Who's Bouncing Boy?

Who's This? A Legionnaire with an uncommon physique.

The facts: When Supergirl joins the Legion in Action Comics #276 (May 1961), Bouncing Boy is a member, but his origin and the story of his being admitted is only told later in Adventure Comics #301 (Oct 1962). Despite being obvious comic relief, they do eventually give him a romance with Duo Damsel who he is fated to marry in Superboy/LSH #200. Because of the Legion's by-laws, getting married means you're off the team, but the two of them would continue to appear as instructors in charge of Legion Academy, even into the 5YL era. In the Reboot, he was the Legion's non-powered engineer (and built a ship called the Bouncing Boy), but he wasn't in the Threeboot.
How you could have heard of him: He appeared in the Retroboot (and thus the New52), but may have accumulated fans through the Legion animated series, in which he was a main character.
Example story: Superboy Starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #199 (November 1973) "The Impossible Target!" by Cary Bates and Dave Cockrum
Bouncing Boy gets married in the next issue, so this little solo tale can be considered his bachelor's party! Or at least his last hurrah, and for readers who think he's a joke, perhaps one last bid at making him a going concern as he retires from superhero life(ish). The story starts with Chuck Taine in a shuttle as a meteor swarm comes swerving after him. Looks like he's in a Tholian Web situation!
The meteors bring him to a fortress in the middle of a jungle. As soon as he steps out, a trap door makes him drop down to the interior, but he can bounce, he's okay. Then the mystery villain is revealed, and I'm actually quite happy about this, because this sucker doesn't get his own entry in the main Who's Who, so it's our chance to also learn about... the Hunter!
And he hunts the universe's bounciest game! I guess any Legionnaire will do, or maybe he has a collect-them-all mentality and he has to start somewhere. But he's really keen on starting with Bouncing Boy, if we go by the blow-up doll he's been practicing with.
On foot and in unfamiliar territory, Chuck must escape the great ginger hunter on his asteroid of death! Montage, followed by his eventual capture (we've only got 7 pages here!):
And there you have it: Hunter thinks Bouncing Boy is the LEAST of the Legionnaires and he decided to start at the bottom. I'm reminded of my favorite Avengers story in which the Collector went after Hawkeye LAST as an afterthought for similar reasons. Know what happened to the Collector? HE LOST. So what do you think's gonna happen to the Hunter?
That's right. Not only does he get beaten by Bouncing Boy, but by Bouncing Boy with a COLD. A planned. Premeditated. Cold. He really does know all the angles. So who's the SECOND LEAST Legionnaire?

Chuck was in some of my first Legion comics, though already an Academy instructor, and I've always liked him. I like underdogs and he's one of the best. Along with Matter-Eater Lad, he serves a very important function in the LSH - he gives people hope that they can make the cut. For the Subs, or in his case, specifically the Academy students, he's a shining example that you can have very silly powers, and not conform to the Greek statue ideal most superheroes conform to, and still be a Legionnaire. And hell, as the next issue would prove, still get the girl.

Who's Next? Child soldiers.



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