We Review JL8 #1-150 (Web Comic)

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[dropcap size=small]C[/dropcap]reated by Yale Stewart and formerly known as “Little League”, JL8 follows the some of our favorite super heroes as 8-year-olds in elementary school. Clever, funny, and endearing, JL8 is Calvin and Hobbes meets Justice League and is one of the greatest webcomics out there. It appeals to everyone: you don’t have to know much about the heroes to follow the plot, but there are tons of easter eggs to reward die-hard comic fans. Once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop, and by the end will wonder how DC hasn’t backed up a truckload of money onto Stewart (but mostly be eternally grateful they haven’t forced him to stop).

The Characters

JL8 follows seven main characters, all of whom are referred to by their first name but who maintain their superhero qualities: Bruce (Batman), Clark (Superman), Diana (Wonder Woman), Hal (Green Lantern), Barry (Flash), and Karen (Power Girl). Their teacher is Mr. Schwartz, an homage to the late Julius Schwarts, a decades-long editor for the biggest DC titles, including Batman and Superman.

The series also includes some super-bullies, largely from the Legion of Doom: Joker, Cheetah, Lex (with that now-long-gone red hair), Toyman, Solomon Grundy, Len/Captain Cold, and Poison Ivy. You can also find important supporting characters like Alfred, the Kents, and Hippolyta. Other well-known superheroes are also starting to surface, like the bromance Mikey and Ted (Booster Gold and Blue Beetle). You’ll encounter Darkseid, “Robin”, Neil Gaiman, and Dream (Daniel, not Morpheus) from Sandman. There’s even a reference to Spider Man in there!

JL8 Lex
Joker in his origin story Red Hood.

The Plot

JL8 is a nice break from the dark and serious tone DC has adopted lately. The best part is watching our favorite characters do everyday kid things. Stewart does an incredible job of understanding and maintaining the core personalities of every superhero. You get a sense that this is exactly how Bruce would give advice about girls, how Diana would break up a fight, or how J’onn would politely handle being the new kid.

And don’t think crime fighting is beyond the range of an 8-year-old. In fact, a certain Nana-related rescue mission leads to one of my favorite Bruce-face moments and the best nickname for Hal ever. Birthday parties, “The Floor is Lava,” tag, Oreo-love, and bullying; you’re not going to escape relating to this comic.

JL8 Batman
If you get hit in the feels, don’t worry; you’ll be laughing again a couple frames later!

The Art

JL8 Flash

JL8 has a great Sunday comics vibe, and its simple but expressive style is what brings Calvin and Hobbes to mind, for me. The range of expression is incredible, and there are some great little chibi-anime moments sprinkled in. With Barry especially, Stewart has a great ability to capture motion. His paneling and lettering also ensure that you always draw the right emotion and inflection from the strip.

Our Easter Egg Challenge!

I’m not going to even pretend that I caught every Easter egg in the first 150 strips; Yale Stewart has a ridiculous repertoire of comic-references that I’ll never be able to keep up with. Here are some subtle ones to look out for (comic characters in bold):

  • Reference to Wildcat
  • The Grey Ghost (Part of the DCAU)
  • My little pony
  • Destiny (from Sandman)
  • Eeyore
  • My Little Pony
  • Reference to Star Fox
  • A certain clown from Batman: The Animated Series
  • Artistic cover reference to Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia
  • Lana
  • Longshadow
  • Apache Chief
  • Holly Robinson
  • Max Lord (chasing Ted)
  • A net of a certain color significance

 

We encourage you to point out any we missed, and comment if any of these got past you! You can find Yale Stewart’s JL8 here on Yales Tumblr page, or you can check out the author-approved fan-made site that enhances the readability factor.!

1 COMMENT

  1. Absolutely love JL8. Easily one of the most entertaining and fresh takes on characters we have loved for years. The most fun in a comic you’ll have all year. The #1 comic in America. A no-holds-barred adrenaline fueled thrill ride. Awesome. Exciting. Powerful. Emotional. In theaters now. But not really. #WhatTheHellIsHappening

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