DC's Super-Hero Legacy

Roots of the Justice League

Many of DC's heroes ended their runs because of reduction in page counts, or canceled or reformatted titles.

This new infographic was inspired by the findings of my study of DC's Golden Age characters chronologies (see next article), and realized a few things about the reasons why certain characters have become the icons we know today:

  • Writer Gardner Fox was the creator of both the Justice Society and the Justice League. It stands to reason that the characters he was most familiar with would be furthest to the front of his mind when it came time for reinvention.
  • Likewise, Justice League editor Julius Schwartz, and writer John Broome had been active during the production of Golden Age titles, and engineered other key Silver Age revivals.
  • Original characters with unbroken publication records (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) or with a mostly-continuous presence in comics (Aquaman and Green Arrow) were the foundations of the early JLA (and the Super Friends). The team's founding roster was rounded out with reinventions of Golden Age anchors, the other two who'd held their own titles, the Flash and Green Lantern.
  • The remainder of the Justice Society members who were still active when All-Star Comics ceased publication (Hawkman, the Atom, and Black Canary) were also among the first to be reintroduced for the Silver Age.
  • Poor Doctor Mid-Nite was the sole Justice Society survivor left out of the Silver Age renaissance. 😢  JSA members who'd dropped off before 1951 were reintroduced piecemeal, as the concept of Earth-Two took hold and JLA/JSA team-ups gained popularity.
  • The chart also shows how DC rolled out its reintroduction of second tier Golden Age characters. Aside from the JSA members, it was mainly the Seven Soldiers of Victory who came back in the 1970s. In the 1980s, All-Star Squadron emptied much of the remaining vaults.

Because DC Comics has been in continuous publication, there are precious few Golden Age DC characters who haven't been reintroduced in some fashion. Add to that the Quality Comics and Fawcett Comics characters, and the legacies have been a goldmine for storytelling.

JSA Family Trees

© 2017 Mike Kooiman.