Saturday, July 9, 2011

Introduction Part 2: Enter The Justice League!

So after deciding that I would create bilingual comic-books featuring The Super Friends aka The Justice League, I had to decide who would be IN my group. I wanted to use all the best characters, but there had been so many different versions of the Justice League that it was a somewhat difficult decision. At that time Giffen & DeMatteis were doing their Guy Gardner-Blue Beetle-Booster Gold JLA, and although that had its' charms, I figured the humor would be difficult to translate. (Comedy, remember, is hard!) I always had to keep in mind my primary audience: Japanese boys and girls.
In the end I was influenced by other media. I already had in my English class video library the SUPER POWERS videos featuring Batman, Superman, and Aquaman. I also had a few live-action TV episodes of THE FLASH (who here remembers *that* show?). I hoped to eventually get some Lynda Carter WONDER WOMAN episodes. So...the big five were in.

With these five set they pointed the way to my using the "original" Justice League, and except for The Flash these were the members of The Super Friends, as well. So I decided to adapt whole hog the DC Comics continuity from the Silver Age. I knew these characters by heart, anyway, so I would not have to juggle a whole new universe of continuity. Or so I thought....
Of the original seven JLA members, I hadn't yet considered Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter. I pretty quickly decided to keep Jonn. He was the "soul" of DC Comics and I had always liked him. He also had a visual difference from the other members that I wanted, especially as he was drawn when he came back to the DCU in the mid-80s. Besides, if my students ended up hating his "alien-ness," I could always write him out the way he really did leave the DCU, by having him lead his people to a new home on Mars II.
As for Green that time (1990) John Stewart was co-starring in the GREEN LANTERN comic. I could choose him, or Guy Gardner, or Hal Jordan. I decided to make my first major break with "real" (I know, I'm using the term loosely) DC continuity by choosing to use John. In order to give my Japanese audience a better representation of the US, I decided to use the African-American GL instead of the Caucasian. As Fred Hembeck had said, this is the JLA, not the KKK. As soon as I decided to use John, I also decided that he would be in AS Hal Jordan. What I mean is, it was John who got his ring from Abin Sur. It was John who was best friends with The Flash (Barry Allen) and Green Arrow.  It was John who was a charter member of the JLA. The seventh and final founding member.
It's interesting now to look back at this decision and see that the producers of the JUSTICE LEAGUE cartoon in 2001 made the exact same decision. "Like minds"...?

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