So, what did you think? This is one of my favorites, just because I think everything about it works so well.
As I talked about in the Forward, I'm not sure *why* I used a Press Conference as a reason to start the adventure; however, I think that it *does* work. It allows us to see some of the "behind-the-scenes" stuff, PLUS it allows us to see some of the "public JLA personas" we almost never get to see. In fact, I don't think I ever had any "public" appearances since JL #10, when the various JLAers appeared at world-wide AIDS charity events. There were a few other mentions of charity events, like the JLAers promising to appear at a half-time show during NBA play-offs or talking about doing things for charity, but that is the only other time I remember actually *showing* them appearing in public.
Speaking of which, this is one of my all-time favorite pages:
This decribes "my" version of The Batman to a "tee." He is compassionate, but he doesn't answer questions. Don't you think this is true!?!
Anyway, the main difference between this adventure and the stories that I based it on is the character the originals were based around: a space super-hero named Adam Strange. If you don't know who he is, you are probably in the majority. In the late '50s and early '60s before the super-hero really came back into pop culture prominence, comics were about cowboys, romance, mystery, and space fantasy. "Space Ranger" and "Tommy Tomorrow" are but two actual characters who had their own series at this time. Eventually all these sci-fi series died off, but Adam Strange hung on the longest. One reason was probably because he became linked to the JLA; he guest-starred in their series numerous times in the Sixties and into the Seventies. Adam was an Earthman who was accidentally teleported to the planet Rann, where his Yankee Know-How helped his adopted planet fight off all sorts of menaces.
In fact, all the menaces from my story I took from JLA #s 120-121, but they were actually taken from earlier Adam Strange solo adventures by author Cary Bates before that! That's Adam Strange on the left of this cover, by the way. Cary Bates really liked the character of Adam Strange, and it was a shame for me to not include him. But at this point, there was no reason TO include him. He had no rich history to re-present to my readers, so his appeal was really slight. I basically took his role and divided it up between Red Tornado and Elongated Man. I thought it worked out okay.
I have two reasons for not featuring this cover in the Forward. For one thing, this particular "doom" (JLAers turning into dust) never appears in my version. It was a cliff-hanger at the end of this issue to get you to buy the next issue. Obviously, I didn't need that hook. The other reason I didn't want to feature this cover in the Forward is because it "spoils" the villain in my story: Kanjar Ro, making his re-appearance here after his debut in JL #8. He even explains why he's targeting the JLAers: to get back at them for spoiling his Space Olympics scheme.
Besides dividing Adam Strange's role among Red and Ralph, I also had to switch some of the members around. You might be able to make out Black Canary and Green Lantern on the cover of JLA #120, neither of whom appear in my story. In the first issue these four and Elongated Man were featured; as they are murdered by Kanjar Ro at the end of #120, the next issue features the remaining members. So in the end all the members appear, and this is how we get Hawkman and Red Tornado fighting a smoke creature.
As you can tell, this story ends with Adam marrying his long-time girl-friend Alanna.
Now let's talk about some of the other scenes I liked in this story. First of all, to start the Press Conference off I needed a reporter. Who better than a wink to "real" DC Comics continuity, Mr. Steve Lombard. I wasn't going to use Clark Kent, of course!
The panel below establishes for the first time in my story that there are teleporter tubes placed in various cities in the world for the Justice League to use. Usually I had the members teleporting down to specific places ala "Star Trek." However, I think that if the group is moving *as a group* that they would use the tubes. Not sure if this is the case or not, but it made sense to me at the time. And how logical was it to think that the JLA had a tube on the roof of the UN? I mean, the UN chartered the JLA and probably regulated them in some way, right?
After Superman makes his opening statement, he asks for question. Who besides Superman would be expected to do that? Martian Manhunter or Wonder Woman, maybe, but not if Superman were there, right? So who is the first reporter he calls on? His girl friend, Lois Lane, of course. I liked that. I also liked that her question basically calls the JLA on the carpet for not adding another woman! Notice the JLAers' reactions when she asks her question: they are smiling, as if they expected it, and also because they know that they DID try to add another woman (see issue #13 for the details). My one regret here is that due to the nature of the scene, the camera remains on the JLA, so we never get to actually see Lois Lane again. (She appeared in #20.)
When the reporters ask the new JLAers how they feel about being admitted, I thought it was funny how Hawkman is embarrassed by the question, Red Tornado pulls a "Spock" and tries to find the words to express his emotions, and Elongated Man is unabashedly humble.
As soon as I decided to draw a press conference I knew I wanted to draw atleast one panel from the JLAers' point of view. Here it is. I like it...and hey, I think that's Lois Lane there in the center, haha!
One of the running themes of this story is that Superman is not the be-all and end-all of the Justice League. Here's the first example: he flies in and basically tells Hawkwoman and Elongated Man, "Let me handle this." Of course, the laser is red solar-powered, so his strength is useless. Hawkwoman plays the part of Adam Strange here and tries to fix the gun, also to no avail. So it's up to Ralph Dibny to come up with the idea to destroy it...
I like the look on Superman's face here; it's almost "What, YOU have an idea?" Yes, Superman, the ginger super-hero is actually pretty smart. You should listen to him.
Following the idea of Red Tornado as "Spock," I stole the whole "tell my mother I am fine" idea in this sequence: Flash asks Red if he is okay, and Red explains what happens, then realizes that he hasn't actually answered the question:
Here is my homage to The Robot in Lost in Space. He (it?) was famous for saying things like, "Danger! Danger!" and things like this, which I took verbatim from one of my talking Robots:
Here's another example of Superman trying to carry his weight with the group of All-Stars: maybe he can use his super-vision to find the bad guy! Unfortunately for him, he was looking in the wrong direction. Hawkman, who up until this point hasn't done much except gotten knocked out, uses his hawk-like vision to spot the bad guy instead.
And the story ends as it begins, with Elongated Man being giddy because he's a member of the Justice League. I thought that pretty much summed up Ralph's personality. One last comment about his appearance here: I decided to color his costume pink because the pink pencil was one of the least used ones in my collection. However, when I go back and re-read this I always note that it just doesn't look right. I wish I had kept it as purple. On the other hand, I do like the idea that Ralph, whose secret identity was known to the entire world, would change his uniform often. I think of Ralph as one of the few super-hero celebrities.
So there we are: a story that ranks as one of my favorites, even though none of my true favorite members appeared! Next issue, I present a collection of solo adventures featuring the members who didn't appear here. I could have used Superman (he has plenty of solo stories to choose from, haha) but I felt he was needed at the United Nations. See you next month!