Saturday, January 14, 2006
The Meta-Origin of the Detroit League
Let's start talking about the Detroit League. There's been enough time. Healing takes time.
The first issue is: what the heck were they thinking?
Easy; they were copying Marvel.
In 1980, DC brought over Marv Wolfman from Marvel, who re-created the Teen Titans, refocusing the group around some new characters he created in the Marvel adolescent-angst parental-conflict mode; voila, instant X-Force.
Sales took off, mostly from stealing Marvel readers, I'll wager. Everyone I know who's a Titans fan had been reading Marvel before, then started reading the Titans, then grew up and read real DC comics. Well, not all of them grew up, but you get the idea.
"Aping Marvel makes $? Well, then!", DC says. It was the 1980s and Greed Was Good. So, following this idea of putting new whine in old battles, DC allowed two of its most traditional properties to be slaved to X-Men / Avengers ripoffs.
The Outsiders ("zzzzzzznnnn....") were the pseudo X-Men with Batman playing the role of Prof. Xavier (trainer and leader). In 1984, the JLA was recast a la the Avengers, courtesy of Gerry Conway, another Marvel writer whom DC caught on his way to write Matlock. Like a bad head cold.
The Guys Who Had Their Own Series were sent off to go, um, fight something in some temporal something or other. Spearholders Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter (joined by ubergoober tagalong the Elongated Man) formed a new, ahem, League -- Marvel style!
Like a Marvel group, they had to have a headquarters in a down-to-earth, real world city. It don't get no more down to earth than Detroit folks. Like a Marvel group, they needed some immature, whining, insecure losers who just happened to have superpowers.
Fortunately (?), Detroit was full of them. In walks Vixen (conceptual love-child of Storm and Wolverine), Gypsy (conceptural love-child of the Invisible Girl and Mysterio), Steel (conceptual love-child of Captain America and Wolverine), and Vibe (the Sensational Character Find of 1984).
More on them later...