As mentioned in the Forward, this story is my version of JLA #103 by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, and Dick Giordano. Instead of Batman, however, (who appeared in my last issue) I used The Elongated Man. I also cut out the sub-plot about Len, Gerry Conway, and Glynis Wein going to Vermont. Otherwise, the story was the same.
Some of the details changed, of course. A lot of the tension in the original story was due to the fact that it was The Phantom Stranger's first appearance in the JLA universe. Here he has already been established as a "good guy" so the drama was more of a "what the hell is going on?" variety.
I have to say that I love the character of The Phantom Stranger. However, I don't think I can draw him well. I go for the whole spooky feel, what with his special voice balloons and the "magic dust" that always surrounds him, but somehow I don't think I do a good job with him.
One other thing that was different from the original was the choice of the Cos-Players (people in costumes) who are possessed by Felix Faust's demons and fight the Justice League. In the original, they are characters that the JLA would not usually meet, such as Marvel's Thor and Captain America, Adam Strange, and Captain Marvel (Shazam). I didn't want to use characters that would be more confusing than interesting, so I decided to use The Teen Titans. Seeing as how I didn't like how I had used them in their earlier appearance, this was also meant to make up for that.
Here's a cool moment that represents a huge shift in my "editorial" talents. I had established that there is supposed to always be a member on duty at the satellite. Yet, in the past I would have had these six members show up and then leave, which goes against that rule. So....in the background we have Black Canary, quietly sitting there listening, wondering if she will need to call in any other members or just continue to "monitor" the situation. We never see her again in this issue.
Here's a panel that I really liked. It has creepy Felix Faust conjuring up his demons (that whole sequence was well done, I think; I took the scene by Dick Dillin & Dick Giordano but I made it a little bit more creepy, I think.) I liked this one especially because of two things: 1. the coloring; I think I did a great job on it; and 2. I made the demons naked, but I never got any comments or questions about it. Maybe everyone just assumed that demons wanting to take over Earth would be nude; I don't know. All I do know is that if you look really close, SPOILER ALERT you can see demon breasts on Felix' immediate left and a glimpse of demon penis on Felix' immediate right.
Now we come to the one language issue I ever had with Kinuyo Yamamura. As all long-time JLA fans know, Green Arrow and Hawkman don't really get along. In this issue I presented quite a few incidents where they get on each other's nerves (see the Black Canary panel shown above as exhibit A). In the original script, Len Wein wrote, "Why do you keep putting Green Arrow down?" I found this hard to translate, and the only verbs that Yamamura-san could come up with were words like "bully" or "irritate"or "make fun of," none of which is quite right. So we stuck with "tease," which is not really the word I wanted, but maybe for our purposes is sufficient. Because, really, the two characters are still co-workers, just not necessarily friends. Maybe I should have used "irritate;" if I had to do it again, I probably would. Now whenever I get to this point in the story I think, "oh, yeah. I used the wrong word here."
An interesting (?) side-note here. I tried to make some of the demon-possessed Teen Titans look a little bit different from the originals (Asian Aqualad, over-weight Robin, dark-haired Kid Flash). I also wanted to show that the DC universe was a diverse place, so I didn't want to use all-white characters. I modeled Wonder Girl (Troia) after an East Indian-Canadian friend of mine. When I get to *this* point in the story, I always think, "oh, yeah, there's Moselle!"
A funny thing happened to me while I was working on this issue. I was using the last markers and drawing pens I had while inking the last two or three pages. They suddenly ran dry, and I didn't have time in the middle of the week to drive into the city to buy replacements. So I used the next biggest pen, making (to me) a dramatic shift in inking styles for the last few pages. If you think you can notice those sorts of things, look again and see if you can. Luckily, the last few pages were only three or four panels, the last of which is the climactic battle between the JLA and Felix, so the effect is not TOO jarring.
One last comment, which is really a question. How many of you noticed The Phantom Stranger on the cover of this issue? I didn't want to have him center stage, but I thought he deserved an appearance. So there he is on the rear right, behind Hawkman.
And on that note, I bid you adieu until next year, when I am eagerly looking forward to presenting for your consideration what I consider to be my *best* issue!