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    Lance Mannion
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I'm a comic book fan. More than that, it was comic books that got me and my wife together -- if it hadn't been for the fact that we were (yes, yes, throw tomatoes now) both into writing comic book fanfiction -- stories based on the characters in comics, like those Star Trek novels you see in the bookstore, except we did it for free and it wasn't official -- we certainly never would've met.

My favorite comics character of all time?

Ollie "Green Arrow" Queen.

When is Ollie at his best? Glad you asked: when he has Dinah "Black Canary" Lance to bounce off of. Man, I'm jealous. I wish I was there to see it.


Oh, PS, the "Impulse" thing.

It's all ridiculously convoluted, but the short version is, Impulse is the nom de guerre of Bart Allen, the Flash's grandson. He has pretty much the same powers, but a much more happy-go-lucky attitude. He's also from the distant future. (I told you it was convoluted.) He's also gone by "Kid Flash," but you can kind of understand why they went with "Impulse" instead.

"I am Green Arrow, and these are my partners, Black Canary, Cyborg, Aquaman, Superman... and Kid Flash!" Wouldn't exactly inspire terror in the hearts of evildoers, methinks.


Falstaff, you'd have been disappointed. Black Canary and Green Arrow had very little interaction last night. I didn't see the episode last season when she was introduced, but it sounds like more went on between them in that one. Green Arrow is now a regular character, so I expect she'll be back.

Howard Chaykin

If you're actually interested in a brilliant retelling of the mythos, forget all this and find a copy of Tom DeHaven's beautiful novel, entitled IT'S SUPERMAN!, published a few years back.

At every convention appearance, I ask for a show of hands among the fans, as to who's read this book, and if there's one in the room, it's a big deal.

The book is beautifully written, covering the years 1935 to 1938 or thereabouts--and is deeply deserving of more attention. Of course, the hardcover had a Chris Ware cover--this was back when he was the shit among ADs--while the trade has a more appropriate cell from a Fleisher cartoon.

Trust me on this--IT'S SUPERMAN! is fabulous.

And for the record, Superman and Batman were members of the Justice League from word one--check out the cover of the first issue, that goofy shot of the whole mess ganging up on Starro the conqueror.

Back then, fans like us all hated Mike Sekowsky's work on the book, never appreciating his bizarre style until years later.

And as for the BLACK CANARY, none did the character greater justice than the late great ALEX TOTH, very briefly, back in the '70s.

Christ--I really am old, and I must have too much spare time.

Matter-Eater Lad

I think we stopped watching Smallville around the stuff with the reincarnated French witches, though we did tune in for the first Justice League episode a few seasons ago. What bothered me about it was Clark's passivity -- not a reluctance to act, but the fact that he rarely seemed to act until someone else told him to. The Justice League episode didn't help -- Green Arrow as the impetus for the age of super-heroes? Superman as the latecomer to the group? Just didn't sit well with me.

It's Superman is a very nice take on the mythos. Lance, have you read Elliot S! Maggin's two Superman novels?


"Real old old-time fans of the comic books may remember that the original Justice League did not include Superman or Batman, they joined later."

I believe you're wrong here. Batman and Superman were both founding members, appearing in the groups first appearance in The Brave and the Bold issue something-or-other. In the Justice Society (Golden Age, pre-Crisis continuity) Supes and Bats were honorary members.

I won't swear to any of this because my mind could be faulty. But I'm pretty sure I'm right.

I enjoy your site, by the way and check it every day or two.


Re: Superman and Batman joining the Justice League later -- here is where we run smack into the brick wall of "Well, what we MEANT to say is --"

See, about... I think it's about fifteen years ago now, D.C. Comics did a bit of a reboot on the League's origins. They'll do that periodically, as with the notion some years before that that's being explored in Smallville, viz. that Superman didn't always have his powers, he got 'em slowly over time.

In the revised version, Superman and Batman didn't join in the beginning, weren't even really around at all for a while. (The team asks Superman, but he flies off thinking he's too busy.) They got off lucky: They replaced Wonder Woman with the Black Canary ("That wasn't a brunette; that was a blonde! Seriously!")

Anyway. Apparently my extensive knowledge of useless information is coming in handy today.

Ken Houghton

You're confusing the JLA with the Legion of Super-Heroes, whose original members were Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy.

Gary Farber

Okay, Typepad is doing the too many links and length error. Will break this into multiple parts. (Typepad sucks!)

Pt. 1: Lance, here are the JLA covers. I read all those issues starting with around issue #6, as they came out. Superman and Batman were deemphasized on the covers for quite some time in an attempt to get the book to stand on their own, but any history you'd like to consult, beyond just rereading the issues, will tell you that Superman and Batman were there from the start; the whole thing was, after all, a reboot of the Justice Society. See here, or Don Markstein, or wherever. Just don't let recent reboots and retcons confuse you.

"The premise of the series, that Clark Kent was living a fairly average life as a Kansas farm boy until his superpowers began to manifest themselves one by one and turned his life upside down, is consistent with the original comic books."

Depends on which "original" you mean. The original 1939, yes. But even before the time Mort Weisinger was editor, and Superboy was really played up, along with Superbaby, no, that's wrong. Pick your favorite continuity.

Gary Farber

Pt. II: As it happens, "Superboy" was originally pitched by Jerry Siegel in 1938, but DC turned it down. By 1944, they reversed themselves. Wikipedia is correct at the above link:

[...] Superboy first appeared in More Fun Comics #101 (Jan.-Feb. 1945, published in late 1944). Though Joe Shuster supplied the art, the Superboy feature was published without the input or approval of Jerry Siegel, who was serving in World War II. This fact increased an already-growing rift between the publisher and Siegel and Shuster.[1]

After just seven issues of More Fun Comics, the Superboy feature moved to Adventure Comics, where he debuted in issue #103 (1946) as the cover and lead feature for the anthology comic. In a period when the popularity of superheroes was generally in decline, the adventures of Superboy became increasingly popular.

Three years after the move to Adventure Comics, Superboy became only the sixth DC superhero to receive his own comic book when Superboy #1 debuted in 1949. Superboy became the first new superhero title to succeed since World War II.

Etc. From what you write, I'm unclear if you're at all familiar with the pre-1961 Superboy.

"Flash, who for some reason is calling himself Impulse"

Because he's Bart Allen, of course. Though there was an homage in his first appearance with ID cards also in the name of Wally West and Barry Allen.

M-E L: "I think we stopped watching Smallville around the stuff with the reincarnated French witches,"

That's a terrible shame, because that storyline was a temporary abberation, dropped after that season, and never returned to, aside from the general use of Kryptonian rocks and Jor-El's ever-returning presence, and all. Sad to let a little glitch cause one to quit the whole show, which went on to become so much better (if never exactly a marvel of consistency or sense, since it's neither; just good fun, mostly, so long as one squints and doesn't look too closely, which is pretty much the rule for superhero comics).

So, what do you think of Justice League Unlimited?

Gary Farber

Bart Allen, btw.


Homework assignment: compare this about Clark to the Superman-like character on Heroes, that dope Peter Petrelli.

They differ because Peter Petrelli doesn't have Glenn Ford to give him the big "And one thing I do know, son, and that is you are here for a *reason*. I don't know whose reason, or whatever the reason is... Maybe it's because... uh... I don't know. But I do know one thing. It's *not* to score touchdowns. Huh?" speech.

Gary Farber

"They differ because Peter Petrelli doesn't have Glenn Ford"

But lots of Superman's incarnations had rather different versions. The original was rough and indifferent to whether he killed. In the John Byrne reboot, the Kents were still alive. In the current continuity, they're still alive. That one movie is just one of hundreds of iterations of the Superman story.

A lot of people tend to talk about the comics characters as if the one version they ran across as a kid, whether in comics, tv, movies, radio, or whatever, were the only version, but that leads to a very misleading notion of the character, and their stories, as a rule. Most actual Superman fans are unlikely to think of Glenn Ford when thinking of Pa Kent: only those whose knowledge is primarily that one movie would tend to think that. (Those who watch Smallville, but aren't well-read in the oevre might instead think John Schneider.)

Gary Farber

Current version of the Kents.

Gary Farber

Sorry, this, actually.

Jerod Bowen

All who are arguing about who was the First JLA, according to the rebooted JLA: YEAR ONE it were these five heros who founded the JLA... Green Lantern, Black Canary, Jon Jon'zz, Flash(Barry Allen) and Aquaman....

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