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Musings by an Elder Statesman of Geekery, including such topics as, but not limited to: Comic Books, Captain Action, Toys of the 1960's and 1970's, Vintage Action Figures, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Fantasy and Sci-Fi TV, Horror Films, Universal Monsters, Classic Movies, Film Noir, B-Movies, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Public Libraries, RPGs, Superheroes, Saturday Morning Cartoons, Dr. Who, and the History of Southern Illinois.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Justice League of Animation

Alex Ross, venerable comic book professional and graphic novel illustrator extraordinaire, was the first person I discovered who had given the matter at hand more than a passing notion.  Many folks of my generation and subsequent ones had considered the idea at one time or another, I'm sure, but Mr. Ross brushed it to life.  Such a simple, straightforward proposition:  Why not have the Hanna Barbera cartoon heroes of past decades, especially the more super-heroic ones, form a team?  Not so much for a new cartoon series, but as an ongoing comic book?  I still love the Ross take on this notion.

He did throw in some characters I probably would not have.  The extended members of  Superfriends like Apache Chief, Black Vulcan, Samurai & El Dorado would not have made my cut.  Not because they were bad members of that august animated body, but because DC Comics could have so easily used already existing characters from their stable to diversify the team.  Martian Manhunter, Super Chief (modern update), Bronze Tiger, The Gaucho or El Diablo's 20th century descendant, Randu Singh and others could have been utilized to add ethnicity to the team.  Rule of Good Comic Books Number One:  If you work for a big company with lots of character history, before you make a new character at least see if continuity has an already-existing, similar character languishing in disuse and ready to be explored and fleshed out.  This may seem a minor quibble, and perhaps it is in light of the way the four created Superfriends led to Global Guardians in the written comics.  But in one specific case, DC considered adding Black Lightning, an African American character already having his comic book adventures chronicled in their pages, as one of these four and instead deliberately 'created' the rip-off version Black Vulcan.  Why?  Possibly to avoid having to pay Black Lightning's creator, Tony Isabella, residuals for the use since the company did not own BL lock & stock, but shared character use and ownership with Mr. Isabella.  So in my mental Hanna Barbera Team lineup, I deleted the 4 Superfriends pictured but kept most of the others...including the Wonder Twins.

Stay Tuned, gentle readers, for Part 2...wherein universes and realities are rent asunder and fans draw several steps closer to a Dream Come True!

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