Wednesday, August 31, 2011

JLA # 7 "The Retreat of the Time Lord!"

If you think it looks more like Godzilla than a Tyrannosaurus Rex, you're right. I just couldn't get the dinosaur to look right. There are a couple scenes with him (it?) that I liked, but in general I decided that drawing dinosaurs was not my forte. (I did think I did a pretty good job on the other dinosaurs you'll see, though).

Also, the cover ended up looking a bit different than the "Next Issue" preview where it was first shown. For one thing, I added Wonder Woman. I figured that if I used half of the heroes on part one, I'd use the other half on part two, but then only four characters looked a little bit too lonely. Now I think I should have kept her and Green Arrow off....

One last thing about the cover...I had a great image in my head about how I wanted it to look in color, but the logo colors didn't match, and by the time I had realized it it was too late unless I wanted to scrap the whole thing. I think the cover would have looked much nicer if the logo had been in, say, bright blue. Oh, well. I did like the green ground and the red skies.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

JLA # 7 "The Retreat of the Time Lord!" FORWARD

The one thing I want to talk about this time is the title. As it was a continuation of Number Six, Mariko-san suggested we just call it "Part Two." But I didn't want to do that for some reason (I ended up doing it later, for another two-parter, so maybe I was thinking that this was an addition, and not just a continuation....20 years later my reasoning escapes me). So she went ahead and read it and then we discussed what to call it~! Because the Justice League ends up defeating The Time Lord, she suggested the word "retreat." And although I remember thinking it wasn't the dramatic word that I was looking for, even after looking through a thesaurus I couldn't come up with anything better. So we kept it. 
Hope you enjoy how I keep the heroes busy and how I manage to get them back to "our" time.  As always, I look forward to hearing any feedback.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Outrageous Weekend at the Baltimore Comic-Book Convention, Aug 2011

Back in the Spring there was general talk about "let's get together at some convention this year." Chicago would have worked well for me, but it was far for a lot of my east-coast comic friends. My friend John Schwirian is from Baltimore, and he had suggested strongly that it was well worth the effort. Originally I had decided to go to the Baltimore Comic Convention in order to meet two of my all-time favorite comic-book creators: Nick Cardy (artist of AQUAMAN and various other DC comics) and Paul Levitz (LEGION and AQUAMAN writer). I talked to my Friend of Aquaman buddy and fellow Buckeye Rick Duncan and we decided to split the expenses and make the trip. And besides meeting up with Aquaman Chronicler John Schwirian, we would also be able to get-together with the Aquaman Shriner himself, Rob Kelly.

However, as soon as Rick & I had made specific plans (ie, hotel reservations & tickets purchased) the semi-final Guest List was issued and guess which two creators had decided not to visit Baltimore after all! (sigh). Luckily, this was the only real disappointment of the whole event, as we ended up having a wonderful weekend.

Rick and I left Columbus before noon on Friday and after a relatively easy 7 hour drive, arrived in Baltimore before 7 pm. We checked in, then arranged to meet local-boy John in the lobby. He soon introduced us to John and Cathy Workman. Now, John Workman is definitely not a household name, but if you know comics you may have heard of him. He is an extraordinarily talented letterer, artist, and production guy. He told us his first professional work was drawing the "vs" in the world-famous SUPERMAN vs. SPIDERMAN book back in the 70s. Who doesn't know or remember that book!?! More recently he has lettered AQUAMAN (I brought issues for him to sign) and drawn covers to the JLA ARCHIVES. At Saturday's Harvey Awards ceremony he was named 2011 Harvey Awards' Letterer of the Year for his work on THOR. (Who?) So this guy was major talent....and he and his wife ended up having dinner and breakfasts with us!! He entertained us with stories about Bob Kane, Carmine Infantino, and other comic big-wigs. What was really fantastic about the time we spent with him was that he seemed genuinely interested in us, such as my life in Japan and my experiences with Japanese manga. Rick and I had a wondderful time with them. On Saturday at the Convention I asked him for a sketch and he provided this great piece of Aquaman considering two very *different* redheads. (For those not in the know, Mera is his redheaded wife!) For us die-hard Aquaman fans, this is as good as it gets!!

On Saturday, after we had a very pleasant breakfast with the Workmans, we walked over to the Convention and on the way I met up with living legend Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. Now if you don't know who this is, you just don't know the name. For several years, ANY DC merchandise you could buy would use his artwork on it. So if you've seen a GL or Flash t-shirt or something like that, on THE BIG BANG or at Target, you've more than likely seen The Great One's work. He noticed my Aquaman t-shirt, with art by him (!!) and said his favorite pose was the one of Aquaman diving. He was as nice as can be while we chatted about whether he would be busy at this convention or not. I told him I would definitely be coming by his table later to chat with him again.

After the convention officially opened, the first table I made a bee-line to belonged to Amanda Conner and her husband, Jimmy Palmiotti. She was famous as the artist of POWER GIRL and drew Aquaman in WEDNESDAY COMICS. He is a writer of such books as JONAH HEX. I had originally considered asking her for a sketch, but there was already a huge crowd around her so I decided to not even ask. I did get her to sign my WEDNESDAY COMIC and both of them signed a copy of BIRDS OF PREY that they worked on together. So that was fun. Jimmy even mentioned that the one other creator on that book was at the convention, and to get him to sign it, too, so I had a complete set! I ended up doing it, which makes these two issues totally unique in my collection.

Next I made my way to the table of LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES artist Greg LaRocque and asked him for a sketch of one of my favorite Legionnaires. My thinking on sketches is this: I don't ask the really famous or really popular because I think they will either be very busy and decline OR too expensive and I will be embarassed. So I hit the "semi-famous," the artists I consider to be at the convention to do sketches for the extra money. I'm not sure if this is right, but I've never been disappointed yet and I've never paid more than $20 for an illustration. Anwya, we chatted a little bit about comics in general and the Legion in particular. He was the artist in the late 80s and early 90s, which was one of the better runs in its era IMHO. He seemed very friendly and graciously signed my six or seven LSH comics. I went back a few hours later and picked up this incredible sketch of Sensor Girl. (If you aren't a long-time LEGION fan you don't know who this is; don't worry about it, haha!) I had asked for a sketch and had expected just a head, but he took up the whole 8 1/2 x 11 paper. The whole thinig wouldn't fit on my scanner...that's how awesome it is. :-)

At about this time I made my way around to Jose Luis Garcia Lopez' table. He saw me and remembered me from the morning (really, I think I was one of two with an Aquaman t-shirt on, and the only one with an orange dress shirt on over it, haha!!) We chatted a little bit, and then I asked him to sign my two copies of LEGACIES: the issues that featured Aquaman (in the JLA) and Aqualad (in the Teen Titans). He was as nice as can be and it was a real pleasure to meet him. Depressing post-script to this story as far as I am concerned: the next day as Rick and I were on our way out we happened to chat with somebody and were told that Mr. Lopez had been doing quick pencil sketchs for $10. WHAT!?!! It didn't even occur to me to ask him because I thought he would be too expensive!! Lesson learned: from now on, I will ask *any* artist I like how much a quick sketch would cost. I am still kicking myself, several days later. I COULD HAVE HAD AN ORIGINAL JOSE LUIS GARCIA LOPEZ!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Moving on. (sigh)

Later in the day I finally found Cliff Chiang's table. It had been "hidden" by a line of people waiting to see somebody else! I squeezed in and wanted to talk to him, but he was eating his lunch, so I just perused his prints and books for sale to let him eat. He had done a series of famous 80s images re-imagined with super heroes...."Pretty in Pink" featuring Phoenix, Cyclops, and Wolverine; Duran Duran "Rio" with Vampirella; Janet Jackson "Control" with Storm...and these two wonderful images: the Teen Titans as "The Breakfast Club" and Batgirl as Prince in "Purple Rain." I saw the 8 1/2 x 11 print of the Teen  Titans and *really* wanted it, but it was $40. Yikes. When I first saw the same sized same priced Batgirl I laughed out loud. This got his attention, and as he had finished lunch we started chatting. I told him I had gone to school in Minneapolis and had been to First Ave, the club where "Purple Rain" was filmed. Plus I had loved Yvonne Craig as a kid so I really liked this print. I really wanted both these images, but..... So he told me he had a set of post-cards for $10, and I snatched them up! Then I asked him to sign them, as well as the only Aquaman illustration I could find that he had ever done, and he signed that comic, too. These scans don't do his talent justice; please do click on them to enlarge them. You won't be disappointed. 

By this time Rick, John, and I got back together and decided it was about time to head to Delaware to meet our buddy Rob.  Rob lives in New Jersey (in an area close to Philadelphia) so he had about an hour drive southwest to meet us; we left from Baltimore and drove about an hour northeast to meet him. We met in an in-between dimension, at a rest stop on I-95 in Delaware. We talked Aquaman, the Aquaman Shrine, the Aquaman Chronicles, Aquaman, comic book creators, conventions, and Aquaman. It was OUTRAGEOUS! Rob's friend Dan took this great photo of our Fantastic FOAMers: Rick, Rob, John, and me, Russell. (Hey, I just realized all our names begin with "R" except John! I wonder if that means anything....?! Haha!!) We teased Rob that of all of us, he was the only one not actually wearing anything with Aquaman on it; he said that made him the least geeky, for once in his life, haha.

The next day we met up with the Workmans again for breakfast and were happy to hear that John had won the  Harvey Award. While we Aquaman Fanatics were visiting in Delaware, the 2011 Harvey Awards Show had been going on back in Baltimore! I had forgotten about it, but it turned out that the only winner I really knew anything about was John! He graciously posed with us with his award.
Rick and I walked around to shop for a little bit and then had intended to go to a DC Comics panel about their New Universe. However, when it was cancelled, we decided to just head back to Ohio early. We said our good-byes to John Schwirian and John & Cathy Workman, and left "Charm City" with memories that will last a lifetime. A sincere thank-you to everybody who made it so wonderful!  

The next Con I'm going to is the local Mid-Ohio Con the weekend of October 22-23. I've applied to be a Volunteer Staff, so it'll be an interesting experience.If you are thinking of going, I heartily recommend it. If you *are* going, let's arrange to get together and talk comics!

I forgot to mention the weirdest experience I have ever had at a con! So Sunday while I was walking around trying to find a cool poster of the DCU Superstars I had seen on Saturday, I walked by a table with some stranger selling work that was obviously by my buddy Rob! I stopped and tried to figure out if he was a crook or what...turns out he was one of Rob's friends named Doug Slack and was "authorized" to seel Rob's stuff. So I introduced myself (Hi, I'm Russell...) and he looks at me and says, "Russell....Burbage?" I must have looked shocked because he quickly added, "I remember your name from the Aquaman Shrine."
Well you could have bowled me over with a feather, I tell you! I drive seven hours to Baltimore, Maryland to be "recognized" by a complete stranger. It really is a small world!

Happy Birthday, Walt Kelly!

Today Aug 25 is what would have been Walt Kelly's 98th birthday. Just recently I heard that many celebrated Lucille Ball's 100th birthday, so I guess the two of them were contemporaries. It makes me feel just a little bit old to think that I knew, even so tangentially, someone who is nearly 100 years old. Here's hoping we'll have a huge centennial celebration in 2013!

I don't know why I feel such a connection to POGO and to Walt Kelly. As I've said before, Mr. Kelly died right around the time I was just beginning to discover him. I had the POGO cups and the plastic toys (I'll write about those some other time). I read the comic strip in the newspaper. I know my parents knew I liked POGO because they indulged me the give-aways and they also made a point of showing me the news articles written when Mr. Kelly died. I'm sure at some basic level I was attracted by the "cute animal" factor. Maybe it was the language; I liked reading and speaking in accents and "fun" stuff like that from a young age. Maybe it was the "voice" of Mr. Kelly, as illustrated by the picture above and the one below. Pogo was your everyday "Mr. Average" just trying to get along as best as he can with a little help from his friends. Kind of  like all good comedy, you can't spend too much time trying to over-analyze it: it's just what it is, and you either like it or you don't. :-)

Happy 98th Birthday, Mr. Kelly! And thank you again for years and years of entertainment!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

My First Convention, Mid-Ohio Con 2002

As I prepare to head off to my newest Comic Book Convention today I've been thinking about some of my previous experiences. I guess it's true that you never forget your first, and for me, Mid-Ohio Con in 2002 was it.

I lived in Japan from 1987 to 2001. Before that, I was a high school student in St. Louis and a college student in St. Paul (MN). So it's not like I had any chances to visit San Diego or Chicago or New York to go to the earliest Comic Book (or Star Trek) Conventions. It was during the 90s that the phenomenon exploded, and all of a sudden any big city not just the "major" cities, could and were holding conventions. From Japan I would hear about conventions in Atlanta, Charlotte NC, Dallas, as well as various other places on the East Coast and West Coast.

When I came back to the States I was living in a small town in Indiana located between Muncie and Fort Wayne (home of Maj. Frank Burns, from MASH). I had been on enough cyber chat-rooms to know about visiting with celebrities and getting your comics signed, etc. I was defnitely up for finally going to a convention. However, the biggest city in my vicinity, Indianapolis, didn't have one!

So a year or so goes by and suddenly I come across a notice somewhere about some comic-book convention going on in Columbus, Ohio. Now, remember, I was still living in Indiana at this time. I investigated and found that not one but TWO of my all-time favorites were going to be at this convention: June Lockhart from LOST in SPACE and Yvonne Craig, "Batgirl" from BATMAN (TV). Any red-blooded American boy growing up at that time had a crush on "Batgirl" (or "Robin", haha), and LOST in SPACE was definitely one of my all-time favorite shows growing up. I figured Ms. Lockhart was getting up there in years and if I didn't take the time and spend the money to go to this, I risked not seeing her *EVER*. (In fact, she has never come back to the midwest that I can remember, and Jonathan Harris (Dr. Smith) has since died). So I asked my daughter Anna if she would like to join me in this one-day adventure; she said YES and we made plans to go.

Columbus is only about 2 hours away from my old town, so we got up early, drove to Eason Hyatt, and made our way to the Convention area. I'm a sucker for city skylines, and as I drove towards and around downtown Columbus, I thought to myself, "This is nice. It reminds me of St. Louis and Minneapolis."

We arrived after it had opened, so after walking around and acclimating ourselves to the whole "scene" (Look at all the stuff they're selling!!) we made our way to the Celebrity Corner. Now, if anyone has not been to a convention before, it's a lot like Job Fairs or things of that nature, except instead of trying to sell you as a student to ABC Inc, they are trying to sell you the newest (or oldest) issue of ABC Comics. The largest conventions (I've since found out) take up entire...well, the word they use is "hall" but the image I'm gonig for is "hangar." With that in mind, Mid-Ohio Con is what you would call "intimate." It was only a small warehouse sized room (thinking wedding reception) with off-shoots in the lobbies and branches around the room.

Using our program (which I swore I kept but now cannot find) we managed to locate June Lockhart and Yvonne Craig. Neither of them were too swamped with people. Both were behind two or three folding tables with various photographs lined up on them. Being a newbie, I wasn't sure exactly what was supposed to happen, so I did what all good anthropologists do: I watched. I eventually figured out that you pick out the photo you want, you hand it to the star, you pay her, she signs it and gives it back to you.

Armed with this new knowledge/theory of conventional behavior, we moved in. I graciously said Hello to her and asked her how much her autograph would cost. She said $20 which is what I had been told to expect. So my daughter and I then perused photographic evidence of June Lockhart's career: she was in Meet Me in St. Louis with Judy Garland (which I knew but had forgotten), she was in LASSIE (which I never watched), LOST in SPACE of course, PETTICOAT JUNCTION (again, I knew but had forgotten), and then various other TV movies and an episode of MAGNUM PI with her daughter, Anne. I picked out a photo of her with Judy from Meet Me for my friend Greg, and then I had to decide which of the many good shots I wanted to buy for myself.
My eye allotted on a more recent photo (shown at left) of the LiS cast (except for the late Guy Williams). She told me that TV Guide had gotten them together for a photo shoot to commemorate the show's 25th or 30th or some reunion. We both talked about what a great shot it was, and how she had remained friendly with the cast. While we were chatting (yes, *chatting* with June Lockhart!!) my daughter came up to me and said, "I like this one." She had chosen some illustration of the LiS cast in their characters' costumes etc. I must have said something like, "Well, that's a good one, honey, but I like this more modern one and we can only get one." Anna, who was about 11 or so at the time must have said, "yeah, that is a good one....okay..." or something. I asked June Lockhart to sign it, she did, and told me to be careful until the permanent marker dried or it would smudge. I thanked her and we went on over to Yvonne Craig's table.

Now I have to tell you, I had heard horror stories about celebrities at these conventions. In my chat groups (pre-blog days in the 90s and early 2000) people had said that June Lockhart was a snob or worse, and that she wouldn't shake your hand or speak to you if she was out to sell her wares. So I have to say I was a bit nervous about approaching her. After the experience was so pleasant I literally let out a sigh of relief as I headed to Yvonne Craig. Now normally, I would have been *more* nervous approaching a long-time crush, but thinking that I had just gone through a gauntlet without any problems whatsoever, I must have looked really happy. And of course, Yvonne Craig was a pleasant, happy person to talk to. She was telling somebody about her experiences making a movie with Elvis as I looked over her photos. I already had a pose of her as Batgirl from way back (I told you I had a crush on her!) so I picked out a similarly themed photo to the LiS version, showing four of the stars as they had gotten together in the 90s to promote BATMAN on TVLand or NickAtNite or something. At the time I wasn't really sure the photo I ended up choosing (shown here) was the right choice, but now I'm sure it was. For one thing, the great Frank Gorshin has passed on, and I will now never have a chance to actually meet him face-to-face.  Sure, the Continuity Buffs out there will know my problem with it: Yvonne Craig and Julie Newmar never actually *met* on the show (by the time Batgirl came around, Catwoman was played by Eartha Kitt). But that is a small quibble about a really great photo! 

Now here is the best part of this story. As my daughter and I were looking at Yvonne Craig's photos, talking to her (talking to Batgirl!!!!), and getting her photo signed, June Lockhart walked up to us and said, "When you're finished here please come back to my table." 


Going through my mind were all sorts of different ideas, but nothing possible. Why in the world would she want us to come back to her table?!?! We made our good-byes to Yvonne Craig and slowly but surely returned to June Lockhart's area. Was she mad? Did we over-pay? What~!?!!

Well, it turns out that she had signed the illustration that Anna had taken an interest in and handed it off to us saying, "This is for your daughter. She was so polite and well behaved that I wanted her to have it."


THIS from a woman who is supposedly a snob and a bore?!?

We thanked her profusely, and I was on Cloud Nine. Not only had I met two of the women I watched on TV during my adoloscence, but they had both been SUPER nice to me and June Lockhart had *given* me a free autographed photo!

Needless to say, I have had some other convention experiences since, but this one is still by far my favorite. :-) A few years later when my job in Indiana began to go sour, I had a job offer in Columbus. I wasn't thrilled with the job itself but the idea of moving to Columbus was appealing, as it was a city that had been vedy vedy good to me. So, yes, I think this experience led indirectly to me moving to Columbus four years later. And of course I went back to Mid-Ohio every year I lived in Indiana and this year I'm volunteering there.

Off to Baltimore now to meet up with fellow Friends of AquaMan for a fun, dare I say it "outrageous" weekend. I'll take plenty of pictures and post the best ones.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A BRAND NEW Aquaman Adventure: "States of Matter!"

Happy Birthday, Rob Kelly!

In honor of Rob's birthday, cyber-pal (and fellow Friend of Aqua Man member) Rick Duncan and I got together creatively to make up a brand-new AQUAMAN adventure for you! Rick wrote the script last year and asked if I would be interested in illustrating it. I agreed to do it, even though I think my art style is somewhere between Fred Hembeck and Frank Robbins (!). The original plan was to finish it and send it to Rob as a Christmas 2010 present. However, I just didn't have the time or the inclination last winter to get it done. Then this past Spring I suddenly had a burst of creativity from my Muse and pencilled, inked, AND colored it, all in time for his birthday today!

Rob got a color-copied version, a "pencilled" version, and the original script (which was supposed to be the first part of a two-parter, but I just couldn't make that kind of commitment, so we revised it into a stand-alone story).  Here's a scan of the colored version. Hope you like it! I'm actually not so crazy about it....I see a lot that I wanted to do that turned out badly. On every page I see something that worked and something that didn't....but, what the was fun!

Aquaman, Mera, and Tempest in "States of Matter!"
by Rick Duncan and Russell Burbage
(click on the pics to super-size them)

Friday, August 12, 2011

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today....!

I've been thinking a lot about growing old lately. To many of you, that might not be all that surprising or deep. However, to most people I think that we really don't think about growing OLD. OldER, maybe, but never OLD. I remember waiting and wanting to turn 16, then 18, then 21, then 30....but "old"? When, dare I say, did I grow OLD? Or have I not, yet? ;-)

I'm writing this because today, August 12, 2011, is the 20th birthday of my lovely daughter, Anna Burbage Toyama. Twenty years ago today she joined us on this earth, and I'm awfully glad she did! Happy Birthday, honey!!!

In Japan turning 20 is a big deal. It's like turning 21 in the USA. (Twenty-year olds can drink and they can vote.) And because Japanese people love to celebrate everything as a group, there is a national holiday called "Adult Day" so the entire country can honor all the young people turning into Legal Adults within that fiscal year. I am not making this up!  Basically, your city or town underwrites you having a class reunion! Anna decided last year that she wanted to participate, so we are going back to Japan in December and spending Christmas, New Years, and Adult Day in Japan. Women usually dress up in kimonos (which can cost thousands of dollars) and men usually wear suits. We'll get a commemorative photo of her class, so I'll post something about it when we get back.
In the meantime, here's a photo of the last time she got all "dolled" up: For the 7-5-3 (shichi-go-san) 
Festival. Young children at these ages are supposed to get all dressed up to be taken to your local Shrine.
The Gods (Ancestors) are supposed to be formally introduced to you and they're asked to help protect you against demons or sickness or something. So this photo must be from 1994, because I'm sure we only did it the first time (traditionalists do it twice: one year is for both boys and girls and the other two are for the one or the other. Obviously, I cared so much about this custom to remember the details, haha). Click to enlarge.

Flash forward 17 years or so. Here are we dressed up again, this time in a different type of altar, haha. This was taken at a Blue Jackets game last fall. See how I haven't aged at all!? :-)

To celebrate Anna's birthday we will go out to dinner and a movie tonight. She'll then probably go out again with friends. And we'll have another huge party on and around January 3, 2012...and again next August when she turns 21.

Happy Birthday, Anna Banana!!  
Love, Dad

Thursday, August 11, 2011

JLA No. 6 "The Debut of the Time Lord!" AFTERWARD

So, what did you think? Did you see the time-travelling ending coming? My guess is after the whole team showed up and it was already page 30-something you probably guessed it would be a two-parter. A little side note: in true continuity the first two-parter in their history featured The Time Lord (and Felix Faust, but he's not coming up for a few issues yet) so I figured I'd do the same. :-)

You have to remember that this story took place in the early 90s. Dinosaurs were BIG then ( know what I mean!). So it seemed like a no-brainer to pit my guys against them. How to do it: either bring them back to the dinosaurs, or bring the dinosaurs to them. It's a lot easier to draw jungles than it is to draw cities, so....:-)

A few other notes about this issue that struck me as I was scanning the pages in:

 As I mentioned in the Forward, this story started by me asking the question: How would the JLA come across a character like the Time Lord? I picked Black Canary as the main protagonist for two reasons: 1. she had a brand new logo (more about that later) and 2. she was popular with the girl readers (and I had an idea for Wonder Woman that I used two issues from now). As soon as I hit on the idea of having a member come across the Time Lord on an individual case and then have that adventure escalate into a story that involved the entire group, I narrowed the choice down to Black Canary easily. So...the first few pages are actually a Black Canary adventure, which seemed kind of cool. She maintained her popularity as long as I was drawing these, which I liked.

It always seemed odd to me that if you happened to be reading an issue of BATMAN, he would be able to solve whatever death-trap plot-devise his Arch-Nemesis would toss at him, but if he happened to be in JUSTICE LEAGUE then he would suddenly need his buddies' help.  So with that in mind, when Black Canary is faced with a choice of either breaking into the museum or asking for a quick teleportation lift, it seemed logical for her to call Aquaman to help her out. He is at her service, after all. Especially characters like Black Canary and Green Arrow, who would otherwise not have a way into the building without teleportation (unlike, say, The Flash or Green Lantern, who could get in under their own power).

This was the first issue where I started to create some of the internal logic and rules of "my" Justice League: namely, I established that there are two types of "alerts" that members can send out: Yellow Alerts, which is asking for help from anybody who happens to be available; and Red Alerts, which are A-1 emergencies that all members must respond to.  This made sense to me at the time, even though in the very next panel showing Aquaman staying on duty, Green Arrow is shown receiving the signal...! So...uh...what exactly is Aquaman supposed to be doing? Co-ordinating something? Or did *he* send along her signal? That part was left unclear. And when the Red Alert signal goes out, he is shown to be
responding himself, leaving no one at the satellite on monitor duty. That doesn't seem right, either....and will be addressed in a couple of issues after I had realized my mistake. Later issues will show that there is always a member on duty...although I guess if it's a Red Alert that member would also respond...? See how complicated it gets? ;-)

As for Black Canary's logo, she is the only member to ever get two logos. When I was putting together the Roll Call Portraits I only had access to the comics I had with me in Japan at the time...and the only logo I had for her was the straight block type. So that is the one I used in issue 5. Then between issues 5 and 6 DC came out with their new BLACK CANARY ongoing series, and with it a new logo. THIS is the one I used from issue 6 on! :-)  

In general I thought this issue did what it was supposed to do very well: it starts out as a solo adventure, becomes a team-up, and then, finally, a team story: just in time To Be Continued; all in a straight-forward and logical way. We'll see if it all ends as clearly as it starts!