This is a bittersweet issue for me in several ways.
For one thing, it turned out to be the last original story I ever wrote. Every issue after this one, until the series ends with issue 31, will be based on someone else's story or re-worked from an actual comic book story. At the time I wrote and drew this story I had no idea that this would be the case, of course. In fact, after I wrote this I made several notes about possible stories to write that I never got around to doing.
One of the reasons I did write this story is because there still was an unbalance between the appearances of all the members. I wanted to write a story featuring the characters that I thought I had overlooked before. I went through the issues and made notes of who had appeared and who had not, and then I took the members with the fewest appearances and crafted the story around them. Superman was an obvious choice, as I had not used him in #18. As soon as I decided to base the action around him, I quickly had Lois and Jimmy as well as the night out with the guys idea. I looked over the bad guys I had to choose from (you can see who the choices were here) but for some reason I decided to go with the Weather Wizard again. I always liked him, and figured he could accidentally come across the JLA and sort of give them trouble....and the story simple fell together after that. See what you think and let me know, please.
I ended up writing an afterward about "absent members" at the end of the story. I'll translate it into English when we get to it.
The other reason I wrote this particular issue is because I wanted to have my Justice League-Justice Society team-up in my 21st issue, and I needed a "place keeper" before that. More on that story NEXT month! :-)
This is also the last issue I used the half-page roll call portraits. I had been trying to come up with some other visual way to represent the "roll call" that wouldn't take up three or more pages of every issue. By now there were plenty of back-issues available for kids who weren't familiar with these characters yet to go back and find out about them. Plus, most of the kids were older and knew who they were. AND the next issue was going to be a super-sized special guest extravaganza, so I didn't want to keep wasting this space. Check out the "Absent Members" box to see Aquaman's beard continuing to grow, by the way.
The other regret I have about this story is that I featured Elongated Man's newest costume. I had plenty of actual DC Comics posters and advertisiting artwork featuring Ralph Dibny. The problem was that sometimes it featured his large "E" and masked outfit. I had already established that Ralph changed his costume often, so I thought it would be fun to switch it again. Once I got into the story, however, I realized just how much I hated this costume. Now I can't look at this issue and not wish I hadn't used it, haha!
The best thing about this story is that it marks the debut of my newest and last collaborator, Kinuyo Yamamura. Yamamura-san was the receptionist at the City Hall, so she was stuck answering the phones all day. She had seen me print and bind earlier issues and had expressed interest in the work. When I asked her to read my Japanese and help me translate the stories, she didn't exactly jump, but she did agree. And for the next 11 issues she was my right-hand woman. It's because of her that I think these last dozen issues are the best translated. Check out the Japanese and let me know what you think. :-)