JLI Podcast #3 – Justice League #3 (July 1987)

It’s time for the third episode of JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL: BWAH-HA-HA PODCAST! The Irredeemable Shag welcomes guest host Tim Wallace to discuss Justice League #3 (July 1987)! This month Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire take us to the Soviet Union and provide a surprise introduction to Maxwell Lord and Booster Gold!! Tim 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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22 responses to “JLI Podcast #3 – Justice League #3 (July 1987)

  1. Shag, I agree that everyone who reads comics goes through a Batman phase; but, not all of us grow out of it. I started with the Filmation Batman cartoons of the late 60s and continued through the comics of the 70s and the Superfriends. I would read the occasional comic throughout that time; but, didn’t have complete runs (geography and economics). It picked up in the 80s, with access to comic shops and my own income and continued for decades, fed by great comics, okay comics, movies, awesome cartoons, and more. I haven’t read much of the newer stuff (except Batman 66); but, I still watch the movies and cartoons and still check back in n the comics.

    I started the series (with its debut) in college, so I only saw and bought the direct market edition. I wasn’t aware of the alternate cover until I completed college and was stationed in South Carolina, in the Navy. My local comic shop had the alternate cover displayed with their highly collectible books, with around a $30 or higher cover price. That experiment is largely forgotten; but, DC did a lot of experiments throughout the 80s. They tested the direct market-only waters, with Camelot 3000, they tried alternate covers and logos with this, and they tried the direct market and newsstand staggered publishing, with the New Teen Titans, Outsiders, and Legion Baxter books and newsprint editions (with the stories appearing later in the newsstand book).

    This was when I thought the book was really gelling and that the characters were a team. The humor was coming through stronger, there was great action, and you had a compelling stories. Often with a new book, it starts with a bang and then struggles a bit, before it gets on firm footing, if it ever does. Justice League kept building, though I did think the Grey Man was a bit of a stumble, though more because I’m lukewarm to supernatural characters and threats. However, they kicked into overdrive with the issue afterward.

    Maguire’s skill with facial expressions really sells Wandjina’s moments and sacrifice. This wasn’t long after Chernobyl and that was an interesting period, for me. I went through college on a Navy ROTC scholarship and we followed the events closely. Part of our training involved basic nuclear engineering study, so we understood the magnitude of what was happening. It was a very touchy time, as we weren’t certain how this might affect the Soviet relations with the west. Might it move them towards aggression in the west, to offset the loss of resources? Luckily, it turned out to be a chance to provide humanitarian assistance, as we made big note of the US teams that were allowed to come in and help. It was a major stepping stone into thawing the Cold War. It also shows that the writers were a bit wrong, as the Russians were way behind on nuclear decontamination technology and the US had great expertise, especially in the wake of Three Mile Island.

    By the way, Tim, that Robin of Sherwood series was ITV, not the BBC. Common mistake. That series started with Michael Praed, who was the stronger actor of the two. He left the series and is killed off, with Jason Connery’s character taking over as the new Hooded Man. It was a really good series, with a Saracen warrior as part of Robin’s band, well before the Kevin Costner film.

    I have to look at my Charlton Blue Beetle’s to see if they had that hatch under the chair or not. Ditko drew him dropping out of the bottom of the ship, I know that. It is very reminiscent of those Gerry Anderson Supermarionation shows, like Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet. They did a lot of that kind of thing with their vehicles (also made it easier to get the puppets in and out of the vehicles).

    I believe that air brakes joke was done in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, before Ernest (I think the Ernest thing was an homage, right down to the delivery of the line). I don’t remember which one, though it might be one of the Gremlin ones (though I think the crashing plane in the first one just runs out of gas).

    ps. Shag, I started reading the New Gods in the mid-70s, with the Return of the New Gods revival, so I didn’t have the Super Friends to provide a pronunciation, yet. Bear in mind, they pronounced Mxyzptlk as “mixelplick,” so they weren’t exactly authoritative. Dark-side didn’t occur to me until I saw it in one of Bob Rozakis’ “Ask the Answer Man” columns.

    Glad I was able to fill the time of your plane ride.

    Mister Miracle was with the future Justice League members in Legends. I always assumed that was when they floated the idea of forming a new League, or that was at least where the idea came for specific members to be contacted, when the new League was formed, in the wake of the Detroit League.

    1. Well, I should have checked my Charlton Blue Beetles; the hatch under the chair is there in the first issue. Blue Beetle was a really inventive creation from Ditko.

    2. I have the entire run of the Legends mini-series, and don’t see Mister Miracle at all. He’s especially not in issue #6 where the forming the Justice League happens. Can you share what issue this happens?

      1. I’m pretty sure Mister Miracle’s first post-Crisis appearance was in the Mister Miracle Special one-shot that recapped his origin. That comic came out in January 1987, the week before Justice League #1 hit the stands.

        1. I saw that Mister Miracle one-shot on the stands when it came out, and DIDN’T buy it. CURSE! FAILED AGAIN!

  2. Well, I’m glad to see Tim is with me in bringing some true culture to the network by discussing the film classic, Ernest Saves Christmas on this show. My efforts to spread the word about the works of master thespian (and fellow Kentuckian) Jim Varney have constantly been blocked by film snob Rob Kelly.

    Onto the issue, this is a standout of the early days of the series. Everything seemed to be gelling. I’m with you guys, I would have loved it if Captain Marvel could have stuck around. It’s a shame he got taken away from the team, especially since Roy Thomas’ plans never really went anywhere after The New Beginning mini-series, outside of a story in Action Comics Weekly. I remember seeing that alternate JL cover in Comic Buyers Guide and desperately wanting to find a copy, but it was nowhere to be found. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in person. I can’t believe you guys didn’t mention the Superman drawing on the cover was by JLGL (PBHN)! You’re slipping Shag!

    Loved the Star Trek references and the fight with the Rocket Reds was great. Always loved Beetle’s Bug, and DESPERATELY wanted a toyline to give us one to scale with a Blue Beetle figure, with sliding seat, opening bottom hatch, and retractable zipline. The closest thing we got was a Batman dropship-type thing from the Batman Returns toyline. Sigh.

    And yeah, Silver Sorceress never made one iota of sense. Was it just a coloring mistake back in the Bronze Age? Were people color blind on Angorr or whatever it’s called?

    Interesting that Tim also does a Phantom blog, as the classic Fox version of the Dan Garrett Blue Beetle looked a LOT like the Phantom. The open hood, the domino mask, the mostly one-color suit.

    Great episode!


    1. My efforts to spread the word about the works of master thespian (and fellow Kentuckian) Jim Varney have constantly been blocked by film snob Rob Kelly.

      If you want to come on FILM AND WATER to discuss an Ernest film, the door is open, Chris. And may God have mercy on your soul.

      Great episode Shag! I too fondly remember the Spock/Sulu gag. I love the idea of Batman engaging with pop culture.

      With all the different segments, sound effects, and whatnot, this show is taking on a real Dr Demento vibe!

  3. A fun and enjoyable ep as always Shag, well done. Tim was a great guest. Even though I have never read any of these issues your energy and the energy of the guests keep me coming back for more to find out what the team goes through next issue. Keep up the great work.

    1. I may be able to help you out with reading the issues.

      FYI Shag, Rift is another member of the Australian embassy.

  4. Ooh, the Red Thunderbolts, where Elektra and the Punisher hooked up, and everyone tried to out-backstab each other.

    Gorby was all over DC comics in those days, with 2 dozen or so appearances.

    Going into Russia might have been easier, since the old JLA presumably had permission to operate there.

    Another great show, Shag. Who’s our special mystery guest host for next month?

  5. Hearing the coverage and looking at the sample pages make me realize that I missed something special when this book was on the racks.

    I have to say, I love Canary in this book. Too bad she is leaving so soon.

    1. Oh, heck yeah! It was so unlike 90% of what was on the stands; certainly in the superhero world and definitely from the Big Two. Maguire’s art and skill with facial expressions really leaped out at you and there was a subtle power to his covers. They didn’t “scream” at you, like some did, but the told a story, in an image, and got you interested on what’s going on inside. All you had to do was read a single page and you were hooked, especially with the timing of some of the jokes. To top it off, it was one of the most exciting team books, in terms of action, particularly at the beginning.

  6. Hi Shagg, Irish Embassy calling – can you find something for Jack O’Lantern to do? He is hanging around the Embassy moaning about Godiva being in the New 52 when he wasn’t. If you can see if Rebirth has any opportunities for him, I would appreciate it!

    Another great show with you and Tim – would also recommend Tim get the Showcase Presents Booster Gold TPB – all of Booster’s initial run in one book? Excellent – nearly as good an idea as the Showcase Presents Blue Beetle! Now, if only they could get around to a Firestorm Volume or 2!

    You were discussing why the JLI did not appear in the Blue Beetle series until the Millenium crossover – I remember reading in the Blue Beetle that Len Wein was not fond of the Giffen/DeMatteis portrayal of Ted in JLI so maybe he did not want to bring in the JLI into the book?

    Re the Silver Sorceress’ colour scheme for her uniform, in the penultimate part of the Breakdowns storyline, when she is confronting Dreamslayer, she makes a comment that she may be colour blind but she wasn’t stupid. Unless she was being ironic, maybe that’s why she went for the gold costume!

    Honourable mention for the Bwa-ha-ha award should go to the reaction of the Rocket Reds when Guy appears – the reaction “We wanted to fight Superman or Batman – but not Guy Gardner again” is priceless.

    Next month is the debut of Blue and Gold – looking forward to it!

  7. Ta for another top show, it was great to have Tim as your guest host/Dale Gunn. For a second I thought he’d said he almost ran away to joint the Roy Lichtenstein Circus (which steals all its acts from other carnivals).

    This was such a great issue, and I love the alternate cover. What with the word balloon – and yeah, dialogue and blurbs on covers rule – to the confrontation scenario, it was very much a Seventies throwback. I guess the experiment didn’t make the argument to roll out such covers throughout the line.

    We did eventually see that Silver Sorceress had silver hair, so I guess that’s something.

    Blue Jay was such a cutie, it didn’t occur to me back then that he was the equivalent of Ant-Man as he didn’t tend to shrink, he was more a one-size-fits-all fights kind of guy.

    I learned how to pronounce ‘Darkseid’ pretty soon after his debut, via Lois Lane #111 (1971), the issue in which Lois was menaced by titchy JLS clones from the project. Its title? Dark Side of the Justice League.

    Was that the cartoon Star Trek theme at the end? I love that version.

  8. Great winner for this month’s BWAH-HAH-HAA award. “Air brakes!” One example of many for Maguire’s wonderful artwork!

    I haven’t shared my JLI origin yet, but it’s pretty ordinary. I’d started collecting in earnest by 1982, and team books were my favorite, jumping into JL Detroit. When that ended, I went straight into Legends and this Justice League. But this was my second year of college, and I worked a couple of part-time jobs to pay for my comics, because what else can you do? JL hooked me from issue one, and actually drove me to start getting any past Giffen and DeMatteis comics I could.

    I had time to read the issue before listening, and it was great to hear my favorite moments mentioned. Wonderful job! I’m taking it as a challenge to only read the issues one month at a time, which I haven’t done since they first published. Oh, the agony!!

    Shag, I’m glad you liked my Mr Miracle question. I see Jeff replied about that, but I’m going to have to recheck Legends #6 before I follow up.

    Thanks for discussing the Blue Beetle series. Oh, that Paris Cullins artwork. I loved his stuff so much. Until next time and the next “Log!”

  9. Either I wrote the exact same I-tunes review as the Sutherlands or you saw Piperruth and thought of Ruth Sutherland, attributing the review to them.
    Great episode, as always! I think Tim was a great co-host and I would love it if he decided to podcast about the Blue Beetle ’80s series. I haven’t read that series but I have some of those issues and am working on filling it out. Perhaps I’ll just get the recommended Showcase from In Stock Trades one day, but I want to see some blue in my Blue Beetle! When I do read that series, I’ll have to visit the Kord Industries blog.

    1. Whoops! So sorry! Yes, I thought Piperruth was the Sutherlands! So sorry!!! As always, thanks for the kind words and the support!

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