Friday, 23 September 2011

Why Is Stiffs On Indie-Go-Go?

Yes. That's right. Stiffs now has an Indie-Go-Go page. For those who don't know, Indie-Go-Go is a website where creators can post a project, and ask the general public to help fund it. People can donate any amount from (in this case) $1 up to $100 to help get the project off the ground, and get rewards in return. In the case of Stiffs, rewards range from a thanks in a future issue, up to a complete set of the five issues and being drawn into the comic. Not bad, eh?

But, you may cry, why do you need donations of money to get Stiffs out there? Don't you already have a publisher who is covering all the printing and distribution costs? Well, yes, we do. Dead Star Publishing have been brilliant, and are, indeed, covering the printing and distribution, as well as the promotion, of our li'l comic. But these are far from the only costs incurred when it comes to producing Stiffs.

However, before we go into that, I'm going to do something surprising. I'm going to admit that I'm not one-hundred percent comfortable with sites like Indie-Go-Go, Kickstarter, Crowdfunder, or any of these other sites which allow the public to fund people's projects. The problem is, any hack can get their project on these sites with relative ease and start demanding money off you to help get it made. There's almost no end to the projects on the internet which are crying out for your cash, but really don't deserve it. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of projects on them which are worth your time, and I myself have donated in the past to a couple of them, but thanks to the sheer number of shit ones, there seems to be a stigma which has very quickly arisen around these websites.

They're the last resting place of people's vanity projects, which amount to nothing more than bad writers, artists, directors or producers wanking over themselves and how wonderful they are. As soon as someone gets a project on one of these sites, they do nothing but spam you with the link to it, annoying you asking you to fund something you couldn't give two shits about, but which they believe is the greatest piece of work since Michaelangelo did his last ceiling job. And the problem is, this is true of many of them.

I'm actually vaguely uncomfortable with Stiffs being on one of these sites for both these reasons. I don't want us to be grouped in with these creators, and I don't want people to think we're using it to try and swindle you out of your money. When the topic of getting Stiffs on Indie-Go-Go was first raised, I was wary. I voiced my concerns to Drew and Joe, and in fairness, they listened. They then talked me around, and I am fully behind the decision. But there is still some unease, and before I start throwing the link out there asking you guys for money, I want to address this with you.

First of all, the costs. When it comes to making a comic, the printing is far from the only cost involved. You know who else needs paying? The artists. We have three very talented artists working on Stiffs. Gavin Mitchell's wonderful pencils and inks, ably coloured by Adam Cadwell on issue #1, with Kris Carter taking over for the remainder of the series, need some form of compensation, and much as we have tried to suggest it, the three of them just won't accept us paying them in hugs and high fives.

Artists in the world of comics don't come cheap. I'm not going to go into actual figures, but it's fair to say that, generally speaking, per page, artists get paid more than writers. And that's entirely right. Artists have to work harder than writers to get a single issue completed. Writing a few words on a page takes a lot less time than drawing however many pictures of various characters doing various things on the same page. You'll find that, within the industry, while there are writers putting out three or four comics a month, it's rare to find an artist with more than one. A few of them can do two a month, but I'd imagine they have very little in the way of social lives and haven't seen their families for a while. So, artists getting paid more than the writers is, when based on the workload, exactly right.

And we've had to pay our three wonderful artists all out of our own pocket. While, yes, Drew, Joe and I are contracted to Dead Star and will see a small pay cheque from Stiffs, Gav, Adam and Kris are not. Stiffs started with Drew. I then forced my way in, and the two of us later asked Joe to join us as well. We were just three friends writing a story together. But before Stiffs, we hadn't met any of the artists. We were put in contact with them, and we hired them to draw the book, long before we ever discussed publishers. As such, they required paying. While we have managed to cover these costs so far, none of us are by any means rich. We all work normal day jobs to provide us with the means to live, and the costs of paying the artists really add up over a month. So, if we can get funding through Indie-Go-Go, you would be not only buying yourself a copy of Stiffs (depending on how much you donate), you would be enabling us to pay our artists and create further comics.

There are other costs involved too. One way a creator needs to get his or her comic out there is to take it to a convention. Again, to attend one of these costs money. Plus, you need to have something there to sell. While Dead Star are printing and distributing Stiffs through their website and various comic shops, they're not just going to give us a load of free copies of the book to take to a con. They're a small publisher, they need to make a profit, and giving things away isn't really conducive to that. So, if we want to take a pile of comics to a con, we need to pay Dead Star to print them.

So the costs add up. There are other things your money would be going towards, small details which I won't bore you with here, but the crux of it is, when you're an indie creator, even if you have a publisher, there is still a lot of money to spend to get your book out there.

And finally, the bit where I try and convince you I'm not a pretentious wanker. Here's my honest opinion. Stiffs isn't the greatest comic the world has ever seen. Nowhere near. It's not going to change your life, it's not going to make you instantly more attractive to the opposite sex. But I do think it's good. It's a project I'm very proud to be involved in, and if you read it, I'm fairly confident that you'll find it an amusing diversion for a brief period. You'll enjoy the action, you'll laugh at the jokes and you'll like the characters. Especially Kenny. Did I mention we have a talking monkey?

I'm not going to constantly spam the link, and I'm not going to pretend Stiffs is something it isn't in order to get you to part with your hard earned cash. I'm simply going to tell you that it's a comic I genuinely believe has a place in the market. Is there hyperbole on the Indie-Go-Go page? Of course. That's how these things work. But at the end of the day, we love making this book, and I think that shows in the final product. The preview book had some good reviews, and we're confident we can keep the quality consistent. Maybe even get better, so that one day we do become a life changing best comic ever.

We'd like a chance to get there, and we'd like your help to do it. So please, if you like the idea of Stiffs, enjoyed the preview book, or just like any of the creators as people (ha!), then donate $1. Or more. Up to you. And if you don't like us or the book, that's fair enough. You don't have to donate a thing. I won't hold it against you.

That up there is the link. Use it, share it, ignore it. I'll leave it with you.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Worlds Apart

A friend of mine linked me to a writing competition recently. This happens on occasion, when you're a struggling writer. Someone sees a competition, thinks of you and hits you up with the link. It's a good thing. I've entered and, I suppose, lost my fair share of them. I mean, I don't have anything to confirm I lost, but I didn't win, so I must have, right? But I digress.

This particular writing competition though, something about it seemed a little off to me. Not in a dodgy way, by any means. It was linked through the BBC website for one thing, so I don't thing there'd be any shenanigans there (and my friends at the Beeb won't contradict me, 'cos no one enjoys the job center). More, it was what the competition was asking for that troubles me.

The competition was asking you to pitch a world. Not a story, not a script, not a TV series or a film, but a world where stories could take place. The competition lists some examples of worlds along the lines of what they're after. These included things like Star Wars, Doctor Who and the Marvel Universe. All very good examples of worlds where multiple stories take place, with hundreds of characters running around and amazing opportunities to entertain an audience. And they can all be pretty neatly summed up in a pitch type sentence, if the need should arise.

But, those universes weren't created as universes. They were universes which came into being as a result of a story. When it comes to the creative process, I don't necessarily agree that there are any hard and fast rules. As long as you're telling a good story, that's all that matters. But one thing I do think is a bad idea is attempting to create a world without having a story to tell in it. You can start with a character or an event, two key aspects of any story, but to jump straight into a whole world, head first? That's just asking for trouble, and in my opinion, could quite easily lead to some lazy story telling.

Don't get me wrong, a good story needs a world to be set in, but the world should form naturally around that story. And, chances are, once you've told one story in that world, you'll have an idea for another. The world you've created will grow and change naturally as the story evolves, sometimes to the point where the world changes the story you were originally looking to tell. But it's all in service to the story. Do Drew, Joe and I have a fully developed world built up for Stiffs? Yes, we do. We know all sorts of things about what has happened, what is happening and what will happen in that world. Will you ever see all of that? No. We hope you'll see a lot of it, but there's always things that just don't matter to the story. We know they happened, but they don't necessarily impact upon the events we're portraying in the comic. Did we create the world first? Of course not. All we started with was Drew's idea about a man and his monkey hunting zombies in the woods. Everything else grew naturally from there.

Likewise, when Doctor Who was first broadcast in nineteen sixty-three, no one had the first inkling that he was a Time Lord, that he could regenerate, that he would last on and off for fifty years, that there would be multiple spin-offs and storylines galore. It all came later as different writers told different stories using the characters, and it all came about naturally as a result of the storytelling process. Nobody pitched Doctor Who as a fully realised world. They pitched it as a TV series about an old man and his time machine. The world came later.

World building is a part of writing. It should happen, and it's a great feeling when it does. And yes, I have a number of worlds in my head to tell stories in, but it was always the story which came first. Asking people to pitch a world just doesn't work for me. I love some of the worlds I write in, but I wouldn't know where to start pitching them as worlds. Let me pitch a story to you first. The world will follow.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Online Friends, Real Life Hugs

So, with my weekly column now appearing over on every Monday, and with my occasional geeky musings being saved for that, this blog was fast becoming redundant. But I don't want it to be. I still have things to say! So, with that in mind, look to hear from me on the interwebs three times a week! Mondays will see my regular sidekick column, discussing comics, films, computer games... Whatever takes my fancy! Then, come back to this blog on a Wednesday or Thursday for a random piece on anything that comes to mind that particular week, and then, finally, at any point from Friday to Sunday, look for some kind of diary or update on what's going on with my more creative endeavours, once again to appear here.

So, what do I have for you today? It's a rant. I haven't had a rant for a while, so this should be fun. But what am I ranting about? The internet.

More specifically, the relationships we cultivate with other people through the internet, and how those relationships can be really weird. Internet relationships are strange things.

The advent of social networking sites such as facemypartyspacebook (or whatever) has absolutely changed the way we interact with our friends, as well as how we go about meeting new people and making that tentative first contact step. Nowadays, all you need to do is update your profile, change your status or post a tweet, and the entire world knows what you're thinking. You can post on facebook about how you're feeling down, and watch as any number of friends, family, oblivious women you have a creepy crush on or strangers ask you what's up. Put the same thing on twitter, and chances are you'll get a load more friends and strangers asking you what's up, and then some spam telling you how to earn dollars from home. The internet gives us a way to instantly let people know how we're feeling, and receive some kind of comfort. And mocking. Endless, endless mocking.

Is that a bad thing? Of course not. Having your friends send you internet hugs and well wishes is nice. But, it's no substitute for having an actual hug from an actual friend, family member or object of your creepy affections. It can be frustrating sometimes, that you apparently have all these people so concerned for you who are just that tantalisingly out of reach. The problem is, these people who care about you so have their own lives to lead, as they should. So while they genuinely want you to be okay again, and would very much like to hug you, they're just too damn far away in real life, and unfortunately, they have a prior engagement they can't miss. There's nothing wrong with that, but it can leave you feeling like you're not quite getting the comfort you wanted as fast as you would like it.

So, what about the staying in contact with people aspect? This, I have to admit, is a positive boon. I have friends all over the world these days. Phone calls to far off places like America are expensive, and letters take ages to get there. Through social networking sites, however, as well as other communications tools such as Messenger or Skype, you can have an instant conversation with anyone, anywhere at no extra cost. Awesome. It's easier than ever to stay in contact with your friends these days, and that's largely down to the internet.

That said, once again, the internet is no substitute for actual physical contact. What would you rather do, talk to your friends on Messenger and put up with the bastard who insists on using text speak and ends every single sentence with "LOL", or actually go out and have some food and a few drinks with your nearest and dearest? I know which sounds better to me. The thing is, the internet has made it perhaps too easy to keep in contact. Yes, great for the long distance friendships, but what about the people who live a few streets over? You can go weeks without seeing someone who lives close by, simply because you've been chatting to them online and don't feel the need to actually see them. That's a shame, because there's nothing like laughing with a few people you have an actual fondness for, and being able to look at the person you're talking to without them freezing for twenty seconds, or looking all blocky, or moving with the jerky motions of a drunk stop motion chicken. The internet is good, but it isn't, and should never be, a replacement for actual human contact. As a wise man once said, just need a little of that human touch.

And this brings me onto the main point which inspired this particular rant in the first place. Online relationships. Now, meeting new people on the internet is a good thing. A number of people who I now count among my closest friends are people I met on Twitter. The internet is a great place to make new friends. You can have a look at a facebook profile, and instantly be greeted with a list of that users favourite things in the world ever! Got some things in common? Strike up a conversation! Doesn't always work, naturally, as some people are lame, but still, it's a start. However, there's something I'm seeing happen more and more, and I'll be honest with you, I just don't get it.

Maybe it's just that I'm old before my time, but people who claim to be in a romantic relationship with someone they've met on the internet... Well, that just baffles me! I'm not saying you can't meet someone through the internet on a social networking or dating website, and start a relationship with them ever. I myself have had two girlfriends who I first met online. There is nothing wrong with that at all. But people who claim to be in a relationship without ever having actually met their "partner" in person? That's nonsense, surely! You can connect with someone, but how do you know you're attracted to them if you haven't met them?

Yes, I know, attraction goes beyond the physical and it's a shallow person indeed who suggests that's it all down to looks. That isn't what I mean. When you're attracted to someone, enough to attempt a relationship with them, it should be the whole package you're attracted to. The way they look, the way they move, the way they smell, the way they laugh... These are all huge parts of what makes someone attractive. You can click with their interests and their conversation all you like, but what if you look into their eyes, and that undefineable something isn't there? Surely you have to met someone before you can declare that you're in a relationship. You can talk to someone online and have a feeling about them, but you need that moment, that spark, in real life before you can safely say that they're someone you want to start calling your other half.

And don't even get me started on people who claim to be in love without having met their partner in real life. That shit just angers me!

Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I'm not going to embark on a romantic relationship with anyone I haven't met. In actual person.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Big League part 9

Yes, we have covered every member of the Justice League of America, and their chances of appearing in an upcoming Justice League film over the previous eight posts. There hasn't even been a film announced yet, just rumour and hearsay, but I wanted to do it. So, with that in mind, what next? Well, anyone who read my similar series of blogs on the Avengers film (or my most recent League post) will know that here and now, we're looking at possible candidates for a villain of the piece. Let's start with the first villain the League ever fought in the comics.

Starro the Conqueror

There have been a number of different versions of Starro in the comics, but there are a few characteristics they all share. A giant, starfish type creature from the depths of space, Starro uses mind control to try and bring worlds under his dominion. He was the first villain to ever appear in a League comic, in their first appearance in The Brave and the Bold #28, though he wasn't the first villain the team faced (the team had already come together prior to their first appearance in the comics). Starro would be a great fit for a dark, horror take on a superhero film. In recent years, Starro's method of mind control has been to unleash legions of smaller Starro creatures on the Earth, which, when they attach to a persons face, bring them under the Conqueror's control. When the someone getting facehugged has the power of Superman (or Thor, as happened in JLA / Avengers), then yeah, that's a problem. The grotesque imagery of the smaller Starro's attacking people has the potential to be disturbing. Take some cues from Grant Morrison's Return of the Conquerors from JLA #22 and #23, and there you have it. Probably wouldn't work for a first JLA film, but it would make for a heck of a sequel.

Kanjar Ro

Basically? He's a space pirate! I'm sold. More likely to appear as a henchman of some kind, but make it happen! Space pirate! With bug eyes!

The Shaggy Man / The General

An artificially created life form, the Shaggy Man is indestructible and super strong. Able to survive unprotected in space, the League was never able to really conclusively defeat the Shaggy Man head on. Thankfully, the Shaggy Man was mostly a mindless brute, so the League could at least outwit him. Or at least, he was for a while. However, when military general Wade Eiling was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, he had his mind transferred into the body of the Shaggy Man. Eiling shaved the Shaggy Man's body, and targeted the League, who were unable to defeat him even with the help of the Ultramarine Corps. It was only when Batman tricked the General onto a teleportation platform and zapped him onto a tiny asteroid in outer space that the General was defeated, though naturally, he would return to plague the League. While the Shaggy Man isn't a great fit for a movie villain, the General is. Have it dealt with in a similar fashion to how it was in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon, in which Eiling was injected with a serum which granted him the body and powers of the Shaggy Man / The General. Seeing him in a massive smackdown with Superman would be all kinds of fun.


A man with no real supowerpowers, Prometheus nearly took down the entire Justice League single handed on his first appearance. He reprogrammed Steel's armour, shot both Flash and Green Lantern, and beat up Batman by downloading the skills of ten of the world's best martial artists into his head, one of whom was the Dark Knight himself. Of course, Prometheus does have plenty of technological aid. He can insert discs into his helmet which grant him knowledge (like the aforementioned martial arts skills), he has an energy powered night stick, and a Ghost Key, which can teleport people to a Phantom Zone. If it weren't for the intervention of Catwoman and Oracle, neither of whom Prometheus had planned for, he would have succeeded in destroying the League. In his second encounter with them, he again fought Batman, gaining the upper hand once more, until Batman replaced the disc in Prometheus's helmet with one which granted him the physical skills of only one man: Professor Stephen Hawking. It's a wonderful moment, and works perfectly within the context of Grant Morrison's run on the comic. So it's a shame that, once Morrison left the title, DC kinda ruined Prometheus, and haven't been able to bring the character back to his former glories, despite several attempts. Okay, so I enjoyed his appearance in JLA/Avengers where Captain America gives him a severe beat down, but that's it. If you want a menacing villain for a JLA film though, then go back to Grant Morrison's original stories featuring the character, and use them for your inspiration.

The Injustice Gang / Injustice League

When a group of superheroes band together to protect the world, it's only a matter of time before their greatest enemies get the same idea. Such it was with the Injustice Gang. There have been many different incarnations of the Gang over the decades, though more often than not in recent years, it's been put together by one Lex Luthor, and has featured such dangerous villains as Prometheus, the General and the Joker. If you've already introduced the Injustice Gang characters in the League's solo movies, then bringing them together in a JLA film would be a wonderful culmination of this. Besides, Luthor and Joker always make for a wonderful combination when they team up.

Gorilla Grodd

A talking gorilla! With telepathic powers! Yes please. Sure, he's more a Flash villain, but he's fought the League enough times to warrant a place on this list. Let's have it!


Yep, the monster who killed Superman in hand to hand combat. While not really known as a League villain, he has fought them a few times, notably during his first rampage across America, which resulted in the death of Superman, he fought an incarnation which included Captain Atom and Guy Gardner (at the time wielding the yellow power ring), and then again defeated them when their membership included Wonder Woman, the Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and the Flash, during the Superman: The Doomsday Wars mini series. Doomsday is a real threat, and to see the League getting trashed by him would make for some really fun action sequences.


An android built by Professor Ivo with the combined powers of the League, there have been several incarnations of Amazo, each showing the powers of different versions of the League. Of course, if you're going to have an Amazo in a JLA film, you want him working for Professor Ivo, and you'll want the one who can adapt to whichever League he's fighting, and develop more and more powers depending on who's currently present. Then again, that model was defeated when Superman, the League's chairperson at the time, announced that the League was officially disbanded. With no League to mimic, Amazo just shut down. But, ya know, get rid of that weakness, and you have a great bad guy!

The Crime Syndicate

An alternate version of the Justice League from Earth-2 or Earth-3 (depending on where you are in continuity), the Crime Syndicate are a group of tyrants who rule over their version of Earth. Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Power Ring and Johnny Quick have fought the League a few times, forcing the League to team up with the Earth-2/3 versions of both Lex Luthor and the Joker, who are, of course, good guys in their reality. Done a few films in, and taking Grant Morrison's graphic novel, Earth 2 as a starting point, this could make for a belter of a JLA film.


Mageddon has only appeared in one storyline in the JLA comics, World War III, which was the culmination of writer Grant Morrison's time on the title, though it had been hinted at since way back at the beginning of Morrison's run. Mageddon was an armageddon engine, which destroyed the Old Gods and their world, before being imprisoned at the edge of universe. Breaking free, Mageddon headed towards Earth. It incited riots and hatred among the Earth's populace, and imprisoned Superman deep within itself. The League was only able to defeat Mageddon by temporarily empowering every single person on Earth and launching an assault on the engine. This distraction allowed Aztek to gain entry and sacrifice his own life to free Superman. Superman then absorbed the energy at the heart of Mageddon, causing it to shut down. Maggedon was portrayed as a massive orb within a squid-like construct, and was shown to be at least semi sentient. It's attack coincided with an attack by the Injustice Gang, who were being subtly influenced by Mageddon. Basically, if they do this as a film, and they should as it's one of the all time great League stories, a straight adaptation will do the trick. It would be epic in every sense of the word.


The big bad of the DCU, it's a no brainer to have Darkseid fight the League at some point on a cinema screen. Introduce him first in a New Gods film, but then have him cross over. It has to happen.

That's it for now. Next time, supporting characters.

To be continued...

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Big League part 8

Oh, hello there. What's that? You want to hear more of my opinions on which members of the JLA may or may not show up in a possible film? Okay then. For those eagerly awaiting chapters on the villains, the supporting cast and what we won't see, they're coming soon.

Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce)
Joined: Justice League of America #7

Arguably the first major black DC superhero, Black Lightning has grown from cult character to a firm fan favourite over the years. DC cemented this position by giving Black Lightning ties to Batman and a premier position in Brad Meltzer's post Infinite Crisis Justice League relaunch. Operating as a detective, but with lightning powers, there was a definite blaxploitation vibe about the character originally, though he has grown far beyond this in recent years. He would be a fun addition to a JLA film.

Red Arrow (Roy Harper)
Joined: Justice League of America #7

Originally starting out as Speedy, Green Arrow's sidekick, Roy Harper then took on the identity of Arsenal with the Titans, before being nominated for League membership by his former mentor, and taking on the identity of Red Arrow. Harper was always an interesting character, gaining a drug addiction in the seventies, which he eventually overcame, only to father a child with the supervillain, Cheshire. Harper later cleaned up his act, becoming one of the the DCU's greatest heroes. So it's a shame that, more recently, DC ruined the character by undoing all their good works and having him turn back to drugs, practically rape Cheshire, and, in the ultimate crime seen in comics in recent years, killed a kitten for no good reason! He won't be in a JLA film. If there's an Arrow, it'll be Green. But, should there be a series of Green Arrow films in the future, expect Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow to appear there somewhere down the line. Hopefully, he'll be nice to any kittens involved.

Geo-Force (Prince Brion Markov)
Joined: Justice League of America #7

The prince of Markovia, Geo-Force is probably better known as a member of the Outsiders and half-brother of the Teen Titans member, Terra. While an Outsiders film is unlikely, it's even less likely that we'll see Geo-Force in a JLA film.

Supergirl (Kara Zor-El / Linda Lang)
Joined: Justice League: Cry For Justice #3

Superman's cousin, who was also saved from the destruction of Krypton, Kara Zor-El arrived on Earth a while after Kal-El. Originally older than her cousin, her ship kept her in suspended animation for her trip to Earth, and by the time she arrived, baby Kal had grown up into Superman. Kara was originally killed in Crisis on Infinite Earth's, but returned in the pages of Superman/Batman, and has been back front and center in the DCU ever since. She won't be in a JLA movie though. More likely, she'll appear in a future Superman film, then get her own movie down the line. Let's hope it's better than the Helen Slater version, huh?

Starman (Mikaal Tomas)
Joined: Justice League: Cry For Justice #5

There have been a lot of Starmen in the DCU, though they've largely managed to avoid the continuity nightmares of the various Hawkmen. This particular version of Starman was an alien who arrived on Earth to help his people conquer it, but ended up turning on them instead. Given the name Starman after the David Bowie song, rather than any of the previous Starmen. Starman, notable for being one of DC's first gay superheroes, won't be in the JLA. There are too many other Starmen to choose from, most of whom are better known.

Congorilla (William "Congo Bill" Glenmorgan)
Joined: Justice League: Cry For Justice #5

Congo Bill was an adventurer who was eventually transformed into a gorilla. Gorilla's are cool. But, if we're gonna see a talking gorilla in a JLA movie, it'll be the villain Gorilla Grodd rather Congorilla. Talking gorillas are quite common in the DCU.

Guardian (Jim Harper)
Joined: Justice League of America #41

Created in 1942 by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, this non-powered shield slinger bore more than a passing resemblance to Kirby and Simon's earlier creation, Captain America. Becoming an ally of Superman, the Guardian eventually found himself dying, but had his consciousness transferred into a clone body by Project Cadmus, saving his life and allowing him to continue as a superhero, as well as serving as the head of Project Cadmus security. He's more likely to show up as a supporting player in a future Superman film than a JLA film.

Mon-El (Lar Gand)
Joined: Justice League of America #41

A member if the 31st Century super team, the Legion of Superheroes, Mon-El has powers comparable to Superman. His origins have been retconned a number of times, and he has served with the League briefly as a replacement for Superman. However, we're not going to see him in JLA. What we should hope for is a Legion of Superheroes film, 'cos that would be awesome, and would most likely feature Mon-El.

Donna Troy
Joined: Justice League of America #41

Formerly known as Wonder Girl, sidekick to Wonder Woman, Donna Troy even briefly served as Wonder Woman when Diana was away. Donna is one of DC's more tragic characters, having witnessed the deaths of her husband and infant son. A founding member of the Teen Titans, Donna is an integral part of the DCU, though don't expect to see her in a JLA film. Rather, look for her to show up in any possible Wonder Woman films, and hope for a Teen Titans film after that.

Cyborg (Victor Stone)
Joined: Justice League of America #41

Another former Teen Titan who joined the League, Cyborg would appear to have replaced Martian Manhunter as one of DC's "big seven" in the upcoming reboot. This actually means that the chances of Cyborg appearing in any League film are actually pretty good. This is almost a shame as, while Cyborg is awesome, it would mean he couldn't be used in a Teen Titans film.

Starfire (Koriand'r)
Joined: Justice League of America #41

Another former Titan. Yeah, for a while, the League was basically a grown up Teen Titans. As with the other Titans, Starfire is more likely to show up in a Titans film.

Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes)
Joined: Justice League: Generation Lost #3

In Generation Lost, Keith Giffen once again returned to the JLI characters he'd had prior success with. However, Ted Kord (Blue Beetle), a key member of the team, was actually dead in the comics. To replace him, Giffen brought in his successor, Jaime Reyes, to replace him. Jaime is a pretty interesting character, with an interesting look when in costume. Chances of seeing him in a JLA movie? Well, the character is still rumoured to be getting his own live action TV series, so it's not impossible.

Rocket Red 7 (Gavril Ivanovich)
Joined: Justice league: Generation Lost #4

Same armour, different bloke. See previous Rocket Red entries.

Right, that's all the League members covered. Join me next time when I have a look at which villains we may see.

To be continued...

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Big League part 7

Still a fair few of these Leaguers left to get through, discussing who we might or might not see in a JLA movie. There's a lot of these buggers, eh? I'd like to say it's 'cos they're just not as picky as the Avengers, but the Avengers let Deathcry in, so clearly not. On we go!

Big Barda (Barda Free)
Joined: JLA #17

Originally one of Darkseid's Female Furies on Apokolips, Big Barda eventually met and fell in love with Mister Miracle, marrying him and settling on New Genesis with the New Gods, turning against Darkseid in the process. Years later, Barda and Orion were sent to Earth, to help prepare the Justice League for the coming of Mageddon. Barda fit in with the League much better than the angry, war hungry Orion, forming friendships with a number of the members, in particular Wonder Woman. Once Mageddon was defeated, Barda returned to New Genesis. Barda is unlikely to appear in a League movie for a while, but if a New Gods film ever happens, you can be sure she'll show up there.

Hourman (Matthew Tyler)
Joined: JLA #26

An android from the 853rd century, and a member of that era's Justice Legion A, Hourman joined the League as a temporary replacement for the Martian Manhunter. He had super strength, flight abilities, and could manipulate spacetime. He could also see the future, but couldn't change events, even if it meant saving lives. The third character to take the name of Hourman, we're not likely to see him in any films for a while. If there is an Hourman on screen, it would be his Golden Age counterpart in the JSA.

Jade (Jennie-Lynn Hayden)
Joined: JLA #27

The daughter of Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott, and brother of Obsidian, Jade has powers similar to those her father had when he wielded the Starheart and went by the name of Sentinel. She has also, at one time, been entrusted with a Green Lantern ring and acted as a member of the corps. For her chances of appearing in a film, see Obsidian's entry.

Antaeus (Mark Antaeus)
Joined: JLA: Superpower

A man who idolised Superman, Mark Antaeus had been experimented on while he was growing up by his scientist father, making him the peak of human perfection. However, when Mark, who was working as a fireman, one day failed to save a girl from a burning building, he broke down and vanished for two years. When he returned, he had been surgically altered almost beyond recognition, and had gained superpowers which better allowed him to save lives. Drawing the attention of the JLA, Antaeus was invited to join. At first relishing working alongside his heroes, Antaeus soon began questioning why the League didn't get involved in more political situations, going so far as to suggest they overthrow a middle eastern dictator. Eventually, finding himself frustrated with the League's stance on the situation, Antaeus took things upon himself and murdered the dictator in cold blood. When the League intervened, Antaeus tried to justify himself by telling them there was one less murderer in the world. When Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) replied with "Not the way I add up", Antaeus beat him nearly to death. Fighting the rest of the League, it was only when Antaeus saw that his actions had actually made things worse for the country that he realised what he had become. Antaeus, overcome by grief, killed himself. Aside from Superpower, Antaeus only ever appeared again in a cameo role in JLA/Avengers. We won't be seeing him in a film.

Dark Flash (Walter West)
Joined: JLA #33

Boy, the League likes it's Flashes, eh? An alternate version of Wally West, this Flash is unlikely to ever get a film appearance.

Moon Maiden (Laura Klein)
Joined: JLA Giant Size Special #3

I didn't think I knew who Moon Maiden was. Turns out, she only ever appeared in JLA Giant Size Special #3 (well, and a cameo in JLA/Avengers), a comic I own, in which it's revealed that the whole world has forgotten about her. Apparently, I was not immune to this effect. She won't show up in a JLA movie.

Nightwing / Batman (Dick Grayson)
Joined: JLA #69

Ex-Robin and Batman's former sidekick, Nightwing was originally brought in by Batman to lead the League when the core team was travelling back in time. Nightwing lead an interim team (much to Green Arrow's chagrin, as Ollie naturally thought he should lead), then left the League upon the main team's return. However, a few years later, at a time when Bruce Wayne was thought dead (don't ask. Really), Nightwing took over the mantle of the Bat, becoming Batman and joining the League properly. We won't see him in a JLA film, unless he appears in a Batman one first, and even then, a Teen Titans film is a more likely place to find him. We'll never see him on screen in the Batman role.

Joined: JLA #69

Another character brought into the League by Batman as a temporary replacement when the main team were travelling back in time, Faith's origins are shrouded in mystery, though Batman seems to be aware of them. Well, he would be, wouldn't he. Faith has psychic and telekinetic powers, and has also served with the Doom Patrol, but is unlikely to appear in a JLA film, as she's just too obscure.

Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders)
Joined: JLA #69

You know, I do actually love the Hawks, but for the purposes of this blog, I really wish the League would stop recruiting them.

Jason Blood
Joined: JLA #69

Jason Blood was also brought into the temporary League by Batman to act as their occult specialist. However Jason is best known as the alter-ego of the Demon. By chanting "Gone, gone the form of man, arise the demon Etrigan", Jason will swap places with his demonic alter-ego. Etrigan is pretty cool, speaking in rhyme, breathing fire and busting chops, but it's Blood who served with the League. Both Blood and Etrigan stand a pretty good chance of appearing in a DC Universe film, though not a League one, certainly not for now. Rather, it wouldn't surprise me if The Demon got his own movie somewhere down the line.

Green Lantern (John Stewart)
Joined: JLA #76

Wow, the League like their Green Lanterns almost as much as their Flashes. John Stewart, originally a replacement for Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern Corps, was brought into the League to replace Kyle Rayner, who was taking a leave of absence to head into space for a bit. But John was actually a member of the League in it's cartoon version first. The producers of the Justice League animated series chose John Stewart over both Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner (apparently, poor Guy Gardner was never considered) because, well, he looked cool. At this time, in the comics, John hadn't been a Green Lantern for a while, but after seeing how well received he was on TV, DC put him back in the GL uniform and had him front and center once more. With his exposure in the TV series, don't be surprised if he shows up in a GL movie down the line, before appearing in a JLA film.

Manitou Raven
Joined: JLA #78

A mystic originally hailing from the year 1000 BC, the time period the League travelled back to when Batman recruited the members discussed above, Manitou Raven returned with his wife, Dawn, to the Leagues present day, and joined the team. He also joined the League's black ops team, the Justice League Elite. But then Green Arrow slept with his wife, and he died. Poor bugger. We probably won't see him in any JLA film. He's a bit obscure.

Justice League Elite
First Appeared: JLA #100

A team put together as a Justice League black ops team, to handle missions the main League couldn't or wouldn't, the JLE was lead by Sister Superior, and featured Coldcast, Menagerie, Naif Al-Sheik, Masumi (actually an undercover Batgirl), Major Disaster, Manitou Raven and League mainstays Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) and the Flash (Wally West). Upon Manitou Raven's death, they were also joined by his wife, Dawn, as Manitou Dawn. While a fairly interesting concept, chances are we won't really see them in a JLA film, certainly as a group.

Firestorm (Jason Rusch)
Joined: 52 #4

The second Firestorm, while he's a pretty cool character, he's not likely to appear. If there's a Firestorm in a JLA film, it'll be Ronnie Raymond.

Firehawk (Lorraine Reily)
Joined: 52 #24

Only a member of the League very briefly, during the events of 52, Firehawk won't appear in a JLA movie.

Super-Chief (Jon Standing Bear)
Joined: 52 #24

Yeah, this poor guy was embarrassingly killed by Skeets, Booster Gold's tiny robot sidekick. He doesn't really deserve to be in the JLA film as a result.

Bulleteer (Alix Harrower)
Joined: 52 #24

Look how ridiculous she looks! She won't be in a film. 'cos of the ridiculous.

Ambush Bug (Irwin Schwab)
Joined: 52 #24

Hee hee! Ambush Bug's so silly. I think he should be front and center in the JLA film. Make it happen DC!

To be continued...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Big League part 6

We're rushing towards the end game! Well, we might be. I dunno. How many more members are there? *checks* Oh, well... This could take an extra chapter. Oh, well. Let's see who's gonna show up in the Justice League next!

Blue Devil (Daniel Cassidy)
Joined: Justice League America #98

Blue Devil was a special effects and stunt guy in the movies. The Blue Devil costume was designed as part of a film, but an encounter with a demon left Daniel Cassidy bonded to the costume permanently. Later dying and coming back to life as an actual Blue Devil, Cassidy served with the League for a short while, though these days you're more likely to find him as a member of one of DC's supernatural teams, such as the Sentinels of Magic or Shadowpact. We're unlikely to see him in a League movie, but a possible appearance somewhere in the DC film universe isn't off the cards.

Icemaiden (Sigrid Nansen)
Joined: Justice League America #98

Sorry Icemaiden, but if there's gonna be an icy lady in the JLA film, it'll be Ice.

Joined: Justice League Task Force #12

L-Ron was a robot who assisted the Justice League in a very much supporting role for a while. Then, in order to stop a rampage by the villain Despero, the Green Lantern Kilowog transferred L-Ron's consciousness into Despero's body. L-Ron served with the League in this form for a while, though Despero was able to regain control on occasion. L-Ron and Despero were eventually separated and returned to their own bodies. L-Ron may appear in his robot form as a supporting role in the Justice League movie. A robot helper isn't out of the question, and when there's one already waiting, why not use it? There's also a chance that Despero could show up down the line as a League bad guy. Will we eventually see this weird body swap on the silver screen? Not impossible.

Mystek (Jennifer Barclay)
Joined: Justice League Task Force #26

Originally starting out as an enemy of the Ray, Mystek was offered a second chance and membership in the League by the Martian Manhunter. Unfortunately, her tenure was short, as she died soon after. Not much chance of seeing her in a JLA film.

The Wonder Twins (Zan and Jayna of Exor)
Joined: Extreme Justice #16

Yep. The Wonder Twins, of Superfriends fame. I hope to God they're in a JLA film. "Wonder Twins powers activate!"

Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner)
Joined: Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare #3

In the nineties, DC Comics did the unthinkable (again), and turned Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, into a supervillain known as Parallax. Unlike when they killed off the Flash, there was no Kid Green Lantern to take his place. Instead, DC took the radical move of creating an entirely new character to take up the mantle of Green Lantern in Kyle Rayner. Kyle more than acquitted himself as GL, proving that he was different to Hal Jordan, but just as great. Like Wally West as the Flash, Kyle was Green Lantern when I first started reading comics. If you asked me who my favourite Flash is, I'd say Wally West. Ask me my favourite GL? Actually, I can't decide. I love Hal and Kyle equally, and I'm glad that since Hal's return in the pages of Green Lantern, Kyle hasn't been overlooked, taking center stage in Green Lantern Corps. Chances of seeing him on film though? If Green Lantern does well (not long to wait now), then we may well see him in a sequel. In the League? Hmmm...

Tomorrow Woman (Clara Kendall)
Joined: JLA #5

An android created by Professor Ivo and T.O. Morrow to infiltrate the League and take them down from within, Tomorrow Woman ended up turning on her creators (as these androids designed to infiltrate super teams on behalf of the bad guy always do) and sacrificed her own life to save the League. Don't be surprised if this forms the storyline of a future JLA sequel.

Aztek (Curt Falconer)
Joined: Aztek #10

A warrior trained to fight the ultimate threat to Earth, and granted the technology to do so, Aztek joined the League, but left shortly after when he found out that one of the main financial backers of the Aztek project was one Lex Luthor. Feeling that he couldn't serve with the League knowing that he owed his abilities to one of their greatest enemies, Aztek left the team. However, when the world destroying engine Maggedon arrived at Earth, the very threat Aztek was created to oppose, he sacrificed his life to aid the League in destroying Mageddon. Aztek's storyline was a key part of Grant Morrison's tenure on the JLA book, which all culminated with the Mageddon storyline. It would make an excellent DC Universe film, not just a JLA one, and if that happened, Aztek would be front and center. Shame it's not gonna happen.

Green Arrow (Connor Hawke)
Joined: JLA #9

The son of the original Green Arrow, Oliver Queen, Connor Hawke took up his father's superhero identity when Ollie was killed. Connor's time with the League was brief, but he more than held his own against the Key and the Injustice Gang, proving himself to his team mates. It's not likely we'll see him in a film, except maybe as a child if Green Arrow ever gets a solo venture.

Oracle (Barbara Gordon)
Joined: JLA #16

The one time Batgirl, Barbara Gordon was paralysed by the Joker and later became Oracle, Batman's information central. Oracle soon started helping other heroes as well, including Black Canary and Huntress, eventually being brought into the Justice League by Batman. However, with DC's upcoming reboot, it appears that Barbara Gordon is walking again, and once more filling the costume of Batgirl. Quite how this is happening is unclear at the moment, though the writer on Batgirl, Gail Simone, is one of DC's best, and has been writing Barbara for years in Birds of Prey, so she's in good hands. Still, DC's decision to suddenly have Barbara walking again has been a controversial one, so I would expect them to steer clear of Barbara, in either of her incarnations, in the cinema for the forseeable future.

Plastic Man (Patrick "Eel" O'Brien)
Joined: JLA #16

Under the correct writer, Plastic Man is hilarious. During Grant Morrison's run on JLA, and subsequently under Mark Waid, as well as in the hands of Kurt Busiek in JLA / Avengers, Plas was very much the comic relief. It'd be nice to see him in a JLA movie, but to be honest, he's just too whacky. Honestly, the best thing to hope for is a new cartoon series. That'd be cool.

Steel (John Henry Irons)
Joined: JLA #16

When Superman was killed by Doomsday, steelworker John Henry Irons, who had previously been rescued by Superman, took it upon himself to fill the Man of Steel's shoes. Building a high tech suit of armour, Irons turned himself into a literal man of steel. Continuing to operate as Steel upon Superman's return, Irons was eventually invited to join the JLA. Steel may show up in a future Superman film, and if that happens, could conceivably graduate to a JLA film after that. Let's just ignore the previous attempt at a Steel film in which Shaquille O'Neal played the part. Please.

Joined: JLA #16

An angel. An honest to God angel on the Justice League. I'd be surprised if he showed up in a JLA film, though rumour has it that Grant Morrison created him simply to have a winged character on the team while Hawkman was unavailable. Could the film makers pull a similar trick?

Wonder Woman (Hippolyta of Themyscira)
Joined: JLA #16

Continuity strikes again! Like Superman and Batman, Wonder Woman was created in the Golden Age of comics, and fought alongside the Justice Society of America during World War II. But then, when continuity had to change, and Supes and Bats were written out of these adventures in order for them to still exist in the present day, Wonder Woman went a slightly different route. Rather than pretend she just hadn't been there, DC instead said that there was, indeed, a Wonder Woman fighting with the JSA during WWII, but it wasn't Princess Diana. Instead, it was her mother, Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons. Later on, when Diana wasn't apparently killed, Hippolyta again took up the mantle of Wonder Woman, and served in the Justice League until her daughters return. Hippolyta will be in a Wonder Woman film. She will never join the League in a film.

To be continued...