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“J” Is For …

… Justice League of America! (1960)

And I do mean the Justice League of AMERICA … not because of any misplaced patriotism, but because for the most part the era I enjoy of this book comes from when the League was branded as such, and the franchise hadn’t spun itself out into a dozen different sub-leagues.

I prefer the wonky Silver Age Justice League, though I seem to recall some pretty tasty George Perez JLA’s from the Bronze Age, too. And sure, I like the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire League too, even if that’s the era that bade farewell to that “America” moniker.

For the most part, I was a Marvel kid growing up, but even I had to admit that the Justice League were pretty awesome. The early-70s cartoon appearances were especially reassuring to me, coming along at an age where I didn’t care if DC characters were “my father’s superheroes.” It might even have been a bonus that the JLA seemed so paternalistic. They helped me feel safe.

That’s probably why I feel nostalgic about the Justice League, even with so few Justice League books in my collection.

Write in with your own favorite “J” books, below!

Honorable Mentions:

  • Journey Into Mystery (1952)
  • Jungle Action (1972)
  • Judge Dread (1977) — yeah, it’s a cheat, but I didn’t include a numbers entry in my alphabet, and “2000 AD” would get crowded out of the “T’s!”

Check out the complete Longbox Graveyard Comics A-To-Z HERE!

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About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published once a month or so at www.longboxgraveyard.com!

Posted on February 11, 2018, in Comics A-To-Z and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I know Morrison’s run didn’t emphasize the “America” during his JLA run, but I absolutely loved his modern version of the SA style that was so prominent.
    Howard Porter became a good, if maybe unconventional(?) choice for artist on that run, but it all worked and clicked.

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    • Morrison is kind of a blind spot for me. I was away from comics when he did most of his work at DC, and I’m not big on buying print collections. Add to this that I’ve often found Morrison too precious for his own good and you will see why I’ve overlooked his good with his less-than-good.

      Once again, I lament the ability to browse DC’s backlist via a digital subscription …!

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      • Huh. Well I can see where maybe tackling his JLA Omnibus would feel like a daunting task, so at least read a couple trades, like the first one, “New World Order”, “Rock of Ages”, and “Crisis Times Five.” and see what you think afterwards.

        Morrison for me with this run, reminds readers new and old, just how good and fantastic the crazy and wild ideas from the Silver Age could still work and entertain with a modern sensibility while keeping our heroes as pure and heroic as we like to remember them, before the dark and gritty era dragged them down into the dirt of “realism.”

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        • You make it sound exactly like something I’d like … but then I remember Morrison going up his own backside with Multiversity, which I found incomprehensible.

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          • Now see I actually enjoyed those Multiveristy one shots that could be enjoyed by themselves, yet still connected together to tell an entire story. Of course I also enjoyed him taking the piss out of various DC editors by making them the main villains of said story. Different strokes and all though….

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  2. JLA is my “J” choice, especially the Satellite Era. There have been some good Justice League comics since then, though. I did enjoy the Giffen/DeMatties run. Some of the Morrison stuff was very good, too, but I’d rank it behind the two I just mentioned.

    I’ve read some issues of Jungle Action with the Black Panther and those were very good, but it wasn’t a long enough run for me to rank it ahead of the JLA.
    Journey into Mystery of course is excellent with the Thor issues.
    I’ve read some of the JSA series from the early 90’s, which was very good, and the 2007 series, which was also pretty good.
    I’ve read the whole series of The Joker, all 9 issues. It started off strong, but got weaker with each successive issues. A rotating crew of creators surely didn’t help. I’ve also read one issue of John Carter, Warlord of Mars, which was pretty good.

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    • The Satellite Era! Yes, that’s what I was trying to pin down as my favorite JLA era. Pretty much just wholesome superhero epics.

      I bought all the Giffen/DeMatties JLA stuff in a digital sale a couple years ago (my paper copies are long gone) and was sad to find they didn’t hold up quite so well as I hoped. But I often feel that way on first re-visiting something, only to come around to them again on a second (re) read. Many of the books I gave poor grades in the early days of Longbox Graveyard — like Micronauts or Captain Marvel — would be better considered if I were reviewing them today.

      (Probably not John Carter, though!)

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      • Count me in for the “Satellite Era” as well! Nice call Dave! This reminds me that I have a pre-order coming next month: the JLA Bronze Age Omnibus Vol 2, which covers much of this timeframe.

        Other “J” books on my radar:

        Mike Grell was a favorite artist but I never could get into the “realistic” stories of Jon Sable. I’ve enjoyed some JSA stories also. As a youngster I read a few scattered “Justice Machine” books but not enough to become much of a fan.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know what you mean. You read something years ago and enjoyed it, so your expectations are a bit too high upon re-reading so, so you need yet another read after having re-set your expectations to get a more fair apprasial.

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  3. As you know, I didn’t start reading comics books until I was in grad school. By then, the glory days of the JLA were long over. So to me, the JLA will always be the wonderful animated series.

    Earlier this month, I wrote a Super-Blog Team-Up post about the JLA. While working on it, I realized what separates the JLA and Avengers. The JLA is every A list hero on one team. There was no other team like it. While Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Wasp, Vision, and Scarlet Witch are Avengers, Spider-Man, the Hulk, and The Thing aren’t. Marvel doesn’t have a team with all of the best characters on it. That’s what makes the classic JLA so unique.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I missed that golden age of superhero animation and always need to remind myself there are a legion of comics fans who entered through that door. Is there a contemporary feeder system for the fans of today? (I suppose the movies fill that spot). And what does it say about comics that they do so poor a job of onboarding new readers?

      As regards that all-star JLA … isn’t that just as much about DC having a short bench as anything else? Comparing DC to Marvel, DC is ahead (or at least toe-to-toe) with Marvel for the top five, but when you look at a the back end of a top twenty, Marvel blows them away). Seemed like Marvel always had three or four super teams going, given they had so many great heroes running around …

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