Monday, November 7, 2011

JLA # 10, "The Fingers of Felix Faust!" AFTERWARD

So...what did you think of my Halloween-themed story? Felix Faust was always one of my favorite villains; I mean, come on, the evil sorceror, what's not to like, right? And he seemed like a natural enemy for Zatanna, who I wanted to introduce to my DC universe. The story itself is based on the premise of an old Gardner Fox story, where Felix sends the JLAers out to collect the bell, book, and wheel. That's about all I used from the original story, though!

Things of note in this story: the debut of Aquaman's wife, Mera, and his brother, Ocean Master. It's not clear from his appearance here that Orm is Aquaman's brother, but it didn't really matter to me. I was trying to show that the DC universe is always awake and busy, and if a JLAer can't appear for an adventure it isn't because he or she is just sitting around! This is a theme I visited a few times. As a fan, I always liked to be shown what the "missing" members were doing, so I figured my readers would like it, too. I eventually even wrote a story about it, but that's much later.

Speaking of Zatanna, I introduced her here as a sorceress. I didn't want to call her a witch, but in Japanese the same word is used for both terms, "sorceress" and "witch." I don't think anybody ever noticed. Long-time or well-versed fans will notice that I introduced her in her late 80s costume as designed by George Perez instead of in her fishnets and top hat. That's coming up next time she appears, I promise. If you did recognize her costume, did you notice that I tweaked it? I made her wear long pants instead of high boots. I always thought it was silly that she would show a bit of thigh when the rest of her body was completely covered.

Introducing Zatanna included a bit of a trick because in English her spells work when she says her WORDS backwards, not her phrases. So in this example shown above instead of saying, "Will Own Your Keep" (Keep Your Own Will) in mainstream DC comics she would actually be saying "Lliw nwo ruoy peek." That was too confusing for me (just typing it just now!) and too confusing for my readers. So I simplified it and hopefully made it easier to understand. Note: the Japanese translation was the same way, even though it would have lent itself to either style.  
And speaking of tricks, I was especially happy with how my "magic" effects turned out. I printed out all issues at my city hall to hand out to my students. However, I found out that their printer (actually a huge copier) could also print in red by simply changing the ink cartridges. So I designed all the magic to be printed in red. Then when I actually colored the book for the library copy I kept to the red motif. Also, I did weird things like in this panel, where the heroes' faces disappear before their bodies do. I liked how it turned out.

Now a quick note about how the groups were divided up for this adventure. Here are the teams:

See any pattern(s)? There are three, but the primary pattern is that Chapter 3 featured the members with animals in their names: BATman, Black CANARY, and HAWKwoman.  That's why they are sent to a planet (dimension) where the animals are having a human sacrifice. Once I hit on that group, I decided to make the three Super Friends team up: Aquaman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (of course). And the other reason for letting them stay together was that the remainder were the three prominent Silver Age characters: The Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter. Then I figured I'd put Green Arrow in Batman's group so Batman could figure out that Zatanna's spell kept GA from being Felix's slave and explain that to the readers. Done!
Believe it or not, I kept track of who teamed up with who, and I am pretty sure I got everybody to team up with everybody else atleast once during my run. I do remember that I accidentally teamed up The Flash, Batman, and Wonder Woman again after already having them work together in issue five. I'll talk about that story when we get to it.

The other thing I remember distinctly from this story is the violence. Green Arrow finds that he is the only member who can stop Felix Faust from unleashing his terrible spell. So I ask you: if you were an archer forced to *stop* an all-powerful sorceror, what would you do? Injure him, right!?

Now remember, this was published in Japan where they have very rough & violent comics. I figured I could get away with it. And you know, I never had any comments other than the typical boys' reaction of, "Cool!"

I always thought Felix was such a bad-ass for 1. magically pulling the arrow out of his shoulder and 2. tossing it aside like that. Good thing for Green Arrow that he freed Zatanna in that mean-time, because you just know Felix was ready to murder GA.

And the last thing I wanted to talk about here was the near-induction of Zatanna at the end of this story. Like the "try-outs" I gave Hawkman and Elongated Man last issue, this was a story I wanted to do to kind of gauge her popularity among the kids. She did okay, but she simply did not have the popularity of the other two. Was it sexism? Possibly. Was it that Hawkman with his helmet and wings had more of a visual appeal? Probably. Be that as it may, I got a few comments regarding Black Canay's statement below, which I thought was great. There's more of this strong feminism coming up from Black Canary in Zatanna's next appearance, too. Black Canary definitely was *not* Shrinking Violet, haha!

Next time: my take on my all-time favorite JLA comic~!

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