JLI Podcast #49 – Justice League America #49 & Justice League Europe #25

Damien Drouet-Whiter joins The Irredeemable Shag to chat about Justice League America #49! General Glory is imprisoned by federal agents, while Schmidt attacks with The Evil Eye! Then Shotgun stops by to discuss Justice League Europe #25! The JLE take on the giant worms ravaging London, while Crimson Fox gets revenge on the man who murdered her parents! Finally, we wrap up with YOUR listener feedback!

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22 responses to “JLI Podcast #49 – Justice League America #49 & Justice League Europe #25

  1. Just listened to the episode with my husband and I have a few comments.

    First a correction from Yragael. The comic he was named after was actually released in the 1970s not the 1960s as I said. I’m beginning to worry that my reputation for accuracy is really getting diminished. It does make my analogy to Bernie Wrightson and Mike Kaluta even more appropriate.

    I had one further thought about why the General Glory story is remembered differently to the rest of JLI. It has occurred to me that this is the only JLI story co-plotted by JM DeMatteis rather than solely by Keith Giffen. Maybe it misses some of the spontaneity you get when each issue is a surprise to JM?

    Onto the JLE issue. Shotgun was a really great guest. You really should try and get that calibre of guest for the JLA reviews.

    I always found this Crimson Fox story a little underwhelming. I liked the idea of her being twins and the evil perfumier makes for a great nemesis but ultimately the worms don’t really make any sense. Where did they come from? Why did they obey?

    Ultimately my favourite part of this story is the teaser for the next issue. It’s great to have a classic villain back.

  2. I’m going to get a little meta here about both titles. You mentioned how underwhelming, for lack of a more precise word, this “anniversary 25th issue” of JLE was, and I tend to agree. Seems to me that both creators and audience had a little “ugly stepsister” syndrome with JLE, which was firing on all cylinders, specially when Sears is drawing (Sears, who, BTW, stayed in the book longer than Maguire did in the mothership).
    Some stories do tend to get maybe an issue too long? Sure, but this is great superhero comics all around.
    A final guess note on the lack of fanfare for the 25th issue: I believe the series got backtracked at some point (thus those issues that do feel like fill ins) and probably the actually planned 25th was to be some of the Starro saga and just couldn’t make it.

    Loved both Damien and Shotgun as guests, and boy, Ernest is Kirby? MIND.BLOWN.

  3. Status update 5
    First of great guest shotgun and other guest who’s name I can’t spell did Great .
    ….meanwhile …..
    Thanks for picking up dark side I didn’t know you had a tartis shaped as a comic shop . Any ways let general Glory that beaf eater the modern one is staying with us and terraman and Grundy are in the movie room watching magic friend ship pony show with the dogs the cat and my brother . We also have three other hero’s staying with us the boy king and his giant, the black terror and mad dog the super hero one with his side kick Buddy . Where a real rag tag group her that’s for sure . Also has any one seen tremors the series ?

  4. I came early for my pod and blog partner Shotgun’s JLI premiere (she’s actually a bit wrong about her history with JLI/JLE starting here since I know she read the first half of Morrison’s Animal Man run, including the issue where the JLI install a transporter tube in his house, but that’s pretty adjacent), but my comments are all about Damien’s JLA segment…

    First, I never read Druillet and Demuth’s Yragaël, but look it up, the art is TRIPPY.

    And on the notion of whether Americans like to laugh at themselves or not, my mind goes back to Stephen Fry’s comparison of American and British humor. The American comedy hero laughs at others (he’s Bugs Bunny); the British comedy hero laughs at himself (he’s Mr. Bean). I see that over and over in media, though there are of course exceptions as the two worlds cross-pollinate more and more.

  5. You remember when old Doctor Who would have to pad out their six partners there would be an episode where the Doctor and/or Companion would start out captured only to escape and have some wacky shenanigans only to be recaptured at the end so the plot could pick up next episode?

    Well personally the JLA comic reminded me of that, especially are they more or less admitted they’ve saved something for the final oversized issue!

    Don’t get me wrong it’s well told and well illustrated, and at least J’onn gets to show he’s a detective, but it’s not got much that really substantial. Not hating it but I think it’s good that it’s ending next issue.

  6. Cheers for another great show, Shag, you did a great job wrangling two shiny new guests. Damian and Shotgun were, as could be expected, top co-hosts.

    The General Glory story continues to be a good read. I agree, the cover is tremendous, but Damian, Bob LeRose wasn’t the cover editor at DC – he was a colourist ‘only’. Are you getting confused with Ed Hannigan, who designed many DC covers at this time?

    I loved most of the art, though I’m not a fan of this look for maskless Shilo, he looks a little too feminine. And what’s up with Lightray’s hair, is he plugged into an electric socket?

    The line of the podcast comes from Shagg – ‘not everybody has to have a point’. That explains me.

    As regards the JLE issue, I remember being confused by the title, ‘Nightcrawlers’ – why was it referencing a Marvel character? The term isn’t used over here, though I now know it’s an insect (I was also confused by ‘Yellowjacket’ as a kid).

    In answer to Shotgun’s question about the way Wally went on towards women, yes, loads of us hated it at the time. I’m with Shagg.

    Talking of Shotgun, what an interesting job role – if anyone was ever qualified to run a JLI embassy… I think we have our own Catherine Cobert!

    Shag asks whether the giant worms were always under England – maybe they were… I’m from County Durham in North East England where a local legend concerned the Lambton Worm, a dragon which terrorised local villagers. Full details on Wikipedia, along with the famous song. Such fun!

    1. I’m going to “um, actually” you, Martin. Bob LeRose was the cover co-ordinator for DC in this period. They didn’t actually have a cover editor until Curtis King joined the company later in the 90s.

      According to a Meanwhile column from the era Bob was responsible for all production elements of the covers from art production to paste-up and colouring. I was wrong to refer to him as cover editor as he was not making decisions but he was responsible for making sure whatever the Editors wanted became a reality to deadline.

      As for Ed Hannigan he was no longer working on staff for DC (i don’t know exactly when he left but he was working from home for his entire Green Arrow run) but would often be recruited to produce sketches when the artists/editors couldn’t come up with a satisfying layout.

      It sounds like cover co-ordinator was a pretty thankless job. He would have spent most of his time liaising with other people. For example if he wanted Todd Klein to do the cover lettering he would have to go through Production Manager Bob Rozakis (Todd’s boss). I imagine this is why we begin to see Bob LeRose colouring fewer covers. He was probably swamped with admin.

      I’d recommend reading Todd Klein’s blog. It’s full if anecdotes about his time working in DC production and interviews with his co-workers. It’s fascinating to see behind the scenes at what individual people actually did in their roles and how that changed from the late 70s to the early 90s.

      1. Fascinating! Thanks Damien… I’m a big fan of Todd’s blog, though I mainly read the logo studies, they’re so interesting!

  7. So here’s a theory. The worms were never under anyone’s command. Really what happened is the tuning fork was actually a device for worm grunting for giant worms. It scared them to the surface like normal worms and by worm grunting and the giant worms then just proceeded to be freeked out and attack and eat things. Though this does beg the question what eats those worms that they would be scared of?

  8. Woo-hoo, more Bwa-ha-ha! And what amazing guests! Damien and Shotgun were delightful and I really enjoyed listening to them for these issues. I never knew “stink” could sound so elegant in French but Shotgun nails it.

    JLA – I love how much of contrast this cover is to the previous General Glory covers. What started off as “Rah Rah America!” just took a dark turn with this cover and I don’t see how anyone could NOT buy this issue! And once inside, we are treated to some great hair! Between Guy getting his bowl cut tugged on by Fire or Lightray’s new perm, thanks to Guy, Medley is just hitting it out of the park. She also gives General Glory a Bruce Campbell chin that, I swear, gets bigger and bigger every issue..

    JLE – “Ptoo”. I don’t know why, but I just love that weird sound effect on page 5. I’m not sure if Sears drew that in, but it cracks me up every time. Speaking of Sears, some of his faces in this issue are amazing. I feel like a healthy does of praise has to go to Elliot, too, but some of those panels with Stank in shadow are fantastic.

    I had lots of fun listening and am looking forward to the end of the General Glory storyline! Keep up the great work!

  9. Oh, such a great episode and loved the international guests classing up the embassy. But now I want to hear Shotgun reading French comics, even though I won’t understand a word. So cool. All right, on to the issues:

    JLA #49: Shag, I’m so glad you’re enjoying General Glory and this storyline. I’m not going to try to figure out the negative rep, because in the end, it just doesn’t matter. It was from a moment in time, and all of us have changed. So it’s great you’re enjoying them now. I usually have the opposite problem, where nostalgia glasses make something seem good, but I cringe looking at it today. For something to go the opposite, that’s a gift.

    JLE #25: I loved the trope of “everybody gets something to do” getting turned upside down for the team. Their complaints also ring true as, they’re not used to it. This is not how any superhero story goes. When we show up, we each have to do things! Being observers is not in their nature, they’re not used to it, and it kinda upset them. Loved it.

    Now, about the cover. I would contend that we’re still in the period where issues 25, 75, 125, etc, are not treated as special landmark issues. Yes, the multiples of 50 are, but not these. For comparison, I pulled up a selection of contemporary #25’s: (and don’t worry, no expectation you’ll read all of this on the air)
    Flash #25 (Wally’s series): torn empty Flash costume, burnt landscape, 3 supporting cast members in the middle and small, starting a new “find Wally” storyline, the star of the book absent is a weird message for the cover.
    Captain Atom #25: Invasion Aftermath issue, Cap and other heroes standing in line to get medals from the President, boring but attractive image,
    Suicide Squad #25: Second part of a 2-part story, the villains on the team about to attack Vixen, not a big story or a jumping on point, ok cover but not an event
    Starman #25: Conclusion of Tom Lyle’s run, Will beat up and blowing I MEAN blasting at Deadline (yes I remember that joke! Bwah-hah-hah!), ok image but not a iconic, important creator issue but not important to the character unless you hated the PB&J costume and liked the red-black one.
    Justice League International #25: Beetle attacked by that vampire, one off story which I enjoyed but feels like a fill-in, cover evocative of horror but not a classic image
    And just for fun,
    Fury of Firestorm #25: The “This Is Stupid!” cover, Flamehead fighting toys, little image of Firehawk, it’s colorful but hardly an event.

    But no worries, I’m very interested to hear what you thought of JLA #50’s cover in the episode you’re reading this in!

    Keep fighting the good fight, my fellow Glory Hound!

    1. Tim, although in general agreement about “25 not being a milestone”, I have to comment/argue that Flash 24 was the big issue and 25 is important in the overall story of the character. In both cases a bold new direction and significant advances for Wally and Nate happen.

      But yeah, I guess in a time when series could be expected to hit 50 and 100 25 would seem like small change. Now we should be celebrating THE LANDMARK 10TH ISSUE of several series…

        1. Sure I don’t disagree. I’m just responding to Shag’s expectation that the cover of #25 should be “epic”, and I was seeing that in 1991, that wasn’t the case yet. Nowadays, it definitely is. But just my opinion, YMMV.

    2. Stars-n-Stripes! I forgot something! In this issue, General Glory refers to himself as “Uncle Sam’s favorite son.” Wouldn’t it be a hoot if he meant the DCU’s Uncle Sam? I mean, he couldn’t really mean *that* Uncle Sam, could he? Nah. Maybe? No, that’s silly. … but …

      1. I think that would make one more likely to be spoken to by Lady Liberty in a vision — family connections and all.

  10. Shag, I stayed home this morning to work on a project, but I have to get this comment in first. Great episode! Damien and Shotgun were terrific guests. Whoever’s next has a tough act to follow. Oh, and you were all right too, Shag.

    Only a few points you haven’t already covered:
    1. General Glory’s idea of respecting federal officers and letting them do their job is refreshing and radical! I know it sounds crazy, but out of respect for the General, I think we should all give it a try.
    2. Not even a gruff, Kirbyesque major in uniform gets to carry a sidearm into a prison.
    3. I know Kirby is the more famous artist, but I think Joe Simon did some of the earliest pencil work on Captain America. They were both writer/artist types, so having Mason be a cartoonist here is not a deviation from the model.
    4. General G doesn’t have a bowl cut? I know Damien is all the happier for it, but it’s kind of a shocker.
    5. I think Damien’s point about Americans laughing at ourselves has some validity, although I don’t know how many average Brits saw themselves in Mr. Bean. He’s pretty special.

    I wonder, though — were the British as good at laughing at themselves when they were the global hyperpower? It seems to make all our flaws that much more serious, especially when they lead to mistakes. But then, global leaders probably do a better job if they are laughing at (and reminded of) their own foibles. So maybe that kind of comedy should be a deliberate practice?

    Sorry. That discussion of humor got serious for a minute. I’m looking forward to the next two exciting episodes you told us about! Especially the conclusion of Glory Bound! (And Starro. Starro is always awesome.)

  11. One more note: I love General Glory’s outburst, “Guy, for Heaven’s sake! Attacking a fellow member?!?” Unlike the Leaguers, he still has high expectations of Guy and thus, the capacity for outrage. It puts Guy’s actions in perspective and makes them even funnier.

  12. As always, it is great to hear the coolest person on-line … Shotgun!

    Great discussions of both issues. Amazing that the King himself, Jack Kirby, is here to help the general.

    And I have to admit, Bart Sears art always impressed but your coverage of the book has me rereading it for the first time in decades. His stuff is glorious.

  13. Impressive podcast most impressive. The cover is well drawn and well drawn. Though it does look like a 90s grunge band CD covers. Thank you can see Pearl Jam, for silverfish having this on one of their CDs. Still it is well drawn. The story itself is kind of funny. Schmidt having to steal the idea powers the old base of EVS’s house. The overplayed goofiness of the character that is general glory. Is kind of funny. Though I can see one of the reasons this didn’t work. Since the grim dark 90s got so over the point to where Ernest heroes like Capt. America and Superman made a comeback because it was at least a contrast. As well as people realizing that sometimes a good person is just a good person. You don’t have to be overly grrr, grrr, porridge. Someone close to me is dead the world will pay. To be an interesting hero. Moving right a long. Light Ray and Orion make a decent addition to this comment. Still I don’t quite fit with the group. The art in this comic is pretty good. I just don’t like what she’s done with light rays hair. It looks like he’s been frazzled. Maybe I missed something from last issue.

    Still overall the art is very good. The headline in the newspaper is good. Though the fact that the actual story only gets a one paragraph followed by a bunch of gibberish is a bit silly specifically some of these almost become words. Did I mention my pronouns were she, her, old witch. Moving along, Schmidt is kind of making a big mistake. Had he just sat back to the glory may have been railroaded by this trial. His interferences going to do more damage to his want to get rid of the general. This’ll probably give you more good press. Since after all using about to start a major fight with the general and making him look like the good guy. Then again is clear that NewKirk isn’t all that fond of his own plan. Why else send Ernie to try and kill him and when he could just use political opinion is to destroy him. Moving along it is kind of cool that they pull out Joe Sinot. They being the justice league to try and clear the general. The dog liberty is kind of cute. Though the dog is more ace the bat hound. Than any sidekick Cap. America ever had.

    Scot-free arguing with the new Mr. miracle is kind of fun. Still I can’t wait till they wrap up this story.

    Oh, before I move on to my thoughts on the next story. It is kind of fun to see them fighting Nazis. Sadly the Nazis in the justice league are fighting are not from Illinois. Sorry I had to make the blues Brothers joke. But, speaking of Nazis and every G.I. Joe fighting Nazis and their first incarnation. While there is a German trooper in there so maybe. I know that action man had that so probably. While I didn’t get into G.I. Joe till the action team and later the real American hero. I know that the British version of that from Pali toys was called action force. Though Hasbro let that label laps and now that’s taken over by Bobby Valaha. And separate from Hasbro G.I. Joe classifies he’s kind of the gig is an action force and a six-inch scale action figures. Sadly there is no Barron, black major, the cracking or even the red shadows. However there is talk he’s going to use Crimson shadows. He even mentioned them in the comic that he makes alongside his toys in the issue for Tim Kennedy. A real-life guy who gets an action figure line.

    Like Sgt. slaughter who is also on the line. They even have his name he had use in the British media Sgt. slammer. Heck Bob Brechin even aproved of the new line. And he was part of the UK line in Palitoy. Chief Designer in fact. It’s like if Ron Rudat liked the new GI Joe line. And you can always At the own character back and if you want to I have. For my collection I have no connection to the actual line. Onto the next comic I am so glad the story is over. It’s cool seeing them given origin to Crimson Fox. Re: the best been talking about Crimson shadows and now here are talking about Fox. Also you can’t talk too much about the butt shots of power girl since after all there are tons of one’s of Wally and metamorpho. And apparently at this point instead of Michael Landon Capt. Adam has remained to be a copy of Richard Gere or Vandamme. From all the backside shots. Seems Animal not be able to get off the exercise bike or squat machine.

    It seems it’s ever sister this is almost give away her secret identity. Since when the flash saves her. She almost says his real name. Not sure this point they knew who Crimson Fox was. Probably not considering her sister is right behind her. Still, the fashion mogul accidentally saying his name whenever things there. Unless so that the point where the flashes identity had been public knowledge. I can’t remember when the book Wally had decided to stop using a secret identity. Then again it is odd. That some random person would not say that Mr. West. Since they don’t know that she and her sister are the Crimson Fox. Whether flashes identity is public or not. When you first meet someone one doesn’t generally just go and call someone by their first name. Deftly not the CEO of a perfume business. Then watching the zone diet was satisfying enough. And he couldn’t really die by their hands since that would’ve been a major headache for the justice league. They would’ve got the stern talking to you by Capt. Adam and they would’ve had the vote issue to see if they stayed.

    Are they would’ve had to hit it and later there were been issues were someone comes out having photographed them killing old man stink. As for the worms as they live deep enough underground sunlight might be a problem for them. I mean were talking about gigantic magical worms that live deep was under the streets of Paris. That can be controlled by a giant tuning fork. I don’t think modern biology on this case zoology. Is going to have too much to say in the matter of these creatures. I could be wrong, but I don’t think this is going to be a 1000 leagues under the Sea moment. Very find out these worms were a real thing. Since the 1000 leagues under the sea book mentioned a giant squid that at the time thought to be fiction that turned out to be a real thing. Though this probably falls under the lines of science fiction. So as long as they don’t reappear and sunlight doesn’t affect them there following their own internal logic. It would’ve been nice if Chekhov’s sunbeam had been shown earlier in the story. I.e. Chekhov’s gun whole bit. And they had informed us that this was a weakness of the worms.

    So in that way it does come off as a just added on at the last minute type thing. I look forward to seeing what happens with Staro and the league. Though interestingly you had a shotgun on this episode and there were four less innuendos then the last episode. Having listened to a lot of the hotter not marvel universe file podcasts. I’m a bit shocked .OHOTMU OR NOT had one of their main people on this episode. Annie Mae West type commentary was not in it. If slightly saddening. I’m kidding. Can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

    1. It was pretty cool hearing Shot Gun on the podcast. Sorry about the one joke. These were cool issues. And was cool hearing her team up with Shagg on the JLI pod cast.

  14. I continue to listen to but rarely comment on the exhaustive issue-by-issue discussion on this podcast. However, Damien invoked my name, and after failing to find the Idol-Head Easter egg in that Medley/Adams pin-up (listens again… “ohhhh,”) I was manifested. I bring my usual hot takes.

    I stopped reading Justice League America with #31, the first part of The Titsup Imperative crossover. I’d restarted with the book during the hilarious “Invasion!” tie-ins, but I didn’t really care for Ty Templeton or the more serious tone beginning with #26. I also bought #31 at a B. Dalton Bookseller, so I may have lost the comic shop where I had consistent access to the title (after it failed to appear on newsstands when I moved to Nevada.) I stayed away entirely until the start of “Breakdowns,” when I again had a neighborhood brick & mortar instead of being newsstand/flea market dependent. When I went back to read this material in the late ’90s/early ’00s, I liked most of the Adam Hughes and fill-in Mike McKone material, but “Glory Bound” was a total slog.

    I will confess that I had a jaundiced view of female artists in this time period. I had very much embraced the Chromium Age and proto-/Image style art, so I had a specific taste for what I expected from my super-hero comics. I’ve always loved and respected women, but in the early ’90s, white guys very much dominated the fandom and the industry. Any deviation from that baseline was a minority within a minority. How many female/minority readers were there, who could also draw a comic book, and do so “correctly?” We were still in a “How To Draw Comics the Marvel Way” mindset, where the further you got from the John Buscema model and x-heads high realistic proportions, the more “wrong” your art was. For instance, I’ve grown to appreciate Ramona Fradon with age, but in that period, I would have perceived her as corny like Jim Mooney or Kurt Schaffenberger. I always liked Collen Doran, but her art was usually “girlie” outside darker material like The Sandman, and I figured most readers didn’t want to see “girlie looking” super-hero books. I also really dug Cynthia Martin, who had a feminine energy and worked best on edgier material, but fit okay with the spandex crowd. Jan Duursema had done nice work in the ’80s, but when she tried to go EXTREME on X-Factor, it was only slightly better than Herb Trimpe’s stab. The only female artist I knew who could draw “kewl” was Joyce Chin (and later Sandra Chang did av decent Mark Beachum pastiche.) There were some great painters, like Olivia and Julie Bell, but there weren’t a lot of women pencilers, and almost none drawing contemporaneous stylishly. I still find this position somewhat defensible, but the range of styles deemed acceptable expanded massively as manga influences began to dominate in the late ’90s. This more expressive movement seemed to allow for more female artists to more fully demonstrate their talents without Bronze Age constraints, but also comics were simply more welcoming and diverse in general. If you have more female fans, that broadens the pool of fans-turned-pros, so you have more chances to find lady artists to your tastes. Now there are plenty of women drawing competitively, and I specifically think Nicola Scott is about neck & neck with Ivan Reis for best mainstream artist working. So it’s a cross between old white guys like me expanding our minds, and there simply being stronger and more broadly accepted female artists today compared to 1991.

    All that having been said, I don’t like Linda Medley on Justice League comics at all. She’s swell on a fantasy series like Castle Waiting where she has the time for more ornate art in a genre that suits her style, but here she’s Exhibit A in the case of Fanboys v. JLI. The book worked best when it incorporated comedy into heroic adventure, with certain bottle episodes like “Moving Day” still serving ongoing subplots and character development. “Glory Bound” is a shark jump where you really can’t take any of it seriously, or to paraphrase Kirk Lazarus, “Never go Inferior Five.” Worse, to carry on the sitcom shade, General Glory is Cousin Oliver. For five straight issues, Guy Gardner introduces readers to his Poochie, the coolest hepcat in the whole wide world, who proceeds to hijack the book from its titular stars in a sort of unintentional backdoor pilot. He’s also a parody and an analog of a competing company’s iconic team leader, so it’s like having Hyperion or The Sentry dominate an Avengers story arc. The sitcom’s gone on a few seasons too long and not only devolved into a caricature of its former self, but is trying to foist Randy Pearson on a disinterested public. And after all that, “Breakdowns” is a handwritten note stating General Glory, Silver Sorceress, and Bluejay died on the way back to their home planet. Coming back with that story, I wondered “who are these losers” when I noticed them at all.

    Justice League Europe never worked for me. To this day, I’ve less read than skimmed most of this stuff. I’m especially averse to the Marshall Rogers stopgap issues. An arc delving into Crimson Fox and Sonar crossed with Muad’Dib? Hard pass.

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