About this site
The Captain’s Unofficial Justice League Homepage is my place on the web where I can rant on about and document my favourite comic book series – the Justice League of America. This site has been online since the mid-1990s, first as a “homestead” on geocities.com (now defunct) and then at captain.custard.org (also defunct, a server hosted by my housemate’s friend). Finally, after 14 years I decided it was time to get my own domain.
History of this site
How many good English language Justice League websites were there in 1994? Answer: Three. There was Michael Kooiman’s excellent JLA FAQ (aka Cosmic Teams), the original incarnation of David Stepp’s JSA Fact File and a different JLA FAQ (unfinished and now defunct). There was also a smattering of “second tier” websites proclaiming that the JLA was the author’s favourite comic book. You know the type – hoards of graphics, no content, and a dozen hyperlinks to similar sites. I must admit that my site was one of the latter. I then discovered a very important fact – if you put content on your website people will visit it. Ergo I decided to beef up this website with news and press clippings, original profiles and new articles. Low and behold the Captain’s Unofficial Justice League Homepage was born!
Everything changed with the publication of Justice League: A Midsummer’s Nightmare (Waid and Nicieza) and the subsequent relaunch of the League by Grant Morrison and co. Suddenly the League was cool again and the number of League websites easily doubled. It was about this time that I proposed the Justice League webring to a number of other JLA webmasters. The ring is still out there, but I’m no longer involved with its management.
That second incarnation of my website looks dated now. It was based on a modified theme downloaded from one of the many clip art websites and used the new JLA logo so much that it was danger of looking like propaganda. However, I still feel that this version was a high point in the site’s history. It had the largest number of full profiles and was the most colourful. A number of the profiles were translated for a now defunct Italian JLA Central Website (not to be confused with the English language website of the same name) and are listed as part of the Unofficial DC Who’s Who. The most surprising moment was when a profile of Doctor Midnite (supplied by contributor Alan Kistler) was mentioned in the DC handout for the JSA Returns skip week.
My aim was and is to produce a series of articles and profiles that are heavily cross-referenced and interlinked. In this respect the second incarnation of the site just became too hard to manage. So I went back to basics. I kept the general layout and design, but radically restructured the backend HTML to include pop-up profiles and mini-profiles in smaller pop-up windows. I also used frames to produce a navigation sidebar. This seemed like a smart move, but in retrospect it was a mistake. Frames and pop-up windows are too of the biggest bugbears in web design. Current thinking is to steer clear of them as much as possible. My problem was that I was trying to deliver a database like website with static HTML pages. This meant that there were numerous “coming soon” notices and cross-references that didn’t reference anything.
By 2000 the entire thing was a mess. I’d taken down the successful V2, was mired in the hideous mark-up of V3 and I was trying to finished my PhD thesis. I’ve always had something 80% finished since then, but by the time I come to finish it the paradigm has moved on and I need to start all over again. I always have big plans for the Captain’s Unofficial JLA Homepage (perhaps even an acronym), but in the meantime I hope you enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together.
About the web master
My name is Jason Kirk and I am a comic book fan.
I suppose my uncle is really to blame/thank for my interest in DC comic books. There use to be a cupboard at Gran’s house where he stored a couple of boxes containing the best of his own comic collection (the rest having been boxed up and put in storage). Some afternoons after school, when Mum and Gran were out grocery shopping, I’d would rummage thought those old boxes to find something to amuse myself with. Those books included the best of the DC Blue Ribbon reprints of Justice League and Superman, individual issues of the same, and the Crisis on Infinite Earths. The cream of the old Earth-One Universe.
I was exactly the right age for the Transformers phenomena — my Aunt still likes to remind me of how I pestered people about Optimus Prime in the run up to Christmas. My parents allowed me to subscribe to a single weekly magazine and I chose the now legendary Transformers comic from Marvel UK. It started out by just reprinting the monthly US Transformers comic, but that didn’t give them enough material so they started producing their own stories – many of them superior to the US material.
The vast roster of the Transformers epics meant that the UK title had to run who’s who pages each issue (based on the US Transformers Handbook). I found those pages fascinating. I never drew my own comics – I didn’t practice drawing enough – but I did enjoy making up my own characters and writing who’s who style records about them. One birthday/christmas my parents gave me a copy of Mayfair’s DC Heroes role playing game. I rarely ever played it, but the statistics and rules gave me a new language that I could use to describe the characters I created. I eventually became a scientist so it I suppose it wasn’t that surprising that I was more interested in defining the characters numerically than artistically.
The first US comic book I can remember owning was Man of Steel #1 in 1986. Did I buy it myself or was I given it? My memory is hazy, but it was the first “modern” feeling comic I had ever encountered. The very first comic I can definitely remember buying myself was Justice League Europe #1. I was aware of the Justice League of America from reading my Uncle’s comics, but I’d come straight from the Satellite Era with no real knowledge of the Detroit League. For me the JLE was amazing – not only were these characters more naturalistic than the old versions, but they were funny and Bart Sears’s art was fantastic. And they weren’t just in America, now they were in Europe. My continent! Okay, it wasn’t that great a leap in the grand scheme of things, but it matters when you’re a kid.
US Comics distribution around my way wasn’t very sophisticated. Once a month – I think it was a Tuesday – one of the local newsagents would get a pack of US comics. These were mainly DC comics and they were usually 2-3 months behind the direct market. Also, there were normally only a few copies, often only one, of each title so you had to get there as soon as possible to make sure you could get what you wanted. I always made sure I was there to pick up JLE, and then JLA, and I soon added the Superman Triangle titles.
My Uncle also took me on my first visit to a comic book shop. We’d gone to Bristol to see Jon Pertwee as the Doctor in Doctor Who The Ultimate Adventure. The Forever People was situated in Park Street, Bristol. It was a massive three floor shop that had that musty, gloomy, old-book store feel to it. It was a real Aladdin’s Cave, but I can’t remember buying much. I think I just enjoyed the experience more than anything. Forever People isn’t there any more. It was one of whose book shops that made you implicitly believe in Terry Pratchett’s L-space.
It wasn’t until I started university in 1994 that I started frequenting comics shops regularly. However, just as I got access into the direct market my interest in the comics themselves started to wane. It was the time of the Image disaster that almost destroyed the industry. Dan Jurgens had left Justice League. Gerard Jones alone was writing interesting stories, but the franchise felt as if it had been mortally wounded. Despite all that I had just gone online for the first time – one of the benefits of being an undergraduate. It was there I discovered the web and started this website.