A League Divided

So my first comic, Justice League of America #200, a classic by any standard of Bronze Age comic storytelling.

JLA #200

JLA #200

This being my first real comic book after many Saturday mornings watching TV’s The SuperFriends, I was surprised to see that some of these characters were brand new while other staples of the Saturday morning were completely missing.

The story opened up after a brief retelling of the origin of the JLA which featured the seven original heroes working separately and finally together to conquer the alien invasion from the planet Appelax.

Time passed, and now the Justice League is headquartered in a satellite 22,300 miles in geosynchronous orbit with the Earth.   On Monitor Duty, was relatively new hero Firestorm, the current rookie of the League and all is well when suddenly the Martian Manhunter busts through the hull of the satellite looking for something of maddening importance.  In true storytelling form, we get an upending of the old JLA trope of teaming two heroes together to solve a crisis, now we have two heroes against each other for a goal.

FSvsMM

Luckily, Firestorm’s other personae, is made up of two people, Ronald Raymond (barely passing student) and Dr. Martin Stein (nuclear physicist).  Dr. Stein recognizes that the Manhunter is attempting to fight Firestorm from a distance and is using evasion techniques, which means perhaps the Manhunter is vulnerable to fire.   Firestorm revs up the heat in the room and the Manhunter appears, but it is too little too late as the Manhunter rips up a display case and throws it onto Firestorm.  The Manhunter makes his escape with one the original Appelax meteors.

FSvsMM1

When Firestorm awakes, he sends out the call to the full League who all come running in short order, or at least, most of them do.   It takes an ex-member, Green Arrow, to point out that none of the original members answered the call.  From there it is a quick leap to deduce that the other original Leaguers are under the same compulsion to collect the original Appelax meteors and bring them together for some unknown purpose.

The League divides their forces and head to where the individual meteors are buried to head off the best of the best before a catastrophe strikes.

Next Up:  Aquaman vs. The Red Tornado

So it has been a while

I confess, it has been a bit since I checked in here.  Lots going on with life has led the blog to not be as high a priority as I would like it to be.  I am going to make a big effort to change that.

While I am going to be concentrating on comics a lot here, I am going to branch out a bit and not be so focused on comics, but at the same time I am going to talk about all the other great geeky stuff that is going on and there is a lot of it out there to talk about!

579863_10150903253448691_558606558_n

 

And yes, I am going to put more of a FAAAAAAAAAABULOUS spin on things before with fun things like that (not my image, so if you own it, let me know and I’ll take it down).  But you have to admit.. Hemsworth and Evans make some fine, FINE super heroes, don’t they?

More in a bit.

Justice League of America – Secret Origin

A meteor crashes.  BOOM!

The meteor opens up and out comes an alien invader from a far off planet.

This is the stuff of the ages of the 1950s-1960s sci-fi/horror films and this is how the Justice League is born.

The original seven

The original seven

Seven asteroids are sent from the far off planet of Appelax and each of these meteors contain a would be warlord of Appelax and our planet has been chosen as their battle ground.

The meteors land in Colorado, The Indian Ocean, Paradise Island, Africa, Italy, the Okefenokee Swamp, and the Arctic Circle.

One by one the villains emerge from their cocoons and begin to change the local inhabitants into copies of themselves to create an army for the big battle coming soon.

Three of the aliens are huge, the Rock God, the Yellow Roc, and the Fire Lord.  The four remaining aliens are human sized, and these appear to be more the thinkers of the group, while the three larger aliens seem bent on destruction.  The Wood King, The Mercury Monster, The Crystalline Creature, and the Glass Golem.

Martian Manhunter defeats the Rock God and Aquaman takes care of the Glass Golem.  On Paradise Island, Wonder Woman dispatches the Mercury Monster as Green Lantern deals with the Golden Roc despite his weakness to the color yellow.   Once Flash finishes the Fire Lord in Italy, he tracks down the other meteor that landed in the Okefenokee Swamp, and finds the other heroes frozen in place as the Wood King’s meteor is turning them all to wood.

jla9-origin

The Wood King leaves his meteor and mentally commands the heroes to follow him and it is only through the teamwork of the heroes that the are able to defeat the alien.  Deciding it would be best to take on the last meteor together rather than singly, the heroes journey to the frozen north where they find Batman and Superman already in combat with the Crystalline Creature.

Superman is weakened by the Green Kryptonite coating on the asteroid, apparently his legend had reached all the way to Appelax, but as Batman manages to snag the meteor away, Superman’s strength returns and he reduces the alien to so much coal.

Emboldened by their victory, it was decided then and there that they would form a group of heroes to defeat those menaces that they cannot defeat alone and the Justice League of America was born.

This story becomes extremely important when we pick up in JLA #200 next time, for you see, the Appelaxians are not done yet….

Next Time:  JLA #200:  A League Divided

Justice League of America

The first comic that I remember buying for myself was a birthday present in 1982.  The book was the Justice League of America #200 and this is where my comic book fandom took off.

Now, I had watched Adventures of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman shows on TV  and I got up every Saturday morning with the dawn to catch The SuperFriends, but those were just the gateway bits of candy.  The comic book was where I could get even more hero action.

Money was tight when I was a kid, even by those standards and this was right around my birthday that I walked into the local Magik Market and bought a Cherry Icey/Slushie and JLA #200.

And just like that, my fate as a comic book geek was sealed.

Justice League of America #200

Justice League of America #200

The story featured fifteen heroes, three supporting characters, and seven aliens bent on using Earth as a battlefield.

Fairly simple and straightforward, right?

Well, what I did not know is that this story was also a wink and a nod to the story structure that the JLA had in the past, where individual heroes would attempt to confront the problem only to be beaten back and forced to regroup.

Once the heroes came together, then the heroes would succeed at their task.

Justice League of America Shield Logo

Justice League of America Shield Logo

The Justice League of America was founded by seven heroes and then joined by nine more heroes.

The founding members of the JLA are:

Superman

Superman

Superman – Clark Kent – The Last Son of Krypton who wields amazing super strength, super senses, flight, and is nearly impervious to harm.

 

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman – Princess Diana of Themyscira – The daughter of the Queen of the Amazons, Diana is imbued with the power of the pantheon of Olympus to bring peace to man’s world.

Batman

Batman

Batman – Bruce Wayne – The Dark Knight seeks justice in a world ever darker and ever stranger armed only with his keen intellect, gadgets, and superb fighting prowess.

Aquaman

Aquaman

Aquaman – Arthur Curry – Ruler of the Seven Seas.  Aquaman can withstand the greatest of pressures, move through the water at immense speeds, and command sea life to do his bidding.

Flash

Flash

Flash – Barry Allen – The Scarlet Speedster.  Struck by a lightning bolt that washed electrified chemicals over him, Barry Allen was gifted with mastery over his molecules and immeasurable speed.

Green Lantern

Green Lantern

Green Lantern – Hal Jordan – The Galactic Protector.  Hal Jordan was given his ring by a dying member of the Green Lantern Corps and can use its power to construct solid light constructs.

Martian Manhunter

Martian Manhunter

Martian Manhunter – J’onn J’onzz/John Jones – The last surviving member of the Martian race, J’onn was teleported to Earth accidentally and has been forced to make a home amongst the human race using his telepathy, shape shifting, and strength to blend in with Earthlings.

Together they became the greatest fighting force for good that the universe ever knew.

JLA Original Seven

JLA Original Seven

The original team was soon joined by

Green Arrow5

Green Arrow

Green Arrow – Oliver Queen – The Emerald Archer – Shipwrecked on a hostile island, Oliver Queen was forced to master archery in order to survive and return to his home, now he fights for the common man with a common weapon.

Atom

Atom

The Atom – Ray Palmer – The Tiny Titan – Physicist at Ivy University, Ray Palmer devised a belt and gloves that when worked in tandem could shrink a man to microscopic size while maintaining his mass and strength.

Hawkman

Hawkman

Hawkman – Katar Hol/Carter Hall – The Winged Wonder – A police officer from far off Thanagar, Carter works as a museum curator while protecting the citizens of Midway City with ancient Earth weaponry.

Black Canary

Black Canary

Black Canary – Dinah Drake Lance – The Blonde Bombshell – Black Canary is a master of most forms of martial arts and can muster a sonic scream that can level most foes.

Elongated Man

Elongated Man

Elongated Man – Ralph Dibny – The Ductile Detective – When Ralph drinks his Gingold serum, he gains the ability to stretch his body to enormous proportions.

Red Tornado

Red Tornado

Red Tornado – John Smith – The Robotic Twister – Red Tornado’s robot body contains an elemental force, the Tornado Tyrant, and there in lies Red Tornado’s ability to create massive winds.

Zatanna

Zatanna

Zatanna – Zatanna Zatara – The Mistress of Magic – Zatanna’s backwards spoken spells are powerful enough to confound the mightiest criminals.

Firestorm

Firestorm

Firestorm – Ronald Raymond and Dr. Martin Stein – The Nuclear Man – Fused together, college student Ronald Raymond and physicist Martin Stein became Firestorm, they control nuclear bonds to transform matter.

NonCharterJLAers

The New Members

And now, most of the players are in their places.

Next Up:  JLA #200.  Part One:  Secret Origin

The Secret Origin

I was at a friend’s house and he was fumbling through some comics and exclaimed in a voice part honest and part laughable that “This makes no sense!”

I responded that “Of course it makes sense.  In that world.  Just like Light Sabers make no sense or Starships going to warp speed make no sense and especially like sparkling vampires make NO sense.”

It is called Suspension of Disbelief and we all do it.  It is how we get invested in a story, knowing how untrue it is, but wanting to be entertained by it nonetheless.  You have to believe a man can fly.  You have to insist on a villain who has a distinctive yet chilling laugh.  You have to trust in the stories and let them take you places that you can never go in your ordinary world.

Escapism.  It is how I survived growing up gay in the south in a religious household with an abusive father.

I replaced my actual father with my heroes.

As a gay kid in the closet, I identified heavily with Raven from the New Teen Titans.  She was half human, half demon.  She had to keep her emotions in check at all times, for if she relaxed and allowed herself to feel emotion at any time her demonic father could swoop in and conquer the universe.

Raven

Raven

 

A bit melodramatic, I will grant you that, but still a good metaphor for how I felt at that age and coming to grips that not only was I different as a geek, but I was more than likely gay as well.  As time went on, I made a lot of mistakes and grew up not half bad thanks to a very forgiving mom and a group of friends that are more like family to me.

So, I am dedicating the blog to all of them and all those gay comic geeks out there who had to struggle to find their place in life.  You are super to me, never stop believing that.

I’ve added some new pages up top and I will hopefully get to fill those out a bit over this upcoming weekend.

Next Time:  My First Comic Book:  Justice League of America #200.

Krypton Explodes and Kal-El Survives.

Beginning of My Heroic Journey

It comes without warning typically.  The fact that you are being called to some sort of higher purpose.  Go back and read Joseph Campbell’s “Power of Myth” if you do not believe me.

The hero is challenged either internally or externally and this challenge is what causes the hero to rise up and take that journey.

Take Superman.  There is no more iconic superhero.

Rocketed to Earth by his mother Lara and father Jor-El from the doomed planet Krypton mere moments before the planet explodes.  No matter which version of the story that is told this is evocative.  Apocalypse and Survival.  The Last Son.   The Boy Who Lived.

kryptonexplodes

Landing in Smallville, Kansas, the epitome of the small town U.S.A. that many idolize today as being evocative of a simpler and better time.  The baby is adopted by a childless couple, the Kents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, who raise the child as their own with Midwestern American morality and ethics.  The hero is now an Outsider.  A Stranger in a Strange Land.  An Alien.

The child is named Clark and grows up knowing that he is different from his classmates.  Clark’s best friend is Pete Ross and his love interest is Lana Lang.  Clark discovers his heritage and adopts the name Superboy.  Superboy is soon joined by a super dog named Krypto to lessen his loneliness.  An ideal childhood and adolescence.  A boy and his dog.

Visitors from the future, inspired by Superman, visit Superboy and invite him to join them in the 30th Century as a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Superboy grows up and becomes Superman and Clark leaves Smallville.  The hero takes his journey away from home in order to become forged into the hero that he will someday become.  The time travel aspect of this journey in this instance is that Superboy’s teachers are those already familiar with the legend that he will one day become as Superman.

Superman returns from the future to the past and he builds his Fortress of Solitude where he discovers more of his Kryptonian heritage.  Superman heads towards Metropolis and becomes mild mannered reporter Clark Kent of the Daily Planet and meets his adult love, intrepid reporter, Lois Lane, his best pal Jimmy Olsen, and his boss Perry White.  Superman meets Supergirl and the Kandorians.  He also meets his first huge challenges:  Luthor.  Brainiac.  Bizarro.  General Zod.  Doomsday.

This is the bare bones of Superman’s heroic background.

Keep in mind that Superman is the base that almost everything in the DC Universe is based on.  Yes, even Batman.

Superman taught me a lot as a kid.  Superman taught me how to take the high road when the low road was much more appealing.  Superman taught me to turn the other cheek more often than not and those times when I did not, I always feel to this day a sense of guilt and of letting down other people in my inability to be super at that moment.

Here is where we begin.

My geeky story.

How a gay guy learned to love himself and others through his love for comics, movies, and rolling dice with friends.

RainbowCloak

Welcome to the RainbowCloak

So, time to start over.

Formerly the home of SuperFriends of Dorothy, now it is just me, RainbowCloak.

I had been spending months debating what to do with the SFOD site, and eventually I came to the difficult conclusion that it was time to start over.

So what is this site going to be about?

Superheroes.  Gaming.  Movies.  LGBT.  Personal Stuff.

And that’s about it.

So, let’s get started.