Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Justice Society of America, The First Superhero Group

Long before there was a Justice League of America...or a Justice League, there was the Justice Society of America in All Star Comics.
How long before?
Well the Justice Society of America was created by Sheldon Mayer and Gardner Fox in 1940.

The idea was sound.
Take heroes that didn’t have a lot of exposure and put them in a book to get attention to them.
Make the big guns, Superman and Batman honorary members to draw even more attention and see what happens.
Well it worked.

The membership at first was Doctor Fate, Hourman, the Spectre, Sandman, the Atom, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkman.
Within a year, the Flash and Green Lantern got their own books and left the JSA.
There were only two female characters in the series run, Wonder Woman and Black Canary and actually All Star Comics #8 was Wonder Woman's first appearance.
Although it has been said that Ma Hunkel, the original Red Tornado, was an honorary member as well.

The book ran until 1951 and issue number 57.

In the mid-sixties, DC reintroduced the JSA as heroes that lived on a prarallel Earth, Earth 2.
They had all retired then and interestingly, in Adventure Comics #466 in 1979 it was explained that the JSA had disbanded because of the Joint Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s, which demanded they unmask.
An idea that Alan Moore would revisit seven years later in his Watchmen saga.
The JSA has shown up in other media.
Cartoon Network's Justice League had a variation of the JSA called the Justice Guild of America.
Then in Justice League Unlimited several JSA members appear.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold also featured many of the original JSA members.

But to date the BEST portrayal of the JSA was on Season 9 of Smallville, in the two-part Absolute Justice.
Here we get to see several JSA members, flashbacks to the Joint Un-American Activities Committee hearings and enough "Easter eggs" to make any JSA fan delirious.
Example...shots of the original Green Lantern's power battery, Hawkgirl's helmet and mace, the JSA meeting table.
It was awesome.

When I saw this originally it almost gave me chills....

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