One of the very cool things about the Legion of Superheroes was that kids could write in with suggested heroes, many of which became long-running characters in the DC universe. But sometimes more fun were the rejected applicants.
The most famous rejects, of course, were Superboy and Supergirl. Superboy was rejected in the very first Legion tale in Adventure #247 as a test of his character, which he passed by accepting his rejection, after which he was accepted. Supergirl was rejected because temporarily she had become an adult due to exposure to Red Kryptonite.
But the other rejects are the focus of this post, starting with Adventure #301, the first LSH issue with tryouts. First comes what we might call Lucre Laddy:
His money was no good there. Next up was Storm Boy:
Is that a weather modifier in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
We learn that Bouncing Boy was actually rejected during his first attempt to join the Legion:
Shocking, I know, given that Bouncing Boy became the greatest Legionnaire of all time, but there was a time when his super power of being about to bounce around like a beach ball was underrated.
Which might be fine but he also makes those radio stations audible to everybody in the area, which results in a cacophony.
Dynamo Kid (whose "power" resembles that of Lightning Lad), turns out to be a fraud:
There are four basic reasons why candidates didn't make it into the legion:
1. Fake powers.
2. Undependable powers.
3. Useless powers.
4. Limitation on powers.
Adventure #306 introduced the Legion of Substitute Heroes, a group made up of Legion rejects. Polar Boy, rejected for reason #2, gets a nice parting gift:
He meets several other folks looking for a second chance including:
Unfortunately Night Girl's powers only work in darkness, so she was rejected for reason #4. Here are the other charter members of the Subs:
Reading from left to right, Chlorophyll Kid (super plant growing, rejected for reason #3), Stone Boy (turns to stone, rejected for reason #3) and Fire Boy (fire-breathing, rejected for reason #2). The Substitutes featured in several terrific stories around this time, and several of them were (much) later admitted to the major league club.
But not this unnamed youth (reason #4):
Or Camera Kid (reason #3):
Which brings up an obvious question: How did he manage to observe Superboy fighting Bizarro #1, an event which had taken place over 100 years in the past?
In Adventure #309, Jungle King becomes the first to vow revenge for his (reason #2) rejection:
But not the last:
Memo to aspiring Legionnaires: Incorporating the word "Satan" in your name is grounds for rejection. She turns out to be a red-kryptonite evil duplicate of Supergirl.
Ribbon Ronn is rejected for #3, but would return many years later as a part of a supervillain group. Alaktor was another baddy rejected for reason #1:
In reality the devices in his belt had taken X-ray pictures of everything in the Legion clubhouse.
In Adventure #315 the Substitutes got a big break. Now that the Legion knew of their existence, it was decided to have a contest to determine which of them would be allowed into the big club. But in a nice bit of characterization the winner, Stone Boy, decides to stick with his current buddies.
Well, at least Leadfeather Lad wasn't rejected by Bouncing Boy for his useless power; now that would be an insult!
Radiation Roy failed for reason #2.
Next came the Amazing Spidergirl:
Fortunately for DC's attorneys, her tresses proved uncontrollable and she was rejected for reason #2.
Double-header was clearly a reason #3 reject:
Totaling it all up through Adventure #325:
1. Fake powers. Three rejects.
2. Undependable powers. Seven rejects.
3. Useless powers. Seven rejects.
4. Limitation on powers. Two rejects.
Satan Girl was rejected on general principles.