if you’re going to be 200 feet tall, you might as well dress like a Fire Island Christmas tree. Colossal Boy’s power was later revealed to be the result of exposure to a meteor while he was a student at the Science Police Academy on Mars. The actual full telling of this story didn’t come for about 25 years, (did I mention how the early continuity is a bit haphazard?) but when it did, we learned that it was more than just an interaction with a meteor. Gim’s big rubbery head took a full-on shot from a massive chunk of space rock!


If he can take that kind of damage in his ORIGIN, you can imagine the kind of punishment he’ll be able to absorb once he actually HAS super-powers! Gim joined the Legion soon after this accident, at the same time as Chameleon Boy, who eventually became one of his closest LSH pals. His Legion specialty became defying the laws of physics, lifting buildings, holding up collapsing bridges, catching trains in his bare hands, and the like. On one occasion, his Legion duties required him to put the Loch Ness Monster in a hammerlock while his friends rebuilt the super-secure ultra-futuristic… um… chain link fence. But it’s probably a special hyper-magnetic inertron chain-link fence, with… magnetic… ion links… or… Y’know what? I got nothing.


But I’ll be darned if being big enough to spoon a plesiosaur isn’t a bit impressive. Even though he’s dressed like a space cowboy, you best not call him a gangster of love, and although some people DO call him Maurice, it should be noted that those particular people call EVERYONE Maurice. As Batman noted in a recent issue of ‘The Lightning Saga,’ putting kids of this age in a group together, powers or not, leads to strong emotional bonds, (as sometime readers Karl and Bruce might recall from our college dorm) and Colossal Boy is all about protecting his pals, even at the cost of his own life!


This particular death-laden story was (thankfully) exposed as the magical manipulations of Mxyzptlk V, the descendant of our present Mxy, who is in turn tricked and banished from the third dimension by young Tom Welling. These were heady days, indeed, days of cosmic ice cream parlors and rocket-ship headquarters, cosmic menaces more powerful than any we’d ever encounterd, and, no matter the threat, Colossal Boy was always there. Each Legion Adventure seemed to have a requirement of at least one panel with Gim growing huge and either smashing or rebuilding some sort of structure in heroic fashion.


I love the big leather steering wheel on his space-cruiser, too. I bet it’s got fins like a ’59 Cadillac, too. And speaking of unstoppable menaces, when a giant space-whale (nicknamed “The Super Moby Dick of Space”) attacks, his evil eye rays are so incredibly powerful that founding Legionnaire Lightning Lad actually loses an arm in combat with it. THAT’S hardcore. The creature’s peculiar attacks make him immune to even the Kryptonians on the team, which leaves the mighty Colossal Boy as the team’s last line of defense…


Y’know, even a goofy as bits of the stories seem today, it’s amazing how well the drama holds up. Case in point: the first time that Brainiac 5 slips a gear in that computer brain, creating the menace called Computo. The mechanical monster captures Legionnaires (after KILLING one of Triplicate Girl’s bodies, a long story which I’ll get to later) and uses them to power duplicates of himself. Colossal Boy may not always be the most book-smart of the LSH, but he gets by on cleverness. Knowing that Computo is all about logic, he seemingly flips his lid, and grabs two of the Computo units in rage…


It’s a strangely brilliant strategy, yet completely in keeping with C.B.’s straightforward nature. Colossal Boy becomes one of the Legion’s combat mainstays, relying mostly on a frontal attack with superior size, but even on those rare occasions when he can’t get the height advantage, Allon is a quick-thinker in battle.


The Jigsaw Creature is about the most awesome thing I’ve seen today (and I spent my afternoon grading and repricing Silver and Golden age comics) and I believe I’d like one as a pet. Gim’s grade-A heroism comes from an unusual source in the Legion (a team filled with last sons and daughters of various lost planets): his normal and happy upbringing on Earth. His parents, Wynn and Marta, are a perfectly normal couple who raised Gim in an orthodox Jewish household, and one of the lowest moments of his career comes when a criminal mastermind called Tarik the Mute targets his family as part of a revenge plot…


The Legion’s teen titan is forced to steal copies of the team’s training materials, including nearly all the secrets that LSH members become privy to during their indoctrination, and bring it all to Tarik. He almost gets away with it, save for the detective skills of Bouncing Boy, who discovers evidence of Colossal Boy’s betrayal. A formal inquest ensues, but Gim is unable to tell his pals anything about why he’s double-crossed them, for fear of having his family shattered (literally.) Bouncing Boy’s case is air-tight, and Legion leader Ultra Boy is forced to hand down the hardest sentence in the history of the team…


Having been thrown out of the galaxy’s premiere team leaves Gim short of employment options, and he’s forced to turn to Tarik for a job. Colossal Boy’s first-hand experience with Legion training leads Tarik to make him an instructor at his Crime Academy, training future members of the Legion of Super-Villains, including Lightning Lord, Ron-Karr, Radiation Roy, Spider-Girl, and the mysterious Sun Emperor. When the real Legion finds out what he’s been up to, a stealth party is formed (including Tom Welling, Chameleon Boy, and academy members Timber Wolf and Chemical King) only to find out first-hand the hold that the mute holds over their ex-partner…


Chameleon Boy speaks the truth, as the Towering Teen slaps Tarik easier than a biker takes out a kindergartener, and the Legion cleans the LSV’s clock. Soon afterwards, Colossal Boy and the Legion fall under the brilliance that is the pen of Dave Cockrum, and his original suit (which keeps making me think of Stephen Wright’s ‘Bucky Goldstein’ joke) gets traded in for a streamlined powder-blue and tan number that, frankly, I can’t decide whether I love or hate.


I’m not sure what the eagle on the clasp is supposed to represent, but I’ll be damned if I can tell you for sure that I don’t like it. It’s like watching Cinemax, at 3 a.m., even if the ladies aren’t particularly attractive, they sure do catch and hold your eye. The design stuck around, though the color scheme didn’t, as C.B. soon returned with the more familiar red and blue color scheme that I first saw him wear circa 1984.


He handled those pirates with authority, didn’t he? You have to wonder if his real power isn’t ignoring the square-cube law of physics, making him potentially the most powerful of all the Legionnaires. After Cockrum, Mike Grell took over the Legion and instated what I call the “Naked Time.” Saturn Girl went from her staid PTA mom suit for a pink pleather dominatrix bikini, Cosmic Boy did away with the pink parts of his costume, and Colossal Boy simply stopped wearing his blue leotard and let his bony colossal knees fly free.


Still, questionable costume choices aside, Colossal Boy was relatively unique among the Legionnaires of this period in that he didn’t have an ongoing romance. Heck, even wallflower Shrinking Violet had herself an ongoing concern with Duplicate Boy of Lallor. Why couldn’t Gim get a girlfriend? Simple answer: the one he wanted was already taken, having herself an ongoing concern with Duplicate Boy of Lallor. When Chameleon Boy took a team of Legionnaires on a disastrous mission into Khund space, several Legionnaires were trapped on a remote asteroid, slowly freezing to death. The mission led to a misunderstanding/accident that broke up Timber Wolf and Light Lass, and made some waves in the otherwise dull marriage of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, but for Colossal Boy, there were some unexpected fringe benefits…


The Legion’s big man and littlest lady embarked on a running affair, while their teammates wondered what was going on. For years, Gim had harbored his crush on Violet and she had either been unaware of or pointedly ignored his feelings, and now, suddenly she’s giving up her beloved Dupey for him? Some things weren’t adding up, and when Violet started acting oddly in the field, Element Lad and Brainiac 5 did a bit of investigating, coming to an unpleasant but inescapable conclusion: Violet WASN’T Violet. Unfortunately, neither man was a match for Colossal Boy in the power department, and Gim has always been fiercely protective of the people he loves. The only solution was a bit of duplicity of their own…


Chameleon Boy’s spray is a special chemical that keeps Durlan shapeshifters (like himself) from changing their appearance. They invite Violet to prove that she is an Imskian and grow back to normal size, and she tearfully admits that she can’t. She is revealed to be Yera, a Durlan working with a group of Imskian terrorists led by future LSV member Micro Lad (an ironic name to see, given later events.) Colossal Boy is horrified to find that his love isn’t what she seems, and takes out his frustrations where he can…


The best part of it all is that Element Lad knows and admits that he deserves a punchinnaface… When Yera leads the team to the tiny Imskian Liberation Army, Gim lets loose with a colossal fury, and shows why, Mon-El and Tom Welling be damned, it’s C.B. who is the Legion’s unstoppable juggernaut in the field.


In one of the oddest and most amazing turns in Legion history, Colossal Boy goes to speak with Yera after the real Violet returns, and finds that, although she lied about who she was, her feelings for him were real. Yera is pardoned for her crime (though NOT forgiven by Violet) because of her help in taking down the criminals who tried to overthrow the Imskian government, and she and Gim start spending their down time together. The biggest shock of all comes when he invites her to dinner with the family…


Luckily, by this time, the Legion’s constitutional rule against married members was null and void, and the new Mr and Mrs Allon take up residence together. This obviously isn’t the most popular decision in Legion history, and it doesn’t take long before a new plan needs to be formulated…


I really like the Gim/Yera relationship, by the way, as they avoid many of the silly pitfalls of newlyweds, and their obvious affection for one another makes the unlikely relationship seem totally plausible. Once married, Yera apparently does Gim’s laundry as well, finding his freaky disco bondage eagle-badge-strappy-thing again, and allowing him to revert to his Cockrum-era costume. Sadly for Colossal Boy, it doesn’t serve as good luck when he engages Starfinger in battle…


Yeowwtch. That HAD to hurt. For the first time in his long career, Colossal Boy is badly injured, and forced to deal with being unable to go into combat. Being, essentially, the high school quarterback super-jock type, the life of an invalid doesn’t suit him at all, and Colossal Boy constantly gets in trouble for ignoring his doctor’s orders to rest.


His old friend Chameleon Boy and the support of his wife help him through the rough period, which does beg the question of whether being pals with Cham made him more able to accept Yera’s alien nature? Probably overthinking it, aren’t I? Anyway, the recuperation takes MUCH longer than anticipated, keeping him off the mission monitor boards for MONTHS, causing him much frustration. Even so, he continues to come to work, even wearing his costume (or most of it) every single day until he can get back into harness, literally.


His desire to get back into action eventually betrays him, as he suits up again and helps out his teammates against Starfinger (a little revenge on the man who injured his leg) but continues dealing with pain every time he uses his powers. His disregard for his own health and safety leads Yera to read him the riot act when he returns from ANOTHER field mission…


The pain plagues him throughout the rest of his heroic career, and it finally convinces him to hang up his red and blue union suit during the events known as the Five-Year-Gap (though, admittedly, the continuing harassment of the Legion by the Dominator-controlled Earthgov couldn’t have helped) and Gim returned to the only other job he’d ever had: the Science Police. He quickly moved up in the ranks, achieving his Captain stripes within a few years, before his teammates returned to activity as the Legion. Rather than put his suit back on, Gim continued to work with the Science Police, even following orders to work against his old friends when he had to.


However, with the giant hero slot in the 30th century open, someone had to take up the mantle, and that someone was… Gim himself. Sort of… It all goes back to the SW6 Legionnaires, thought at first to be clones of the Legion we all know and love created by the Dominators to undermine the LSH from within. They turned out to be much more than that, but after the destruction of the Earth, these young heroes formed a new team of Legionnaires to protect the remaining floating satellite cites that had survived. Thinking Colossal Boy to be too old-fashioned, Chameleon dubbed the young Gim Leviathan, (a terrible, terrible name, lacking any of the verve of being COLOSSAL) but name-change aside, it was obvious that this is the same Gim Allon we’ve all come to know and love.


That outburst courtesy of a threat to one of his teammates, triggering the big guy’s protective streak. Leviathan remained active on Earth, and the elder Gim in the S.P’s until the cosmic hullaballoo known as ‘Zero Hour’ swept across the 30th Century. The first real evidence that the SW6 team WEREN’T clones at all came when Leviathan was killed by Glorith of Balduur, a nasty piece of work with a bad dye job and a penchant for shoulder pads…


This is the moment that allows Brainiac 5 to finally hypothesize the truth of their situation. The Legionnaires are actually the same beings, removed from the past and brought forward in time, destabilizing the entire 30th century history. The teams are unsuccessful in all their stopgap measures, and soon realize that their only option is to rejoin with their younger selves and restart the entire chronology from the beginning. The world fades to white, and when it returns, a new U.P. restarts a new Legion, this one with a much more militaristic feel to it, including a random draft for new members. Gim Allon is still a member of the Science Police, and still received his unique growing powers from a meteor, but a few other things are subtly different.


Though he’s still essentially the big jock who hits things hard, the new Colossal Boy (I hate the name Leviathan so much, I’m going to wipe it from history retroactively! TOM WELLING PUNCH!!!!) is… well, he’s kind of a jerk. His overbearing “I’m a cop attitude” leads him to impose his own control over the fledgling members of the Legion, a situation made worse when the U.P. awards him the leadership chair. Colossal Boy bulls his way through situations, and orders his teammates about with an iron fist, overriding Cosmic Boy’s more natural abilities. Unfortunately, his first mission ends with a casualty, as James Cullen, Legionnaire Kid Quantum, is killed in action…


Y’know, I’ve also always hated that hat. If only there were a way to erase it forever from the continuity… (Mister Welling, if you’ll do the honors? BOOOOM!) Colossal Boy’s failure causes him to lose faith in his abilities, and he turns the reins of command over to Cosmic Boy, who quickly shows him that his only real failing was one of trust. C.B. becomes a trustworthy and stalwart member of the team, as he always was before, serving ably for several years (our time) before Legionnaire Kinetix is infected by the Emerald Eye of Ekron’s power. Her control over the Eye is somewhat suspect, and she finds that the energy keeps reaching out and finding her teammates greatest desires and granting them. Unfortunately for Gim, he’s always fancied a hero’s death…


Notice, if you will: no hat! It is revealed that Shrinking Violet is possessed by the Eye, and her rampage leads to the team being split in time, with half the Legion trapped in the 20th century, and half left behind at home. That Legion continued on without Gim, though Violet eventually learned that she could grow as well as shrink, and took on his codename in memory of the man whose sacrifice helped her to rediscover her inner hero. There was no sign of the Legion’s growing man until the “Threeboot” Legion bowed in 2004, with a return to many of the classic names and costumes. In the very first issue, we are once again introduced to the Legion’s powerhouse, a giant of a man named Gim Allon, but his codename is, again, the subject of some controversy.


Remember when I said that the name ‘Micro Lad’ would be ironic in later context? You don’t? Are you even listening? I bet I could type anything I wanted here, and you wouldn’t even notice. Nose baseball hieroglyphic hopscotch pouch. Over across, up the thing, no? Oh, you’re back now? Just needed a sandwich, eh? Let’s get moving again, then. In any case, Microlossal Boylad again becomes the Legion’s workhorse, his titanic size and strength putting him right up in the front of every battle, alongside Ultra Boy and Sun Boy. When Legion newcomer Laura Vandervoort (Tom Welling’s cousin) arrives in the 30th century and starts asking questions, we find that Colossal Boy Mark II has the single best origin of any superhero ever, save maybe Bee-Man…


Bizarro-Brainiac. Heh. I love the W/KRP (Waid/Kitson Reboot Period) Threeboot Legion. Whether you count his size-changing powers as shrinking, or growing, Colossal Boy is once again a pillar of the Legion of Super-Heroes. He may not have Brainiac 5’s knack for creating a stratagem, or Cosmic Boy’s way with people, or even the super-speed Kryptonian @$$-kicking powers of Mon-El, but the towering teen simply will not back down from a fight, regardless if it means his own injury, or even certain death. The Legion of Super-Heroes credo is the simple affirmation that everybody has something to offer, from the shyest Shrinking Violet to the serenest Lightning Lass, from the most esoteric and metaphysical Element Lads to the knockdown drag-out Ultra Boys. Colossal Boy an example of the Legion’s everyman, a normal, everyday guy who likes to read his sports page, loves his mom, and just wants to go home to his shape-shifting wife who could possibly be any woman he could ever imagine… Loyal, powerful, and brave, Colossal Boy is willing to go that extra mile to protect innocents and help his friends. Even if that means punching out a rocket-ship…


**If you’ve enjoyed this Hero History, you might want to ‘Read All About It’ at your Local Major Spoilers! Our previous Major Spoilers Hero Histories include:

Bouncing Boy
Brainiac 5
Dream Girl
Karate Kid
Lightning Lass
Matter-Eater Lad
Sensor Girl
Star Boy
Timber Wolf

Or you can just click “Hero History” in the “What We Are Writing About” section on the main page… Collect ’em all! Next time out: another graduate of the tragic Legion “Class of ’66,” a hero who gave his life to save the entire universe (before it became popular): Ferro Lad!

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Baal
    August 20, 2007 at 5:11 am — Reply

    Nose baseball hieroglyphic hopscotch pouch. Over across, up the thing, no?

    Is there a message there or just random words?

    Anywho, thanks for the latest Legion hero history. I always liked Gim and Yera too and I think it was his death in the Archie Legion that led to me no longer buying it.

    And Ferro Lad? Looking for a light work week again, aren’t we?

  2. August 20, 2007 at 10:11 am — Reply

    And Ferro Lad? Looking for a light work week again, aren’t we?

    Yeap… After doing Sensor Girl, Dream Girl and Star Boy back to back to back, I realized that even *I* have limits as to how much Legion I can read in a short span of time. So, the new plan is to alternate long histories (Element Lad, Chameleon Boy, Ultra Boy & Mon-El) with those who hopefully won’t give me bedsores from my writin’ chair (Impulse, Thunder, Gates, & Invisible Kid.)

    Was that a little preview of things to come? Maaaaybe. :) Also, I have decided that I’ll soon be taking on the biggest challenges in Hero History… Legion Hero Histories for Tom Welling and Laura Vandevoort. Place your bets now on how long it take for me to become a complete basket case.

  3. Mark I.
    August 20, 2007 at 10:57 am — Reply

    Seriously, Super-Silver-Age-Tom Welling? You need to do that piece by piece and save it for last. That’s not a Hero History, that’s a Hero Thesis. Besides, Countdown/FC might throw a wrench into what’s considered canon. If Rip Hunter’s blackboard is to be taken literally, the “Boy” might be permanently retconned into the “Man.” You’d have to go back and spellcheck the whole article! Tom Welling would become Pre-Crisis Zombie George Reeves!

  4. UltraMatt
    August 20, 2007 at 11:28 am — Reply

    heh..always had a soft spot for growing (and shrinking) heros…giant-man..ant-man…and even though I’ve never read an issue of LSH (don’t go out much >_>) CB here…

    love these hero historys, MP..great work on them ^_^

  5. Amya
    August 20, 2007 at 4:43 pm — Reply

    Good work as usual though CB isn’t one of my favorite Legion characters. It is great that you have such enthusiasm for all of them. But I have to say that the romance between CB and Yera was one of my least favorite in the Legion even if it was often well-written. For him to overlook what she did (especially to poor Violet) made him look so foolish and insensitive.

  6. August 20, 2007 at 11:57 pm — Reply

    For him to overlook what she did (especially to poor Violet) made him look so foolish and insensitive.

    Well, Colossal Boy was kind of a big klutzy, vaguely insensitive kind of guy…

  7. August 21, 2007 at 12:00 am — Reply

    Seriously, Super-Silver-Age-Tom Welling? You need to do that piece by piece and save it for last. That’s not a Hero History, that’s a Hero Thesis. Besides, Countdown/FC might throw a wrench into what’s considered canon.

    It should be noted that canon has nearly nothing to do with the Hero Histories, as I’m trying to write them from the perspective that Legion history actually happened, including revamps, retcons, and various hoody hoos.

    Besides, we at Major Spoilers never back down from a challenge! Ha haa!

  8. August 22, 2007 at 5:47 pm — Reply

    Thanks for the post on “Leviathon”. I will look or the Ferro Lad post.
    I suppose I will have to print these in color at work and make a Major Spoilers LSH Encycolpedia. (Ima Geek)
    Once you have posted all the LSH, I expect the Substitute/Honorary Hero History series. Those should be short bios of a few like Insect Queen, Comet Queen, Night Girl or Infectious Lass…very short subjects.

  9. Tangent72
    April 17, 2008 at 7:47 pm — Reply

    I enjoy your write-ups! Of course, we can’t have Colossal Boy without giving props to Shrinking Violet! :) When will we see Vi’s piece?

  10. Jason
    January 8, 2010 at 5:04 pm — Reply

    I suppose the relationship between Colossal Boy and (fake) Shrinking Violet can be seen as a reflection of Giant Man and Wasp.

    Growing heroes are awkward because they are actually extremely strong. A hero 6 foot tall who could lift 200 pounds at his normal height would be able to lift 200,000 pounds at 60 feet and over 7 million pounds at 200 feet. Of course he’d also weigh about that much too.

    Moreover they don’t suffer from the physics violations that normal sized super strong characters experience. Superman grabs a bus and throws it at someone? Superman rips a steel chassis member out of the side of a bus and throws it at someone more like.

    Someone with hands twenty feet wide could pick up a bus and throw it at someone.

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