JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Justice League Fanfare
Jess Nevins wrote some annotations for the current JLA series. Alas, Jess completed only issues 5 through 11 before abandoning this endeavor due to lack of interest. You can read them here.
The parodies covered in this section are primarily from other publishers.
» SEE ALSO: JLA Elseworlds
The most elaborate JLA parody was created by none other than Alan Moore's in his run on Supreme (#41-52). Like the title character, the Allied Supermen of America were a study in archetypes. The group bears definite similarities to both the JSA and JLA, and the book parodied lots of classic DC covers as well (see right).
Whereas in the DC universe, the JSA and JLA were pretty distinct teams from different eras, the Allied Supermen began around 1941, retired in 1950, then reactivated with fewer members again in 1960 as simply "The Allies."
STORY: In 1925, young Ethan Crane was transformed into a powerhouse by a strange meteorite in Littlehaven. As a boy, he became Kid Supreme. In one of Kid Supreme's adventures, he met and joined the League of Infinity (Legion of Super-Heroes). They came not just from the future, but from across all time periods. Their base of operations was the Time Tower, which resided in the 25th century, and from which they could look up or down through time along a sort of spiral staircase. Members included Achilles, Aladdin, young Bill Hickok, Future Girl (Zayla Zarn, Saturn Girl) Giganthro and Witch Wench. Sometimes they were accompanied by Supreme's pal, Billy Friday (the occasional Elaborate Lad, Elastic Lad). (#42)
Ethan dropped the "Kid" at the onset of World War II and as Supreme, helped found the Allied Supermen of America.
A few of these Allies were created before Alan Moore came along. Three were created by Rob Leifeld himself:
- Supreme (Superman/Captain Marvel): Supreme is Superman archetype in every respect. 1ST APP: Youngblood #3 (1992)
- The Die-Hard. This character is pretty non-descript, but his history dates back to wartime. Die Hard was the first cyborg created by the U.S. military. 1ST APP: Youngblood #1 (1992)
- Glory (Wonder Woman): this heroine is even part Amazon. 1ST APP: Youngblood Strikefile #1 (1993)
Two were created by Erik Larsen's for his Savage Dragon universe, and were borrowed for this series while Leifeld was still at Image Comics:
- Mighty Man (Captain Marvel): an entity that takes on human hosts. 1ST APP: Savage Dragon v.1 #3 (1993)
- SuperPatriot (Captain America): during the Golden Age, a patriotic hero, later turned cyborg. 1ST APP: Savage Dragon v.1 #1 (1993)
The rest of the Allies were Alan Moore creations and first appeared in Supreme #43.
- Alley Cat (Catwoman/Black Canary): with a whip and fishnets
- Black Hand (Green Lantern): an absurd hero who projects lights so that he could make shadows with his hand
- Doc Rocket (Flash/Bulletman): runs/flies? (didn't really see)
- Jack O'Lantern (the Spectre): another cosmic entity that takes on human hosts. He was known to conjure things like giant lawnmowers to dispatch his foes.
- Professor Night (Taylor Kendall) and his sidekick, Twilight (Linda) (Batman/Dr. Mid-Nite and Robin):
- Roy Roman, Mer-Master (Sub-Mariner/Aquaman): Roman spelled backwards is...
- Storybook Smith (Johnny Thunder): Smith used a book to call forth helpers from literature, not unlike the way Johnny Thunder summoned his Thunderbolt. He was even "promoted" from mascot to full membership.
- Waxman, Waxy Doyle (Sandman): complete with a mask and gun.
After the war, the team stayed together until December 31, 1949 when they completed a demoralizing case against the Mayhe-Maniacs. After seeing visions of the '50s, many of the members despaired that their powers would be useless to combat the oncoming Cold War. Within six months, the Allies disbanded and most retired. (#44) In 1958, the team reunited to play a practical joke on Supreme during a historical broadcast from his Citadel. (#43) Later, Dr. Rocket and Alley Cat married. Waxman went on to found a business in furtniture polish. The Black Hand suffered a stroke and Smith lost his special book in 1958. (#44)
Ten years later, in 1970, they reformed as the Allies, adding the Spaceman (Martian Manhunter) and the Fisherman (Bryce Bristow, Green Arrow) as new members. In one adventure, they teamed with the Allies from the 1940s, who'd traveled through time. No others joined the Allied before 1969, when Supreme left for a decades-long stint space. The Allies did not continue much beyond that. (#48) During his travels in space, Supreme encountered the spirit, Jack of Lanterns, who now existed without a host. (#49)
When Supreme finally returned to Earth, his memories were spotty. He went to visit his old best friend, Prof. Night, and found that he and Twilight had been comatose for 30 years. This trail led to an old foe, Hulver Ramik, the Slaver of Souls, and Supreme recalled all the remaining Allies in to help fight him. (#47) The heroes donned special helmets and entered a sort of astral plane where they found the captive souls of Prof. Night and scores of other heroes. (#48) They discovered that Ramik had been working for another Supreme foe, Optilux. They trapped Optilux inside his own prison and returned all the heroes' souls to their bodies. (#49) NOTE: Other captives included the Stormbirds (Blackhawks), Polyman (Plastic Man).
In the end, the Allies helped Supreme defeat his greatest foe, Darius Dax (Lex Luthor/Ultra-Humanite). Dax had survived through the decades in the body of Supreme's old girlfriend, Judy Jordan. Dax then jumped from Jordan into the body of an android called Magno (Amazo). Darius grabbed the Supremium meteorite that empowered both Supreme and his sister, Suprema, but he overloaded and began falling backwards through time. It turns out, Dax (as the Supremium Man) was the power source behind Suprema, and when he fell even further back through time, he was reduced to the plain meteorite that created Supreme himself. (#52)
» FIRST APPEARANCE: Supreme #43 (1996)
» FEATURED APPEARANCES: Supreme #43-50, 52 (collected in Supreme: The Story of the Year)
In 1997, DC and Marvel co-published comics under the banner of Amalgam. In these books, individual characters from both universes are merged into one new character. Two books, JLX and JLX Unleashed! have combined the Justice League with both the Avengers and the X-Men.
In the Amalgam universe, the JLX began a sub-group of the Judgment League Avengers. Headed by Apollo, these mutants members of the JLA began to developed ideological differences from the JLA. Eventually they split to form their own team: the JLX. Soon thereafter they were joined by the mysterious Mr. X, who took over leadership from the increasingly unstable Apollo.
» SEE ALSO: Elseworlds: Amalgam
|JUDGMENT LEAGUE AVENGERS|
|Amalgam Hero =||DC Hero + Marvel Hero|
|Blue Jacket||Blue Beetle||Yellow Jacket|
|Captain Marvel||Captain Marvel||Captain Mar-Vell|
|Wonder-Gold||Booster Gold||Wonder Man|
|Amalgam Hero =||DC Hero + Marvel Hero|
|Mr. X||Martian Manhunter||Professor X/Forge/ Bishop|
|OTHER AMALGAM CHARACTERS|
|Amalgam Hero =||DC Hero + Marvel Hero|
|Bruce Wayne||Batman||Nick Fury|
|Iriskani||Iris Allen||Rachel Summers|
|Iron Lantern||Green Lantern||Iron Man|
|Lord Maxwell||Maxwell Lord||Cameron Hodge|
|Red Vision||Red Tornado||Vision|
|Savage Shaw||Vandal Savage||Sebastian Shaw|
|Speed Demon||Flash||Ghost Rider|
The Authority, on the other hand, were pretty obviously devised as a "what if the JLA really exerted control" experiment. The Authority sprang from the wreckage of Wildstorm's Stormwatch, and are still kicking ass all over the planet.
The Avengers weren't really created as a knock-off of the JLA, but today, the two teams are the parallels between companies.
Invincible is a really great superhero comic created by Robert Kirkman. Invincible (Mark Grayson) himself is a young man whose father, Omni-Man, is actually an alien. Mark develops his powers just as he is graduating from high school.
The original Guardians of the Globe mirrored the JLA exactly. They were all killed when Invincible's father, Omni-Man revealed that he was a sleeper agent for his alien race. He removed the Guardians as a threat to their takeover. Ater this, Omni-Man fled and the Immortal was resurrected by aliens.
The Guardians were reformed by the government with new members. This new team is not a parody.
The Guardians also make an appearance on the cover of Invincible #7 (January 2004). Their origin appeared in Invincible #25.
» FIRST APPEARANCE: Originals: Invincible #7 (December 2003). New team formed: Invincible #?
The Round Table of America was unquestionably inspired by the JLA. Big Bang Comics specializes in printing nostalgic comics and many of their characters are based on DC and Golden Age archetypes. The Round Table hailed from Earth A, while their older predecessors, the Knights of Justice (based on the Justice Society), were from Earth B. The RTA's sidekicks also formed the Whiz Kids (based on the Teen Titans). In the future, they visited the Pantheon of Heroes (the Legion, in Big Bang v.2 #12 and 18).
Major characters include Ultiman (Superman), Knight Watchman (Batman), Venus (Wonder Woman), The Blitz (Flash), Atomic Sub (Aquaman), Thunder Girl (Mary Marvel), the Beacon (Green Lantern) and Dr. Weird (the Spectre).
Both teams first appeared in Big Bang Comics v.1 #3 (Caliber Press) and their origin can be found in Big Bang Comics v.2 #4 (Sept. 1996). #24 and 26 are a staggeringly detailed mockery called "History of Big Bang Comics" that tells about these characters' faux publishing histories. The Knights were said to have originally appeared in the Golden Age "World Class Comics."
Big Bang #32 featured a story on the soon-to-be-released "Knights of Justice" television show. Real life models were posed for group pictures as Ultiman, Knight Watchman, Thunder Girl and Masker (Black Canary).
Issue #33 featured a full story on the RTA in an early 1980s style, including newer members like Robo-Hood, Hummingbird and Mr. Martian.
Other features of the group included Big Bang Comics v.2 #6, 12, 14, 24, 32, 33 and 35.
» FIRST APPEARANCE: Big Bang Comics v.1 #3 (Caliber Press, October 1994)
Years ago, Marvel shamelessly unveiled their very own JLofA rip-off group: the Squadron Sinister. These four villains were foes of the Avengers. Later, they took it one step further and created the Earth-S of the Marvel Universe, where lived the good Squadron Supreme. For a more detailed account …
» SEE: Stand-alone Profile
These covers are all variations of the cover of Justice League #1, with a crowd of heroes looking directly at the "camera."
- Justice League #1 (5.87): Group portrait of the new Justice League.
- Justice League International #24 (2.89): With both Justice Leagues America and Europe.
- Justice League Europe #1 (4.89): Group portrait of the JLE.
- Justice League Quarterly #1 (Wtr.90): The JLI and the Conglomerate.
- Justice League America Annual #4 (1990): Justice League Antarctica.
- Justice League Europe #26 (5.91): The JLE possessed by Starro.
- Justice League Quarterly #3 (Sum.91): The JLI under a magnifying glass.
- Justice League Europe Annual #2 (1991): The "Leauge of Future Past."
- Justice League America #57 (12.91): Maxwell Lord and the Extremists.
- Justice League Europe #36 (3.92): Max and Oberon, with everyone else walking away.
- Justice League Quarterly #17 (Wtr.94): The original, pre-Crisis Justice League of America. Pin-up in the back of the book.
- Titans Sellout #1 (1992): The Teen Titans and the Team Titans. Cover appears to be drawn by Kevin Maguire (no signature).
- Fanboy #3 (5.99): Fanboy and the JLA. Pencilled by Kevin Maguire.
- Justice League Sourcebook (1990): All the Giffen/DeMatteis era Leaguers, by Maguire.
The Legion of Doom, made famous in the Super Friends cartoon, have officially appeared once, in comics. The Legion of Doom originally debuted on television as part of the from the "Challenge of the Superheroes." They were assembled in the comics by Christopher Priest at the end of the Extreme Justice title. It was comprised of Brainwave II, Gorilla Grodd, Houngan, Killer Frost II, Major Force and the Madmen. Also, Alex Ross adapted the design of the cartoon Legion of Doom headquarters for the Gulag in Kingdom Come. Later, Ross also modeled his villains after the Legion of Doom in the limited series Justice.
The team never appeared in the Super Friends comic, though some of the villains did individually.
Yes. See JLA on TV: Challenge of the Superheroes.
Your best opportunity to view the original pencilled pages is to buy the collected hardcover Collector's Edition of JLA/Avengers (2004). It includes reprints of the 21 pages of original art by George Pérez. He also provides annotations. Rob Liefeld owns some of the originals. See low resolution scans here.
Of course, the dream finally came to fruition in 2003: "Needless to say, after nearly two decades, I'm ecstatic and grateful beyond words that I'm finally getting to realize a lifelong fanboy dream," said George Pérez, "I know that expectations are going to be very high and I will work like a demon to meet them. With the help of such incredible talents as Kurt Busiek, (colorist) Tom Smith, Tom Brevoort and Dan Raspler, I think that Earth's Greatest and Mightiest Heroes are in capable, loving hands."
"I've got two great challenges here," said Kurt Busiek, "The first is to put these two incredible teams to the test by pitting them against impossible odds, and the second is to give George loads of characters doing as many things as possible. And I'm not sure which will be more fun! "
Now, about the original crossover:
After the success of other crossovers, DC and Marvel began producing a Justice League/Avengers crossover special. Drawn by George Pérez, this was one of the most eagerly anticipated comic book events of the '80s. It was ultimately abandoned. Why? Stubbornness and ego. Wizard #35 (7.94) tells the whole story. There are essentially three perspectives:
George Pérez (Artist): Pérez believes he was given the go-ahead by DC Editor Len Wein (when in fact it had been Dick Giordano). He eventually became so frustrated with the editors that he refused to finish it even if the script was finalized. He was never paid for the 20+ pages he completed, but still owns the original art, some of which has been reproduced in the fan press. Wizard #35 shows a Batman/Captain Marvel panel. Some other artwork can be found in the portfolio, "George Pérez: Accent on the e." The cover was printed in the first Wizard JLA Special. You can even see some of the artwork online. Wizard #116 reported that Rob Liefeld bought the pages and is itching for people to see them.
Jim Shooter (Marvel Editor): Shooter rejected the first draft of the script, asking that several errors be fixed. He eventually heard the Pérez had already begun drawing the book, and asked that the work stop pending the script revisions. He claims that he reviewed the completed pages and thought they were good; he wanted to change only a few small things. Dick Giordano, citing "internal politics" responded asking that the project be allowed to continue as-is. Shooter refused, as DC never did submit the revised script for his approval.
- Dick Giordano (DC Editor): Giordano's explanation can be found in the "Meanwhile..." column from DC's January 1985 books. He admits to being the one to allow Pérez to begin drawing the script, thinking Shooter's approval was merely a formality. Having fixed many of the story problems, he believed Shooter was stalling on approval. Giordano doesn't say, however, if he specifically submitted a formal revised plot to Shooter; I'm guessing not.
Few subjects comprise more Net frequency than the time-worn "Is so-and-so gay?" argument. The JLA holds no exception. It's always a sticky subject, in part because the writers are either too afraid or too mysterious to say for sure. In addition, despite overwhelming evidence, some fans simply will not accept as truth anything short of the character declaring: "I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it!" (and even then they'll bicker).
Personally, I don't need a brick to the brain. Below are excerpts which I hope will lend some concrete evidence to the subject. Draw your own conclusions like big boys and girls.
Joe Palmer has taken action on the subject: Visit The Gay League of America
Sexuality never explicitly stated.
The whole deal with this began in the letter column of Justice League Europe #31 (10.91). Dominic Sheehan wrote: "Is BlueJay gay or what? I won't let up until I get an answer, preferably in the form of complying with my demand."
The editor replied: "If BlueJay were gay, it would be up to him to say so, not us."
Over this, people continue to rage.
Though not a JLA member, it's worth addressing here. The following comment (penned by Roy Thomas) was a pretty strong (and thus, misconstrued) statement. It concerns Charles McNider's relationship with his nurse/assistant Myra Mason:
Secret Origins #20
Charles McNider: "It was a love doomed from the start. I could never quite bring myself to tell her. I guess I should have... even before [the accident]..."
You can't argue that their love was "doomed" because of the blindness or his career as Dr. Mid-Nite, because the last part of the statment. What else can you conclude? Impotence? A secret love? An "old friend," Miss Alice King appeared in All-American #90 (10.47). In Flash #161 (a flashback to 1947), he had an unnamed girlfriend who may have been Alice. His Golden Age features left little room for the exploration of his love life. And finally...
JSA #40 (11.02)
Dr. Mid-Nite II (Pieter Cross) : "McNider loved [Myra]... more than he was ever willing to admit to her."
BUT! Mr. John Moores got word from Roy Thomas (the writer) himself. Thomas said "I don't believe I meant that Doc was homosexual. I'll have to do what I always do in such a case, which is to quote William Butler Yeats when he was asked about the meaning of a line in one of his poems. He said, 'When I wrote that line, only God and I knew what it meant. Now, only God knows.' But I don't believe I meant that Doc was homosexual."
It was hyperbole. No other incidents can be cited which suggest he was gay.
Dr. Light I & II (Jacob Finlay & Arthur Light)
Suggested as gay. Dr. Light is not a JLA member, but has been a frequent foe. In Secret Origins v.2 #37 Light's costume and technology are revealed as the work of his research "partner" and fellow scientist, Finlay. Speculation arose from the two comments below...
Suicide Squad #33
Dr. McCoy: "This apparition appears to you only when the lights are out?"
Dr. Light: "Yeah. He was the original Dr. Light, ysee. He was my partner and he always wanted to be a super-hero, which I thought was stupid."
In Suicide Squad #52, he also refers to Jacob Finlay as his "partner."
These may have led to the comment in...
The Silver Age: JLA #1
Dr. Light (to Catwoman): "You're wasting your time, my amorous companion. [I've] always been more interested in test tubes and Bunsen burners than the fair sex."
One might presume to put this issue to rest with the revelation in Identity Crisis that Dr. Light raped Sue Dibny.
Green Arrow v.3 #15
Ollie (in response to Mia's advances on Connor): "That is, if the boy's even interested."
Connor: "Look, I like girls, all right? Jeez. Just 'cause a guy ain't you."
He has never demonstrated any attraction towards men. Speculation about Connor Hawke arose from his inexperience with women, his monastic upbringing and his desire not to use women as callously as his father:
Green Arrow #111
Connor comes face-to-face with a hitwoman called Crackshot who'd rather kiss him than kill him; he responds positively. She remarks, "I know you like girls, Connor. Believe me, a woman knows these things."
Green Lantern #76-77, Green Arrow #110-111
In this Green Lantern/Arrow crossover Kyle Rayner notices that Conner is completely oblivious to a flirtatious waitress when she makes a pass at him. Kyle tells Connor that if he's gay it's all right, he could tell him. Conner admits he's never kissed a girl, nor given women much thought at all (he lived in a monastery from age 15-20). "I'm just... uncomfortable with women. Maybe I have noticed them noticing me, but I never did anything about it."
Green Arrow #137
Conner reminisces about his days in a private all-boys school; he remembers being branded a "sissy" by the bullies. He also makes out with supposed love interest, Mia.
Here's a nice essay: Unofficial Green Arrow Fansite: Is Connor Gay?
Bisexual, at least.
Ice Maiden and Olivia Reynolds exchange pleasant glances, both thinking "Hmm..."
Ice Maiden: Well, yeah. We do have one big thing in common.
Nuklon: We do? What's that?
Ice Maiden: We both like girls.
Ice Maiden: Yes, I've dated men, and been attracted to them... fell in love with one once... but I'm more than attracted to women. I feel such community with women, such validation...
Nuklon: Then you're really bisexual...?
Ice Maiden: Do you have to put me in a box, Albert? People like nice, neat boxes in confusing times. But the truth is, you just are who you are and you like who you like.
Obsidian has been seen with his first known boyfriend, Damon Matthews on several occasions in the pages of Manhunter. He and Damon were first shwon kissing in Manhunter v.4 #18.
Prior to this, writers tended to treat the issue as a mystery, defaulting on the side of hetersexuality. In Infinity, Inc., Todd's sexuality was explored somewhat. He expressed romantic interest in Raven and, most notably, Marcie "Harlequin" Cooper. It was implied that he'd had a sexual relationship with Marcie before she went evil. Also, Todd seemed enthusiastic about dating a lady therapist in JLA, though there was no indication of things getting serious there before he broke it off. Regardless, his sexuality is complex, and JLA brought some issues to light:
Obsidian (to Nuklon): "I'm sorry, Albert--I can't! Not with.. not with a woman! Everything in my life with women has been... bad. My real mother dumped me on that drunk... my stepmother didn't care... when I finally found my sister and she loved me... I suffocated her emotionally and she had to reject me!"
Obsidian (to Nuklon): "There's nothing the JLA can call me to that could be as bad as my luck with women." Obsidian goes on, ultimately, to have a rather enjoyable blind date with a woman named Karen (arranged by Nuklon; JLA #107). "I just want to thank you for setting me up with Karen! It was great! In fact, I'm off to see her now!"
Obsidian: "What do you care what 'the others' think? I've had problems with women--that doesn't mean I 'want' men! Karen makes me feel comfortable--that doesn't mean I 'want' her! I have a shadow-body! I'm not even physical! why do I have to have a sexuality? Why do I have to have a label? What I have albert--is love! And the only two people I've even really loved are my sister--and you! Yes, Albert, I love you. Do you need a to put a label on that?
Crimson Fox: Albert, are you... are you fine with this? With Todd dating?
Nuklon: Fine? I'm thrilled for him! Why wouldn't I be?
Crimson Fox: "Oh, It's just... you know... you and Todd have always been so close, most of us just assumed... well... that you were a couple!"
Tasmanian Devil made an "out" comment in Justice League Quarterly #8 (Autumn 92). This story was written by Kevin Dooley, who was not the regular JLE writer at the time:
Justice League Quarterly #8
Seraph: How are you, Hugh?
Tas: Better, Chaim. Things aren't as hateful for gays in some places. The Justice League are great. I guess being a hero means setting yourelf above prejudices.
The team is turned into robots and forced to do things against their nature. Kimi (Dr Light) appears in TD's bedroom in rather slinky attire and TD lets out a shocked "AAAAA!!"
Seeing Kimi running down the hallway in a subsequent panel Metamorpho remarks "Kimi and Tas? There's something definitely wrong here!"
JLI Annual #3 (1989)
There was also some confusion caused by the Who's Who entry in JLI Annual #3 (1989) wherein Tas's fellow Austrialian embassy associate Joshua Barbazon was listed as having a "spouse" named Arthur. Tas' entry itself made no such suggestion.
Several issues of Wonder Woman have confirmed that as in the world at large some (though by no means all) Amazons take each other for romantic partners, either from inclination or need. Diana herself has shown no such inclination. In fact, she has had strong attractions at times for Superman, Batman, and a brief love affair with Trevor Barnes (deceased). She has also asked Tom Tressor (Nemesis) to begin a courtship with her.
The following issue (written by Peter David) touched on the subject:
Justice League Task Force #8
Maxima: "Amazons had no men around for centuries. How did you handle that?"
Wonder Woman: [pause] "All I'll say is... we don't call it 'Paradise Island' for nothing."