Non-Legion Of Super-Heroes fans may not know the full story behind Tyroc, the first Legionnaire of color.  (And no, the use of blues, oranges and greens don’t count, nor did they ever.)  Given the complete lack of black characters in the previous 20 years of Legion tales, Tyroc’s back story became that every black person on Earth left for an extra-dimensional island sometime in between the present and the Legion’s future, which was..

…it was awful.  Bad idea, poorly executed, and many of the creators knew it.  Mike Grell reputedly created his “fairy princess/Las Vegas Elvis” costume to expose how silly it all was.  Regardless of how much I hate his origin story, I was happy when Tyroc was returned to continuity, first in the Volume 4 “Five Years Later” Legion and more recently after Infinite Crisis, as Troy Stewart is incredibly embarrassing but important historically, leading to today’s outdated query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has similar feelings about Shang-Chi, who is also a beloved and problematic character of my youth, asking: Which unfortunate or problematic characters do you nonetheless believe are embarrassing but important?

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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.

3 Comments

  1. Hal Jordan. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t ALWAYS the intolerable jerk that he has been for the past 20+ years, but he’s pretty bad now. But without Hal, we wouldn’t have the other Green Lantern Corps characters that are more likable or enjoyable (or, at times, at least more tolerable) such as John, Guy, Sinestro, Kilowog and many others.

  2. Tyroc is hard to beat. I’d put Dawnstar right up there. She certainly enjoyed a much longer, more prominent role in the Legion, but she often suffered from representing all Native Americans in a fairly shallow way. And, while Troy wound up with a very interesting Five Years Later run, Dawny got refrigeratored.

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