If you follow the Spoiler Thread on Ravelry, you already know that I am unapologetically scraping the sides of the barrel of weird heroes this week. In the middle of the Geek-A-Long year, I usually treat myself to really obscure references. I’m into Golden and Silver Age references the way a hipster is into $24 glasses of micro-brew. It’s not that we actually believe it’s better, it’s just that it’s special and we’re all special for knowing to order it. Let’s all embrace our inner hero elitists and celebrate one of DC’s weirdest lads: Matter Eater Lad!
Trust me, it’s worth reading the Wiki on this one. His background is ridiculously awesome. But if you are just here for the pattern, I want to treat you to this nugget:
In volume 4 of Legion of the Super-Heroes, Matter-Eater Lad plays a significant role. Keith Giffen, who had much success with humor in his 1987 Justice League relaunch, revamped Tenzil Kem (which could arguably be explained as consequence of his regained sanity) as a free spirit who rebels against his planet’s virtual enslavement of him as a senator by becoming a multimedia celebrity, using his planet’s tax money to finance multiple television shows that allow Tenzil to leave his planet for trips to Earth and other planets for adventure and fun. While Tenzil’s exploits generates disdain from his world’s rulers, his adventures make him even more popular with the masses of his homeworld, resulting in Tenzil being kept on as senator. “Trust me, I’m a senator” is an oft-uttered catchphrase during this period. Tenzil eventually comes into conflict with former Legion villain Prince Evillo, founder of The Devil’s Dozen, and is sent to a Hades-like dimension. Upon his return, he discovers that, having been technically dead, he has been voted out of office by the opposition party (who dislike both his disrespect for their traditions and his overwhelming popularity), so he leaves Bismoll for adventure.
Sooooooo….new life plan: become a multimedia celebrity out of spite.
Matter Eater Lad is one of the few Legionnaires that hasn’t seen much of a modern reboot. He did have some minor appearances on Legion of Superheroes, but for the most part he remains enshrined in Silver Age glory. This was a time of especially strange heroes, in fact, some so silly that they weren’t allowed to be in the real legion. They were put in an “alternate legion“* and had to watch legion meetings via video from a different location. Basically, the mean girls of the real Legion wouldn’t let them sit at the cool table.
In this era of introducing heroes each more goofy than the last, it’s no real surprise that we wound up with a kid that can eat anything. I like to imagine that Element Lad got into the Legion so that Matter Eater Lad could get some exotic variety in his diet. I can see them getting wasted and creating and eating the strangest stuff they can think of. What I think we can all agree on is that solving problems by eating is a lifestyle I can get behind.
Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Matter Eater Lad pattern here. Instructions and charts for both knit and crochet are listed in the pattern. When you’re finished making it, don’t forget to Instagram your squares at us @lattesandllamasyarn with the hashtag #geekalong!
If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here and a tutorial on crochet here. Want to hang out with other people making the blanket? You can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here.
*They’re like alternate facts, except way less dangerous.
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