Friday, July 18, 2003

FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE JUSTICE LEAGUE REVIEW CLEARINGHOUSE: Reviews are coming in, and they are uniformly positive:

Ray Tate of Silver Bullet Comics.
Tim Hartnett also of Silver Bullet Comics.
Randy Lander of 4th Rail.
Don MacPherson, also of 4th Rail.
Jeffrey Neary of Broken Frontier.
Jim Smith of Shiny Shelf.
John Hefner of Zentertainment.

Rich Johnston likes it too. And I love it--my day is better because I got to read Max Lord convince Ted Kord and Booster Gold to rejoin his goofy new superteam. I can't tell you how much mine or anybody else's reactions are out of nostalgia for the old Giffen/DeMatteis/Helfer/Dooley League. How would I even articulate in a serious, non-dorkish way why the JLI was so great? People call it a superhero sitcom and it was and it wasn't. It was more like a group of people employed as superheroes who got through the day with gallows humor or with terrible humor. Somebody called it the Hill Street Blues of superheroes and that might be pretty apt. I'd say it was one of those magic moment deals (like Casablanca) where everything just works out right artistically in a commercial, collaborative medium, except that Giffen and DeMatteis minus Helfer and Dooley seem to be doing just fine in FKATJL. (It's one of those creative ironies that J.M. DeMatteis, a comics creator who has always aimed at Serious Adult Artistic Themes does his best on a superhero relationships comedy. Though JLI isn't/wasn't quite a comedy either; reading it through, you enjoy it because of how familiar these characters are, which is a testament to how well they've been portrayed in the comic. So that's the formula: clear, enjoyable characterization leading to familiarity leading to enjoyment.) It's a precise, well-crafted enjoyable comic book and it should stand up with the best of (say) Carl Barks or Herge or whoever--though I may be going out on a limb here--I think this is one really clear instance of a book not getting its due because it's an American commercial mainstream superhero comic book. Even though it's a study in everything to do right with a narrative. There you go.

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