JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… in Justice League Quarterly #2

Jon and Maggie Schaefer-Hames join The Irredeemable Shag to chat about Justice League Quarterly #2!  Mr. Nebula comes to Earth and a ragtag collection of Leaguers are all that stand between our world and a dangerous (and gaudy) redecoration! Then, Fire and Ice take on a pair of hot and cold Flash rogues! Plus YOUR listener feedback!

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22 responses to “JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… in Justice League Quarterly #2

  1. Sooo, I’ve been reassessing many of these JLI Universe issues from this “late” era, thanks to the podcast. So G’Nort, General Glory and of course, Mr Nebula, et al.
    And I do remember actively disliking the character of Mr Nebula, and then I didn’t revisit these issues for 30 years. So thank you, thank you , thank you Maggie for bringing out in the open the gay stereotypes in the character. As a young gay guy, just out of the closet and dealing with the politics of it all, I had a visceral negative reaction to the character and the way it was portrayed.
    IT IS gay coded, and IT IS full of stereotypes. And yes, playing with the fashion designer/interior designer tropes… which is another stereotype: all of them are gay.

    Now, as a more mature reader, I can also articulate camp, and understand the intrinsic camp of these stories and how they could not have been used as caricature but commentary (DeMatteis has proven time and time again that he does have the sensibility for this). You three actually kind of understood this without a theoretical framework: when you mention the granny/tacky aesthetic… that is pure camp.

    Layers, layers…

    Great episode, I felt that Jon’s journey is very similar to mine regarding the relationship to the titles, and smiled in agreement several times.

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    1. Maggie here –
      I really appreciate your comment, Gus. I don’t know if the first time I read this, I just didn’t pick up on the stereotype, or if I ignored it/handwaved it away. And if I *did* just ignore it or handwaved it away, then I’m ashamed of past me because I know better, and even eight years ago I knew better. I’m glad you spoke up and commented!

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    2. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s when the five superpowers common to all us gay guys were made known to the wider public: Grooming, Culture, Interior Design, Fashion, and Food Connoisseur. (Thanks, “Queer Eye”)…

      …clearly this is all nonsense, just as all straight guys aren’t universally into huntin’, sports, DIY and car maintenance!

      But this book was published in the less-enlightened times of the early 1990’s, so maybe Kirtan-Rodd’s obsession with interior design and flamboyant hand gestures (see top of page 19) were intended as a crude signification of homosexuality. However – and appropriately for a code-approved book – there’s absolutely no mention of his preferences, apart from having a male as his hapless herald. Kirtan-Rodd is undoubtedly as camp as a row of rococo pink tents, but his character could be read as either gay or straight.

      Fortunately, this type of stereotyping wouldn’t be something I’d expect to see portrayed in the 2020s (where – brilliantly – we now have characters from almost every major DC franchise exploring some aspect of their sexuality).

      I will chalk Mr Nebula’s portrayal as a product of a time where these kind of stereotypes went less challenged and were a more acceptable form of shorthand in stories. This issue of JLQ was far less troublesome than other media of the time, IMHO, and doesn’t really detract from my enjoyment of this wacky story.

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    3. Hi Gus – I typically wait until recording the feedback section to respond, but felt compelled to respond now.

      Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on this issue with us. In hindsight, I can totally see what you mean and your viewpoint. I’m disappointed in myself for not seeing it clearly while reading, but I suppose I was blinded by my desire to only think positively of this work.

      As always, thanks for listening, and again thank you for sharing your perspective.

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      1. Thank YOU Shag. This late re reads brought by the podcast have been eye openers I many ways, same as all the conversations here. So there you have it: the community of listeners/fans/unwell people

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  2. Hi Gus!
    I was thinking about this very thing when I listened to it. I was really quick to dismiss the idea that Mr Nebula was necessarily a gay stereotype, because I personally hadn’t noticed, and My find memories of the issue made my knee jerk reaction to treat a critique in the issue as a critique of me for a second. Your comment reminded me about what I have to keep in mind when I comment on things along these lines. I shouldn’tt sing the praises of the positive gay and bisexual coding in Bewitched one week, without noticing that a fashion designer saying “Devine, simply Devine!”” with a limp wristed hand gesture is not so much subtext as text. And I definitely came by this honestly. My tacky grandmother also wondered aloud when that nice Liberace would get married, and meant this, so not seeing what’s right in front of us is a trait I bear from that side of the family.

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  3. Shag, I’m disappointed. You seem to have forgotten that, as clearly written down in the Box Accords of 2018, all references to Transformers comic books are to be made with respect and honor. Your careless dismissals risk igniting another armed conflict, and the Earth may not survive another such incident. I fully expect you to be more careful in the future, should we survive long enough for another opportunity to present itself.

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  4. Having started comics with the original UK Transformers comics, before going through my Goth adjacent phase I feel companionship with both of your fine guests!

    I was worried for a big that I was going to be in the minority about the second story being better than the first, the first one’s fine but I’m finding I’m not much of a fan of the JLI standing around being able to do little before the plot sort of sorts itself out. It also bugs me when the story doesn’t fix the mess it makes before moving on, and everything done is forgotten. I mean there’s still an island in the middle of the Atlantic right? And the Brooklyn (?) Bridge is still more like an archway at this point? Put the toys back so others can play with the people!

    The second story has character beats and interactions which are like honey to my reading sensibility, but I do get this sneaking feeling that it was one of those inventory stories, especially as Bea is in her old flaming form rather than the full on Johnny Storm of the regular issues.

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  5. What a fantastic episode everyone! It is such a treat to hear Maggie and Jon together talking comics. I was delighted to hear Maggie’s story of going from darkity dark dark Batman to Bwa-ha-ha JLA. That would have been a real record scratch type of transition!

    Despite what Bart Sears says, when I saw this cover, I thought it was an homage the Puppet Master in some way, but the closest cover that looked even somewhat similar was Fantastic Four #28 with the Android. Or perhaps it’s an homage to the giants hands from JLI #11 and JLE #18? Or maybe whomever told Bart Sears to do it this way was referencing something else? I feel like the “giant person with small people falling through the hands like sand” image seems so iconic but I just can’t place my finger on where it else it appeared. Maybe a novel cover or film poster?

    I do remember this story because I think it was one of the first times, as a kid, I was finally getting the analogues that Giffen/DeMatteis were parodying.. While The Extremists flew right over my head as Marvel analogues, I finally understood that Mister Nebula was a joke on Galactus (and General Glory was a play on Captain America). It was a formative time that a lot of this humour was finally starting to land for me and I loved every minute of it!

    This was so much fun and I really enjoyed your dive into such a fun comic. Keep up the great work!

    Ladies and gentlemen, Elvez has left the building!

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  6. Desr Shag,

    You may be amused to read that I introduced comics to my girlfriend Wendy by cuddling up and reading issues out loud to her, changing my voice with each character. We’ve really found our joy in this and it’s become one of our favorite dating activities.

    The last comic we read together was “Designing Humans” from JL Quarterly #2 and it was an absolute BLAST to read that story out loud!

    While you may contest that G’Nort doesn’t achieve much in this issue, I found him the most fun to vocalize. Because I suspect G’Nort was based on Ed Norton from the Honemooners, my version wound up sounding a LOT like Barney Rubble whenever he chimed in with one of his “dad jokes”!

    The only character more fun to read from these Bwa-Ha-Ha comics is the Master of Melodrama himself, MANGA KHAN (I’m shouting, aren’t I?)!

    Should you read this letter on the show, Wendy will have been name dropped on a comic book podcast, meaning that, like me, there’ll be no turning back from comic book fan-dom! She’ll be ours! OURS (was I shouting again?)!

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  7. This is one of my favorite issues- I live near Las Vegas. I always saw the “gay designer” stereotype. My feelings on the stereotype are complicated but this is one of my favorite examples

  8. Impressive podcast most impressive. This cover is great. It deftly shows that marchers went Kubert’s school. Like myself, like Bobby V. the guy that makes the action force toys now. And Rob Kelly . This last pages a bad either. As for him a drink of different sizes that might be part of his powers. We are talking about a semi-cosmic being. The goes around redecorating universe. Size changing doesn’t seem like something he would have a problem with. So that might be why the boat seemed to be much lower. He may have been giant at the time. Scarlet skier was kind of funny in this. And the guy with him is my favorite Green Lantern but he seems fine. The Martian man Hunter is forever the perfect statement for this group. Not sure why is this time.
    Seem to have a mad on for Stan. He did his part. What happened to Kirby was terrible. But, I’m not so sure how much of that was Stan’s fault. He answered to the bosses. He didn’t own marvel it was employee like everyone else. And sometimes he had to tell the company line. They really couldn’t say who was at fault and where. Those is a decent enough comic. The creation of Mr. no realistically, but it worked. This is a decent enough joke on Galactus. I can’t say I blame Batman. This is probably one case I would prefer to not be involved in. The military guy works well enough. For blue Jay with nothing to do. Ice and Crimson Fox worked well enough in this. Kind of doing the marvel WASP thing attacking someone from their inner ear. The Las Vegas bit works as well. Though said they’d let him just take the Scarlet skier. Through a decent enough issue.

    The fire and ice bit was kind of fun. Although y’all are wrong. There is always the hottest of the two. After all her name is fire. Not sure why she’s in costume this scissors portrayed her as someone who always like to have a distinctive look. It’s weird on her day off she is walking around in her superhero outfit. The gentleman thief run for the flash rogues gallery. May have started here I’m not sure. I don’t remember exactly when Mark Waid took over the book. For his plans for them. I’m pretty sure the guy who wrote badger didn’t do this with the rogues when he wrote the book. Only thing I remember from his run was Vandel Savage as the main villain whom gave everyone speed powers in a weird drug. That made them die rather quickly. And that Wally had won the lottery. It probably is Clark. But, he saw they had it well in hand. He just had to make that one mentions only accidentally kill heatwave. Both of these two characters were memorable in legends of tomorrow.

    It’s just that heatwave lasted longer. And from what I remember watching the show was pretty good. Though I did cut out after a while. Back to this comic kind of weird that they had been arrested for stopping the villains. Also didn’t Overon leave the team? Yet here he is bringing Oreos to J’ohn. Hey cool the Huntress podcast used my post to do their plug. That works. You both have great podcasts and was cool to see both pod casts work off of each other. Also though I didn’t say it last time having looked at the Huntress trade paperback. Yeah no sorry there is no romance between power girl and Huntress. Power girl is mad because Harry is going after superheroes. In fact she talks about this guy she power girl is into named Andy. A reporter for the Globe. And it is power girl who points out that she sees a romance treat Harry and Huntress. There’s even a point in this where after she knows that Harry knows that she is the Huntress that Alayna changes in front of him. Not something you gonna do front of somebody who’s just a friend.

    Sorry to burst the bubble again. At any rate can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

      1. Sorry I’m the Earth 3 Stellah I guess. 😀 I.E. the Crime Syndicate of America verson. The Shipper killer. :D. I go threw the multi verse ruining folks ships. LOL. Sorry.

        1. Oops that sounded weird. I just meant I oppsed and messed up folks ships. Sorry my bad. Sorry to anyone mention etc.

      2. That sounded weirder than I meant it to be sorry everyone. What I meant was I ruin folks ships. Should have said like. To much cold meds as I get over Covid I guess sorry to all mentioned or involved.

  9. Mr Nebula cometh! Or something. So yes, this issue is hilarious, especially Gnort and Scarlet Skier. I’d forgotten how great their facial expressions were in this issue, but Tom Artis delivers. A couple of things I’m not sure were mentioned: Tom was the artist on the prequel issue, JLA #36, going above and beyond to give a consistent look for these two stories. And also, on the opening credits, Tom Artis is listed as the Artis’, with that trailing apostrophe. My brain recognizes it and the joke, but ALSO wants to interpret that as a printing error chopping off the “t” at the end of “Artist”. Just love it.

    I think the discussion about Mr Nebula being coded as gay is right on. In that same vein, back when I first read this, I kept seeing a similarity to Bronson Pinchot’s character Serge in Beverly Hills Cop, an undeniably gay character. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, but there ya go.

    The Fire and Ice story was another fun romp, and I also mean the characters were having fun. Captain Cold and Heat Wave were having fun reliving their glory days. Fire was having fun trying to catch them. And Ice, uh, she got to, well, ok maybe she wasn’t having fun, but darn she was so sweet as always!

    Something about Fire was bugging me on this reread. She’s out for money and reward. Preoccupied with sex. Fighting classic Flash villains. Oh my gosh, has Bea turned into Wally?! Say it ain’t so!

    Delightful discussion, delightful guest, and delightful host. (Yes, that means you, Shagg. Don’t let it go to your head.)

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  10. Apologies I’m only posting here for news purposes – I’m still miles behind in the Podcast (JL:A 26 and JLE :2)

    But for those of you on the look out of something of a miss mash over in the UK I just saw this

    https://hachettepartworks.com/en-en/dc-heroes-villains-collection/justice-league-of-america-endings-beginnings/

    Thats a hardback covering the end of JLA (vol1) and the first 7 Issues of the JL/JLI ! It’s a odd combo I guess to have the end of the JLA in there but I think it sort of works? Talk about a Tone change mind you!

  11. This was one of the editions that made me read Justice league International, Mr Nebula was a villain I was told and I had to read about it, in Brasil it gets better because Decorador and Devorador change just one letter, Galactus is the Devourer (Devorador) of worlds, Mr Nebula is the Decorator (Decorador) of Worlds; one thing, López is a non-Brazilian surname, maybe spanish, I reveal this because I really like Ernesto Lopez and the fact that the Brazilian embassy is the only one with a pool, LOL! And although I went after this issue for the first story, captain cold and heatwave remembering the old days is a story I hold dearly, of what villains were like.

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    1. PS: the gay stereotype is true, I reread this issue thinking: OH MY GOD THIS WOULD NEVER BE PUBLISHED TODAY
      but after seeing the what if issue Miles Morales was Thor, who knows?

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