Liberty League #1

The year is 1987. The comics industry reached a new plateau of mature superhero storytelling with the release of The Dark Knight Returns, Kraven’s Last Hunt and Watchmen

…But no one was prepared for the Liberty League.

Yup. Eleven years old and I finally hunkered down for a day or two to create my own superhero comic series. I think there might have been 3 issues total but I could only find the first two while rifling through boxes my parents dropped off at the house.

I like the rainbow red-orange-yellow on “The” and the puffy bubble letters that encapsulate a real sense of “Liberty”. The logo really helps sell that sense of heroism and power. I knew that real superhero teams like the Avengers and Fantastic Four were American so I put that US flag up in the top left corner.

This 5.5″ x 6.5″ beauty, all lovingly rendered in Laurentian pencil crayons, is an epic beyond measure. Follow along with me as we engage 400% pure adventure…

Page 1: I don’t think my name is on it enough – “ZUB Comics Presents”, “all rights reserved by ZUB Comics”, “copyright Jim Zubkavich”, “ZUB comics limited” and “Approved by ZUB publishing”.

I remember backgrounds being frustrating because I had to fill the entire page with pencil crayon… so time consuming! Even still, I fought on for the sake of my art.

Page 2: Two pages in and we’ve already got some guy getting his face melted off. Sweet. I did anything I could to avoid drawing faces in this book, including putting masks on every single hero and villain.

Page 3: Some intrigue here as our villain tracks down information on the Liberty League.

Fireball was my Human Torch wannabe named after the infamous Dungeons & Dragons spell of the same name. Yes, by the time I was 11 I was a hardcore D&D nerd. His costume design is oh-so subtly adapted from my Crimson Guardsman G.I.Joe action figure.

You can see that I erased and rewrote the profile a couple times after I misspelled things or miscalculated our hero’s birth date. I think I copied that 3/4 human face from the G.I.Joe packaging as well.

Page 4: Fireball’s reading position is very dramatic. Apparently our villain snuck in to his house to drop off a letter that says “Meet Me at 5th Avenue, Liberty League.” That’s some sweet ass foreshadowing. The emotional impact is intense.

Also, you can tell that Fireball is an international hero because he has a globe in his room.

Page 5: Silver Bullet was named after the Coors Beer commercials. His powers were a rip-off of Cannonball from the New Mutants and his costume was carefully copied from my Torpedo action figure.

Power Fist’s name came from from combining Marvel’s Power Man and Iron Fist characters. I would’ve probably made another hero by combining the names the opposite way but that just makes “Iron Man”. Power Fist is a typical strong guy who wears a helmet, punches stuff and likes the color green for some reason.

Page 6: Frozen Shadow is a combination of Cloak, from Cloak and Dagger, and the classic pulp hero The Shadow. I remember my Dad having some cassette tapes of old Shadow radio episodes and I really enjoyed listening to them. Any character who’s basically an amorphous blob is A-OK in my book. He was way easier to draw than characters with limbs and stuff.

Flash Fazer is… um… unmemorable. Wow. He’s really terrible. I know I didn’t copy his costume from anything because all he has is lightning bolts over his eyes and another one on his chest… and he shoots blue flames. I have no idea where he came from or what his point was.

Page 7: Speed Meter is an elderly Flash-wannabe. Yes, those are his old man reading glasses over top of his mask. That peacock blue/chestnut brown color combo is pretty inspiring. I remember making him an old man because his speed powers prematurely aged him or something. Deep.

That 5th Avenue sign is important stuff. I’m establishing the scene with authority.

Page 8: Take that Alan Moore! Dialogue like this really sets the stage for the action to come. I think Crimson Chaos’ name came from the Crimson Guardsman combined with the Chaotic alignment category from D&D.

Page 9: So many backgrounds! My ruler got quite the workout here.

Coming up with the sound effects was particularly satisfying. You’ll see that I go a little overboard with them on subsequent pages.

Page 10: Pulse-pounding action! Crimson Chaos really knows how to mess with these heroes… by knocking a telephone pole over on them. The evil just flows out of his every pore.

Page 11: Quick diagonal panel cut to show the action happening simultaneously. These special effects are blowing my mind!

Page 12: Crimson Chaos is pretty cocky thinking our heroes would give up after one telephone pole attack. He obviously doesn’t know the Liberty League!

I love that I drew a set of purple drapes in just one of the windows of the building behind CC.

The tension builds… can your mind contain the excitement of NEXT ISSUE?!

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