Wednesday, October 19, 2011

JLA # 9, "Nothing Beats The Royal Flush Gang!" AFTERWARD

So..what did you think? Even as I re-read it as I uploaded it for the blog I was struck by just how well constructed it is. Okay, if you disagree with me I want to hear from you. My ego is not so large that I won't entertain other opinions, but...gosh, to me this reads like a professional comic book! Sure, the art is not great in places, but I'm talking about the story: each individual member comes across a menace separately, they all fail at stopping it on their own, and then they come together to tackle it together, with every character having a moment to shine. This is classic JLA stuff, people! I must have been channelling classic JLA writer Gardner Fox when I wrote this story.  :-)

A few specific bits I liked....and again, feel free to disagree (or agree) with me if you would like. I'd like to hear from you.

1. Absent Members. In my world, every member should not be at every meeting. The whole point of the JLA is that not all the members can attend every time. So for this LA-based adventure I chose to not use the four characters who had appeared in Number 3 (my mutation on JLA #130). Hawkwoman and The Flash also appeared in that story, but they were the monster, so I figured that didn't count. And by the way, I did keep a running tab on how often a member had been absent or had been featured prominently. I tried very hard to keep everybody at about the same participation Superman or Batman hogging in *my* DC Universe!

2. I borrowed a cool visual trick from the comics and featured the characters' logos in their chapters or, in this case, their appearances. Did you notice? Of course, once I picked a logo I was stuck using it. This, for example, was the GL logo at the time. Not bad, but I always preferred the one-line slanting version with the lantern in the center. Oh, well. The other thing about this panel is that it shows that I featured cartooned-versions of LA landscapes. They were very easy to see in the Hawks' air-battle and on the page where the four flying members spread out to search. I enjoyed doing it, but it was hard work to try to be "realistic." So I tried to keep future action to fictional places like Gotham and Star City after this, haha.  

3. The Royal Flush Gang "head-quarters" is at one of the amusement parks in Los Angeles. I thought that was clever of me. If they hadn't been caught red-handed I figured they could always deny that they were the robbing versions, and that somebody else had just stolen their "look" to commit crimes. Unfortunately, they were busted LIVE, so, never mind, haha.

4. There were quite a few card jokes or puns or comments in this story, and this is one of my favorites. My other favorite was Hawkwoman telling Jack that she and the husband might not "beat" a royal flush but "a pair" would beat a one-eyed jack. I thought that was clever. (Yeah, my arm is getting a little hurt patting myself on the back, haha). Obviously, this story was a "try-out" for Hawkman and Elongated Man to see if I should make them members. (There's another try-out coming up next issue!)  I was pretty sure the boys would like Hawkman, but Ralph Dibny sort of resembled a traditional Japanese horror character with his elongated neck, so I was afraid he would not be popular. I had every intention of not adding him to the group if the kids didn't like him. They seemed to find him amusing, however, so SPOILER ALERT he eventually ended up joining.

Any ease I hoped for by cutting four members from the story was erased by adding two guests and by having to draw those incredible RFG costumes...ack! I always wanted to bring the RFG back, but decided drawing the costumes was too much trouble, so never did! (Now it can be told, haha).

So to sum up....I'm awfully proud of how this issue turned out. Sure, the art sucked some, but I think you could always tell what was going on, right? That's the first goal, haha. The art never got in the way of the story. Nearly twenty years later, it still reads pretty good. ;-)

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