Shots From The Studio #15

Greetings and welcome to this weeks Shots from the Studio. Throughout the 70s and 80s my comic book tastes were, with the exception of a certain Dark Knight, firmly rooted in the Marvel universe. Aside from a smattering of independent comics and a few DC books that featured an appearance of the aforementioned Caped Crusader or a member of his rogues gallery I was strictly collecting X-Men, Spiderman, Daredevil, Moon Knight etc.
   Then in 1987 I saw a new release in the DC section that really caught my eye. It featured a group of heros gathered, glaring up at the reader. With the exception of Batman and “Shazam” I didn’t recognize any of them. There was a Green Lantern but not the one that I was vaguely familiar with and he brashly stated “Wanna make something of it?”

   I immediately liked the cover art. The lines were clean with just enough detail to make it interesting but not cluttered. The facial expressions were great (more on that later). And I just loved the simple, dramatic layout and the “camera” angle. I couldn’t have known at the time that this cover would later be recognized historically as one of the all time great comic book covers and be payed homage to dozens of times. So decided to risk the $0.75 and pick it up.
   I was not prepared for what awaited me under that awesome cover. The book follows the reformation of the disbanded Justice League of America and due to storyline obligations Superman, Wonder Woman and The Flash were not available for the book. This meant with the exception of Batman the team would be made up of mostly C and D list characters. This also meant the writers would have nearly unlimited freedom as no “important” characters were involved. I loved it immediately.

  Written by Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis it was like a superhero sitcom. The banter was quick and witty, the situations were outlandish and the interplay between all of these super egos made for hilariously over the top drama. The action was great too. Since these were mostly C and D tier heroes so were the villains. This resulted in block busting action paired with ridiculous motives and solutions.

   And the art was amazing. I wasn’t familiar with Kevin Maguire before this book but he quickly became a favorite of mine. He had a clean efficient style. His anatomy and sense of action were spot on. But where he really shined was his facial expressions, no one can match Maguire here. You could remove all the dialog and still know what every character was thinking. And in a book that generally had more conversations and bickering than physical confrontations he was the perfect fit.

   This book opened me up to checking out more DC books. Especially the Justice  League spinoffs; Blue Beetle, Mister Miracle and Justice League International. Its available as a trade paperback an I highly recommend it.