Wednesday, May 18, 2016

JL #43 "Luck Of The Draw!" Afterward

So, what did you think?

As always, let me remind you that I consider myself a story-teller, not an artist. I know that some of my figures are bad, and some of my scenes' choreography are not perfect. But was it entertaining? Did you have fun reading it? If so, I'm glad. If not, I'd like to know what I did wrong.

I had a lot of fun with this issue, for a few reasons. First, when I realized that 2016 was the 50th anniversary of the debut of the Royal Flush Gang, I knew I had to feature them again. I always liked them, both conceptually and visually. I did remember that drawing their costumes was a real pain, but I decided to try to take the time to draw them right. Yes, there are a few scenes that I rushed and I'm not quite happy with, but in general I liked how the bad guys turned out.

Secondly, I always liked Zatanna. When DC Comics had a poll asking which character should join the JLA, I voted for Zatanna. And yes, I was one of the (many) people upset that we got a pony-tailed sorceress instead of a top hatted magician. So when I had decided to use the Royal Flush Gang in my story, I almost immediately thought about having them face off against Zatanna.

Thirdly, I like how my "framing" sequence worked out. Originally the story did not have Madame Xanadu and her Tarot readings. However, I realized that the story was running short....really, the JLA shouldn't take 25 pages to defeat the Royal Flush Gang! Then it hit me to use Amos Fortune as their benefactor, and the whole thing fell into place: the easy initial defeat (luck glands turned "off"), the call for Martian Manhunter and Red Tornado (who I believe would not have luck glands, but isn't specified either way in the course of the story), and then the denouement with Amos Fortune at Madame Xanadu's parlor.

This meant that I had to do a little bit of homework about Tarot cards. I don't believe in their power, but I didn't want to make stuff up, either. So I ended up being pretty proud of what I ended up with: something close to a "royal flush" for Amos Fortune, and five cards that sort of kind of represent the Justice Leaguers. Can you tell who is represented by which card?

And lastly, I decided mostly on the spur of the moment for Zatanna to say "yes" to their offer to join the Justice League. I liked how Madame Xanadu picked up a card from the deck and it was "Justice."

The other bits I liked was the continuity I have established in my series. Most clearly referenced, Zatanna is still feeling bad that she wasn't able to help more when the JLA faced Whisper. That was in my 37th story. From there I also referenced the last time Zatanna appeared before that (JL #10) and two stories that occurred in "real" continuity that I never showed in my universe. Long-time fans should be especially pleased by my reference to the Warlock of Ys, who was the bad guy in the "true" continuity where Zatanna joined the Justice League. 

Two quick character bits that I liked: Red Tornado is trying more and more to be "human." He says things that I think make sense for him, such as his response to the Royal Flush Gang when they are surprised by the JLA's sudden appearance. He knows it wasn't "luck" at all (he gives the actual reason in the previous panel) but he is trying to sound human. Does it work for you?

 And lastly, I love this scene. I know I complain that I hate to draw the Flash because for every scene I have to draw him two or three times. But I still think that if you were up against the fastest man alive, you would be knocked out, literally, before you knew it. The follow-up when he delivers the knock-out blow, and then catches Jack as he falls, is great, too.

And this scene, is a direct homage to the original Dick Dillin-Frank McLaughlin scene where Zatanna joins the JLA in JLA #161. I lucked (?) out by finding a copy of the membership certificate, so then all I had to do was draw the figures over the bottom of it.
See you next time, thanks for reading!

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