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!

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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.