The World's Finest Presents

Thoughts - Individual Issues
Below you'll find thoughts on each issue of Adventures in the DC Universe by the artist, John Delaney.

Issue #01 - Now You See Em' (JLA)

The JLA!! Amazing time in my life. I got the gig but I had only 10 days to pencil the whole issue. Still it was the JLA and I was very pumped indeed. There are some moments I'm very pleased with. The Superman VS the Parasite sequence was really fun. The end fight sequence with each member of the JLA squaring off against their villainous counterparts was also really cool to draw. On the first three issues writer Steve Vance was also providing rough breakdowns for the pacing which were a great guide to helping us understand each other's storytelling. We meshed so quickly that we stopped that process after #3 and I was on my own with regard to artistic telling of the script (although Steve's scripts are very detailed so I found it very easy).

Plus I got to do a riff on the Kingdom Come cover in the animated style. The Joker in the back row was a coloring mistake. It was supposed to be The Creeper (He, like everyone but Bats & Supes had not been designed in animated form yet, so that was my take). The cover was showing the Heroes of the DC Universe so I found it funny that Clown Prince of Crime managed to sneak in through no intent of my own.
Issue #02 - Bombs Away (The Flash); Catch as Cat Can (Catwoman)

I love drawing the Flash. Speed lines are my thing so the Flash is a natural. Couple of interesting things to point out, on page two the Fireman with the beard is editor Charlie Kochman (He gave me my first professional comics gig penciling a Superman Sound Book. The Fireman in the glasses is Steve Korte another editor I worked in licensed projects with. On page five, panel one, Ron put an eye patch on one of the reporters as a tribute to Alex Ross's character Phil Sheldon in Marvels. On Page six panel 2 the reporter with the goatee is Ron Boyd.

The Catwoman back up story is still a big favorite of mine. I thought Steve's idea of doing a silent story was brilliant and I love the way it turned out.
Issue #03 - "You Can't Cheetah an Honest Man" (WW); "Cruise To Nightmare" (Batman)

Wonder Woman had not been designed by Bruce Timm yet so I based my design on John Byrne's version which was what was in the comics at the time. I gave her a straight Greek-style nose and a larger frame. I really liked the way she turned out but I like Bruce Timm's eye design  more. At the time the Animated style for female eyes was simple colored circles so I went with that since then BT has added a black pupil to some of his female character designs like WW. I wish I had done that. It looks much better and gives her less of a spaced out look. I really liked drawing the fight between WW & Cheetah.I thought the cover turned out cool. Loved the Paul Dini & Bruce Timm back up story(obviously!) As a kid reading comics I always loved it when the cover showed a scene that actually happened inside the comic. This issue and issues 4 & 5 I tried to do that.
Issue #04 - "So This Lady Walks Into An Expresso Bar" (GL); "Escape From The Slab" (Mister Miracle)

A big favorite! I loved Kyle Rayner as GL so I was already hyped about doing this story and then I found out he would be fighting two of my idol Jack Kirby's creations Amazing Grace & Glorious Godfrey. What a thrill! The original back up story was going to be Steel but got changed to Mr. Miracle another Jack creation. I was in heaven. This one was tough to look at when it came back because I had such high hopes for the color. I used a lot of bold blacks since both stories took place in the evening and in dark environments but unfortunately the colorist and I weren't on the same page and most of what I was trying to do was awash in blue tones. On page 13 I got to draw Hal Jordan in his classic GL pose as a tribute to the amazing Gil Kane. That was very cool. I met Gil Kane later that year and was able to tell him about it and he was very gracious and thankful. A truly great person.
Issue #05 - "The Fire This Time" (Martian Manhunter); "Aliens Among Us" (Ultra)

This was a very exciting script with one of my personal favorites J'onn Jonzz.The Ultra back up story was also very cool and tied in very nicely with the lead story. There were several things that I liked in this issue. The bit with J'onn in his Martian form eating cookies and some of the layouts including J'onn's origin and Ultra's origin I was very proud of.

However, the color on this one is especially hard to look at for me. There were many panels with speed lines to illustrate how fast things were happening but they all got an either orange or blue treatment in color with no regard whatsoever for the blurring effects that Ron & I worked so hard to get in the speed line work. As a matter of fact orange and blue are basically the two colors used throughout the book. I'm not exagerrating. The three main kid characters clothing is all blue. The sky is either blue or orange. The fire is always orange. The space ship is blue. It goes on and on. I know the deadlines were tight with these first six issues but the color on this one was simply unacceptable. What could've been one of our most heartfelt and action packed stories ended up looking like a two tone mock up. J'onn had never been drawn in an animated style before and I was so excited to get the chance to do him like this, I guess I thought everyone involved would be too. Again I referred to fire coloring in the Batman Adventures book and was left at a loss as to why our book didn't get the same care and treatment. This was and still is a tough one for me.
Issue #06 - "Family Matters (Aquaman); "Rolling on The River" (Power Girl)

Aquaman with a Power Girl back up. Great script!! I really liked drawing Aquaman and loved his interaction with the sharks on page 7. I thought Ron Boyd's inks on this issue were excellent. Some very nice brush work. Although Aquaman had not been designed by Bruce Timm yet I think we were on the same page. I noticed that Bruce's Justice League design had a similar treatment to the eyes, nose and beard. I loved drawing Power Girl. The scene where she is climbing up the side of the boat while being blasted by the laser cannon is a favorite and I was really happy to see it reprinted in the Justice League Unlimited comic. She's a great character who I feel has yet to be used as well as she could be.
Issue #07 - "Speak Now or Forever Rest in Peace" (Shazam family)

The Shazam Family! - I have always been a fan of Captain Marvel and C.C. Beck's style so this issue was one I was very proud of. The cover was used in many ads for DC comics which also made me very proud. I felt my more cartoony style really worked with the Marvel Family and Steve Vance's more comedic style of writing really made this story something special. On page one, the two painters Cap is rescuing are KC Carlson our editor and Mike Carlin Editor in Chief at the time (Also editor of the Jerry Ordway Shazam series) On page 3 Steve pays tribute to Jerry Ordway by putting his name on the water tower in the last panel. Designing Captain Marvel in animated form was probably the character I was most looking forward to doing.
Issue #08 - "Well Here's Another Fine Mess You've Gotten Us Into" (Blue Beetle, Booster Gold); "Face Off" (The Question)

Blue Beetle & Booster Gold with a Question back up. Who didn't love the Keith Giffen - Kevin MacGuire Justice League of the 80's. Their depiction of Booster Gold & Blue Beetle was priceless and especially for me because I also remember the 1st Booster Gold series by Dan Jurgens and I had a bunch of the old Ditko Blue Beetle comics as well. There was always talk of a Blue & Gold mini-series and when Steve Vance & KC Carlson told me we would be doing them in an Adventures story I felt like we had a chance to finally do a nod to that. Steve's script was so fun that I decided to really "push" the expressions and go for the comedic element of this story. By contrast I went very dark with lots of blacks on the Question story.

I love the Question and felt very honored to draw a character. To me he's the anti-Green Arrow. He's a very conservative and hard line character who doesn't compromise and is very human. I wanted to show his humanity in his movements and fighting and I was quite pleased with the end results. Steve also threw in a great tribute by calling the factory the Question breaks into D.I.T.C.O. One of my favorite covers of all the issues we did.
Issue #09 - "Heading For Trouble" (The Flash); "Random Access Memories" (Black Canary)

This story was a sequel of sorts to an old Barry Allen adventure. It was very fun to draw because of the absurdity of the situation but my two favorite things to draw in it were actually Linda Park & Gorilla Grodd. I love BT's design of Grodd from Justice League but there wasn't one created yet at this time so I designed him to match his regular continuity counter part. I like the way this design turned out. The back up Black Canary story was something I really enjoyed. Love the character and I thought her design at that time was very cool so I really liked drawing it.
I decided not to give her any highlights and just keep her costume solid black (in keeping with her name) having just seen the new Batman designs where BT had removed all the highlights out of the blacks and I really liked the effect. The Hammer & Mental Morrie were two characters I really had a blast designing and I kept begging Steve to reuse them in other stories but we just didn't have the right story for them to return. Too bad, I thought they were very cool indeed.
Issue #10 - "The Blobs" (L.O.S.H)

I thought this was one of Steve's best stories! I really enjoyed designing all the different characters in the animated style. Ron Boyd was the regular inker on Legion at the time and he did a stellar (pardon the pun) job on the inks . Tom McCraw who was the regular colorist on Legion came aboard to color this issue and boy did he do an amazing job. Loved the colors! This was steeped in current Legion continuity at the time so I had to really do my research. The Legion fans are very hard core and I didn't want to disappoint them.
Issue #11 - "No Exit" (GL & WW)

I really liked Steve's story of Kyle Rayner's doubt causing the Power Ring to open the portal to the land of hopelessness. The opening page of GL & WW was one I thought turned out really nice with Ron doing a great job on the inks on that page. I didn't care for the dark blue sky behind the figures as I thought the black in Kyle's uniform got lost in it. On the scene with GL on the bus I put Steve Vance & Cindy his wife on board. The villian was fun to create but I really didn't like the color choices for him, they were quite different from what I sent in as a color guide so it took a lot of getting used to. I really enjoyed drawing Diana out of her WW uniform in the jail break scenes and I thought Steve's dialogue for her was spot on.
Issue #12 - "Cipher Rules" (JLA)

This story was our final wrap up of a larger story we had running through the book with regard to our behind the scenes villain "Cipher". We had shown Cipher throughout the first year in shadows but in this issue we reveal him. I won't say who it is in case you haven't read the story but many fans were very surprised which is a testament to Steve's clever writing. Tom McCraw colored this issue and I thought he did an excellent job. This was right at the time that the new angular solid blacks Batman look for the New Batman Adventures came out and I was very pleased to get an opportunity to draw Batman like that. On page 9 I got to draw Jimmy, Perry and Lois which was really cool. I got a lot of really nice fan reaction to the drawing of Batman in panel 2 on page 20 which is one of my favorite extreme intimidation shots of him.
Issue #13 - "Sometime In New York City" (Impulse & MM); "In The Kingdom of the Blind" (Green Arrow)

Fun Fun Fun. Impulse was very hot at the time and a very enjoyable character to take on because of his whole cartoon image thought balloons. In hindsight, I wish I'd simplified him even more, especially the hair but hey hindsight is always 20/20. The story was really fast moving and I always love drawing J'onn. Again this as before he had been designed for Justice League so I went with the more traditional image of him. Gene D'Angelo did the colors which were real nice. I love the tan he gave the rock band's manager. Classic!

The back story of Green Arrow I truly thought was one of our better ones collectively. Steve's story is crisp and tight and Ron's inks are very nice & moody. On the second page of that story, panel 5 you can see a street sign namede Vincenzo street. Named after the current GL editor at the time Darren Vincenzo. Darren was one of the first editor's to see my submissions and got me some licensing work with DC. This was my little thank you. Great guy!! The cover with Impulse singing & playing all the instruments in a rock band was another one of my favorite covers in the series. It got used in a lot of print ads at the time (As did the Shazam cover) and I was very proud of that.
Issue #14 - "Not Always To the Swift" (Flash & Superboy); "Bats" (Nightwing)

Okay I'll admit when KC & Steve first proposed this idea I didn't like it. Superman versus the Flash - OK but Superboy? There was no way it would even be a contest. Then I read the script and got the whole next generation thing and Superboy's need to prove himself. I turned out really liking the story. The Nightwing back up was something I was really looking forward to. At the time Nightwing had just been designed by Bruce Timm for the New Batman show but all DC could get me was a one 3/4 view of his design. I didn't know how his crest design worked from behind so I had to wing it (pardon the pun). I went too cartoony on some of the villains faces and I regret that as I felt it took away from the intensity of the opening fight but y'know 20/20.

The Psycho who thinks he's Batman was really fun to design as I gave him the Adam West cowl and shirt. One thing of note. When Dick Grayson is sitting at the computer in his hotel room it was originally written to be his home in Bludhaven as per his current comic but we found out after the fact that in the New Batman show he didn't live in Bludhaven so we had to change it in the lettering that it is a hotel room which hopefully will explain why it looks so much like an apartment and why he has all kinds of paraphernalia about.
Issue #15 - "Out of the Dark Cloud" (Captain Marvel); "Battle Royal" (Aquaman)

This issue marked the second appearance of both characters and while I always love drawing the "Big Red Cheese" there are a couple of things in this story that made it very personal for me. For one the character of the boy who helps Capt. Marvel was designed to look like my son. The other is the policeman in the beginning of the story was designed to look like my Step Father who died a short while after the book came out. He was alive long enough to see it and so that story always pulls at me a bit.

The back up Aquaman story features a guy named Dave Cooper on inks that I had worked with on a lot of licensing books I had done in the past and I really like his brush work. I felt there was a real nice mesh between our styles that was complimented beautifully by David Graffe's colors. When I look back on that issue I am pleased with how similar my take on Aquaman's face was to what B.T. designed for Justice League. Graffe's coloring on Aquaman's uniform was a wonderful thing after the "all blue" look he received in issue #6. One thing I always try to emphasize is the way Aquaman's hair should look under water and Dave Cooper's brush really made that work for me.
Issue #16 - "The Fix" (GL & GA)

Wow! I was so pumped to work on this story. I was a huge fan of the O'Neil/ Adams GL/GA work of the seventies and it was very fun to work with the next generation. I paid several direct tributes to the original series in some cases doing direct animated versions of original panels. I even gave Ollie his broken arm cast (which he had in the original story) unfortunately our colorist wasn't informed of that and colored the arm flesh tone with the green bands GL normally wears. Ron did some really nice china marker stuff on the some filled jazz club that unfortunately got lost underneath the flat blue- grey and brown tones used for those scenes.

When I look back at the original pencil & inks today I still think there's a really nicely told story there that could have really come through with more communication between everyone involved. Still it was an absolute blast getting to draw Hal & Ollie in the animated style. Both characters were dead at the time so it was cool indeed to get the chance.
Issue #17 - "All Hellgrammite Breaks Loose" (Batman & The Creeper)

I love Batman. It's that simple. He rocks and I got to draw him in the New Batman Adventures style which I just loved. As well I got to draw Commissioner Gordon another big favorite. I remember sending detailed color instructions on this one as I was so happy to get to do a whole Batman issue. As a big fan of the show I wanted it to have the same palette. Y'know Red skies golden buildings lots of dark deco tones but unfortunately the colorist and I were on a different page and he chose tones quite different from the show. That was tough as Lee Loughridge was doing
such an amazing job getting the shows look in the colors of Batman & Robin Adventures comic. I thought Ron (Also a big Batman fan) did some of his best stuff on this issue. Love his inks on the Creeper on page 2 panel 5. Page 6 & 7 are also really sweet examples of great inking. Steve's Creeper dialogue was genius!!

Very funny and great to draw and act out. What I remember most about this issue is that we were running a bit late when I got the script and our new editor Kevin Dooley was worried I might not have enough time to finish it. Little did he know that as well my wife and I were going to Mexico in a weeks time. I didn't want anyone else doing this story (or any other on ADCU for that matter) so I didn't tell him. Here's me with no drawing table or light table in a Mexican hotel room madly penciling the last four pages as my wife is sun tanning on the beach. Got it done and sent it off and only when Kevin called me to tell me he'd received the pages did I let him know that I was down south. No one's going to stop me from drawing the Dark Knight!!
Issue #18 - "Destroy The JLA" (JLA)

Wow what a big story. I really loved Steve's script for this. So much more emotional than one would've thought in a big single issue JLA story. Loved drawing Professor Ivo. I made a couple of costume tweaks on this one. I never liked the bare chested high-rise belt design of the original Amazo but I still wanted to capture the essence of the character so I took the belt and gave him shoulder straps. At this point the Superman cartoon had been cancelled so we were no longer beholden to the look of the Flash from that.

I always loved the original open eye mask of the Flash and since Wally was wearing that at the time in his own comic editor Kevin Dooley told me I could use it. While I love B.T.'s Flash design I really prefer him with the ability to see his eyes as opposed to the Batman white eye look. One of Steve's best stories and for that reason I thought it should have been nominated for an Eisner. Great story.
Issue #19 - The Truth About Cats and Gods (WW/CW)

The Final Issue of the series. This one was a heartbreaker. Just as I finished the pencils, word came down that the book was being cancelled. I drew Catwoman in her most current all black design with some white highlights but I don't think Bob had seen the show because he colored her purple and put blue where her gloves and boots would be even though there was no line to indicate that she was wearing boots or gloves. Very frustrating that one. It was also the first time I felt the hand of censorship. On the original cover W.W's costume is quite torn up exposing her mid section. Someone in the upper offices felt it was to sexy for a kids book and had it filled in.

Last year an independent book about Catwoman was published discussing the character at length and showing multitudes of images of the character as she has appeared over the years. As I opened the book and glanced through it at Chapter's, to my surprise and delight I found one of our panels from this issue showing CW stealing WW's lasso. That was very cool indeed to have my work stand amongst some of the best Catwoman artist's of all time. A great honor indeed.
Issue #20
Cover Date - Never Released

The next issue I was designing the cover for was going to be a Superman - Phantom Stranger story but alas this was not to be.
Adventures in the DC Universe Annual #1
Cover Date - 1997

Multiple stories with multiple artists. I did the lead story that wrapped around the others. I designed the cover and the Batman Adventures & Superman Adventures used the same design as per my request so that the story that was linked through the three book would be visually linked as well. One of my absolute dreams come true happened on this book. I did Dr. Fate and the legendary John Byrne inked me. What a thrill! The opening splash page still holds a place of honor in my office today.
Superman Adventures -Superman VS Lobo
Cover Date - February 1998

This of all the adventures books I'd done this was my favorite. Great story by David Micheline, amazing inks by Mike Manley and fantastic coloring by Stu Chaifetz. I felt I did my best work on that one and I loved the end result. I thought it was a great example of everyone's style meshing together and working . I love the design of Lobo from the Superman show so it was really easy to draw and act that character. David Micheline writes in what's known as the Marvel style in that instead of a full script he outlines what action and emotional beats are need for a page and then leaves it up to the artist to create the pacing & acting. He then he comes in and writes in the dialogue to match the page.

I felt this was a great way to work and really freed me up as an artist. Hence the reason it felt like my best work to date at the time. Since then I've done a couple of Justice League Adventures where I felt my work was stronger but this story had all the people involved bringing it to the party and moments like that are truly amazing.

Note: As the bolded portion of this entry states, this is part of the Superman Adventures book.

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