Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Secret Origin of the Justice League - 1981

sgBrought to you by the fine folks at Leaf Candy--the Secret Origin of the Justice League of America!

The Story: "The Origin of the Justice League of America" by...? A bunch of kids are busy rejecting an Asian kid from being in their Justice League Club, because he's "not even an American!"

Superman overhears their conversation, and drops in on the little bunch of racist jerks.

He tells them the origin of the JLA, which is in this telling a single giant alien who threatens Earth, and seven superheroes--Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Superman himself--band together to defeat it.

They decide to form a team, and we get a super-super abbreviated history of the JLA--supervillains like Despero, Starro, Dr. Destiny, the Shaggy Man, and Brainstorm, when the Joker found their Secret Sanctuary, and the creation of the satellite.

We also get this nice group shot of the membership, past and present:
...what the heck do JLA artists have against Hawkgirl?

Anyway, Superman explains to them that the JLA is made up of all kinds of beings--an Amazon, a Martian, a Thanagarian, an android, and of course a Kryptonian! So knock off the "Whites Only" stuff!

The kids learn the error of their ways, and Superman takes off, having made the world a better place.

Notable Moments: This was part of an eight-issue series of mini-comics (measuring roughly 4 x 2 1/2") that were included with little bags of Leaf Candy, starring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, the JLA, and...Hawkman. Poor Martian Manhunter!

I'm not exactly sure when these books came out, but since Zee is in her newest costume in the group shot, it had to be around this time.

On the back cover there was a form you could clip out and send in to get a "Collector's Album" featuring a nice wraparound shot of all
(well, almost all--guess who's missing) the members of the JLA, plus some guest-stars:
I'm not exactly sure who drew it, but Dick Giordano confirmed with me directly that he inked it, so we know at least that much.

Despite my diligent efforts, I have not been able to determine who actually wrote this story. I had first assumed Paul Kupperberg did the honors, since he wrote some of the other ones in the series, but he told me he didn't, maybe Bob Rozakis did.

So then I asked Bob, and he said no, maybe it was Len Wein. I then asked Len, and he said no, too! So I have no idea.

Art-wise, it looks a little like the combo of Don Heck and Frank McLaughlin whose work graced JLA #s 187 and 188, but I can't be sure.

A mystery for the ages...

Tomorrow: Normally we'd be profiling JLA #189, which happens to be Frank McLaughlin's last issue as inker after more than six years on the title. But since that is part one of a two parter, and I didn't want to interrupt the story, we'll be running that Tuesday. So what's tomorrow, you ask?

Well, tomorrow is our brand-new interview with...the legendary Frank McLaughlin! Be here!


Frank Lee Delano said...

I've never in my life seen one of those Leaf comics, and that one looks cool to boot! I want to say I've seen the album, but I'm not confident of that, either. My mini-comics experience started with Masters of the Universe and Super Powers...

wich2 said...

I got the whole set, and the album, Back in the Day.

(Okay - now someone tell me it would be worth a gadzillion samollians on Evilbay right now...)

Great Sunday,
-Craig W.

Earth 2 Chris said...

On the JLA mini-comic, I can definitely detect Giordano on the cover, either as inks or pencils and inks.

Inside, it's really hard to decipher. I have this one, but it's buried somewhere. That group spread has a few faces which look very George Tuska to me (esp. Superman and Ralph). He was doing that "World's Greatest Super Heroes" strip at the time so it could be.

That binder cover looks like Rich Buckler's pencils and layouts to me.


Neal said...

I found my collection of these old mini-comics in a box a few months ago, but I couldn't remember where they came from. I knew they were part of a toy or candy tie-in back in the early 80s, but I drew a blank on the source. Thanks for jogging my memory.

Vincent Paul Bartilucci said...

I never saw these mini-comics when they were actually released but I did pick up two copies of the Aquaman issue that Rob has already featured over at his Aquaman Shrine at a covention in the early 90's.

As I recall, the Aquaman story was pretty faithful to the Sea King's Silver Age origin tale. Yet, from this description, the JLA tale has been altered (7 Appellaxians become "a single giant alien").

Were any of the other mini-comics origin stories? If so, did they alter the original tales in any significant way?

On the art front, I've gotta hand it to earth 2 chris' eagle eye. THat does look like Tuska on a few faces there. If not Tuska, the cover at least might be Jose Delbo.

rob! said...

i only have the aquaman and jla ones; anybody else have the whole series?

i can't imagine the superman and batman ones are changed much...

Frank Lee Delano said...

I am full of crap. I just busted open my little baggie of DC mini-comics, and found a copy of the Hawkman origin I bought at a con in the early 90's.

Say Rob, have you seen this comic from a 1979 Kellog's Giveaway featuring Aquaman (along with the Trinity and Robin) in "Prisoner of the Stars?" I just stumbled upon it while referencing another one I had from '93...

Frank Lee Delano said...

Oh hey, I just saw he's in one from 1980 on that page as well: "The Secret of the Sinister Lighthouse."

Matt Celis said...

That's not racism, that's nationalism. American isn't a race.

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