Comic Books #54: Matter Eater Lad

I know this is going to sound harsh to those of you who revere comic books from yesteryear.... but, crap on a cracker, some of these superheroes were beyond awful.  I mean, who sat down to think of the newest superhero and came up with "Bouncing Boy"?  (see above)  And I'm so glad the Legion of Super Heroes have placards..... I would have never guessed Lightning Lad's super power was lightning.  And I'm glad they clarified Sun Boy's power as "Super Radiance" - that really clears that up for me.

And if you don't have the stomach for sentences that begin with conjunctions or snarky comments, you may want to move on to a different post.  This one isn't for you.

In December 1962 in Action Comics 303, DC released into a world already crowded with lame superheroes, a young fellow named Matter Eater Lad.  Yep. That's his name.  Matter Eater Lad.

I mean this guy is about as amazing as Anson Williams.  How does this happen? Who can we blame for this?

And I hate to get graphic on you folks, but what happens once this stuff is digested? Does Matter Eater Lad shit metallic briquettes? What does this do to the septic system at the Legion?  Most toilets can't handle 3 ply toilet paper - Matter Eater Lad's rusted mess would be unmanageable.

Turns out, Matter Eater Lad is from a planet called Bismoll.... as in Pepto-Bismol the antidiarrheal medication.  Is this some kind of joke?

This story revolves around there being a spy or mole within the Legion.  Naturally, all fingers point to their newest member..... who quickly finds his escape by ridiculously gnawing through the headquarter gates.  This would seem to imply that Matter Eater Lad has super speed as well - how else can you explain him chewing faster than Brainiac and Cosmic Boy can run?  I'm so confused.

Damn you to hell, Matter Eater Lad! You've sullied the reputation of the Legion.... and you've made Lightning Lad cry.  Go back to Bismoll where you belong, you effing douche bag! Screw Matter Eater Lad!

Oh, wait a minute.  Turns out, it wasn't Matter Eater Lad after all.  They were bugged - but not by tiny microphones.  They were bugged by a tiny man inserted into Sun Boy's ankle!  Of course! We should have known!.......Wait.... WHAT IN THE EVER LOVIN' FUCK?!?!?

This is insanity.  First a superhero with super chewing skills, now this? Words can't describe how awful this is. If you are a glutton for punishment and you'd like to read this story in its entirety you can download it here. And if you've ever read a dumber storyline or know of a worse superhero, I'd love to hear it.



  1. Lightning Lad is a real wuss. *Choke*ing twice in the same story?? What gives?

  2. I've just seen several of Bouncing Boy's relatives in our local supermarket.


  3. I misread at first and thought it was "Mad Eater Lad" but "Matter Eater Lad" isn't any better, it's worse! So, they really were stupider than us in the past, eh?

  4. I'm glad to see that I am not the only person who thought this was a lame comic book. It was like a superhero team made up of all the little snooty overachieve kids from junior high. More you think about it the writer always seem to be grasping at straws to come up with new superheros.

    However, these books seem to have a cult following among tubby fanboys in sweatpants and Thundercats t-shirts that they have been wearing since 5th grade.

  5. Matter Eater Lad ( or as we call him in the UK Stuff Scoffing Chap) is the most ludicrous superhero in a world inhabited by ludicrous superheroes. His nemesis in ludicrousness could have been, allowing for time continuum and publishing agreements, Marvel's Stilt man

  6. I was about 9 years old when this comic came our. All I remember about the Legion of Super Heroes is Saturn Girl, whom I'd completely forgotten about until your post. I believe that my 9-year-old self had a crush on Saturn Girl.

  7. Oddly when I was 10 and reading this dribble I thought it was top of the line literature. Looking at it now I can only conclude that I wasn't the young misunderstood genius I supposed myself to be. But unbelievable as it seems I am conpelled to read the intire story just so I can find out why the findings of the "guilt detector" could have been so wrong.

  8. Arm Fall Off Boy was pretty stupid. Mercifully he didn't last.

  9. I think the writers and editors at DC back then were completely insane. Legion of Superheroes was the craziest of all. The editors cared so little about the series, they turned the writing over to a 13-year-old Jim Shooter. I know Jim Shooter went on to have a big career in comics, but turning a comic over to a 13 year old shows a ballsy lack of integrity. No wonder Marvel started kicking DC's ass in the 60s.

  10. Boy - I'll bet that capsule smelled great after "the spy" defecated in it.

  11. Excuse me, but I also eat matter. Where's my Legion ring?

  12. I challenge you to read ANY 60s DC Comics as an adult, and make ANY sense of the plots! The problem was that DC came up with killer cover scenes for their books first, then wrote plots, no matter how outlandish, around such scenes.

    Also, keep in mind, these were only meant to be big, stupid, wonderful, colorful tales for kids. No irony. No navel-gazing. No internal logic. Never meant for rapidly aging adults to make funny over. Even tho it's darned fun. :)

    I'll take these stories over today's over-wrought and over-serious comics today!

    Al Bigley

  13. "Excuse me, but I also eat matter. Where's my Legion ring?" GOOD POINT! He should be called omni-omnivore.

    What say we skip him and show more Saturn Girl? Give me a ring, baby...


    How did I survive the Silver Age?

  15. Well I put my faith in the usefulness of matter eater lad over plaid lad (http://www.google.com/search?q=plaid+lad&oq=plaid+lad&sugexp=chrome,mod=9&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8) any day.

    There is a much later issue of Legion in the 80s where Brainiac 5 goes crazy and builds a super doomsday machine which can only be destroyed by having matter eater lad consume it.

    The Silver Age is at least more interesting and coherent then the current retcon spiral to oblivion.

  16. I have to confess that I am a fan of the LSH, and always have been. I have a soft spot for those old stories, ridiculous though they may be. I find them to be fluffy fun. And one of the things I admire most about the LSH is that, unlike several other more popular comic books characters (such as the X-Men), they had an astonishing 40-odd year uninterrupted run with no reboots or reimaginings. The Legion members you saw back in those days were allowed to mature and develop, even those of the Legion of Substitute Heroes. Now there was comedy gold. If you think Matter-Eater Lad is bad, look up the Substitutes, who formed their own team after being rejected from the Legion.

    Also, if you want to read some really horrible stories, I suggest giving any silver age Wonder Woman comics a try. Back in the 50s and 60s, she was written by Bob Kanigher, known mostly for his war comic stories. I find most of his stuff for WW to be incomprehensible. The plots were non-existent, and involved ridiculous happenings. For example, one of her chief villains for this time was Egg Fu, a chinese mastermind who happened to be a giant egg.

    Makes sense, don't it?