So, what did you think? As I mentioned in the FORWARD, this is one of my favorite issues. In fact, it's probably in my Top Five, which is outrageous since it, in theory, has so much going against it!
First, I took Gerry Conway's plot of Gift Giving Aliens who lose their way and then are taken advantage of by some one-and-done bad guy named Major Macabre. I took the basics and threw out the awful bad guy. Boiled down to the basic "Three Wise Men searching for the Child of God," the story turned out much more charming than I thought it would be.
The second part I liked about this story is that I used Lost In Space aliens as "my" aliens. If you are a fan of the TV series Lost in Space than you might recognize these three characters:
This is how they appeared on television:
The next thing I liked in my story was this panel that I dropped into my story. It is not included in Gerry Conway's original. I had already established that Kathy Sutton had gotten Red a job (in JLA #26), so I thought it natural that Red would volunteer to take over the Christmas Eve shift. The next panel says that he enjoys watching people, which I thought was fun.
The other change I made for this story was shifting out Superman for Martian Manhunter. Otherwise all of the members are the same. I was thinking that I might use the *other* Christmas Eve JLA story ("The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus" from JLA #110) which *also* features Superman, Batman, and Red Tornado. However, Superman is integral to the plot, whereas Red could be replaced by The Flash and Batman can be replaced by anybody (haha, that sounds harsher than I meant it to). Anyway, I figured I could NOT replace Superman in *that* story, so I replaced him here. Make sense?
And here is the introduction of Traya, the orphan. She sees something in Red that he didn't realize was there. They have an instant connection and from this issue on they are inseparable. Traya was a wonderful character and I wanted her to be in "my" universe, too, which is another reason I adapted this Christmas story instead of the other one.
And the last team-up is one of the most logical from a friendship point of view, but really, in the confines of this adventure don't you think one of these characters should have joined up with Red or Manhunter, don't you think?! Anyway, I always enjoyed drawing these two characters; Batman is one of my favorite to draw (he's easy!) and drawing Ralph is just fun. By the way, I investigated time zones for Israel, Australia, and Canada and colored the backgrounds logically. Morning in Australia was evening in Canada.
Here's an example of how fun The Elongated Man is. By this point I did not do vertical panels very often, so to have one here dramatized Ralph's stretching abilities.
Lastly, here is one of my all-time favorite panels EVER. Immediately prior to this panel, Red Tornado introduces the idea that these aliens are following the birth of Christ again (or a new Christ, whichever way you want to interpret it). He finds this absolutely logical and possible, and turns to walk away. The humans (and Manhunter, haha) had never considered this idea, and are struck speechless by it. We have a beautiful Hawkwoman and a very well-drawn Ralph Dibny with the others. I just love how this panel turned out.