Wednesday, April 1, 2015

JL #39 Bizarro Hockey!

I wanted to write a story featuring Green Lantern & Martian Manhunter, but I wanted them to start the story hanging out together. For a while I couldn't decide what they might be doing when the action starts. Then it hit me: a Martian, an alien from the fire planet, would never have taken the time to go to a hockey game! I would have GL bringing his friend to a game. And although it has been established that GL lives in Los Angeles, there was no way I was going to use the LA Kings. I hate them! I couldn't really see GL being interested in my team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, either. So I decided to use the Chicago Blackhawks. And to make it more interesting, I had the visiting team be the St. Louis Blues. I grew up in St. Louis, and my brother-in-law, Jeff, was a huge Chicago sports fan. So it all fell into place. As soon as I finished it I would send it to Jeff and we would laugh about Bizarro invading the United Center. It was perfect!

Unfortunately, after I had written the story and broken it down into rough pencils, my brother-in-law, Jeff Mitchell, lost his battle with cancer.

The story that I hoped would be a fun joke with and for him suddenly became something I didn't ever want to look at again.

Enter my friend Andy Kapellusch, who grew up in Wisconsin but who is an avowed Chicago Blackhawks fan. I had told him that I was working on this story, and he thought it was terrific. One day more recently he asked me about it. He had some free time, and was willing to finish it if I needed him to. So without telling him why I had not done any work on it, I sent it to him. It occurred to me that he could not only save the story, but he could help save me. Without knowing what he was doing, Andy actually embodied the whole point of this project: this really was what friends were for.

So thank you, Andy, for helping me more than you knew. Thank you for taking something painful, and changing it back into something fun. It's fantastic. I love it.

And Jeff, I'm sorry for not getting this story done quickly enough. I do think you would have liked it. Just the thought of you seeing Green Lantern in a Blackhawks jersey brings a tear to my would have gotten a kick out of that. You probably wouldn't have known who the Martian Manhunter was, but I know you still would have enjoyed them fighting at United Center. I miss you, man.

1 comment:

  1. Russell & Andy - Such a fun story! Love Bizarro and the interaction between John and J'onn!

    And that's a sad, yet beautiful story you told Russell about your brother-in-law. I'm sorry for your family's loss, but think this makes a nice tribute. Clearly from the heart.

    Your friend,