JLI Podcast #25 – Justice League International #25 & Justice League Europe #1

This episode, it's the dawn of a new era as JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE has arrived! The Irredeemable Shag welcomes guest host Derek Crabbe to discuss Justice League International #25 where Booster & Beetle meet a real-life vampire, and then guest host Michael Bailey to chat about Justice League Europe #1 as the new JLE debuts in Paris! Plus YOUR listener feedback!

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33 responses to “JLI Podcast #25 – Justice League International #25 & Justice League Europe #1

  1. Haven’t finished listening to the episode yet, but I had to chime in about Michael Bailey’s comments regarding WEST COAST AVENGERS. Yes, the first year of the ongoing series was a bit sluggish and a chore to get through. However, the second year of the book is awesome! After the first annual you get a Tigra-centric story and then the eight-part Lost in Time story arc that has major ramifications for Mockingbird, brings Moon Knight onto the team, and sees Hank Pym get some long, long overdue mental healthcare and a return to his heroic nature. WCA is definitely worth reading for those issues.

  2. Yaaay!
    Loved this episode. Always good to hear Derek “Buster” Crabbe and Michael “Buster” Bailey.

    Like Bailey, JLE was my chance to get into the League at the ground floor. I came into JL as it was then-known at issue 5. I’d skipped the JL Detroit era (losers) and missed Legends altogether, but once I picked up JL 5 I was ALL IN.

    I loved this team and being a WW fan was very psyched to see her join. Thanks for nothing on that WW front, JLE creative team. But it gave me an appreciate of Animal Man, put “my” Flash on a JL team, and had a very shiny Capt. Atom.

    Looking forward to more.

  3. Fun episode! I totally feel Derek on his early action figure customizing. Besides taking a Mego Spock head, plopping it on a spare Robin complete with shorts and belt to make Namor, I got into customizing figures…or trying to in the late 80s. I made a pretty cool 1939 Batman out of a Secret Wars Wolverine, made a Super Powers Alfred out of Joker and Luthor…but I had a few not-so-great ones I’d rather forget as well. Lots of Testor’s and Apple Barrel paints!

    I was wondering if you guys were going to mention the earlier Caitiff story in Action. When I bought this JLI issue, I felt more Deja Vu than I did with JLE #1, because I knew I was pretty much reading the same story over again. I did like the art MUCH, MUCH better in JLI, because I really dislike that period of Giffen’s art.

    I will freely admit JLE quickly became my favorite of the two books at the time, as JLI/JLA become more “jokey”. I LOVED Bart Sears art back in the day, and can still appreciate his talent today, unlike other artists of the time that haven’t aged well in my mind (McFarlane). He’s not QUITE “roid rage” Bart Sears just yet here.

    And yes, I loved Captain Atom’s mutton-chopped mullet. I even did a pastel portrait of the Captain in Sear’s style, trying to get that shiny mullet look. I noticed Michael didn’t bring that up. I know he’s mullet-sensitive. Of course he did bring up the Super Fresh, which always makes me wonder if there were other locations, like “All-New Super Fresh Store”, “Challenge of the Super Fresh”, “World’s Greatest Super Fresh”, “Super Fresh, the Legendary Super Grocery Store” or “Super Grocery Team: Gastric Guardians”.


  4. I had some familiarity with the Super Friends as a child but, when I first started collecting comics, it was with the JLE and JLA of this period. Like you said, the Europeans more often had their own titles and my fanfare was reinforced by the CAPTAIN ATOM and FLASH titles.

    Before I grasped the heritage of Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, Wally West was THE Flash to me and I was first introduced to the Dibnys in his book and the JLE. Which may be why I feel Elongated Man > Plastic Man. And you better believe that Power Girl left an impression; regardless of what origin she’s given, I don’t think she’s ever really needed the Superman family when she’s got history with the JLI.

    When the “Big Seven” was restarted under Morrison, I definitely appreciated the respect given to the team but I didn’t appreciate the snobbery towards the JLI era heroes. Kyle “Alley Rat” Rayner would’ve fit in just fine in this period, which could still shift between comedy and seriousness. Captain Atom was proof of that, a bit of Superman and Capt. America with 80s cynicism in his own book but often the beleaguered straight man in JLE.

    I didn’t really collect Mattel’s DC Universe Classics line but two figures I did get and still have yet to unpackage are Blue Beetle and Captain Atom.

  5. In a series with lots of big moments, we come to yet another! 2 Justice League books per month! And one is a callback to the legendary JLI #8 Moving Day. So much good stuff beginning right here.

    JLI #25: I might have noticed the upcoming letter about the earlier Action Comics story, but don’t remember it offhand, so kudos for researching that connection.

    In addition to Blue-ster getting a chance to bring the funny, they both got to show their fighting chops for the first time in a while. Especially Beetle. He was landing some serious hits on Caitiff this issue, which is awesome. Normal human taking down a vampire. That’s serious fighting skill.

    The Caitiff-Vermin parallel is excellent, complete with only wearing pants. Then to top it off, he’s fighting Blue Beetle? DC’s version of Spider-Man? That’s a riot!

    But this story is heart wrenching. That final splash page says it all, except… he’s face up. If it was suicide, I would think diving straight onto the point face down would be natural. Face up implies, came to the edge, try to catch balance, but fail and fall. In my head, Caitiff obviously commits suicide. With that art, there’s a glimmer of doubt. I’m probably overthinking it. The other Price of Tim. (Lookin at you, Hix!)

    I wasn’t into McKone’s artwork immediately, and I don’t think it mixes well side-by-side with Templeton’s style, but he grew on me very quickly. Especially in another issue a mere 3 months away. Hee-hee-hee-hee!!!

    JLI #1: Loved this issue, loved the setting, loved the mystery. So yeah, it was ok.

    Ralph and Sue are just the best. They tease each other like a healthy couple would, but they’re initial exchange says it all. “Why did I marry you?” “‘Cause you’re madly in love with me?” “I thought YOU were madly in love with me!” “Oh, that’s right! I AM!” Oh Ralph, you’re awesome! It even makes me give him a break on his mild flirting with Catherine. 1. Can you blame him? 2. Sue gets him back eventually in regards to another JLE cast member.

    Metamorpho. I hadn’t noticed that of all the cast, he doesn’t get an “introduction” scene. He’s just there at the staff meeting. Oh wait, he’s just floating in on an earlier page as invisible gas. Yeah…

    I would dearly have enjoyed a Buddy/Dmitri team-up issue. They’re so great together, but it only happens a couple of times. They could have done “buddy cop” style stories with them so easily. But alas.

    I don’t remember seeing Bart Sears’ artwork before this comic. But I was sold immediately. Another great artistic find in this League era. Sheesh, there are so many! For a series that got maligned for being the “Joke League”, it got so many fantastic artists!

    Honestly, I didn’t get the big fuss over the difference between JLI/A and JLE. I thought the first 12 issues of JL/JLI minus #8 were the same tone found in JLE. And pretty soon, both series start alternating in tone. One book will have more action and the other does a lighter story, then they swap. Don’t buy into the marketing spiel, people! (Ok, take it down a notch, Tim.) Sorry.

    Hey, and thanks again to everybody who listened or commented on last month’s podcast. I was very grateful that Shag had me on, and I had a blast. Now I’ll go continue to work on my Shag impression. “Fan the flame!” “She’s hot!” “The heat is on!”

    1. Whoops! Forgot an important thing! I heard Keith Giffen at a panel at Heroes Con 2018. (Did you know Paul Hix was at Heroes Con?) He gave a pretty good rant that Perez and the Wonder Woman team agreed to let Diana on JLE, and then changed their minds saying “We don’t want you making fun of her!” Course I always felt JLI more “had fun” with the characters, but there ya go.

  6. Squeeee!

    Bailey played ‘Winter Games” by Stephen Foster!! SQUEEEEEE!!

    And I suppose Shagg might have dropped the needle or something, too.

    1. Errrr, David Foster, I should say.

      I’m the one that was playing Stephen Foster.

      “a-dum di-dee da-dum de-da, doo dah, doo dah…..”

  7. Great show as always.
    regarding JLI 25.
    At first I was never a big fan of this issue. It wasn’t that it was a bad story by any means. It just felt slightly off from what I had been getting used to from JLI. On the other hand, I just came to a realization that this was meant to do two things. First, it gives the audience a chance to come down from the hilarity of the last two issues and get ready for the next few issues. Also, Blue Beetle has really been a goofy character the last few issues. His bickering with Hawkman, his horrendous flirting at Wonder Woman.. Beetle has just not been shown in his best light.
    In this issue however, Beetle comes across as far more serious and competent. Yes he’s fixated on his CD collection, but when he and Booster are fighting Caitiff, he’s effective in the fight. And after things have ended, Beetle is the one who has the “Not now!” face when Booster suggests taking Caitiff’s corpse back to the lab. Showing Beetle in this way may be Giffen and DeMatteis’ way of reminding the readers that. “Hey! This guy’s not just a goof! He’s as good a fighter as anyone else on the team.” Which of course sets us up for what comes next.

    As for Justice League Europe #1
    Wally being in it for a paycheck actually reminded me of myself when I was in my early twenties. I had one job where it took a month for the first paycheck to come through. (The subsequent checks were weekly but I was really getting impatient regarding the first one.) It also reminded me of a few questions. So the Justice League was paying it’s members a salary in those days. Presumably this salary was culled from an Innovate Concepts account since Maxwell lord was the CEO of IC and he was bankrolling the League. Does this mean that JLI members were somehow listed as Innovative Concepts employees? Would their signing up with the league required them to fill out proper application forms? What was their rate of pay per hour? Booster and Beetle also provide a question since they always go outside the league for paying jobs. Why are some leaguers given salaries for their inclusion while others have to go outside the league for paying jobs?

  8. So, Shag moves to the Paris Embassy and Notre Dame burns …

    (I know, too soon!)

    I read that Action Comics Caitiff story – that was a great period for the Superman books as Julie Schwartz wound down after a long tenure as editor and gave us loads of intriguing, fun short stories by veterans and newbies (remember that Asterix story?). Cadiff was an intriguing one-off and that’s how he remains even after the Booster and Beetle focus; as you say, it was basically the same story, but so very well done.

    Great detective work on the fill-in nature of the main run here, Detective Shag. I must say, McKone’s work has never looked better than when inked by Joe Rubinstein – it’s so clean and shiny!

    Congratulations on the first double-stuffed episode, Derek and Michael brought their usual knowledge and humour to proceedings. Shag’s memory was correct, JLE was partly commissioned as a sop to fans who didn’t connect with the humour/action balance of the mother title. The distinction wasn’t as sharp as expected but the comic was great.

    I like Sears’ art too, even if his characters often looked like they were trying to suppress wind (or, as Hub of Titan Up the Defence would put it, ‘like Cory eating farts’). His Power Girl was so distinctive that I wonder if he was basing her on someone, then adding veins – Denise Crosby, maybe?

    What was that JLE segment theme you said was very appropriate, Shag (I checked the show notes, honest!)? My guess would be National Lampoon’s European Vacation.

    1. Wow Dude! you went there?!?….
      Although I could see Captain Atom saying….(to himself) “Oh, Man! we’re probably going to be blamed for this too!”

  9. Great episode- ok first half was great and the rest will be driving entertainment- I’m still listening technically-

    The action figure stuff was filled with weird memories me. My pal Z, the. Booster to my Beatle Learned to sew so he could make custom Mego costumes of this era of JL- used a Superman figure as the model. Z was a “one true fan” of Mego style action figures- even as when we were kids he didn’t like the “small Star Wars” figures- So eventually he made me a Blue Beatle costume of Mego size – then was upset I didn’t have a figure for it to go on. (When it was discovered I had sold my Spock Mego, it led to an actual argument.)
    I think the mock up “card back” was issue 25 (yes this issue)with the costume “shrink wrapped” to the front, but It’s been a long time. I never got to see the custom costume outside of its packaging so I don’t know it’s quality. I remember the BoosterGold costume he did was cool but had no mask. He repainted a “Mister Fantastic” in to a Captain Atom that look great. So I kinda wish he hadn’t freaked out- it was probably a great costume.

  10. Congrats on a triumphant debut for the long-awaited new format! Even though it did come complete with irredeemably creepy Wally West, we still have ample cause to rejoice! Ralph and Sue forever!

  11. Derek was practically vibrating with joy talking about his JLI customs. Someone get this man on an episode of WONDERFUL TOYS!

    Very fun episode, and I remember being really excited at the notion of a second JL title. I don’t think it ever quite lived up to promise, but at that age more JLA was better JLA,

  12. Interesting thing with the term Ugly American it comes from the book The Ugly American. But in the book it has also the opposite meaning as it has come to mean. The “Ugly American” in the book is the most hero like person. The engineer Homer Atkins, whose “calloused and grease-blackened hands always reminded him that he was an ugly man.” that is he was the ugly American because he was one of the few Americans in the book to work to understand the local peoples and not worry about looking proper.

    Yet now what he called the polished people are what we call an Ugly American.

  13. I really enjoyed the podcast as usual. Particularly reminiscent of how I used to get my comics at the newsagent. American comics would arrive monthly in English newsagents so every comic with the same cover date would arrive at the same time. This meant I always got JLA and JLE on the same day. These particular issues were highly sought after by me as I had missed JLI 24 so I had been league-less for two months.

    My main memory of JLI 25 was being disappointed that there wasn’t more Ty Templeton. I’d loved his Apokolips fill-ins and I was really looking forward to his run. I didn’t want Maguire to go but Templeton was my first choice for a replacement. I enjoyed the McKone art but he wasn’t Maguire or Templeton so I was sad.

    Talking of sad, into the story. Clearly my memory is playing tricks on me but I was convinced the Action story was referenced in the story. Isn’t it weird that knowing about that story (presumably from the later letter column) I have edited this issue in my memory. Caitiff came off as a very lonely, damaged characters and I’m sure there were deliberate correlations between his experience of science and the very late 80s anti-vivisection movement. Animal experimentation was beginning to take over from weapons development as the evil scientist trope (Animal Man 1-4 being a prime example). I was also impressed that DeMatteis was able develop show that Beetle and Booster were not only self-centered, money -grabbing jerks but also humane and sensitive. This is what makes JLI so real. The people you laugh and joke with are also the people you deal with the real stuff with.

    Having said that I was disappointed with McKone he actually had a really assured debut here. Then you see him improving on his Mr Miracle and G’Nort issue and before his Date Night return which is almost perfect. Really unusual to see a British artist get their first work in America completely avoiding British comics. The only other people I recall doing that are Barry Windsor-Smith and Ian Churchill.

    Anyway I may have got my comics together but I’ll be giving my feedback separately. I have a lot to say about JLE 1 so I will be back.

  14. Issue 25, coincidentally, is the comic that I THOUGHT I was supposed to cover on my episode. I really loved this issue—especially the shift in tone. It was poignant watching Booster and Beetle, the jokesters of the JLI be thrown into such a tragic story. I recently saw an image of Caitiff The First Vampire online and it suddenly clicked that this character had an even deeper comics history. It makes sense that he would. Derek and Baily were great hosts! Fantastic guys, too! Great show!

  15. Impressive podcast, Most Impressive. Cool a Blue and Gold story. Yep Catiff is a clan in the old cannon of VTM. It probly was from this comic. The creators of the RPG was a big fan of pop culture. The Malakavin;s the crazy vamps. Even had a drawing of one of them with a t-shirt that said Ho-Ho-ho now I have a machine gun too. And a lot of the quotes about the Vampire clans were given quotes from different rock groups. To tell ya about the type of Vampire’s. So it may have been from this. Though Catiffs were the non Clan Clans. I.E. they were the group of losers the Vamps no other group wanted. There the Mystery Men of the Vampire groups.

    Still sounds like a cool issue for a comic that was probLy a fill in. And I like seeing them in a Ghost Busters like issue. Well he Filmastion version of the Ghost Busters. Still it was fun. Cool glad to JLE is covered too. Power Girl was cool. They were probly trying something different. Then went back to her old school personality from Pre Crisis. Wally and P.G. I ship that. 😉 Animal Man was cool. It was a good group. Why in the world would they pull WW? JLI was doing great. What were they thinking? It was awesome. Why pull a character from it? Was kind of like when no one but, JLAwanted to be in Death of Super Man. And they were only there because Dan Jerrans was writing it.

    Same whoops. The story seems interesting enough. Captain Atom makes a descent leader. Yeah he and Home girl work well together. We don’t see her turning down Booster in Moving Day. We see him acting like he’s Don Wan. And he walks over to talk and latter we see Betel Laughing at him from the dressing down she gives him. I always thought She and Atom would have dated. I have weird Shipping choices. At any rate. I can’t wait till they face their greatest foe! The great the dangerous! Beef Eater! (Yeah I said that with a strait Face LOL>) Still he was funny. The odd ball goofy villain that worked for this book for some reason.

  16. Was surprised to hear my name on the JLI podcast, especially up for an award. That’s how quickly I forgot my own gag.

  17. Hey I was wondering something. Mike made mention of something akin to how Wally’s womanising ways were well known way back when but were they a thing before this? I never got the opinion that he was like this in his own series but I don’t know if that’s my dodgy memory or rose coloured glasses based on what’s come after.

  18. Not trying to rain on your parade, but I just saw this article (https://womenwriteaboutcomics.com/2019/05/dc-universe-expands-its-comic-selection-with-one-notable-exception/?fbclid=IwAR1xqKLIRf3choLrF_Jh_mfP0lfDDLTAUAkzNCoMAPK7-rYtbxEhGsFIjFw) and wanted to share. It’s about how DC’s not making Gerard Jones’ comics work available to read on their app. While I applaud this move, I’m kind of concerned how Jones’ actions might affect this podcast. Jones wrote a HUGE chunk of material for the JL books so he’ll be kind of hard to ignore. Will episodes where his name appears in the credits offer a carefully worded disclaimer to remind listeners that even though you’ll discuss his work that you in no way condone or support his actions?


    Jones’ actions put a dark cloud over a podcast that I’ve really come to associate with a positive and upbeat take on a period of comics I haven’t read in years. It’s really been fun to hear the conversations and feel some of that joy in fandom that I forget about when stressing about parenthood and mortgages and bills.

    I’ll be rooting for you as you navigate the Jones run. Long live the League!

    1. Thanks Sphinx. I appreciate the thoughts and support. The initial news stories about Jones arrest were quite some time ago, so I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. My current decision (and I reserve the right to change my mind) is to move forward as planned to cover the Giffen/DeMatteis era of the JLI. That includes the two years (or so) of Gerard Jones scripted issues of JLE. They were still plotted by Giffen, so I feel they still fall under the Giffen/DeMatteis banner. So we’re looking at JLE #14-36 or so. My plan when we cover issue #14 is to briefly explain my position. While we often talk about Giffen, DeMatteis, Maguire, Templeton, Sears, etc, in Gerard Jones case we will only focus on the JLE work produced, not the creator. I’ll mention his name once per further episode during the credits, and not again.

      That’s the plan for right now. I’ve thought, re-thought, and re-re-thought about this many times. So it’s possible I’ll change my mind before we get to issue #14. We’ll see. Thanks again for the support.

  19. Hey Shag – thanks so much for rewarding the Bwah-Ha-Ha Award spreadsheet with the Double Stuff award last episode; compiling all the data might seem like madness but it’s a great excuse to go back and relisten to old episodes, so it’s really a labour of love.
    Using the Embassy transporter to beam yourself into my house at the dead of night, creep into the bedroom and slip the Double Stuff award into my slumbering hand might have been an entirely faithful recreation of the final scene of Issue #12… but it was also creepy and intrusive, and this message is to let you know that the restraining order is now in effect indefinitely!
    On the issues themselves, it’s great to finally see the JLE in action. Bart Sears’ characters always look like they’ve been carved out of granite to me: that’s a great look for heroes like Captain Atom and (especially) Meramorpho, but I’m not sure it’s so successful for the female characters, or the ductile features of Ralph.
    No matter: this was exactly the time when I started getting into comics (it’s a little harder to find comic book stores on this side of the Atlantic, particularly pre-internet), so having JLE on the roster is giving all the nostalgia feels!

    1. Mera-morpho ?! A typo, but weirdly, all I want now is a comic book where Mera, Ruler of Atlantis stumbles across the Orb of Ra, with hilarious consequences…

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