JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… in Justice League Quarterly #1

Martin Gray joins The Irredeemable Shag to chat about Justice League Quarterly #1 featuring The Conglomerate, a new super-team assembled by Booster Gold! Booster's new teammates include Maxi-Man, Praxis, Gypsy, Echo, Vapor and Reverb! But are they heroes...or actually just corporate puppets? Plus YOUR listener feedback!

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29 responses to “JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… in Justice League Quarterly #1

  1. Martin really is one of the best ambassadors for comics fans as he always comes across as so cheery and positive, even when he is critical he does it in a really positive way. I loved his reasoning for not liking the name Praxis. Now I’ll never be able to read it without seeing the subtitle “Hitler’s Publicist”.

    The discussion of the first jacketed heroes was very enjoyable. I would definitely go for the Legion between issue 50 and the Magic Wars which makes Giffen the originator of super-hero jackets though I could be convinced that the post Mutant Massacre X-Men got there first as Marc Silvestri at one point or another drew virtually every character in a leather jacket although never all at the same time. Of course it’s all really just a development of the trenchcoat over the costume which was a real late-80s trope which I suspect took off because of the popularity of John Constantine and Rorschach. If you’re going to blame Grant Morrison because of Animal Man and Doom Patrol you should probably look to Zenith who was rocking a leather jacket earlier in Morrison’s career.

    Everytime you mentioned Clare Montgomery I thought you were talking about the X-Men writer. DeMatteis did like sneaking puns into character names (see L-Ron) so it wouldn’t be unprecedented. I do wonder if there’s any connection to the fact that Giffen used the pseudonym Ian Montgomery for Doom Force and a Legion Annual. Maybe he’s a massive Bewitched fan.

    Thanks again for a great podcast about a great comic.

  2. I’m going to add my 0.02 to the “when did the Quarterly come out?” discussion: in late September 1990 I travelled to the US with a long list of stuff I wanted to buy comics-wise, including the long planned and much hyped Quarterly, which was definitively not available. It was very, very late. And you know what else was very, very late as well? Legion 13, since I bought 12 out of the stands and it was just released. So, we still don’t know which one of the Giffen jackets saw the light of day first.

    I remember really looking forward to this issue, and it did not disappoint: Sprouse, the high-stakes in-continuity adventure, the Clare revelation, and the intriguing-albeit-underdeveloped new characters. I wondered (and still wonder) if an actual spinoff was in the cards, depending on the response to this issue. I’m afraid the JLQ did not live up to its promise after this stellar debut.

    In total agreement with the Bwah-ha-ha award, I was walking on the street listening to this and started giggling as if it was 1990 all over again.

    Lastly two bits about Wally: He’s mos-def checking the chicks in the cover, with his Baron-inspired characterization (which by then was more than a couple of years dated), as was the therapist joke, since his egocentric analyst was a recurring character in that era as well.

  3. Why was Captian Comet never a justice leager? and that’s pre-crissis too if you remember secret socitey of super villans. Of course that series is very confusing as bringing CC INTO regular dc makes the number of alien invaders 16x more but only GROD has heard of heard

  4. I always wanted to see the Conglomerate get into conflict with the Captains of Industry, the other corporate superteam of that time, especially since the plot thread around them got dropped as Firestorm’s book moved away from Pittsburgh and those characters. But that’s one of those stories that doesn’t really have a book to go in.

  5. I’m not always one to notice the art in these, but this issue has some really gorgeous art, it even makes the Power Girl costume work in her oh so brief appearance. Talking of as a first-time reader it’s really difficult to get a feel where this comes in the main issue, the inclusion of Wally and Kara makes the JLI feels sort of out of time. I had to quickly check to see where in the continuity it came compared to the regular issues.

    It’s weird but it’s one of the few times that the story needed a mini-series to set up, like you say poor Vapour and Echo really get short shrift in the story. Though I got to say I did like Praxis, when you were talking about Maxi-man I kept thinking of the character from Morrison’s Zenith comic (a good deconstruction of super comics and worth a track down).

    Now the Ovel logo is bugging me, thanks Shag! I think it’s a take on a classic band logo or album cover, I think, but for the life of me I can’t remember which. It’s probably Prog, I never could get the hang of Prog! 😀 I also assume it’s a take on the old Esso logo, though I can never tell how common these things are known in the US compared to my neck of the woods.

  6. Yay! Justice League Quarterly! Loved this series (especially the first 3 or 4 issues). This one was a delight. I loved Booster going off and forming his own corporate superhero team, it was a neat plot twist and good character development for him. It’s really too bad, as you guys noted, that the concept didn’t get much play going forward.

    Booster’s real name: everyone calling Booster “Michael” seems to be an artifact of the 2000s and the OMAC Project/Brad Meltzer Justice League stuff. Before that, NO ONE called Booster by his real name. It was actually unclear if anyone in the JLI actually knew his real name. It was a big deal in his original series when he shared his real name with his admin assistant Trixie, but even then, everybody called him Booster. It’s downright jarring when people refer to him as “Michael” because I definitely don’t think of him as that name, either!

    Praxis: I had no idea he’d appeared before this! I thought he was an original character, like Echo and Vapor. Who says listening to podcasts isn’t educational?

    Echo: her later incarnation in a future issue of JLQ is indeed very different than the quiet, demure person we see in #1. I wish they’d do more with her, I don’t know if the concept of a rock star who is also a superhero has ever been done, and it could be very fun.

    Ovel Oil: It’s either a play on the name of real-life company Chevron Gas, a Chevron being a shape and an oval also being a shape. It also might be meant to sound similar to Mobil Oil, a big oil company in real life.

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  7. LOVE the look between Gypsy and J’onn on the cover. They should never have fridges her parents.

    Medically, Praxis is motor planning. Apraxia is the inability to do praxis correctly, which degrades speech and motor skills. Being Jason Praxis means the ability to exhibit speech and motor skills WITH YOUR MIIIINND!!!

    You two put on a great show overall, and I expect nothing less from Martin and Shag. Damien’s praise of Martin is accurate, and that attitude makes him a welcome guest everywhere. However, you two underplayed the most historically significant fact about this issue — not the first appearance of the Conglomerate, but the first mention of General Glory! He’s America’s greatest hero! Don’t believe me? Just ask him! And he never lies!

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      1. Thanks for the correction, Siskoid (and Tim)! I’m happy to know that GG’s pedigree in DC goes even deeper. Heck, according to the page Tim posted, he helped inspire The Huntress.

        Looking at Li’l Helena’s comics pile does raise a question, though: Who is…The Amazing Avenger?

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          1. Nothing. I meant “Shag,” but I was typing before I woke up and switched pseudos in my brain. Everyone, please do a global find and replace on my pre-dawn comments — “Florida” for “New Brunswick,” “marketing” for “improv,” etc. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  8. Impressive podcast most impressive. Using the Dragon type and talk software again this time. My keyboard is still on the fritz. It’s a cool cover, but Joker being hidden on it is kind of silly. And once you know it you’re like all wising in the story? At any rate I love this comic book. As a birthday gift army of in Christmas I got it. My aunt and uncle asked about this one for me for one of those. Probably Christmas. I was very happy. I’m pretty sure flashes looking where you think he’s looking. And we’ll leave it at that. The rest the group fits who they are. Though fire being jealous of the kid is kind of weird. I know the comic he’s jealous of Gypsy, but we she knows her better. Poor beetle being behind the logo. Well the barcode and at this point image that they put the bottom. At his height if Praxis is on the cover you have to be by the Martian man Hunter. Which gives the question asked why he didn’t tell anyone to Joker was there. You’d think he’d notice the Joker’s mind.

    I like this game the conglomerate it’s just sad that they didn’t get other appearances. Giving boost ratings lead was kind of cool at the time. And then we come to the next interesting what the moment. You’ll notice on the splash page Praxis is seen in the photo with the team. If he doesn’t actually make this happen how is he being photographed? Did Clark lend Jimmy a camera from his home planet? Since there is right by Gypsy. I wonder if he was used as an idea for what became hit man. When I first saw hitman on the shelves I had assumed it was his comic. Obviously was reading it you can figure out that it’s not. I’m pretty sure Claire and booster were dating. If not then I ship it anyway. I remember from that one issue that must not be named that booster said he was married to a rich woman. He didn’t want to mess it up that’s why he didn’t help booster on the case that must not be named. Where Max Lord allegedly loses mind. Luckily there into reboots since then so that story technically never happened. No wonder woman next snapping of anyone. These are more leather jackets than the Indiana Jones type jackets the revenger’s were wearing in the 90s. Specifically with the a on the shoulder. Then again with a giant sea on the chest maybe the avengers writer did steal this. Oddly my favorite member of this team is Reverbe.

    Though he asked very differently than he did on the flash TV show. Hey that’s three people on this team that made it to live-action. Booster on smallvile. The Gypsy and reverb on the flash. There is more like Steven Wright in this comic. Fire getting mad about the clothing line is kind of funny. Though let’s be honest Gypsy is not exactly Stacy London. While her look works for her. I wouldn’t call her the runway model of her time. An insult or anything. We all loved Cyndi Lauper back in the day. Just saying she has an eclectic style that works for her. I just don’t see her being the choice for the person you want to dress like. What shadow cat Busy that day? It’s slightly sad to see Bromance has such a tifth. Between booster and beetle. Also I hate to break it to booster he was definitely the Abbott. The jackets with all the logos on the back that the conglomerate wears reminds me of Captain Amazing. From mystery men. The moving of the comic. And now that I said that and based on the powers I see Kel Mitchell playing Praxis. Sorry, I like that character, but for whatever reason based on the powers for the movie and him not being on film Praxis now makes me think of Kel in mystery men. Claire coming to terms with Max kind of works for this comic. And the conglomerate to being a subsidiary of the JLI is kind of cool. Also weird for them to have guy hitting on the teenage girl. That’s not how he acts. They got the wrong Green Lantern that would be Hal Jordan is a creepy dude that hits on teenagers.

    Maxi man is definitely a riff on 60s comics. Kind of reminds me of the mad dog comic based on the TV show Bob that Marvel put out. One half was a goofy riff on 60s comics. Any other half of it was a very 90s-ish comic. That was probably also a rest on 90s comics. Which is what that show was at first. Bob Newhart playing a guy who came back to the comic he wrote in the 60s. In the 90s and it being revised as a very 90s-ish comic. It had a lot of cool comic book guest stars on it. Until for whatever reason they turned it into a greetings card show. And I stopped watching it. Revibe’s shot at flashes decent. But he could do better. Booster making amends with his best buddy beetle is kind of cool. The artist appears to definitely be giving beetle the Ditko Spiderman build. The monster is decent. I just assumed the Brown scoring was orange rock form. Like a riff on the thing. Oh well. As for Guy getting the drop on Hector Hamilton. At this point Hector was not as you feared as he became. This was before Geoff Johns got his hands on him. And made him a terrifying villain. At this point in time Hector was kind of treated like a joke.

    At this point Hals villains weren’t treated that well. I also had the Who’s Who looseleaf edition of the conglomerate and that was kind of cool to. Sadly they didn’t get too many more appearances after this. At the time I was assuming this is going to be another spinoff. Or at least get a few issues and showcase. So at no point did I think that booster gold was going back to the team. Did I mention I still have a YouTube channel ? That’s Liz Anne Oswalt on YouTube. And it cannot wait to hear the next podcast.

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  9. Fun show gents. A few things I remember thinking about this issue, the Conglomerate, and the Who’s Who page. Mostly it came from Chris Sprouse’s art. I liked it…but I found it odd at the time that his figures were…thicker than most comic artists. His characters didnt’ have chisled bodies like the norm. I now see that there’s a pretty strong Mike Mignola influence in his early art, and he tended to draw stockier bodies as well. Second, for some reason I’ve never been able to shake, I think his standard male face looks a lot like actor John DeLancie who played “Q” on Star Trek: TNG (and will soon return in Picard, Season 2). I think it’s mostly that distinctive nose Shag mentioned. That’s probably just me, though.

    I thought the idea of a corporate-sponsored super-team was actually a really cool notion, but after this story, I can’t really tell you anything else DC did with these characters. And I guess the reason is they DIDN’T do very much with these characters! There was a sameness to some of them that made them fairly forgettable, but I think that was kind of the point. They were hires filling out a roster.

    The Booster/Beetle confrontations were the parts that stood out to me during this era. I was in high school at this point, and had a few falling outs with some of my old childhood friends, so I could relate to this. It rang true then, and does so now.

    Chris

  10. Well done on a great show! It’s always a treat to hear Martin on any episode. Martin, you bring genuine enthusiasm and the great perspective confluence of fan and professional.

    My memory of this book is that I bought it fresh off the stands in 1990! I’m pretty sure I bought this just from the cover alone, even though I was collecting JLI at the time and probably would have bought it anyways. I really enjoyed it for the Chris Sprouse art (the same reason I bought Hammerlocke) and more of that trademark Giffen/DeMatteis banter. And what a great story about the cover’s behind the scenes! Having the Joker there makes Guy turning around feel completely different to me. I always thought Guy was thinking, “Who let these chumps in?” but I’m wondering if he’s thinking, “WTF?!? The Joker?!?!”. Another neat point on the cover that I’m not sure if you guys caught, but like Blue Beetle interacting with the barcode box, I like how the number box is casting a shadow on Maxi-Man’s hair. Or that’s how I see it, anyways…..

    I really enjoyed the Quarterly issues, at least, at the start. To me, the Conglomerate were just the early JLI taken to the Nth degree. I always saw the early JLI as a somewhat corporate sell-out because of the way Maxwell Lord (a businessman) wanted to promote their image to the world. Now Booster takes it even farther and actually does sell advertising space on their jackets! But maybe that’s why the Conglomerate didn’t last too long? They were just the JLI, with a slightly different flavour.

    Well done again, everyone. I’m really enjoying these Meanwhile episodes and am looking forward to what’s next! But……where’s Pyramid???

    Keep up the great work!

  11. God, I love the quarterly books so much. Remember back when I said I got into the JLI thanks for a 50 cent bin at my local comic shop? Yea, that same bin had a good chunk of the JL Quarterly books in there. When I was looking for anything and everything JLI, the Quarterly’s were a godsend. They even helped me pass the time when we moved from NYC to Florida then back to NYC. There’s a lot of good stuff in that title (The Mr Nebula issue and the General Glory issues being personal favorites)…and a lot of Praxxis.

    It took me ages to find that issue with Maxima and Captain Atom on the cover, but when I did, I had the series bound into two hardcover volumes at the bindery that did my JLI/JLE books.

  12. Long time blah blah, first time blah blah.

    Is Martin running in an election? Because he’s popping up on all the best podcasts, and this one.

    I remember being so excited about this comic coming out, but soon felt deflated as it was more a of a one shot, rather than the start of their adventures.

    I was saying out loud that Praxis was on Harley Quinn but Shag got there. One fun fact that you missed about Praxis is that his name is Sixarp backwards. Makes you think!

  13. Great episode as usual! Martin is always a great guest on any podcast!

    FYI on quarterly books – you should know that the Ms. Tree Quarterly was really good, but that it has recently been collected! Not by DC but by Titan under their Hard Case Crime series. There are 2 volumes out which I believe cover the entire quarterly series (which occurs later in her adventures). Max Allan Collins gets a (deserved) bad rap for his Batman stories, but Ms. Tree is very entertaining – and was considered edgy at the time.

  14. What, it’s been two weeks since I listened to the episode and I haven’t posted yet? AUGH! Um, Rocket Red! Blue and Gold! Yellow cat! (Tim, you’re flailing. Calm down. Breathe. Breathe.) Uuuh-hoooo-uuuh-hooooo. Ok, that’s better. Thanks. (Don’t mention it.)

    Forgive me if I’m repeating things mentioned in the show or others, but I don’t have time to check because reasons. Anyway, I think Praxis IS on the cover in that section behind J’onn, but we don’t see him because he doesn’t appear in photographs. And before you ask, I’ll say why *can’t* the cover be of a photograph?

    I love Ted, but he can really hold a grudge. First with Captain Atom and “the secret”, then with Booster. Being the clown of the team, it’s easy to discount Ted’s feelings, but he’s really very sensitive and uses humor as a defense mechanism. (Uh, you’re still talking about Ted, right?) YES OF COURSE I AM AND I’M NOT SHOUTING YOU’RE SHOUTING! Ahem, but seeing Ted and Booster reconcile was nicely done, and I’m glad to see the boys back as friends.

    That Conglomerate logo question is a good one, and I’m glad others could solve the mystery. My lame thought was it looks so much like the Groove Music app’s icon on my laptop, but that wouldn’t have been relevant when this comic came out. However, it could explain any feeling of familiarity today on a re-read.

    Great episode, Shag and Martin. Really enjoyed it. (Gee, took you long enough to write in, then.) Look, life’s been busy, ok? Say, who are you anyway? (MWUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HAAAAA!)

  15. The Irish Branch of the Conglomerate calling – apologies for the delay in reporting; however, given the recent takeover of the JLI Irish embassy, there was always going to be some teething problems as we amalgamate our various portfolios to achieve synergy in our future reporting of Conglomerate’s future activities and….what, they only turn up much later in the series? OK, back to being the Irish Embassy so!

    Great to have an in depth discussion of this issue with Shagg and Martin. This was the very first JLI issue I bought (notwithstanding the UK reprints) as I found this issue in a book shop that sold comics and thought as this looked like a once off that I could buy while still reading the UK reprints. However, so many items came up from this (mainly the JLE cast but also, why had Booster left the team), made me start diving back into the back issues for more and the rest was history!

    Apologies for the lateness of my reply (much later than Tim Price, by the way!!). Looking forward to the next instalment of the JLI podcast.

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