One of the more charming Super-Hero series, in a “White Bread Dork” kind of way, is the original Legion of Super-Heroes. Debuting in 1958, “the Legion” basically took as its premise “The Mickey Mouse Club in Outer Space.” Set 1000 years in the future, it featured a group of teen-age Super-Heroes from across the galaxy- each of whom hailed from a world populated by caucasian-looking humanoids (outer space, in the original Legion of Super-Heroes, was filled with white people). Moreover, a large number of Legionnaires possessed super-powers inherited as a genetic trait evolved by the (white) populace of their home planet: various Legionnaires came from worlds where everyone had developed the power to shift into phantom-form; shrink to minuscule size; generate impenetrable shadows; or alchemically change one element to another. One of my favorite story-lines (reprinted in a special extra-large edition in the early ’70s) introduced Dream Girl’s sister: the White Witch of Naltor.
As everybody on the planet Naltor possessed the power to see into the future, and as Nura and Mysa Nal (Dream Girl and the White Witch) were the daughters of the High Seer of Naltor, it was a bit of a bummer to discover the poor Mysa lacked this precognitive ability. Worries ended, however, when she was sent to the “Sorcerers’ Planet” of Zerox (I guess in the late ’50s, the term “Xerox” was unique enough that the writers for the Legion figured they could use it, and get away with it). Here, Mysa was instructed in the Magickal Arts by five tutors, each possessing skill over fire, water, earth, air, and light (interesting that there is a fifth element added). Mysa first showed up in the Legion as “the Hag,” an example of an evil Witch as a futuristic super-villain. However, “the Hag” was revealed to be none other than the White Witch (Mysa Nal, of Naltor), after the spell cast over her by Prince Evillo was broken (everything that you need to know about the 1950s Legion of Super-Heroes is explained by the presence of a super-villain named “Evillo”). The White Witch remained with the Legion, using sorcery to combat crime in the 30th century.
With her ’80s Legion debut, I got a kick out of how the Witch Witch would tuck her arms into her sleeves, Confucius-style, and transport herself by levitating an inch or so off the ground- Of course, I thought: Witch Super-Heroes wouldn’t really walk. Whether in ancient story-telling, modern story-telling, or in comics sci-fi- whether in the Middle Ages, the 21st century, or 1000 years in the future: Witchcraft makes a formidable super-power.