JLI Podcast #2 – Justice League #2 (June 1987)

It’s time for the second episode of JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL: BWAH-HA-HA PODCAST! The Irredeemable Shag welcomes guest host Michael Bailey to discuss Justice League #2 (June 1987)! This month Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire treat us to a Bialyan dictator and the Champions of Angor?!?! Mike and Shag cover what was on the shelves that same month, recap and discuss the Justice League issue, and finally YOUR listener feedback!

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48 responses to “JLI Podcast #2 – Justice League #2 (June 1987)

  1. Evidently Al Gordon was known for making phone calls that Giffen could never end for whatever reason.

    Longtime Southern California fans may remember Wally George’s Hot Seat, which was a kind of proto-O’Reilly Factor, and itself was a riff on Joe Pyle.

    Wootenhoffer also calls back to Miss Teschmacher from the Superman movie. Imagine Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor screaming “Miss Wootenhoffer!”

    Green Hornet ripoffs, both in name and setup, are all over the Golden Age. Just at DC, we have Sandman, Crimson Avenger, and of course the Red Bee.

    Fair enough on the coloring issue. Gene D’Angelo’s work wasn’t the most sophisticated even for the time.

    1. I don’t know if I would assign complete inspiration for Sandman and the Crimson Avenger to the Green Hornet. You also have the Shadow and Spider. Crimson Avenger is probably a stronger case, since he was a newsman. Really, the Green Hornet owes quite a bit to The Shadow and The Spider, both of which predate him. In fact, the Spider was generally at odds with the police and used disguises to infiltrate criminal gangs, which bears similarity to the Green Hornet’s method (though he operated as an outright “criminal”, to fool real crooks). The Spider also had an Asian servant, Ram Singh (a sikh) who aided him, much like Kato, though Kato was more directly and regularly involved in combat, alongside his master. The Shadow, as a pulp hero, debuted in 1931, The Spider in 1933, and The Green Hornet in 1936.

      1. You’re perhaps already aware, but aside from whatever other influences may have been in play, the Green Hornet was also a modernization of the Lone Ranger (by the same creators, and Britt Reid, the Hornet’s alter ego, was thought to be a grand-nephew of the Lone Ranger).

  2. I’ll second the Kevin Maguire Modern Masters book. It features some great insights into things like The Adventures of Captain America, Sentinel of Liberty, which didn’t start out to be a recap (pardon the pun) of Cap’s origin; but, became one, due to Maguire’s love of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    I’ve always pronounced it Wand-Jeena; don’t know why, it just seemed proper. Then again, I was in the Dark-Seed camp. I also go with Bee-all-ya. It’s probably the influence of my high school Spanish classes.

    When you talk about the series gelling with “Moving Day,” I think most people mean as more of a pure comedy. I agree, those elements are here, even more than issue one.

    I also agree that this Maxwell Lord does seem like a villain and if it weren’t for everything in between, I could see this Lord as the villain he later becomes.

    The Wootenhoffer name makes me chuckle; a couple of years after this, I was going through a 6-month training school, for the Navy and had a classmate whose last name was Scace. She got married, while we were in school, to another naval officer, named Duttenhoffer. We used to joke about going from a one-syllable name to a multi and use to call her “Wootenhoffer” and “Huffenduffer.”

    1987 was a tremendous year. Speaking as someone who started reading comics around 1970/71, this was an amazing time. There were great books before that, sometimes several at once; but, there were so many great titles, not just at DC, but also in the independents (I really wasn’t reading much Marvel, in this period). Dark Horse was expanding, with intriguing titles like The American, Trekker, The Mark, and Black Cross, joining Dark Horse Presents and Concrete. First Comics and Eclipse were going strong.

    Listening to Michael Bailey, I can sympathize, though I was in college and had learned enough to not be so scared of nuclear annihilation. However, in 1987, i was a year away from being a commissioned naval officer and the bulk of our training was focused on dealing with the Soviet threat. However, Chernobyl had laid bare that the Soviet bear was a bit more toothless then we believed. My nuclear fears were more this kind of thing, as the global nuclear power industry had been plagued (and still is) with safety concerns.

    The Blue Beetle thing tends to be more in name than concept. Jim Steranko brings it up in the PBS documentary about superheroes; but, the character in the 40s was more of a generic hero, than a Green Hornet clone Of course, everyone was cribbing from everyone else, in those days

    In terms of the color, the technology still wasn’t quite there, though you could do more than was often displayed. A related element was that printing technology was changing. DC had been using the “flexo-graphic” printing process, which used plastic plates, which had a problematic development. A lot of their books from 1984 and 85 look terrible, with murky printing and bleed through. By this point, they seemed to have it down and I don’t recall any major issues cropping up. A lot of the tonal qualities, in this period, were manipulated by “ben day dots” and similar techniques. Computer coloring really opened up a whole new set of tools, to the point that the colorists were often giving more dimension to the art tan the inker, in the case of some of the Image gang.

    That Freedom Fighters/Invaders crossover you mention featured “villains” called the Crusaders, in both. In the DC book, the Crusaders were a group of comic fans given powers, by the Silver Ghost, who were named for Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Archie Goodwin, and Roy Thomas.

    1. As always, thanks for the amazing feedback! Hope you knew I was teasing on the show. .. And make no mistake, I will continue to tease you in subsequent episodes. 😛

      1. I know you’re teasing Shag, which is why I will continue to make fun of your lack of pre-mid 80s comic experience. Dern kids with your comic shops and mail order services; we had to bike between 12 different newsstands, in snow up to our banana seats, just to get a portion of that months comics and heaven help you if all they had was Harvey!

    2. The funny thing about the 1940s Blue Beetle is that he might be a superheroic clone of Green Hornet, but he wears a costume that borrows heavily the King Features’ The Phantom. Slam Evil!

  3. Hey International listeners! Mention your home country and we’ll assign you to that Embassy in the next episode’s feedback!!

        1. (I’ve obviously written about Dr Fate so many times on this iPad that Autocockup assumes ‘Naboo’ is an error. Which it likely is. I dunno, I don’t know much about Star Wars. I’m the Earth UK Michael Bailey…)

  4. ps I didn’t know the music was Trans-Siberian Orchestra; but, it does kind of have that 1980s Mike Post tv theme sound.

    One favor to ask, no more references to anniversaries to comics in the 80s. I’m headed towards the same anniversary as Star Trek and the Batman tv show, and it’s tough enough without adding fuel to the fire. 😉

  5. Just to chime in on the Aussie pronunciation of Wandjina, I’ve mostly heard it said Wan-jinn-ah. Pretty weird appropriation of an Australian indigenous term for a comic.

    Shag, having one guest a month means a mounting feeling of resentment among those people you pretend to be friends with. Perhaps you should have a second guest in for the Justice Log section each month. I will happily be that second guest every month.

  6. Re Wandjina: in my head canon, because Wandjina is named for the Australian Aboriginal rain spirits, I always associated his bald head and heavy brow with Peter Garrett, the lead singer of the band Midnight Oil.

  7. I think Mr. Bailey deserves his own Bwahaha award for pointing out that the Leaguers are head-banging on this cover. I’ve had this comic for 29 years, and never thought of that. But now I can’t UNTHINK it. I love it.

    Michael Berryman is the actor you are thinking of for Wandjina. He was in Weird Science, but is perhaps best known for the original version of The Hills Have Eyes, directed by Wes Craven, as Michael pointed out.

    I had no ideas the Heroes of Angor had appeared before. They had no Who’s Who entries! How could they have existed! Where were the foot notes! I haven’t gone back to re-read these issues, but shouldn’t Batman and Black Canary recognize them? Do they?

    Great episode as always…well, you’ve only done two, so maybe you’ve gotten lucky, and the rest may suck. But with the caliber of guest hosts you’re bringing in, I’m feeling good about your chances. Now I have to wonder how Tim Wallace managed to work in an Ernest P. Worrell bit BEFORE I did! As you know from Who’s Who, that’s my jam. Hey, he’s also from Kentucky!


    1. I learned about it in Jeff Rovin’s Encyclopedia of Super-Heroes. In one of the appendices, related to teams, they are mentioned. It took a while, but I was able to hunt down their appearance, a couple of years later.

    2. Black Canary wasn’t in that issue where the Heroes of Angor appeared. That was back when having more than one woman on the Justice League of America was illegal and Zatanna appeared in this one. Batman was going through a lot of stuff in that issue, which might explain why he didn’t recognize them. Or maybe he did, and just chose not to tell anybody. He’s a sneaky one.

  8. Good show Shag! (and I’m being literal, not British)

    Your enthusiasm for this series comes through, and Bailey as always is a good podcasting partner because he brings the knowledge. Your enthusiasm for not having to have me on until ep 35 also comes through.

    I have that issue of JLA where the alt-Avengers first appear. Mike Freidrich loved putting oddball thoughts into the heads of the JLAers, like when he had Batman fall in love(ish) with Black Canary! Those are some weird-ass stories.

    Kevin Maguire’s rep was really made on this series, as it deserved to be. His work on this series holds up even after all these years.

    1. ‘…and I’m being literal, not British’

      Yeah, we say that ALL the time, toodle pip dear boy lor luvvaduck strike a light guv, lumme, I’m just orf up the old apples and pears.

      Actually, it took me years to work out that quite liking something in US speak is much more of a compliment than when we say it and it means ‘oh, it was alright, I suppose).

      And we would LOVE Rob to be Briddish.

        1. Ah shure, ’tis not as bad as Yanks doing our Oirish accent, to be shure, to be shure, Guinness, potatoes and leprechauns, begorrah!!!

          1. Hoot man; they nae try ta do that tae a Scot, ya ken? Aye, jammie!

            All of of which brings to mind Dangermouse, a product of the UK which played more on stereotypes that just about anything here.

            By the by, why does every American on British television sound nasally and say “idea-err?”

  9. As uncomfortable as it makes you, I’m pretty sure Wandjina is pronounced with a long ‘i’ sound, like ‘eye’. Also, like the German name Wagner, the ‘w’ in Wandjina should be pronounced like a ‘v’.

  10. Great show, we can hear you smiling right through the headphones.

    I personally don’t have anything against the coloring. I actually MISS flat colors in my superhero comics. Fancy-ass coloring looks terrible when it’s done badly, but even when it’s done well, it’s probably one of the reasons comics are so often late nowadays. It’s like every book is a vanity project, and I don’t think it necessarily adds all that much (and even detracts) when the line art is of a high level of quality, which is the case with Maguire and his inkers.

    The flat-colored costumes are iconic and look right (that the Silver Sorceress’ costumes is nowhere near “silver” isn’t these guys’ problem), and no “subtle” shades interfere with the reading of the art.

    I’m old and I like old things!

  11. Not sure if you guys have seen this but many years ago a guy named Chris Notarile did a couple of fan films with Booster, Beetle and Max.

    The first one is a Booster/Beetle anti-smoking PSA with Chris playing Ted.

    The other is a Beetle/Max Advil commerical done after Infinite Crisis and has a great ending:

  12. And while it’s totally clear that Maxwell Lord looks A LOT like Sam Neil from The Omen 3, I’ve always had another visual marker for Max in my brain when thinking about people in the 80’s who could have played him…Peter Gabriel in the video for “Shock the Monkey” I’m not great with linking pictures through here but I hope this goes through.


  13. Thanks for another intensely enjoyable show, Shagg, Michael did not sound suitably honoured to be invited. Confusing.

    I liked the cover of this issue, probably more for the lovely blue background than anything else. I also used to have nuclear nightmares, the spectre of the bomb haunted me as a kiddie. I’m glad Silver Sorceress and Blowj… sorry, Bluejay joined the team, they had less difficult names to pronounce than Wandjina. But why didn’t Sorcy at least try for some silver in her costume, that’s not a colouring fail, it’s a choice? Oh, and that square hole in her costume is ridiculous, I know Shag finds everything sexy, but this is a real headscratcher.

    Talking of colours, I’m with Siskoid, flat tones make me happy; I like a lot of modern colouring, but the old-style colouring is a direct pipeline go my joy (I only have to see a rich pink and I’m right back reading Seventies Green Lantern, when colourist Tony Tollin was apparently obsessed with Pak). And cheaper paper is ace, I don’t need my comics to survive until they can be read by people in tin cans riding dogs.

    Why were the JLA communicators so big? They look like ladies’ chicken fillets.

    Am I the only person who really likes the logo used on the book for the first few issues? The replacement from JLI #7 was so much less tote adorbs.

    Why have we never had Justice League Universal, not even for a mini-series?

    1. I have a vague recollection in one of the later stories (it could have been in a JL Quarterly issue) that there was reference to the Silver Sorceress being colour blind, so maybe that’s why she didn’t notice her costume had no silver!

  14. Hi Shag, yet another slow, lonely night shift spent with the Fire and Water Network keeping me company. Congratz on another great ep and like many others have said your show has got me wanting to pick up the trade and read along. The post closing vocal offerings from Mike were great and I’m glad you included them. It shows how much fun you guys have doing these podcasts. Keep up the great work.

  15. Another excellent episode Shagg, and great contributions from Micheal Bailey.

    The issue was very good, giving the team an international dimension to deal with, more mystery with Maxwell Lord, and developing some new antagonists in Colonel Harjavti. It also had some excellent bickering within the team itself. I can’t argue with the Bwa-ha-ha moment chosen but the panel before it was very funny too, with Guy pontificating about “Ronnie Boy” being the only one having his finger on the button, and you see J’onn, Batman and Beetle’s individual thought bubbles :”Pathetic”, “Infuriating”, “Jerk” – just great comedic timing – and kudos to Bob Lappan for being able to fit all that dialogue in the panel while not obscuring Kevin Maguire’s facial expressions!

    It is interesting to see so many people commenting on how much they love the humour in the JLI series, yet it is frustrating that many humour comics do not, on the whole, sell well. I loved the humour Giffen put into series like Doom Patrol, Ambush Bug, Vext, his version of the Suicide Squad, and the Metal Men – even the new 52 series of Larfleeze and OMAC; yet these series had relatively short runs before they were cancelled. I wonder, when the focus of the series is solely humour, that people do not give it a chance – that humour is so subjective that it is hard to make a universally funny series. JLI, while being predominantly remembered as a “funny” comic, intermixed it with solid superheroes, great characterisation and some emotional gut-punches, such as the Despero storyline, or when Beetle was brainwashed. I guess you need that mixture that made JLI more than just a “Funny” book to sell it to the wider comicbook market.

    Look forward to the third episode – this is the Irish Embassy signing off!

  16. So even more international than you thought at least people from North America, Europe, and Australia. THAT’S at least 3/7 of the continents.

    (listened to from Denmark here)

  17. My own nuclear anxieties were never as pronounced as Michael Bailey’s, but I do think they informed my lifelong expectation that I’m part of the last generation that will live a desirable lifespan on this earth. It’s part of why I never had kids, and why I’m resigned to the ecological doom that I expect will swallow up most of civilization within a century or so of my demise. And yes, I also saw The Day After in a grade school classroom, though I think the giant man-eating cockroaches from the television premiere of Damnation Alley had a greater impact on my psyche.

  18. Latecomer to the podcast party, but caught up quickly. I bought every issue of JLI as it hit the stands, and still love it. I’ve re-read the entire series more than any other in my collection, and I’m so glad to see it getting the attention and respect it deserves.

    Shag, I love the questions you pose during the show. Re: Max Lord. It was pretty obvious that he had ulterior (selfish) motives for the JLI, but never seemed like a typical “supervillain” situation. Since I also was reading Booster Gold, he fit pretty neatly into the 80s Reaganauts trying to make a buck, although something more was in the works.

    Oh, and about the “Mr. Gold” reference. Yeah, on my first reads, it *had* to be Booster. Anybody else would have been a letdown.

    Thank you to the listener who pointed out the Metal Men backup series. It was a true “bringing the band back together”, what with Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire doing it. So much fun.

    Hey, thanks for pointing out that Defenders series! Somehow I missed that! It’s immediately going onto my “must read” list!

    I do have a question for the podcast. Was it ever explained how Mister Miracle joined the JL between Legends and issue #1? He wasn’t in the mini-series, and Oberon’s comments explained “why” they joined, but not “how”! I cannot recall anything in the letters pages from the creator’s perspective, or a story from the character’s. I mean, it works in that Darkseid was the force behind Legends, so having his adoptive “son” join the team spawned by that book was clever. But I always wanted to know what bridged the gap, especially since none of the team is surprised to see Scott and Oberon in the cave or asking “sooooo, who invited you?” Maybe a future character spotlight could explore this.

    If I haven’t said it enough, thank you for this podcast, Shag! Looking forward to the next 58!

    1. Oh, forgot to mention! In addition to the other stories you mentioned about nukes, Green Lantern Corps had just finished a story with half of that team emigrating to Russia, which drove Guy to invade. Hmm, could that be important in the next podcast? Hmmmmm…


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