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Justice League

From Academic Kids

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The Justice League of America, featuring the Flash, Superman, Aquaman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern. Art by Alex Ross.

The Justice League of America, also often referred to as the Justice League or JLA for short, is a DC Comics superhero team. In most incarnations, its roster includes DC’s most popular characters and thus many of the most recognizable superheroes in pop culture.

The original, and arguably most popular, line-up is Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and The Martian Manhunter. The League has also included Captain Marvel, Plastic Man, Green Arrow, Hawkman, the Atom, Elongated Man, Black Canary, Firestorm, Zatanna and dozens of others.

The team first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #28 (1960). Although series featuring the League have occasionally gone stale and been subjected to ill-fated experiments, the team has been fairly popular since inception.

The team’s concept was loosely adapted into the cartoon series Super Friends (1972-85) and more directly into the series Justice League (2001-04) and Justice League Unlimited (2004-present).

Between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, the team had also gone by the names Justice League America and Justice League International.

Contents

History

Silver and Bronze Age

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The cover of Brave and the Bold #28, 1960, featuring the first appearance of the Justice League. Art by Mike Sekowsky.

The original team first appeared in The Brave and The Bold #28 (1960) as a revival of the Justice Society of America (or "JSA") under a new, more dynamic name of "League" and soon gained its own title that same year. The creator was a writer named Gardner Fox, who was inspired by the Justice Society to create a similar, contemporary concept, and who decided upon the word "league" influenced by the National Football League and Major League Baseball. The artist for the first five years of the comic was Mike Sekowsky.

During this period, the team operated from a secret cave outside of the small town of Happy Harbor. They also had a team "mascot" that tagged along on some missions, a teenage sidekick named Snapper Carr, noted for speaking in "hipster" dialect. Snapper had earned this status in the team's first appearance, after helping them to defeat the villain of that story, Starro the Conqueror (a giant starfish bent on conquering Earth).

The JLA comic was initially amongst the most popular of DC Comics' publications, but by the end of the 1960s, it had become overshadowed by Marvel Comics' equivalent super-team, the Avengers, in sales and quality. Various changes were made as an attempt to boost sales; the first of these changes included dropping Snapper as a "mascot." As told in Justice League of America #77 (December 1969), Snapper was tricked into betraying the secret location of the cave headquarters to the Joker, which resulted in his resigning from the team in shame. After this, the Justice League was shown moving into a new orbiting space station "satellite" headquarters (in Justice League of America #78, February 1970). The 1970s would present the team's membership as occasionally varying in makeup and size.

Those involved in producing the Justice League of America comic during the 1970s included writers Cary Bates, E. Nelson Bridwell, Steve Englehart and (longest of them all) Gerry Conway, while the art chores were primarily handled by Dick Dillin. The JLA comic had a brief spike in popularity in 1982 when artist George Pérez stepped in following Dillin's death, but the commercial success was short-lived.

In 1984, in an attempt to emulate the success of DC's most successful comic at that time, The New Teen Titans, an editorial decision was made to have most of the regular members leave the team, to be replaced by young unknowns. It was also decided to have the team move from its orbiting satellite headquarters into a new base located in Detroit, Michigan. This move was highly unpopular with readers, who dubbed this period of time the "Justice League Detroit" era. Created by Conway and artist Chuck Patton, this version of the Justice League was eventually disbanded by writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Luke McDonnell. The final issue of the original Justice League of America series was #261.

Modern Age

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Justice League members, both past and present. Art by Alex Ross.

The team was rebuilt in the 1987 company wide crossover miniseries, Legends. This new team was given a less America-centric mandate than before, and was dubbed the Justice League International (or "JLI" for short); the new comic was written by Keith Giffen and DeMatteis, with art by Kevin Maguire. This new and very popular series added a quirky sense of tongue-in-cheek humour to the stories, with an occasional slant toward excessive silliness.

The Justice League titles expanded to a total of five by the early 1990s: Justice League America (formerly Justice League International), Justice League Europe, Justice League Task Force, Justice League Quarterly, and Extreme Justice. By the 1990s, however, with the departure of Giffen as writer, the humor prevalent in the early JLI-era had disappeared in favor of more serious stories, and as the commercial success of the series faded, each of the titles were cancelled.

In 1995, a new Justice League series titled JLA debuted, written by Grant Morrison and with art by Howard Porter and John Dell (though the new version of team first appeared in the miniseries JLA: A Midsummer's Nightmare, written by Mark Waid and Fabian Nicieza). This series, in an attempt at a "back-to-basics" approach, used as its core the original and most famous seven members (or their character successors) of the team: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and the Martian Manhunter. Added to this core roster was the character Plastic Man, as well as a new headquarters for the team, the "Watchtower", based on the moon. Morrison introduced the idea of the JLA allegorically representing a pantheon of gods, with their different powers and personalities. Since Morrison left the title, other writers and artists have taken over, though none with the success of Morrison's version of the Justice League.

In 2003, Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire returned with a separate miniseries called Formerly Known as Justice League with the same humour as their Justice League run, and featuring some of the same characters in a team called the "Super Buddies" (which parodies the Super Friends). A follow up miniseries entitled I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League! soon began to be prepared, though it was delayed due to the events shown in the Identity Crisis limited series.

In 2004, Morrison teamed with artist Ed McGuiness to produce a miniseries called JLA: Classified. The story involved Batman's efforts to stop Gorilla Grodd's subjugation of humanity while the rest of the core JLA pursued a mission inside a cubical "proto-universe". Following the three-part Morrison story in JLA: Classifed, the delayed I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League! finally saw print in this series, reteaming the "Super Buddies" for one more adventure.

Also in 2004, George Perez and Kurt Busiek came out with a Justice League/Avengers crossover miniseries, an idea that had been delayed for 20 years due to various reasons. In this miniseries, the Justice League and the Avengers were forced to find key artifacts in one another's universe, as well as deal with the threats of villains Krona and the Gamesmaster.

Origin of the JLA

The Justice League's origin, according to 1962's Justice League of America #9, began when Earth was infiltrated by various competing alien warriors sent to the planet to see who could conquer Earth first, as a means of determining who would become the new ruler of their home planet. Each alien warrior possessed a different power or ability, and attacked a different portion of Earth, which drew the individual attention of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Aquaman, and the Martian Manhunter. While most of the invaders were defeated by the superheroes individually, the heroes themselves fell prey one by one to a single competitor's attack; they soon discovered that only by working together could they defeat the competitor. Afterwards, the group decided that they should form a permanent organization to confront menaces that required a similar pooling of resources, and dubbed themselves the Justice League of America.

Related teams

  • The Justice League occasionally has worked with its predecessor, the Justice Society of America. Between 1963 and 1985, a popular annual series of teamups between the two teams to tackle some sort of mutual threat was seen.
  • A team originally formed by the teen sidekicks of a few Justice League members (and thus known as a "Junior Justice League" of sorts) is called the Teen Titans.

Other media

The JLA comic has been adapted for television numerous times.

  • The first television appearance of the League was as a segment in the 1960s animated series The Superman/Aquaman Adventure Hour.
  • The longest-running television version of the Justice League was a loosely adapted animated series called the Super Friends, which ran in various incarnations from 1972 to 1985.
  • A live action television series pilot in the mid-1990s that was produced failed to sell, possibly a result of the series using less well-known characters to avoid dealing with licensing issues surrounding Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

See also

External links

fr:Ligue des justiciers d'Amérique pt:Liga da Justiça

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