Thursday, January 9, 2014

JLA #32 Forward

"new" JLA logo by letterer Todd Klein, circa 1983
Welcome back!? 

I hope you are here to read about my All-New Basically-the-Same JUSTICE LEAGUE comic-book series. If you are here by accident, look at the pretty pictures and read the rambling prose. If you like what you see, I hope you'll come back next week for the actual comic story.

The last issue of my home-made comic-book was printed and distributed in the spring of 2001. I had been writing and drawing bilingual English-Japanese comics for about ten years at that point. They were given to the Japanese students of my English classes, but I have to admit that I *did* enjoy making them more than they enjoyed reading them. Then when I decided to quit that job and return to the States, I used my last issue as a representative statement to say good-bye: I had Hawkman and Hawkwoman leave Earth the same way I was leaving Japan.
After I returned to the US I was busy working and helping to raise our daughter. I also started to do community theatre, and that took up whatever free time I seemed to have.

A few years later I started this blog and began to scan and save all of my old stories. My friend Rick saw them and asked me to illustrate a story he had written as a birthday present to our buddy Rob for The Aquaman Shrine. I agreed to do it, then found myself using creative muscles I hadn't used in many years! Doing Rick's story made me seriously think about starting up my own series again.

Then two things happened. First, DC Comics wiped out their comic-book universe again and I did not particularly like what they re-created. The appeal of reading these comics was minimal. Secondly, my original series was coming to an end. So as I naturally saw "my" series ending in July, 2013, I began to think, again, about returning to them.
And then I listened to an episode of The Fire & Water Podcast by my buddies Rob and Shagg. They talked about "comfort comics." For those of us who didn't really enjoy The DC New 52 stuff, we should find older or forgotten comics and read/re-read those. That made me realize that there were definitely stories I wanted to tell about "my" universe, and writing and drawing them would be MY "comfort comic."

So I decided on a few things. First, I wanted to complete a couple of issues done before I shared any thing so that I could show I wasn't just a one-trick pony. So this is the first issue of three that I have already completed. I have three more in various degrees of completion, with two more scripted. I hope to stick to a bi-monthly release schedule.
Secondly, I realized that I had at least five stories to tell right off the bat, with a dozen other possibilities. For example, I really want to do a Starro the Conqueror story, but I still haven't figured out how to make a giant alien star-fish a real menace..! So I exploded on these first three "issues," working on each of them back-and-forth for months. It was only just recently that I decided to make *this* story No. 32 and *that* story No. 33, for example. The first one I finished writing was actually the story that will end up in No. 34! Then as I finished writing numbers 35 and 36, an odd thing  happened. My friend Rick asked me to revise a story he had written to fit into "my" universe. Another friend, Andy, asked if he could "play in my sandbox" and offered me a story about a character I had wanted to deal with for years!
So now I have stories tentatively scheduled through 38. I'm excited! I like the "pressure" of having to get something done "on deadline" at a set length in a set layout. I come home and look at my work-desk and think, "What do I want to work on tonight? Do I want to write, pencil, ink, or color?"

If you read these New Adventures after having read the previous episodes, you may notice a few changes. First and foremost, they are no longer in Japanese. I figured my audience is now a bunch of comic-book fans who speak English, so that aspect has been dropped. Sorry? Secondly, the pens and colored pencils available are different from what I had before, so the "look" might be a little bit different. I'm actually a little bit disappointed in how some of the colors scanned in, so that aspect should improve as we go along.
One last thing. I consider myself a story-teller, and not much of an artist. I know my art is really bad in some places, but hopefully it's not so bad that it takes you away from the story I am trying to tell. I apologize in advance if it ever does!

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