JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… Justice League Annual #1 (1987)

Our first "Meanwhile" episode, covering items outside of the monthly series! The Irredeemable Shag welcomes guest host Diabolu Frank to discuss Justice League Annual #1 (1987)! This issue Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Bill Willingham put Martian Manhunter through the ringer telling a moody and horror-driven tale!

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18 responses to “JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… Justice League Annual #1 (1987)

  1. Fun episode! I remember buying this comic off the stands and also thinking, geez, Manhunter looks pretty cool with Dr. Fate’s helmet on.

    I think I need to have Frank on FILM AND WATER to discuss The Exterminator now. Or Warrior of the Lost World at the very least.

    1. When you do your Death Wish II episode, sell it as a double bill with The Exterminator, then just say it’s the same movie but with Robert Ginty in a welder’s mask with a flamethrower. Concise!

  2. We’ve had this conversation before. “I hate you with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns!” is a line Diane says to Sam in a second-season episode of CHEERS.

  3. This was a fun annual. As I was a fan of the early days of the book, and the balancing between action and lunacy, this one stands out as one of the better straight-forward adventures. Frank pointing out how Batman wasn’t too smart when it came to protecting the team did make me want to rethink the whole affair, however.

    Willingham’s art was solid, and now I can definitely detect a strong early Marshall Rogers influence, especially on the page where Mister Miracle saves himself from that fall. Of course Rogers drew that short-lived Miracle revival in the late 70s.


  4. Shag and a living bottle of Mountain Dew.

    Glad you reprinted the panel from the Mayfair game. For years that was one is my favorite Black Canary illustrations!

    Looking forward to the next episode.

  5. I loved this episode. I remember this issue it was a favorite. This issue caused much drama in my life. An argument over where it fit in regular continuity, was one of the first times I saw comic fanboys get in an actual fist fight. I still love the story, but it’s forever attached to fan on fan violence for me.

    Great show

  6. Irish Embassy calling – after that incident with J’onn J’onzz detailed in the podcast, the embassy here has been issued with a thousand surgical masks with the note “Please wear when the Martian Manhunter visits!” – very strange!

    Anyway, great episode. I first read the annual in the TPB “The Secret Gospel of Maxwell Lord” – in that TPB, the annual was actually the first story in the book followed by issues 8-12. It also has handy notes from Kevin Dooley explaining what happened at each stage “i.e. the annual took place between 4 and 5, Guy Gardner “gained a personality” after issue 7, Millenium happened” – little things like that! Looks like from what you said, the annual was placed at the end of the TPB in subsequent printings.

    The story was very good, and to be honest, the humour was about the same level as the early episodes. It was only later issues that the humour quotient went way up. Willingham’s art looks to me as if he was aping Maguire’s style – if you squinted, you could almost think that it was a MAguire book. This probably had to do with the detail Giffen put into the breakdowns.

    I don’t think I read the Martian Manhunter series that followed. I think I got the first issue, but as Frank said, the art really put me offfor that book.

    Maybe someone has pointed this out before, but it looks like DC will collect the Breakdowns series in 2017 – definitely something for the collection!


    Great show and Frank’s contribution was very good, the bloopers at the end were very funny but will probably get his visitor pass revoked by Shagg!

  7. I found Frank’s brief comments about Wild Dog most enlightening. I’ve never been able to put into words the problem I had with the character after the mini-series wrapped and then he nails it. Well, of course he did. He’s Frank.

    It was kind of strange to hear him come up in this podcast, as the character has no connection to the Justice League. But it was a real Aha! moment for me. I only wish I’d come to the same conclusion he did myself.

    I’ll discuss it more in my upcoming mini-series Wild Pod: A Wild Dog Podcast. (shameless plug) More on that in the weeks to come.

    Another great episode, Shag. I loved this annual and listening to you two talk about it makes me want to dig it out and read it again. Thanks so much for doing this show!

  8. Australian embassy checking in to say that’s actually a pretty good rendition of the Sydney Opera House, way better than was done in the Invasion tie ins like Starman. Frank is wrong though (love saying that), the Sydney Harbour Bridge is just as iconic and recognisable, and geographically it’s quite easy to include it with the Opera House in the same shot. Uluru, not so much.

    1. I had to Google “Sydney Harbour Bridge” and still don’t know it from any other bridge, so no, your embassy does not get to unilaterally decide how rock stupid ignorant about Australia the rest of the world and especially Texans are!

    2. I remember the first time I was in Australia and going through Circular Quay Station to see the Harbour Bridge on my left and the Opera House on my right – a visual kapow moment!

  9. I hated this annual when it came out. It was so early in the book, and I was still struggling with the dramatic shift in tone from my beloved Detroit League to the BHH era. This issue compounded that struggle because it felt like they were trying to appease fans of the traditional league with ramped up action, but wanted fans of the new book to get their fix too. I was a kid picking this book up of the spinner racks, and shifts in tone this wide didn’t feel like broad and varied storytelling, but instead like a lack of direction.

    Upon retread, it’s still not great. While I love when Willingham draws, his style doesn’t work here. There are some nice panels, but overall, this isn’t a great chapter in the run.

    Great show, though! Keep up the great work!

  10. Great episode! I have to get the hard copy of this issue since the second volume of the graphic novel is out of print and it is about $35 on the open market. It is cheaper to hunt down the issues by issue for that price.

    Diabolu Frank is such a grumpy smurf!

  11. Another great episode, Shag! I’m looking forward to future “Meanwhile” shows, but boy, how are you going to keep up, especially when the Quarterly book starts during the JLA/E era? Yikes! Pace yourself, man!

    Not sure how I feel about Frank “the Ruiner!” I’ve really connected with the fanboy-ness of the previous episodes, which I didn’t get here. BUT! Frank did make me laugh hard several times, so I’ll let it go.

    Now about the annual, there were comments before and after in the letter’s page that it was intentionally like the “classic” JLA. Serious story, splitting into teams of 2, doing a little nostalgia there. Not my favorite JLI story, but still enjoyed it, and hooked on Willingham’s artwork. Hey, how can you not like Dr Light knocking Guy on his butt with one palm-heel strike! (SOK) ((sound effect from the panel)) Granted, it’s not “one punch”, but pretty close.

    So everybody listening to this show bought that Mayfair source book? I thought I was the only one! I love this community.

    1. Oh! Question for the group. How did the people in the “meat puppet” not get squished when it walked and punched the ground? There’s hundreds of people, and the ones on the bottom of its feet should have been crushed by the weight. Or maybe I’m overthinking it? Still more reasons this monster gives me the willies. Ewwwwwwww

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