Saturday, July 09, 2005

My Collection - JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA [1960 Series]

Justice League of America [1960 series]
50 issues [1966 - 1985]
42, 51, 57 - 58, 110, 112, 114, 136 - 137, 144, 149, 153 - 155, 158, 160, 171 - 172, 175 - 176, 180, 182 - 206, 212, 219 - 220, 240

I loves me some good Justice League. Throw in the Justice Society, even better. Fawcett heroes? New Gods? Mo' heroes, mo' heroes. That's what I'm talking about. I'm so blinded by the heroes that I don't even mind the Gerry Conway writing, which dominates most of the issues I bought as a kid.

This is of course the classic series, launched after some tryout issues in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, which helped get the Silver Age into high gear, eventually cancelled in 1987 to make way for a new series.

I used to have some more issues from the late 1970s, but they seem to have gone among the missing. Conway's the writer for that big chuck I have from 182 - 206, and looking at them now I still like a lot of them, especially any with JLA/JSA team-ups (the one with the Secret Society of Super-Villains especially). Towards the end of that run he seems to have run out of steam, and while I don't have any of them now, I specifically remember some of his "Justice League Detroit" being among the mid-1980s books that made me ask myself why I was buying comics and eventually made me stop doing so for a few years (there were other factors, but JLA comics featuring Gypsy, Vibe, Steel and Vixen were part of it. There should be a hard limit on the percentage of his own characters any writer can have as JLA members, and Conway was way over).

A good number of my earliest back-issue purchases were JLA as well, looking for anything affordable. Unfortunately that meant I picked up a number from Mike Friedrich's early 1970s run, which were pretty awful, but got some good Len Wein and Steve Englehart stuff, as well as issues with reprints of the original Gardner Fox run.

For the art, Dick Dillin was the main artist from when I was a kid, and I really enjoy his stuff. After his sudden passing George Perez did a bunch of issues, and those were really good, especially as I was a big fan of Perez's TITANS at the time. There are a lot by Don Heck in there as well, which I enjoy although I don't think the inking he got was quite right for his style. Through back-issues and reprints of course I was exposed to the original artist, Mike Sekowsky, and like most everyone else it took me a while to warm to his style, and I'm still not completely sold on it like some of his bigger fans, but I can't deny it made for some enjoyable and successful comics.

A few notables:

#51 - The end of the Zatanna (who my spell-checker claims is Satan) intro story that Gardner Fox had spread across all his books for a while, some goofy fun.

#112 - 100-pages, new JLA by Wein/Dillin against Amazo, old JLA by Fox/Sekowsky against Dr. Destiny, Seven Soldiers and Starman. That's a good hunk of comics history right there.

#144 - One of my few Steve Englehart issues. I should try to get some more (or hope they reprint them). This one has, between a silly framing sequence, a pre-origin story of the JLA, including Blackhawks, Challengers, Congo Bill and more. Hey, the more the merrier.

#183 - #185 - JLA/JSA and New Gods. The first time I ever saw Kirby's creations, and I liked them even through Conway's filter (including Orion's lame new costume, some nonsense post-Kirby continuity and Conway having his own character, Firestorm, play a key and unlikely role in Darkseid's defeat). Some great Kirby swipes from Dillin and Perez in here, too. Harder to read when you know what the New Gods are really like, but still okay.

#195 - #197 - More JLA/JSA, this time against 10 villains from two worlds, including the Ultra-Humanite in a gorilla body. Seriously, right there you've got enough cool to an 11-year-old comic fan that Conway at his worst couldn't mess it up.

#200 - 72 pages, art by Kubert, Kane, Aparo, Perez, Infantino and others, a story tied-in to the origin of the JLA. Is the story any good? With all that going for it, who cares?

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