By way of the SuperMOOC Group
Another great find thanks to the SuperMOOC:GTCB(Super Massive Open Online Course: Gender Through Comic Books) Facebook group(For more info on the group check out this post). This is a web comic mentioned on the group many times before, I finally took a look and I'm glad I did. JL8 is an amazing example of placing character in a unfamiliar setting but truly capturing the core essence and ideals of these characters.
What is JL8?
Imagine your favorite DC heroes as 8 year olds with their powers and abilities fully realized. Well, that is what artist and writer of JL8, Yale Stewart decided to tackle in this well thought out weekly web comic. The characters are all referred to by their real names an example is The Flash is called Barry. There are also cameos of well known villains and other DC characters. The comic started as Little League but was recently renamed to JL8. The current issue is #145, as of the writing of this post. You can find JL8 here and this is the link to the JL8 Comic Facebook page.
The Group of Little Leaguers
Bruce, Clark, Diana, Barry, Hal, J'onn, and Karen of the JL8 class. Art from JL8 #127 by Yale Stewart.
The comic features Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Powergirl, Superman and Wonder Woman. They all are students in the same class at Schwartz Elementary School, where every kid is a hero. The comic has had two major arcs so far. One was a school yard confrontation with bullies and the other was a birthday party. This was very well done. The arcs showcases the relationships between the characters and their convictions. Hard to believe but this how amazing Yale Stewart's art and writing is.
Comments and Thoughts
I personally think comic is amazing. It has a depth that seems to be lacking in some of comics DC is currently producing. My favorite is JL8 #50, which is the climax of the first arc. It is awesome. One SupperMOOC member posted this comment that I wholeheartedly agree with.
I love it; and I love his portrayal of Diana - it doesn't seem too "complicated" for him!
It is one of the constant issues being brought up about writing Wonder Woman or a film for her, how complicated the character is. Yale gives you a portrayal that so much the the essence of Wonder Woman with Diana. It is shocking how this is something that movie writers can't even begin to grasp. Yale's Diana is kind, modest, caring and has a strong sense of right and wrong. She doesn't tolerate disrespect and she values her friendships. I think the fact that Yale has a great understanding and love for these characters is what make his writing so spot on in the character portrayals. It doesn't hurt he is also a phenomenal storyteller.
Image of a print created for sale at the upcoming 2013 New York Comicon by Yale Stewart.
Another comment that I felt capture the comic is the one below.
Yeah, It's cute *and* also has positive messages.
The is one of the few kid friendly web comics that I was able to find. The messages about family, friendship and reading shines through. Yale also pays homage to characters that well known but seem fresh and new as if meeting them again for the first time. The fact that JL8 is accessible to children and adults, reminds me of cartoon shows like Dexter's Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack, which engage the audience on multiple levels. There was something there for all age group very much like JL8. I have to say this is definitely one of my favorite new comics and I'm so happy I was able to find this gem.
Finally thought, if anyone who reads this post knows of any other web comics in the vein of JL8, I would love to read and spotlight them. I have two young children who I love to share these great comics with. Please leave any links to these comics in the comments section. Now go read JL8, you won't be sorry.