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Rex Leech

Superboy’s Friend and Ally

Related Links:
SuperboyRoxy Leech •
• Dubbilex • Tana Moon

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 History


Ruthless promoter Rex Leech never met a dollar he didn’t like. Displaying his trademark lack of tact,  Leech pulled Jimmy Olsen from Superman’s funeral procession in an attempt to get the photographer to sign over the rights to the Man of Steel’s death photo. When Olsen angrily refused, Leech’s goons opened fire – but fortunately they didn’t hurt anyone.

Superboy meets Rex and Roxy Leech in ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #501 [1993].

The opportunistic Rex spied his ultimate meal ticket when he met a brash young hero claiming to be the clone of the then-deceased Superman. Rex used his attractive daughter Roxy as further enticement for the so-called Metropolis Kid, which was just fine as far as the smitten blonde teenager was concerned. Rex became the soon-to-be Superboy’s manager and even secured the trademark to the Superman name.

While the teen hero later ceded the rights to the name when the real Superman returned, Rex had no intention of letting go of his super-powered gold mine. There were t-shirts and hats and ticket sales to cash in on. Making plans for a “Supertour USA,” Rex and his entourage – including Superboy’s telepathic chaperone Dubbilex – ended their run in Hawaii.

Rex had a knack for business but also had a knack for trouble. Unfortunately, setting down roots made Rex easy to find when gangster Ira Gamboli sought to collect Rex’s unpaid gambling debts. Gamboli contracted the assassin Copperhead to put the pressure on Rex, propelling the slithery super-villain to kidnap Roxy. Luckily, Superboy intervened to defeat Copperhead and rescue Roxy.

Soon after, Rex was coerced by his former business associate to arrange a mock battle between Superboy and the amnesiac Daxamite, Lar Gand. The plan was to televise the event  on the black market and take bets on who would kill who first. Both heroes barely survived, and Rex’s role in the matter went unnoticed.

Superboy, Dubbilex, Rex and Roxy Leech are Hawaii-bound in SUPERBOY #1 [1994].

Rex’s efforts to create a Superboy-themed roller coaster later resulted in a televised debacle, causing the ethically-challenged entrepreneur to drop out of sight. Months later, Rex returned to Project Cadmus, desperately seeking help for Roxy, who had become the host of an alien fire elemental named Pyra. When the entity was excised from her body, Roxy rejoined Rex in returning to a more normal existence.

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 Essential Reading


Man of Steel #20 [1993]: Leech pulls Jimmy Olsen from Superman’s funeral procession in an attempt to get the photographer to sign over the rights to the Man of Steel’s death photo. When Olsen angrily refuses, Leech’s goons open fire. First appearance of Rex Leech.
Adventures of Superman #502 [1993]: Superman’s teenaged clone is introduced to unscrupulous promoter Rex Leech and his teenaged daughter Roxy. First appearance of Roxy Leech.
Adventures of Superman #506 [1993]: Superman rescues Superboy from some Cadmus DNAliens and the two, along with the Guardian, decide to return and confront the Cadmus brass to get some answers on Superboy’s origins and powers. Superboy relinquishes the “Superman” trademark back to the Man of Steel, which angers Rex Leech. Dubbilex is tasked with monitoring Superboy.
Superboy #1 [1994]: Superboy’s “Supertour USA” ends in Hawaii, where the Teen of Steel relocates along with Dubbilex, Rex Leech and Roxy Leech.
Superboy #11-12 [1995]: Copperhead is contracted to collect Rex’s gambling debts.
Superboy #48-49 [1997]: Rex’s Superboy-themed roller coaster turns disastrous. With Superboy missing, Rex and Roxy Leech leave Hawaii.
Superboy #80-82 [2000]: The Titans and Superboy help contain Roxy, who has been possessed by Pyra. When the entity is excised from her body, Roxy rejoins Rex in returning to a more normal existence.

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A 2007 Superboy commission by Karl Kesel.

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Hot Time In Hawaii


Karl Kesel Interview
[from Titans Companion 2, by TwoMorrows Publishing – 2008]

TTC: Where did the idea of bringing in a new Superboy come from?

KK: I have to say, when I wrote up my ideas for the way to bring back Superman, when I wrote down the idea of there being four different Supermen, my idea at the time was each book could have a Superman in it that reflected the history of the book.

So I thought, “Action Comics should probably have a very Shuster and Siegel-esque Superman. There’s something very primal about Action Comics, and maybe that Superman can only leap an eighth of a mile.” That was my initial idea. I thought the book that’s called Superman should have the real Superman, and I wasn’t sure what Man of Steel should be – maybe a robot, [or] something like that – but when I sat down to figure out what Adventures of Superman should be, the book that I was going to be writing, I [thought], “What kind of different Superman fits that title?” and I remembered the old tag line, “The adventures of Superman when he was a boy.” I said, “That’s it! That should be Superboy.”

Obviously, none of those things happened except the Superboy idea, but that was my approach, and that’s how I ended up with an idea of Superboy. I would say in the Superman summit, it might’ve been Louise Simonson [who] first said the idea when we were just throwing out ideas of different kinds of Superman. I think she was the one who mentioned a Superboy, but I successfully argued that he should be in my book, and I’m very glad I did. I think Weezie’s and Bog’s character Steel was equally as good, so I think we both did really well.

[…]

TTC: Personality-wise, your Superboy was a lot different from the original Superboy. Was that always your intent?

KK: Well, I certainly wanted a more modern character, yeah. I wanted someone who had a little more attitude. I have always enjoyed humor in my stories, so I wanted someone with a sense of humor, and there just seemed to be a certain arrogance built into a teenage boy who’s walking around saying he’s the clone of Superman. There seems to be a certain arrogance there [that] just seemed to fit the character really well.

[…]

TTC: Why did you set the series in Hawaii?

KK: The thinking was this: when Superman was first created, he was very definitely a wish-fulfillment character. He was the guy who would throw the evil Senator across town and catch him. He would do the sort of things that you or I, or Siegel and Shuster, wished they could do, and so Superman was very much, especially at the beginning, a wish-fulfillment character.

So that’s the tact I took with Superboy. I said, “All right; in today’s society, what would every kid wish if they had super-powers?” and I decided they would want to live in Hawaii! [laughs] So that’s where we set it, because it’s this tropical paradise with beautiful gals in bikinis, and it just sounded really exotic. It just sounded very much like a dream come true. Very wish fulfillment.

[…]

Superboy’s supporting cast, from SUPERBOY #4 [1994].

TTC: The Superboy book also had a rich supporting cast. How important do you think those characters were to the series?

KK: I think they’re really important. I really enjoyed doing the first run on Dubbliex and Rex and Roxy and Tana. I think all of those were really good characters that I enjoyed a lot, and I think later on the cast of characters we had in Cadmus was just as rich. I always go back to early Spider-Mans that Stan Lee was writing, especially when John Romita was drawing it.

Many times, many times I have gone back and pulled out those old comics, and I’ll flip past the fights because I know Spider-Man’s gonna beat the Shocker, but I always stop and read the Coffee Bean scenes because the interplay between the characters is just so great. There’s no way my work ever came close to that, but I’ve always remembered how grounded that makes any character.

I’ve always tried to surround characters with interesting supporting characters because of that.

TTC:You also brought Tana Moon over from Adventures of Superman. Was that always the plan?

KK: Well, once we decided to put him in Hawaii, we realized, “Hey! Maybe she’s Hawaiian!” [laughs] So it worked out really well. It certainly wasn’t the plan from the beginning. It wasn’t like we said, “Okay, we gotta find a place to put Superboy and Tana.” The only thing I wish we could’ve gotten the approval for there was we wanted to reveal that Tana Moon was related to the Batman villain Dr. Moon, and Denny O’Neil nixed that idea. The series didn’t suffer, but it would’ve been a cool connection.

TTC: She did fill the “Lois Lane” role of the book.

KK: Yeah, she did.


Sources for this entry: The Essential Superman Encyclopedia, DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com.  Special thanks to Scott Redding for the information on this entry!


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author