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FIRE & WATER PODCAST #100 – All-Star Coverage of JLA #200

Firestorm and Aquaman: The Fire and Water Podcast

Our third anniversary and 100 episodes!! FIRESTORM FAN and THE AQUAMAN SHRINE proudly present the 100th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST!

To celebrate, Shag and Rob cover an all-time favorite comic, Justice League of America #200 by Gerry Conway, Brett Breeding, and an all-star line-up of guest artists. Joining the celebration are former F&W guest-stars Diabolu Frank, J. David Weter, Doug Zawisza, Chris and Cindy Franklin, Siskoid, Chad Bokelman, Ryan Daly, Michael Bailey, Luke Jaconetti, with a special appearance by Gerry Conway himself!

You can find the 100th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST on iTunes. While you’re there, please drop us a review on the iTunes page. Every comment helps! Alternatively, you may download the podcast by right-clicking here, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (133 MB).

As always, thanks to my co-host Rob Kelly, Sea King of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE, for doing all the post-production on these episodes! Opening theme, “That Time is Now,” by Michael Kohler. Special thanks to Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge with their band The Bad Mamma Jammas for our fantastic original closing theme!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

Be sure to visit our guest-stars on the interwebs also:

Check out the gorgeous cover and team shot below!

Justice League of America #200 cover by George Perez

Justice League of America #200 team by George Perez

Finally, check out this hilarious piece by Nuclear Sub Xum Yukinori celebrating our 100th episode! Thanks, Xum!

Fire and Water Podcast #100 by Xum Yukinori

Thanks for listening! Support Firestorm and Aquaman! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

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  1. Woah! Woah! WOAH!!! I don’t remember recording any of this! Where did you get my voice?!

  2. Anj says:

    Like Rob, this is absolutely on of my favorite comics of all time for all the reasons you guys covered in this episode. This is one of those books that if I see it at a con for $5 or less, I buy it and give it to a buddy. It is perfect.

    And with that much love in me about it I have some comments.

    1) The initial recap of the appelax issue was handled beautifully and this was where I learned about this origin of the JLA. As Rob says, there weren’t reprints or the internet to just look something up back then. I love the small touches Perez does to delineate the time period of this adventure, especially Wonder Woman’s old costume and hair tucked under her tiara (as it was back then).

    2) This was the second time that I had met Martian Manhunter, hard to believe given how ubiquitous he is now a days. But like with most of this issue, Broderick’s art is stellar.

    3) I felt for Tornado in his solo chapter. I have never been a fan of people like the Phantom Stranger who stop something from happening so ‘destiny’ can unfold. That’s BS.

    4) This was my first look at Brian Bolland ever. I was so floored by his art that I made sure to look for him in the future. I bought Camelot 3000 because of him. And back then, it meant convincing my parents to drive me 10miles down the road to go to the direct market comic store!

    5) I feel like I have grown up a ton as a comic fan. Back when I first read this issue, after being floored by Perez, Broderick, and Bolland I said to myself ‘who are these hacks – Kane, Infantino, and Kubert!’

    Obviously, after becoming a more seasoned comic guy and an ersatz comic historian, I have come to embrace these guys even if this issue was on the 18th hole of their career. Of all of them, Kane is the one I have the most trouble with.

    6) I am amazed any of the newer JLAers were not maimed in the early chapters given the chasm in power levels. Why didn’t Zatanna just say ‘!!Ti Fo Tuo Pans, neves lanigirO’ ??

    Lastly, thanks for the show, my Monday morning routine. As I have said, I can’t talk about comics on the level I want to with anyone … even my comic fans who think my obsession with history and critique is insane. This show/group of friends/community is where I can go to talk about things like Wonder Woman tucking her hair under her tiara marking the time period of the story.

    And thrilled to be part of the Legion blog. Five Years Later … such a great run.

  3. Anj says:

    Ack … and forgot to say how great it was to hear everyone participate on this episode!

  4. Goosebumps gentlemen. That opening gave me goosebumps. And I KNEW Conway was reading the opening to the story, and I STILL got chills just listening to it. Opening the episode with his reading was a stroke of genius.

    This comic means a lot to me. It’s not my favorite single issue (that’s B&B #182) but it’s darn-near close. I actually missed this one when it came out, despite my hunting for it. The Daily Planet article on the back of World’s Finest had me stoked, but I didn’t land a copy for at least another 5 or 6 years. But man, it was worth the wait. I think this comic is a shining example of DC’s characters at their zenith. The late, pre-Crisis Bronze Age has the heroes still at their stalwart best, with just enough characterization and nuance to breathe some new life into them. Conway captures that masterfully here.

    It was great to hear everyone’s take on this issue. I only wish I hadn’t giggled through our whole damn segment! It was an honor to participate with such an illustrious group.

    Thanks to you, Rob and Shag, for giving us a virtual LCS to stop by and shot the breeze at. This sense of camaraderie and community isn’t something that’s easy to come by, but it’s here in spades. This was the first podcast I really listened to, and it opened the door to a much larger world of geekery (not nerdery, as Cindy pointed out) to me. I’m obviously one of the people who it has inspired, and the projects I’ve taken on because of that have brought me a great amount of joy, so I owe you two a lot, personally. And I know I’m not alone.

    Happy Anniversary guys!


  5. I just saw Xum’s awesome cover…that is HILARIOUS!!! And beautifully done to boot!


  6. Jeff R. says:

    This story was reprinted in Justice League of America by George Perez, Vol 2, by the way. (Alas, your usual sponsor appears to only stock Volume 1 right now.)

    The original plan was to reprint only the Perez pages there, but they realized that that would be sillier than usual (usual, here, meaning ‘reprinting two parts of a three part story’) and put the whole issue in.

  7. cYnical says:

    Three years ago, I was stuck in a Walmart auto center waiting room while my tires were being replaced, about to move back home after an ill-advised, year-long stint in Memphis, TN. I was browsing my Facebook feed when I saw The Aquaman Shrine’s page send out a request for any musicians interested in helping out with a special project. Bored and intrigued, I immediately responded. Rob Kelly, a guy I barely knew anything about at the time, pitched a ludicrously obscure podcast that would combine Aquaman and Firestorm lore. Furthermore, he needed a theme song for the podcast. It was too ridiculous a premise for me to resist, so I accepted the job on the spot. Within 5 minutes, I had written the lyrics. Within a couple weeks, Ashton Burge and I had music. We were ecstatic to hear our song at the end of that first episode and humbled by the positive reactions to it.

    Three years later, we’ve provided music for the Who’s Who Podcast as well as the opening AND closing themes for the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Vibe episode, and enjoyed the collective calamity that is the Fire and Water Nuclear Sub community. Some of these guys have become some of our best online friends, and it’s 100% the result of Rob(b) and Shag(g) bringing us all together.

    The show is energetic, insightful (and inciteful), often hilarious, and always fun. It has inspired bonding, controversy, emotional outbursts, and solemn reflection. We’ve seen Aquaman rise to the height of superhero popularity, Firestorm move into the live-action realm for the first time (!), and an entire DCUniverse rebooted. We’ve reflected upon past glories and blunders. We’ve been fortunate to spend time with the wonderful creators that brought us so much joy. Gifts have been bestowed. Memes have been created. We’ve developed our own lingo. We even have a soundtrack episode!

    So many awesome things have blossomed from the Fire and Water Podcast, and it’s all because two geeks decided to ramble audibly about two characters who rarely get their due. Follow your dreams, kids!

    It is with great thanks and admiration that I, on behalf of myself and The Bad Mamma Jammas, congratulate Rob and Shag on reaching the landmark of 100 episodes. We can’t wait to experience the next 100! So soak ’em down, or burn ’em up, because you guys rule the day!

  8. Siskoid says:

    Bit more than halfway through. Have to put it down to do other things. Here’s what I wrote as far as comments to date:

    I say Za-TAH-na.

    But then, I’m a dirty Frenchie who used to say the X-Men’s teacher was Professor ZAH-VIAY.

  9. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    Happy anniversary, guys! Your podcast has been a source of enormous entertainment for me since I discovered it last year! Can’t thank you enough for the hours of fun you provide your faithful listeners with – it’s a real testament to your love of the source material which you spotlight, analyze, reminisce over, and celebrate. So congrats on 200 episodes – may you reach 400 and beyond!

    I understand Rob’s affection for this issue of Justice League. I remember a time when these anniversary issues were a momentous event to comics fans. I miss those days, but at least we still have the back issues to cherish. I’ve always loved JLA and read it back in the ’80s on a semi-regular basis but never picked up #200 until last year, based on Rob’s enthusiastic recommendations. What a fantastic issue, a near perfect encapsulation of what DC did so well back then with these anniversary issues, which was to simultaneously celebrate the books’ and characters’ pasts while also moving the series forward or introducing new elements.

    So while I only read this issue for the first time last year, I’ve already grown very fond of it! Couple quick bullet points on the issue (and the episode):

    – Gerry’s dramatic reading was wonderful.
    – Pat Broderick + Terry Austin sure made some gorgeous art together, no? What a combo.
    – I cracked up when Ryan Daly noted how, if taken out of context, the face Black Canary makes after she was hit in the head could be misinterpreted, because I’ve thought the same thing since I first saw that panel! Love Bolland-drawn Canary, Batman, and Green Arrow.
    – I too think of Zatanna in this era’s duds, Shag, as it’s also the first time I encountered the character. I’ve always thought it has the makings of a great costume, if only they’d made a few adjustments (ditch or modify the weird bug thing on her head; maybe streamline the sleeves to be fitted as opposed to flowing). But I think Perez drew this costume far better than most, for sure. Check out Alan Davis’s version in his two Justice League OGNs The Nail and Another Nail – he makes the costume look as good as Perez always did.
    – Aparo Aquaman is a sight to behold, as always. Wish I cared one lick about Red Tornado though. Never have, and by this point I doubt I ever will. I think part of it is I always preferred the Vision over at Marvel (I know, they aren’t direct analogs but Tornado’s always suffered by comparison for me), plus Tornado was so downcast and mopey in most of his early JLA appearances. And the other league members didn’t seem to like him much, so why should I?
    – Hawkgirl’s also a personal favorite of mine and I agree with Rob that she really should have been there, somehow, someway.

    JLA 200 reminds me quite a bit of another spectacular Gerry Conway anniversary issue – which I’ve always thought might lay claim to the title of my personal favorite single comic issue of all time, if I could bring myself to select JUST ONE! – Detective Comics 526, the 500th appearance of Batman in ‘TEC. It’s a similar approach to JLA 200 in that it brings together a large cast of characters (Bat Family members and an array of Batman’s rogue gallery) in that glorious bronze age style for a real anniversary blow out. Another personal favorite from that era is Batman 400, which mimics JLA 200’s approach of assigning an all-star cast of artists to illustrate different chapters of the book. So JLA 200 joins the pantheon of great bronze age anniversary issues for me, indeed. Will we ever see these sorts of anniversary issues again?? With DC seemingly eliminating their history in order to reboot it three years ago, I fear not. So thanks to Rob and Shag for celebrating one of the most stellar issues from the era in which most of here grew up reading comics – you picked a perfect way to celebrate the podcast’s anniversary, gents! Cheers!

  10. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    One more thing! That beautiful wraparound cover reminds me quite a bit of what future Who’s Who covers would resemble, no? Similar layout and design to some of the best in that series, with each character given something exciting to do (or at least posed dramatically in Black Canary’s case – but she always looks good no matter what so there’s that too). A proto-Who’s Who cover, of sorts.

  11. Kyle Benning says:

    YES!!!! AT LAST, YOUR COVERAGE OF JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #200!!! One of the greatest (if not THEE Greatest) single issue superhero comics (I think Showcase #100 should be up there too!) Great touch getting Mr. Gerry Conway himself to read the intro to the story! After listening to this episode, I think this may also be the single greatest comic podcast episode ever!
    Greatest. Podcast. Episode. Ever.

    Not much new to say here that your group of super bloggers and podcasters already said, it was great to hear Frank, J. David Weter, Doug Zawisza, Mr. & Mrs. Franklin, Siskoid, Baby Bokelman, Count Drunkula, Luke Jaconetti, and Michael Bailey join you two and absolutely rock this awesome comic!

    Congratulations on episode #100, the Fire and Water family of Podcasts is THEE greatest out there, I can’t wait to see what audio awesomeness the next 100+ episodes contain. Same steamy time, same steamy channel.

    Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!
    Drop the Needle and Turn the Page!
    And whatever the hell the sayings are for the Who’s Who Podcast & Hero Points Podcast!

  12. Frank says:

    1. Since cold opens are pretty rare on this podcast (wasn’t there one from a sweaty, stammering Rob when he thought #50 was going to murder the show?) Gerry Conway’s paternal fairy telling was highly effective, and I dug the building theme music in the background. I question an assertion of the narrative though, since Superman and Batman had formed the World’s Finest trio with Robin years before, which constitutes a team to me.

    2. Now that I’ve got my own podcast, which happened after my recording session here, I get all fidgety for my inability to edit my personal audio. I want to slap the “ummms” right outta my mouth. I’d demand final edit on my future appearances, but since that won’t be until sometime after episode 201, I guess there’s plenty of time until the 2017 negotiation season.

    3. Liking the Super Friends transitions, though I suspect through no fault of my own I’d somehow end up on the rolls of the Legion of Doom.

    4. Nice to hear J. David Weter podcast again, and Doug Zawisza has a surprisingly pleasant radio voice for a Red Tornado fan (I’d have expected more of a Conor Oberst tone.) Kidding aside, Reddie should take Aquaman logically, but contextually, across the span of each’s career, Tornado can’t survive a hard sneeze on the wind.

    5. Back when I cared about being the King of DC Comics, I wanted them to have a greater diversity of teams, but I also wanted three classes of Justice League. The JLA should be the Magnificent Seven, the JLI should be the funny guys, and the Satellite League should be the Silver/Bronze Age guys who fit better together than in the other two camps. Green Arrow, the Atom, Hawkman, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, and Firestorm should be on their own team, and a lottery system would determine which teams get Black Canary, Hawkgirl, Zatanna and Vixen.

    6. I haven’t checked out Super Mates yet, but Chris and Cindy Franklin really stood out here, and it was nice to have a lady type person with a strong voice/identity mixed in with all these boys. It’s too bad the Girls Gone Geek didn’t make it in there somewhere, though.

    7. Personally, I self-identify as a nerd, as that was what I was most often referred to as spitballs and/or fists rained down on me in grade school. I tend to use “geek” as a verb or a derogatory myself, associating it with carnival geeks and social maladjustment, whereas a nerd must by definition at least have uncommon intellect or academic skill. I was never a schoolboy, but my escapist-fu is mighty.

    8. I always enjoy Siskoid’s very specific vocal mannerisms, and I would retweet that meme. Glad Chad made it through with relatively few ageist jabs. Drunkula sounded nothing like John Cusack. I hear Michael Bailey so often on Views that I take him for granted, like a Superman appearance in a DC crossover. More than anyone else, Luke Jaconetti sounds like the character his blogging represents, which is to say he probably knows his way around a mace.

    9. That’s a really good point about pitting Zee against Superman and Wonder Woman against Hawkman. That would have made a lot more sense than simply aligning genders, and would have been more fun as matches, though I do think I prefer to see Kubert’s Man of Steel over his Amazing Amazon (ditto Giordano on the heroines.)

    10. Well deserved anniversary accolades to Daniel Adams & company for their musical contributions (Vibe is still my favorite,) and mad props to Xum for his excellent cover mock-up for #100!

  13. Tim Wallace says:

    Just started listening on the way to work this morning…was going to wait till I’d heard the whole show but…DAMN! That Conway opening was AWESOME!

  14. Xum Yukinori says:

    JLA #200 is also one of my all-time favorite issues, and I had read it within a month of its release, thanks to a kind uncle who brought it when he visited me in London — along with a stack of other comic books he had purchased in the US for me during that year (including another favorite of mine: The Flash #300). I was 18 at that time, but reading that book made me feel like I was 10 years old again…

    It was a very clever idea to invite guest podcasters to contribute their thoughts for each chapter. It made this episode a very special and very entertaining listen. And Gerry Conway’s introduction was very well done. Bravo.

    Regarding the comments about Zatanna (which I had always pronounced Zah-TAH-nah since I was under the impression her family had Italian heritage) being the one who should have gone up against Superman, or not magically having Wonder Woman “pans tuo fo ti” – keep in mind that in JLA v1 #191, Zatanna lost a majority of her “uber-magic” powers due to all of the “grandstanding” she did when she first joined the League, using up the last of that type of magic to save the life of the Key. All she could do at this point was magically manipulate the “elements” (air water, earth, and fire), and was no longer able to “create anything out of thin air.” (Of course, that was what Firestorm was for…)

    This was not the first time I had seen Brian Bolland’s comic book interiors, having read his Judge Dredd from the late 1970s, but I was amazed at how well he had depicted Batman, Green Arrow, and Black Canary in what I believe was the first time (I may be wrong). I agree that Neal Adams would have been a more appropriate choice for illustrating this chapter, and am curious if the situation whereby he did not was actually a case of Mr. Adams not being available, or if DC corporate didn’t want to invite him to the table, given that this issue was put together only a few years after Adams fought DC to give Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster long-overdue credit and some financial remuneration for their creating Superman. It is also possible that Mr. Adams was asked and he had refused for similar reasons. I am curious if anyone knows the answer to that…

    I will probably have more random thoughts on both the comic and the podcast when my schedule loosens a bit later this week. in any case, bring on the next one hundred.


    (“AquaRob and FireShag… casting pods to-geth-er…”)

  15. I like that in a comic-based podcast featuring twelve self-described nerds, it’s the one woman who uses the most blue language. You need to get Cindy Franklin on the show more often!

    Frank – I, too, obsessed a little over my use of “um” and “uh” during the recording, but not because of my need for control. I actually wrote a script for the summary portion of section that would have read much cleaner and with more jokes, like how Batman went back to the other Leaguers and reported how he got attacked by Green Arrow and a hooker! For reasons unknown, I decided not to read from it when we recorded.

    Xum – I had the same thoughts/questions about Adams’ lack of involvement in the Batman/Green Arrow/Black Canary chapter but I’ve never heard one way or another.

    Also, fantastic mock cover for the 100th episode!

  16. Cindy had been through a REALLY rough day prior to recording, and this resulted in saltier language than in all of our 14 episodes of Super Mates. :-)


  17. rob! says:

    I would love to have Cindy on the show again, but it has to be to talk about a comic/movie/cartoon I don’t care that much about, due to her ability to poke holes in any given cherished piece of nerdom, thereby sorta ruining them. An issue of LEGION oughta work!

  18. Xum Yukinori says:


    I found your steadfast refusal to let Cindy’s bouts of logic ruin this comic for you to be quite admirable…

    This is still one of my favorite comics, regardless…


  19. Siskoid says:

    Cindy and her chemistry with her husband were the very best parts of the podcast. Whatever the nominal content of a podcast or radio show is meant to be, the real content is the people. #RadioTruth

  20. Michael Chiaroscuro says:

    Cindy really was a hoot! I need to check out hers and Chris’s podcast. And good point, Xum – Rob stood strong in the face of overwhelming logic. I think it was Shag who said that you just can’t bring logic into play when you’re discussing bronze age comics – so true!

    And oops – I called it your 200th episode in my earlier post. Knew that would happen due to the 200th issue of JLA being discussed!

  21. I think those who insist on a distinction between “nerd” and “geek” (especially if it depends on whether or not you get to have sex) are protesting too much.

  22. Luke says:

    Finally finshed up the episode, and I have to say guys — bravo. Great work from top to bottom. As I said on the show, this was my first time reading this landmark issue, and it was an absolute blast. But it was even more fun to hear this collection of folks on this podcast!

    I don’t know what else I can add other than to publically thank Rob and Shag for asking me to join them on the show, both this time and previously. And to give major props and a huge thumbs up to all of the other guest stars as well, thank you for making this episode as fun as it was. And finally, to thank Rob and Shag once again for making this show and making it so freaking good, out of such a bizarre, inane concept as pairing off Aquaman and Firestorm.

    Congratulations for reaching 100 episodes, and here’s to a hundred more! Fan The Flame and Ride Wave!

    (Aside: @Frank, I have handled a mace before, but I unfortunately do not own one. I should probably rectify that.)

  23. I’m gonna keep my Angry Pants off this time and agree with everybody: JLA #200 was great*, this podcast celebration was great, Rob and Shag are great, having Gerry Conway on the podcast gave me chills, and the Nuclear Sub community is great!

    Thanks everybody for being a part of this, and here’s to even more super greatness in the future…!

    Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

    * It would have been PERFECT if Hawkwoman had appeared in some way.

  24. Martin Gray says:

    Congratulations, only took me a ruddy week to get through, you’re in Raging Bullets territory at this length!

    It was great to hear so many familiar names in one show. I was surprised that Count Drunkula wasn’t delighted by Brian Bolland on the GA/BC/B chapter – it’s Brian Bleeding Bolland, far better than Neal Adams, even back then. It was great to see a Justice League America celebration had room for a Brit.

    As for who else besides Hawkman could’ve taken on Superman, there was another occasional JLA guest star who was amply qualified – Supergirl.

  25. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    Great episode!

    Out of all the DC anniversary issues of the era I’d put “JLA” #200 at number 1, followed by:
    2. Action Comics #500
    3. The Flash #300
    4. Detective Comics #500
    5. Batman #400

    Not sure if it’s my favorite comic book of all-time (that title probably belongs to “Crisis On Infinite Earths”) but it’s definitely the best JLA story ever.

    I don’t think the League ever needed any other members other than those shown here (except for Hawkwoman). Firestorm is where MY ideal JLA ends, unlike Alex Ross, who excludes Ol’ Flamehead from his roster.

    Gerry Conway’s narration was icing on the birthday cake. Shades of Power Records! The only thing missing was the little beep to tell you to turn the page.

  26. Frank says:

    I already commented on this episode, but because I listened to it across nations and modes of transport, I wanted to give it a second focused spin before moving on. However, that “spin” encompassed countless revolutions at this length, so much so that like a Cosmic Treadmill, my vibrational frequency briefly shifted me onto a parallel Earth where I read its version of JLofA #200. Under a wraparound cover by Michael Golden was the story of all past full members of the JLA being kidnapped by the Appalaxians and forced into gladiatorial combat to determine which seven members would be selected for singular combat against their own disgraced champions. The chapters included:

    Martian Manhunter vs. Red Tornado by Gene Colan
    Aquaman vs. Firestorm by Keith Giffen
    Wonder Woman vs. Hawkman & Hawkgirl by Jerry Ordway
    The Flash vs. The Atom by Steve Ditko
    Green Lantern vs. Green Arrow & Black Canary by Mike Grell
    Batman vs. Elongated Man by Marshall Rogers
    Superman vs. Zatanna by José Luis García-López

    Of course, the kicker was that the Appelaxians hadn’t taken the JLA’s honorary members, who formed a search team for interstitial and final chapters by Jim Starlin featuring Adam Strange, Deadman, Sargon, Captain Comet, & the Phantom Stranger. This world’s coda was a bit more somber than celebratory though, as Bernie Wrightson illustrated the memorial service for Snapper Carr and Golden Eagle.

    The other reason I came back to comment was that I previously missed Rob claiming that there was no iconic artist available for Wonder Woman’s chapter. Jose Delbo had done the book for much of the ’70s, while guys like Ed Hannigan and JLGL(PBHN) had been doing memorable covers contemporaneously, all of which would have fit better than Dick Giordano (who was most associated with the mod Diana Prince period.) However, the obvious choice for a project like this was Ross Andru, the defining WW artist of the Silver Age.

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