When You’re Talking With Your Super Friends

That quote from Blondie introduces today’s post on the Justice League of America. When I was last home in Glasgow in February, this tpb was an impulse buy.

JLA vol 1

My earliest memories of comics revolve around 80 page issues of World’s Finest Comics and the JLA . They are images of sunny days ( aren’t they always?) outside my dad’s pigeon lofts on endless afternoons.

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I still love seeing Mike Sekowsky’s block, bulky heroes in pairs or in trios soaring all over the world -or on sidereal worlds- or to the star suns of Aldebaran or Fomalhaut.

Rip Jagger’s Dojo is doing a far better job that I at reviewing these seminal science fantasy romps :(http://ripjaggerdojo.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/silver-age-jla-cosmic-fun-house.html)

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However, the highlights for me from this collection include Ilaric, the time-travelling master-robot; the manticore and the dryads; Kanjar Ro and his three arch-enemies ( especially the strangely alluring Hyathis) and the Cosmidoor.

Starro, Despero and Amos Fortune ( whom, I noticed for the very first time, is wearing a black and white robe!) are such quirky, grotesque menaces- right up there with Sinestro or Flash’s Rogues.

Snapper Carr

 I missed the Atom and his tiny, floating chair and I quite like Edd Byrnes rip-off, Snapper Carr, as the POV character. I hope Cisco/Vibe is his replacement in future tv or movie JLA project.

 But I confess I am still bored by Batman and Superman stand-ins, Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter. Aside from her cameo as Kathy Kane in “The Cosmic Funhouse, why no Batwoman? Her feminine gimmicks would have been an amusing counterpoint to the essentially magical powers of Wonder Woman or Green Lantern.

Davis Nail

We would then have a League in the early Sixties that looked a little like Alan Davis’s take, above. The parallel world popularised by the summer team-ups with the Justice Society have often inspired me to other fancies…

batgirl

In my personal, alternative history of the JLA, Batgirl replaces Kathy Kane in 1967. That might then mean there’s no need to transfer Black Canary from the JSA when Wonder Woman is depowered, of course. But I am so accustomed to the Green Arrow/Canary team that I can’t countenance her retirement, really.

Around 1975 (on this Earth-D for Dougie) Len Wein stays for one more year as JLA scribe and Elongated Man is elected chairman. I think this is a logical step for a character Wein introduced as a member.  Another, perhaps more audacious idea, would be a third transfer to the JLA from Earth-2 in the shape of fan-favourite, Wildcat.

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I’ve posted before about the street-level JLA I envisage circa 1975-76: my “Justice Incorporated” with Batman leading a vigilante squad including Green Arrow, Wildcat and the Creeper.

Here’s a link to my first thoughts on that grouping, from four years ago .http://somefantasticplace-dougie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/mystery-men-of-1975.html

(Later, I’d change my mind about Talia, Rex and PS)

But I don’t think it would be long before the sci-fi success of Star Wars ( which saved late 70s Marvel, basically) would have an influence on my alt-JLA.

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I could see Gerry Conway and Mike Vosburg at the helm of a JLA team of “star-warriors” including Captain Comet and Conway’s own Bronze Age Starman ( perhaps stifling the Ditko/Levitz iteration.)

And what if JLA Detroit didn’t come about in 1984? The huge success of the X-Men, the New Teen Titans and the Giffen/Levitz LSH in the early 80s eclipsed the original super-hero team of E-1 under Conway, Buckler, Heck and Patton.

Vixen

So, just imagine instead, movie writing partners Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas- perhaps with Jerry Ordway’s pencils- launching a younger, fresher take on the JLA. Gerry might induct his  own creations Firestorm, Power Girl and Vixen; Roy, formerly scripting stories with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and a lifelong fan of Hawkman, might bring in the Winged Warrior.

PG Firestorm

Real world locales were replacing the Star and Coast Cities of the DCU and with Hollywood scribes, perhaps the JLA would be based in Los Angeles.

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There might still have been a Crisis Crossover in 1984- perhaps introducing the Centurions, the heirs to the JSA- but if the “New Adventures of the Justice League” was a hit, there may have been no need to streamline the DCU with a COIE.

Anyway, it’s just a series of Imaginary Stories! After the Easter weekend, more Doctor Who comic strips here and on SFP, my top ten Time Lords.

All images are copyright of their respective owners

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2 comments on “When You’re Talking With Your Super Friends

  1. Kid Robson says:

    I was never a particular fan of the JLA. I much preferred Marvel’s Avengers and the original X-Men. I always thought it was kind of silly having Superman team up with anyone – after all, he could do everything by himself much better than any of his team-mates. Of course, it was all done only to sell comics, but the idea just seemed redundant to me. (Old cynic that I am.)

  2. TC says:

    Superman and Batman were often absent from early JLA stories, as their editors complained that over-exposure might hurt their popularity. Better to feature the B-list heroes who could benefit from added exposure. The Flash was usually the key member in the team’s earliest adventures. Naturally, there were some exceptions, but Batman and Superman were often delayed or tied up “on an important case” elsewhere.

    Kanjar Ro appeared in “The Planet That Came To a Standstill” in Mystery In Space, and in “Decoy Missions of the Justice League” in a later JLA issue. “Planet” involved the JLA in a crossover with Adam Strange.

    In 1966-67, the Batman TV show was a huge hit, and, of course, DC wanted to cash in on it. Batman was played up, and appeared prominently on the covers of #46-54, IIRC. (#46 also had campy pop art “Bam-Sock-Pow!” sound effects on the cover, imitating the TV gimmick.)

    Similarly, Star Wars was the big hit in 1977, and had an influence on comics in general. I remember thinking that the space villains on the cover of Green Lantern #102 looked suspiciously similar to Imperial Storm Troopers.

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