Over on his blog, Jim Shooter introduces the Cousin of Kal-El that we never got to meet: Super Lad. Created, according to Shooter, as a potential Legion of Super-Heroes character during Shooter’s recent return to the franchise as a back-up in case DC lost the rights to Superboy, the character would have been the noble teen hero the current Superboy never quite managed to be, if the initial pitch was to be believed:
What DC allows numbskull lightweights to do to THE hero icon, Superman and other Supers is somebody else’s call. However, if we are permitted–in fact, we were asked–to add a Super, Super Lad, to the pantheon–then I propose that we make him the noble-spirited young man he ought to be.
I see him as a genuine good guy. Someone who does the right thing, who has tremendous willpower and courage, who is smart and reasonable. Smart about using his powers, as he learns how. The nicest, best guy you ever met. NOBLE, in the best senses of the word. Not that he can’t make mistakes, not that he doesn’t have humanity–but he’s the best of humankind, one of the few survivors of his particular kind, determined, therefore, to give a good account of himself.
Shooter claims that the character was “taken away” from him when his relations with DC started to falter again, but I think we all know the truth: In one script, Super Lad saved a 31st century kitten from a tree and, well, we all know how these things work out…