Tuesday, March 31, 2015

JL #39 "That's What Friends Are For!" Forward

This issue had a somewhat different genesis than my usual story. This issue came to be because I wanted to introduce Firestorm into "my" JLA universe. Having decided that I would, I quickly decided that I had to actually introduce the character, and not just feature him. You see, Firestorm has never shown up before...he had only been mentioned once, in a conversation between Red Tornado and Elongated Man. So I decided that instead of showcasing him as a guest-star with the whole JLA in his debut appearance, I would introduce him as another co-existing character in "my" universe....just like already introduced non-JLAers such as Black Lightning, Animal Man, and Supergirl. Then I figured that the best way to add him would be to have him guest-star with Superman, in the same way he did in the "real" DC Comics continuity! So I decided to base my story on a classic DC Comics Presents story. From there I hit on the idea of doing a whole series of team-ups for the issue, and from there it all fell into place.

Now you may notice a few things about the members featured this time out. I keep track of which members appear in each story, so you may notice that four members did NOT appear in the last regularly scheduled JLA story I wrote: Aquaman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Superman missed the adventure against Whisper (Number 37). So while my friend Rick Duncan was still working on that story, I decided to write adventures with these four members.

As Superman was already in with Firestorm, I decided to team Aquaman with Red Tornado against a Firestorm villain named Typhoon. A comment made by Rob Kelly and Shag Matthews on their Fire and Water podcast about this team fighting this villain made me decide to actually do it. Oh, and give their podcast a listen. It's awesome fun.

The Green Lantern & Martian Manhunter story started because I tried to think of a different way for these two characters to meet....not accidentally (Superman-Firestorm, Ralph-Batgirl) and not one calling the other (Red Tornado & Aquaman). How about if they were actually hanging out together? That made me think about what they might be doing. And in my real life I was crazy about ice hockey. That would be it! This story happened because I couldn't imagine an alien from the fire planet ever having gone to see a hockey game. My cyber-buddy and previous collaborator Andy Kappellusch offered to ink over my pencils, I think mostly for a chance to draw Bizarro.

Then I added two more chapters, featuring characters that haven't appeared too often in my stories. What I mean is, the Hawks had just returned to Earth in "my" universe, so they have missed the last few stories. I figured I owed them. I had them meet up with Wonder Woman, and I thought that it was high time I added Giganta to my staple of characters. My cyber-buddy and fellow Ohioan Aaron Bias stepped up to do the art for this chapter. Astute observers will note that these three characters are not on Corey's cover. That is because Corey got the artwork to me before Aaron committed to doing the story.

And lastly, I picked the Elongated Man and Batgirl to team-up because they were both created slashed designed by the wonderful Carmine Infantino. I was recently reading classic Sixties adventures of these two great characters when Mr. Infantino died. It hit me that they had never really worked together. (I think they met in the pages of Batman Family in the mid Seventies.) As soon as I decided to pair them, I immediately decided to use Killer Moth....NOT one of Gardner Fox's better creations. And as soon as I told Andy that I had written this, he grabbed it. He seems to be an even bigger Ralph Dibny and Batgirl fan than I am! In fact, he was so enthusiastic about this story that he did it as soon as I sent it to him, so it has been finished for more than a year! Thank you for your patience, Andy! (Coincidentally, Mr. Infantino died nearly two years ago, on April 4, 2013.)

Hope you enjoy them!

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