Wednesday, July 25, 2012

JL #19: "The Deadly Illusions of the Psycho Pirate!" Afterward

So, what did you think?

This story, as mentioned in the Forward, was based on the story in SUPER FRIENDS #40 by E. Nelson Bridwell & Ramona Fradon. In that version, a character called The Monocle caused the Super Friends (Superman, Aquaman, Batman & Robin, and Wonder Woman) to see and feel things that were not actually there. The Wonder Twins were able to stop him because their alien senses were not affected.

Of course, I didn't have the Wonder Twins to worry about here. Plus I had the cover of ALL STAR COMICS #60 I wanted to work in, so I kept the plot the same as SF #40 up until the scene of the arrest (see SF #40's cover). After that, I was on my own in writing myself out of the dilemma: Psycho Pirate takes over Green Lantern and then what?

Now it's time to let you in on a little secret. Originally, this story was going to feature ALL of the Justice League. In the original story, Aquaman and Superman "fight" over the passenger ship/whale/target ship, then Batman fights a cyclops while Robin tries to stop a buffalo stampede. Lastly, Wonder Woman witnesses herself robbing an armored car.

In my original draft, I replaced Robin with Green Arrow and Black Canary. They drive by on her motorcycle and come across what they think is a buffalo stampede. Their action would have been in-between The Hawks and Superman-Batman-Elongated Man. However, I got behind on the issue and unfortunately for them, they had an even amount of pages so I could simply "lift" them out of the story and not make any other changes. All later dialogue I had given them I simply shifted to different characters. The only change I had to make was to add an "Absent Members" box (shown here) and start the story on a half-page instead of a full one.
I always liked this story, for several reasons. For one thing, it fits well in my DC Universe-view that not all JLA adventures start out as The Next Big Adventure of the JLA. This one starts off simply, with various members having issues and then not realizing that they are actually under attack until they get together and compare notes.

For another thing, I liked the idea that these guys hung out together. We never find out why Aquaman and Green Lantern were meeting... maybe to have lunch together? Certainly not to fight Ocean Master or Sinestro, that's for sure. Although now that I mention that it would have been fun if they had to fight off somebody And the Psycho Pirate at the same time. Anyway, I also liked that Batman is getting together with his friends for a charity benefit. By this point he was The Dark Knight but I still think he would want to do charity work if/when he could. And of course who else to ask but Elongated Man (who loves publicity) and Superman, who is like your super-bodyguard. (There will be another charity event coming up soon, where the bad guy uses it as an opportunity much like back in JL #11). And of course it's natural that The Hawks are patrolling the skies of Chicago (where they were living at this time in DC continuity).

And lastly, to finally answer my own question from above, I like how I got the Martian Manhunter to save the day. I kind of took the idea that the Wonder Twins were not affected because of their alien physiology and gave the victory to another alien. Plus, he had been stuck sitting around for the Chronos story a few issues ago (JL #17) and I felt I owed him. If you follow the final scene closely you'll "see" when the Martian Manhunter goes under-cover.

Other things about this issue I would like to point out:

With this issue I began to change the look of Aquaman. By this point in DC continuity he was long-haired, bearded, and one-handed. While I never cut his hand off, nor did I ever change his costume, I did echo the hair.  Now I look at panels like this and think, "blech." (Is that a mullet? haha!) By the next time he appears he'll be in full "Peter David" mode.This way I was able to show off then-current DC comics to my students and they were able to recognize Aquaman (sort of).  It lasted for a few issues (about two years) and then I decided "why bother?" and got rid of it. I did like that I built it up over a few issues, though.

 I modelled the Psycho Pirate after Elton John, after I saw a photo of him at the funeral of Princess Diana. 

I gave the final line of the story that was originally going to Green Arrow to The Flash. Since he is knocked out almost immediately and doesn't do much else in the story, I figured he could make that comment. It *does* sound a bit more like Green Arrow, though.

I have said this before, but I got a big kick out of drawing Hawkman and Hawkwoman. Of all the characters, they were the most "hit-or-miss." They either looked great or just terrible. In this issue I think they looked pretty good. I am especially proud of the whole sequence where Hawkman is almost pulled into a jet-liner's turbo engine while thinking he is fighting a Pterodactyl. And I loved the eyes "bugging out" when Shayera realizes she is attacking an airplane!

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