Adding his voice to the chorus of “DC Matters Too” movement is Yale Stewart, offering a unique tribute to the Justice League with his re-imagining of the Justice League in a “before they became superheroes” sort of way in his work Little League. No, Little League is not about baseball. And no, not in the origins sort of way before they were superheroes, but before they became grownups. Pint size superheroes taking on the trials and terrors that many of us remember from elementary school: the mysteries of childhood crushes, the budding machismo of young boys trying to do right, and the absolute horror (to some of us anyway) that was known as physical education. Long time DC fans will appreciate the way in which Yale manages to create that sense of terror for superpowered children.
The action, costumes and personalities are all there, albeit shrunk down to a bit of a smaller scale, and the effect is endearing, hilarious, and very cool. For you anime fans out there, chibi would perhaps be a reasonable analog to what Yale has done with to the Justice League, and with great effect too. With a decidedly intent focus on the young Bruce Wayne as the moody young Batman, Yale makes a great narrative choice. As the “normal” human being character with the tragic background, he is easy to relate to and offers a unique perspective.
Yale’s characterization of of the other young superheroes makes good sense if you were to think of them when they were kids, that is if their superpowers were as mature as their adult forms. Clark Kent as the well adjusted and well behaved boy scout type, Hal Jordan a friendly if somewhat overenthusiastic lad, and Barry Allen is… well a super annoying speedster.
The direction of the story does not seem to be content to simply use the quirks and star power of its characters to carry the pace, but a story seems to be developing at the core of the piece. Little League has good emotional inflections as well, with a surprising number of tug your heart moments in spite of its rather new entry onto the scene and only thirty eight strips to date, but hopefully there will be many more.
Last but not least, some commentary must be given to the Yale’s art. With a rather nostalgiac coloring pattern and lines harkening both to old school Sunday Funnies as well as some
of the children’s books of the 80s and further back, this is great to look at as well as laugh with.
I am eager to see what direction Yale is going to take this series, as it seems that things are starting to heat up! Head to the archives and catch up!