Monday, January 14, 2008

Songs and Stories About The Justice League of America - 1968

Just as we're about to head into another era of the JLA comic, I thought we'd pause again to talk about this rarely-seen item--the Songs and Stories About The Justice League of America LP, from Tifton Records.

It seems improbable that the meager amount of JLA cartoon episodes that aired during the Superman/Aquaman Hour from Filmation could be so popular that they would inspire tie-in merchandise; and yet all the JLA-related stuff all comes from 1968, the same year the cartoons aired, so...

I have yet to find a copy of this record for myself--it's criminally hard to find on eBay, even thought almost all of its contents were later repurposed for Power Records' Justice League LP in 1975. So the big attraction must be the sleeve, which I understand, since it's awesome!

The art looks a bit Infantino/Anderson-ish, but I'm not totally sure, and I absolutely love the coloring--there's a softer edge to the palette than you normally see in comics, I find it quite appealing. Plus the design is just nifty.

One question should--nay, must--be asked--whose idea was it to include Plastic Man and, even more improbably, Metamorpho, in the Justice League? I can see why Superman and Batman weren't included(because they each got their own records), but why not Green Lantern, Hawkman, or (just to get Damian riled up) The Atom? They were all colorful, fun members of the JLA.

I'm not complaining, mind you; I love both Plas and Rex, but even as a kid I kept wondering why they were included. And jeez, Metamorpho gets the whole back cover to himself!

I'm not including all the records' audio tracks here (though if you want to download them, you can go to a site called
Way-Out Junk, or if you just want to listen to them, you can visit my Power Records blog post about the 1975 version), but I couldn't pass up ending this with the records' classic, yet totally goofy, theme song, sung by the JLA itself. Take it away, JLA!:

Update: Literally seconds after posting this, pal Damian(he of the Tiny Titan blog) sent me this ad, one I've never seen before, from a DC book promoting their TV/media tie-ins:
sg you can see from the bottom of the ad, Plastic Man and Metamorpho were planned to be animated characters, either as part of the Superman/Aquaman show, or maybe on their own? You could certainly see why an animation company would think those two would lend themselves well to animated adventures(and of course Plastic Man would get his own show, about a decade later).

But I don't remember ever seeing Plas or Rex ever show up in the Filmation shows, did they ever appear?

This ad also answers the question--this album was clearly meant as a tie-in piece of merchandising! Thanks Damian!


TheincredibleshrinkingDamian said...

It's a fine question, Rob! Why the hell wasn't The Atom on this bloody thing?

Metamorpho over Hawkman? Seriously? I seem to remember Metamorpho wanting nothing to do with the JLA, yet there he is rocketing around with the other cool cats. It's great, really it is.

DC, as in DC Comics, does not want my money. Never has. It's the only explanation. The Atom getting the shaft, throughout the years, in favor of characters like Metamorpho (the list can go on!) is a perfect example. Sure, I wasn't born when this record came out. Not even close. But they knew...

Fine, you don't want to put the fun, little shrinking guy on your record, whatever. But his absence from busy art things is ridiculous. He's generally six inches in height! How hard is it to stick him in??

It's what causes me to have extreme bouts of resentment towards other, popular characters, and episodes where I take things like this and burn them on my front lawn in protest!

That never happened.

But it could...

Whoops, sorry Rob!

TheincredibleshrinkingDamian said...

Oh! You're totally welcome for the ad!

Earth 2 Chris said...

There's an article in an older BackIssue! about "lost" comic-related tv series, and it mentions the Metamorpho-Plastic Man show. I believe it was to also have Wonder Woman. There's also a sample cell floating around with Aquaman teamed with the Blackhawks (!).

I believe the art is Murphy Anderson solo. Kind of hard to tell in those days, as he seemed to pick up a bit of Infantino in his commercial work (see Captain Action packaging). I know the Wonder Woman art was used for a WW single, and maybe the others were too. The Batman album like this has artwork culled from the single sleeves, which in some cases were die-cut in the shape of the character. This explains their somewhat squat nature.


matt said...

Listened to the part of the first song, and I am sorry, but I could not listen to anymore of that record without my brain melting. Love the blog, though.

Plaidstallions said...

I have that Back Issue article around here, the concept was sort of a "Surf and Turf" as I recall and it teams up Arthur with a different hero each week, Plas, Metamorpho, the Black Hawks and Bwana Beast were mentioned.

Anonymous said...

I actually have a copy of this exact item your speaking of. I'm trying to see if it's worth anything?? It belonged to my dad when he was a kid. He also has The Incredible Hulk black chasm monster from the deep the assassin blind alley. On all the same record of course. if you can lead me to more info on this or where I might go about finding a buyer for it. It would be greatly appreciated!!! search my email on myspace and you'll find me!

Michael said...

I can't believe I found this again. I'm really kicking myself right now because sometime in the early 90s I saw that record at a dollar store and I decided not to get it. Now I really wish I had. I was a kid with five buck in my pocket and instead of that I got some candy bars instead.
I guess hind sight is always 20/20 though.

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