Justice League


Justice League

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DC Comics

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The Justice League, also called the Justice League of America or JLA, is a fictional superhero team that appears in comic books published by DC Comics.
First appearing in The Brave and the Bold #28 (1960), the League originally appeared with a line-up that included Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and the Martian Manhunter. However, the team roster has been rotated throughout the years with characters such as Green Arrow, Atom, Hawkman, Black Canary, Captain Marvel, Zatanna, Plastic Man, and dozens of others. Throughout the years, various incarnations or subsections of the team have also operated as Justice League America, Justice League Europe, Justice League International, Justice League Task Force, Justice League Elite, and Extreme Justice.

Various comic book series featuring the League have remained generally popular with fans since inception and in most incarnations, its roster includes DC's most popular characters. The League concept has also been adapted into various other entertainment media, including the classic Saturday morning Super Friends animated series (1973-1986), an unproduced Justice League of America live action series, and most recently animated series Justice League (2001-2004) and Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006). A live-action film was in the works in 2008 before being shelved.

Publication history

Silver and Bronze Age / Justice League of America

Having successfully reintroduced a number of their Golden Age superhero characters (Flash, Green Lantern, etc.) during the late 1950s, DC Comics asked writer Gardner Fox to reintroduce the Justice Society of America. Fox, influenced by the popularity of the National Football League and Major League Baseball, decided to change the name of the team from Justice Society to Justice League. The Justice League of America debuted in The Brave and the Bold #28 (1960), and quickly became one of the company's best-selling titles. Fox wrote virtually all of the League's adventures during the 1960s, and artist Mike Sekowsky pencilled the first five years.

As with the Justice Society, the concept of the Justice League was simple: to include all of DC's most popular characters in one book (hence the original lineup included Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Wonder Woman). Three of DC's other surviving or revived characters, Green Arrow, Atom, and Hawkman were quickly added to the roster, the latter two having been reintroduced by Gardner Fox himself. JLA's early success was indirectly responsible for the creation of the Fantastic Four. In his autobiography Stan Lee relates how, during a round of golf, DC publisher Jack Liebowitz mentioned to Marvel-Timely owner Martin Goodman how well DC's new book (Justice League) was selling. Later that day Goodman told Lee to come up with a team of superheroes for Marvel; Lee and Jack Kirby produced the Fantastic Four.

The Justice League operated from a secret cave outside of the small town of Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. Teenager Snapper Carr tagged along on missions, and was both the team's mascot and an official member. Snapper, noted for speaking in beatnik dialect and snapping his fingers, helped the League to defeat giant space starfish Starro the Conqueror in the team's first appearance. In Justice League of America #77 (December 1969), Snapper was tricked into betraying the cave headquarters' secret location to the Joker, resulting in his resignation from the team. His resignation followed the resignations of two of the league's original members, Wonder Woman (in Justice League of America #69) and J'onn J'onzz (in Justice League of America #71).

Satellite years
Justice League Satellite

In need of a new secure headquarters, the Justice League moved into an orbiting satellite headquarters in Justice League of America #78 (February 1970). Through this period, the membership was limited to the remaining founders along with Green Arrow, Atom, and Hawkman, who were joined by Black Canary, Phantom Stranger, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, and, eventually, the return of Wonder Woman. The League's twelve-member limit (sometimes explained as a "no duplication of powers" policy) was conceded (in Justice League of America #161) to have been simply a charter provision about numbers, once the League had formally removed the limitation and admitted Hawkwoman and hoped to admit more members (indeed, through this period, several League members challenged and joked about the notion that they shared skills and talents, for example, with speed races between Superman and Flash, and Hawkman's use of archery in combat). The policy change allowed Zatanna and Firestorm to be admitted as well.
Those involved in producing the Justice League of America comic during the 1970s include writers Gerry Conway, Cary Bates, E. Nelson Bridwell, and Steve Englehart, while Dick Dillin primarily handled the art chores. Justice League of America 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 popular comic at that time, The New Teen Titans, DC editorial had most of the regular members replaced by newer, younger characters. DC also moved the team from its satellite headquarters into a base in Detroit, Michigan. This move was highly unpopular with readers, who dubbed this period of time the "Justice League Detroit" era.The major criticism was that this Justice League was filled with second-rate heroes. Created by Conway and artist Chuck Patton, the team was initially led by Aquaman and featured Justice League veterans Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, and the Elongated Man, but the majority of the stories focused on newly recruited heroes Vixen, Gypsy, Steel, and Vibe.

quaman left the new team after only a few issues, and was replaced as leader by the Martian Manhunter. Even the return of Batman to the team in Justice League of America #250 could not halt the decline of the series. The final issue of the original Justice League of America series, issue #261 by Writer J. M. DeMatteis and artist Luke McDonnell, culminated a story arc involving long-time Justice League enemy Professor Ivo's murders of Vibe and Steel at the onset of DC's Legends miniseries.

Modern incarnations
Justice League International
Justice League International and Justice League Europe

The 1986 company-wide crossover Legends featured the formation of a new Justice League. The new team was dubbed "Justice League" then "Justice League International" (JLI) and was given a mandate with less of an American focus. The new series, written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis with art by Kevin Maguire (and later Adam Hughes), added quirky humor to the team's stories. In this incarnation, the membership consisted partly of heroes from Earths that, prior to their merging in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, were separate. The initial team included Batman, Black Canary, Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel, Doctor Light (a new Japanese female character, emerging from the Crisis of Infinite Earths, not the supervillain who had appeared previously), Doctor Fate, Martian Manhunter, Mister Miracle, and Guy Gardner; and soon after inception, added Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Fire (formerly known as the Global Guardians' Green Flame), Ice (formerly known as the Global Guardians' Ice Maiden), and two Rocket Reds (one was a Manhunter spy, and one was Dimitri Pushkin). The series' humorous tone and high level of characterization proved very popular initially, but writers following Giffen and DeMatteis were unable to maintain the same balance of humor and heroics, resulting in the decline of the series' popularity. New writers gave the storylines a more serious tone. By the mid- to late-1990s, with the series' commercial success fading, it was eventually canceled, along with spinoffs Justice League Europe, Extreme Justice, and Justice League Task Force. (Credit: Wikipedia)

 

The first adventures of the world's greatest heroine, Wonder Woman. Originally printed in 1941, these classic tales tell the story of Diana, a young Amazon princess who leaves her home of Paradise Island to be an ambassador to the world of man. Included in this collection are the first appearances of Diana Prince, Wonder Woman's alter ego, Steve Trevor, her mother Hippolyta as well as Wonder Woman's bullet-deflecting magic bracelets and truth-inducing lasso.

Profile

DC Comics is the largest and most diverse English language publisher of comic books in the world. Founded in 1934 as National Allied Publications, the company that would one day become DC Comics virtually created the comic book, publishing the first comic of all original material. Then, in the spring of 1938, the first super hero story appeared in ACTION COMICS #1, introducing SUPERMAN. Other soon-to-be icons would follow, including BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN, GREEN LANTERN, THE FLASH and many others. Today, DC Comics publishes more than 80 titles a month and close to 1000 issues a year. DC has several imprints spanning the gamut of graphic storytelling: The DC Universe is the home of DC's peerless roster of super heroes; Vertigo caters to a more mature, literary readership; WildStorm offers a bold alternative take on heroic and adventure comics; CMX brings some of Japan's best-loved manga to American audiences; and Zuda Comics is DC's innovative web imprint. DC is also the home of MAD Magazine, the best-known humor magazine in America. DC Comics is a division of Time Warner, the largest entertainment company in the world.

Profile

DC Comics (founded originally in 1934 as National Allied Publications) is one of the largest and most popular American comic book and related media companies, along with Marvel Comics. A subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment since 1969, DC Comics produces material featuring a large number of well-known characters, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern and the Justice League.

The initials "DC" came from the company's popular series, Detective Comics, which subsequently became part of the company's official name. DC Comic's official headquarters are at 1700 Broadway, 7th, New York, New York. Random House distributes DC Comics' books to the bookstore market, while Diamond Comics Distributors supplies the comics shop specialty market.

History

Origins

Entrepreneur Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson's National Allied Publications debuted with the tabloid-sized New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1 in February 1935. The company's second title, New Comics #1 (December 1935), was published at a size close to what would become comic books' standard during the period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books, with slightly larger dimensions than today's. That title evolved into Adventure Comics, which continued through issue #503 in 1983, becoming one of the longest-running comic book series.

His third and final title, Detective Comics, advertised with a cover illustration dated December 1936, eventually premiering three months late with a March 1937 cover date. The themed anthology series would become a sensation with the introduction of Batman in issue #27 (May 1939). By then, however, Wheeler-Nicholson had gone. In 1937, in debt to printing-plant owner and magazine distributor Harry Donenfeld — who was as well a pulp-magazine publisher and a principal in the magazine distributorship Independent News — Wheeler-Nicholson was compelled to take Donenfeld on as a partner in order to publish Detective #1. Detective Comics, Inc. was formed, with Wheeler-Nicholson and Jack S. Liebowitz, Donenfeld's accountant, listed as owners. Major Wheeler-Nicholson remained for a year, but cash-flow problems continued, and he was forced out. Shortly afterward, Detective Comics Inc. purchased the remains of National Allied, also known as Nicholson Publishing, at a bankruptcy auction.

Detective Comics Inc. shortly launched a fourth title, Action Comics, the premiere of which introduced Superman (a character with which Wheeler-Nicholson had no direct involvement; editor Vin Sullivan chose to run the feature after Sheldon Mayer rescued it from the slush pile). Action Comics #1 (June 1938), the first comic book to feature the new character archetype soon to be called superheroes, proved a major sales hit. The company quickly introduced such other popular characters as the Sandman and Batman.

2000's

In March 2003, DC acquired publishing and merchandising rights to the long-running fantasy series Elfquest, previously self-published by creators Wendy and Richard Pini under their WaRP Graphics publication banner. This series then followed the Tower Comics series T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents in becoming non-DC titles published in the "DC Archives" format. In 2004, DC temporarily acquired the North American publishing rights to graphic novels from European publishers 2000 AD and Humanoids. It also rebranded its younger-audience titles with the mascot Johnny DC, and established the CMX imprint to reprint translated manga. In 2006, CMX took over publication - from Dark Horse Comics - publication of the webcomic Megatokyo in print form. DC also took advantage of the demise of Kitchen Sink Press and acquired the rights to much of the work of the renowned creator, Will Eisner, such as his The Spirit series and his acclaimed graphic novels.

Starting in 2004, DC began laying groundwork for a full continuity-reshuffling sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths, promising substantial changes to the DC Universe (and side-stepping the 1994 Zero Hour event which similarly tried to ret-con the history of the DCU). In 2005, the company published several limited series establishing increasingly escalated conflicts among DC's heroes, with events climaxing in the Infinite Crisis limited series. Immediately after this event, DC's ongoing series jumped forward a full year in their in-story continuity, as DC launched a weekly series, 52, to gradually fill in the missing time. Concurrently, DC lost the copyright to "Superboy" (while retaining the trademark) when the heirs of Jerry Seigel used a provision of the 1976 revision to the copyright law to regain ownership. Although DC appealed the ruling, it is widely believed that this was the reason for Conner Kent (also known as Superboy)'s death during the Infinite Crisis limited series.

In 2005, DC launched a new "All-Star" line (evoking the title of the 1940s publication), designed to feature some of the company's best-known characters in stories that eschewed the long and convoluted continuity of the DC Universe, produced by "all star" creative teams.. All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder launched in July 2005, with All-Star Superman beginning in November 2005. All-Star Wonder Woman and All Star Batgirl were announced in 2006, but neither have been released or scheduled as of the beginning of 2009.

In April 2008, the videogame company Midway released the eighth version of its Mortal Kombat fighting-game franchise, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which featured DC superheroes and supervillians as half of the playable characters. (Credit: Wikipedia)

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