We are two weeks away from the theatrical premiere of the Warner Bros. picture, JUSTICE LEAGUE, the DC Comics answer to Marvel’s Avengers movie, bringing together Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. With the countdown to the movie on, I’m going to dedicate some time this month looking at my favorite comic book Justice League stories!
Most of my favorite stories will come from stories published while I’ve been alive – so we’re dating back well into the 1980s at least – though the creation of DC Comics’ premiere superteam has about two decades on me. The team first appeared in the pages of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD 28, cover dated March 1960, written by Gardiner Fox. The concept of the gathering of superheroes – first attempted by DC Comics with the Justice Society during the Golden Age of comics – proved so popular that the Justice League of America would get its first comic just months later that year.
The first collection of heroes included some of DC Comics’ most popular characters of the time: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), The Flash (Barry Allen) and the Martian Manhunter. About 20 of the publisher’s most popular heroes would go on to join the team in one fashion or another during the book’s 25-plus year run. The final issue of the first Justice League of America series – issue 261 – came while DC Comics was in the midst of Crisis on Infinite Earths
Membership became a little less exclusive post-Crisis, with several different books covering different teams. The main Justice League book became Justice League International, which quickly became a hit with a more humorous direction under Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis. But the publisher also released an American team and a European team (with an annual issue featuring a team in Antarctica). Because of various editorial mandates making characters unavailable, a lot of C- and D-list heroes started to be featured in the books, until 1996, when Grant Morrison took over and the franchise was rebooted as JLA, with the big guns back as the main roster. While Morrison spent about three years on the book, it would run for close to a decade, before once again being rebranded again as Justice League of America under author Brad Meltzer.
The Justice League has been involved in a number of classic stories over the years, both in comics and in other media, including video games and cartoons. I hope you join me as I take a look at some of my favorite Justice League stories over the course of the next month.