Thursday, January 28, 2016

JL #42 "Universal Heroes!" Afterward

So that was fun, wasn't it? Believe it or not, this story has been in the pipeline for nearly two years! I think I seriously started working on it in early 2014 to have it finished for Halloween 2014, then Halloween 2015, and now Valentines' Day 2016!

I only want to say a few things about the story. If you have already read it (please do, SPOILER warning!) you'll realize that I could not use Green Lantern as a member because the Phantom GL would have recognized him, and the conflict would have been over. Likewise, I could not use Martian Manhunter, as his telepathic powers would have also clued him in that the "monsters" were not the menace. As it was, I had Aquaman "feel" that they were not evil, then shuffled him off the stage so that the conflict could continue. 

Originally, I wanted to have three different artists handle each separate chapter. That is how I wrote the story, and why I assigned myself the pages in-between the chapters. When Andy Kapellusch volunteered to do all of the work, I kept my pages because 1. I wanted to draw the scene with the Currys and the Hols, and 2. I wanted to draw the Monster League at least once! 

I really liked the idea of Shayera and Katar hanging out with Mera and Arthur. Because the Hawks have just gotten back from Thanagar in my universe, it makes sense for them to be re-connecting with old friends. I like to think that they are good friends with the only other married super-hero couple in the DCU. Plus this was a chance for me to finally put Arthur, Jr into my universe. 

As for the Monster League's names....Gill Man is obvious. The Swan refers to how Elsa Lancaster chose to portray The Bride; according to her, the noise she makes during her scenes in The Bride ~ were based on the noises swans make. The Bat-Man was obvious. Multi-Man was harder, as I didn't want to get anything too obviously similar to Superman (such as Superior Man). But maybe he has the strength of ten men because he's made up of ten men? Plastic Man and Timber Wolf were just in-jokes that I liked per their power sets. 

Andy and I had talked about doing the story in black-and-white, so after he sent in his pages I investigated how to make each chapter a little bit individual. I hope you noticed that the pages went from "yellowish" tinge circa the early Silent Films of the 20s, then went to a more subtle black-and-white from the 30s and 40s, until finally going to the dramatic b/w from the 50s and 60s. Then, of course, we ended in "Technicolor."
One interesting thing that happens when there is a group of creative people involved is that sometimes communication and visions get mixed up. Perfect example of that happening this time is Elongated Man's uniform. I asked Andy *not* to put Ralph into his white & purple outfit, because in my head Ralph is "the Wasp" of the DC universe: he changes his uniform constantly! Ralph was in his white & purple uniform in his last adventure, so I wanted him in a different one this time. 
However, when I got Andy's pages, Ralph was in his white and purple uniform! Well, okay, no big deal....except that Tim in *his* illustration had drawn Ralph in his traditional red uniform! Throwing my hands in the air, I decided to put Ralph in yet a third uniform for *my* cover. And that is why Ralph is wearing three different suits by three different artists.
(Of course, that doesn't explain why Andy put Wonder Woman on *his* cover, when he knew that she was not participating in this adventure. You'll have to ask him if there was a reason for that. When I asked, he just laughed.)

Lastly, another quick tip of the hat to my collaborators. Andy did a monumental job designing the monster-heroes. We had a few disagreements on how we wanted them to look, but I think our give-and-take ended up with some pretty cool visuals. Thanks also to Corey Hodgdon and Tim Wallace for their fantastic posters, and for Luke Daab and Chris Workman for creative support. Luke was instrumental in helping me set up the initial Florida lunch (whether he knew that or not). And I chose my chapter titles after going through Chris' great book Tome of Terror, a study of horror films of the 1930s. I heartily recommend this book! Thanks, guys!! 

And of course, to all the folks at Universal Studios who are responsible for so much movie magic, this story is affectionately dedicated. 

No comments:

Post a Comment