Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Justice Society of America

When I was seven years old, my parents and I stopped at a dimestore called Ben Franklin's on a Sunday afternoon and as we were going through the checkout lane with our cart, I spotted some comic books. One of them was an issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and featured several heroes being tossed about through giant sound effects words. One of the heroes was TV favorite Batman. There was another, however, who looked pretty much like Batman (at least when drawn by Mike Sekowsky). Soon enough, I learned that he was Wildcat, a super hero from the Earth 2 group, the Justice Society of America. With that issue, the JSA became immediate favorites and have remained so ever since. Over the years, through the courtesy of various reprint projects, I have been able to discover the surprisingly rich 1940's world in which these original super heroes premiered. Nearly all of the JSA were All American Comics characters and lately we've been writing alot about these longtime favorites here. Today, I stopped by my local comic shop for the first time in several weeks ( I got no money, remember?) and spotted an all-new JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA # 1.The magnificent (as always) cover by Alex Ross grabbed my attention, echoing as it did the JSA's earliest ALL-STAR COMICS appearance. Once again, after more than six decades, the golden age Flash and the golden age Green Lantern, two of my all-time favorites, prove themselves to be seminal heroes in the truest sense of the word. Here they team with only one other original member, the surprisingly durable Wildcat, and recruit a new team of youngsters to carry on as a "moral compass" for America and the free world. The JSA has meant so much to so many over the years for just that very reason. No matter who writes them, these guys ARE heroes and they know it. It's good to see that still counts in this new century in which we find ourselves. I don't pay much attention to modern comic books these days because the characters clearly aren't really the same ones I grew up with but, in this case, they are! There's something magical about Jay Garrick, Alan Scott and yes, Ted Grant. They were created at a time when the goal was simply to cash in on the super hero craze but somehow, they transcended that. JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA # 1 spends its entire length developing characters and setting up future developments. Geoff Johns knows his stuff, though, so its all good. The art is clean, the storytelling good.How can you go wrong with Golden Age Magic!? Booksteve says check it out!


bruce said...

Isn't this a another restart for this series. When I was still buying comics this was one of the few I followed cause of Geoff Johns writing.

I'll wait for the trade paperbacks ot get back into the swing of things.

sam kujava said...

#46 was your first issue of the JLA,
Steve? Mine too!
I saw a copy of #45 in my dentist's
office, but something about it didn't
attract me. The Shaggy Man? Nah...
But #46 I snatched off the stands and
was happy to pay my 12 cents to own!
I worried that I would miss the second
part of the story, but #47 arrived and
I finished reading my first comic book
epic! Tons of great super-heroes, many
of whom I was reading and learning about for the first time, a truly cosmic plot, before such things became
overused in the decades to come, and
great villains like Blockbuster and
Solomon Grundy, who were lots better
than The Shaggy Man!
And then JLA #48 followed...a 25 cent
all-reprint issue with some of the
earliest issues of the title there
for me to read, and learn, and catch
up to this big wide world of comic
books and its plethora of colorful
But those annual two-issue team-ups
between the JLA and JSA were the best
and I looked forward to them every summer, to see which combination of heroes from each side would team up!
Loved the younger JLA, but boy, did
those seasoned JSA members have loads
of gravitas!