- Justice Society of America
caption= The cover to "Justice Society of America" vol. 3, #1.
team_name=Justice Society of America
All Star Comics" #3 (Winter 1940)
Sheldon Mayer Gardner Fox
Ma Hunkel (caretaker)
Superman ("Kingdom Come")
Wildcat (Ted Grant)
Wildcat (Tom Bronson)
List of Justice Society members
sortkey=PAGENAME|The Justice Society of America, or JSA, is a
DC Comics superherogroup, the first team of superheroes in comic bookhistory. Conceived by editor Sheldon Mayerand writer Gardner Fox, the JSA first appeared in " All Star Comics" #3 (Winter 1940).
Unlike subsequent "all-star" teams, the JSA was limited to heroes not already featured in their own titles because the publisher wanted to expose their lesser known characters. Hence,
Supermanand Batmanwere only honorary members and Flash and Green Lantern's early tenures were brief, ending when each character was awarded his own book. However, a 1944 change in policy allowed them back into the group. Other popular members were Hawkman, the Spectre, Hourman, Doctor Fateand the Atom.
The team was popular throughout the 1940s, but after superheroes fell out of favor, "All Star Comics" became "
All-Star Western" in 1951, and the team's adventures ceased with issue 57 of the title (Feb-Mar 1951). There then followed a gap of 11 years in appearances by JSA members, until the original (Jay Garrick) Flash appeared in "The Flash" #123 (September 1962).
During the Silver Age, DC reinvented several popular Justice Society members and banded many of them together in the Justice League of America. However, instead of considering the JSA replaced, DC revealed that the team existed on "
Earth-Two" and the Justice League on "Earth-One". This allowed for annual, cross-dimensional team-ups of the teams, lasting from 1963 until 1985. It also allowed for new series, such as " All-Star Squadron", " Infinity, Inc." and a new "All-Star Comics," which featured the JSA, their children and their heirs. These series explored the issues of ageing, generational differences and contrasts between the Golden Age and subsequent eras.
In the 1985 "
Crisis on Infinite Earths" maxi-seriesthe series merged all of the company's various realities into one, placing the JSA as World War II-era predecessors to the company's modern characters. A few unsuccessful and often controversial revivals were attempted, until a new series, titled "JSA", was launched in 1999, continuing until July 2006. A new "Justice Society of America" series was launched in December 2006, to coincide with the new "Justice League of America" series, also launched in 2006.
"All Star Comics" - (Golden Age)
first appearedin All-American Comics' " All Star Comics" #3 (Winter 1940), during the Golden Age of comic books. The team initially included National Comics' Doctor Fate, Dr. Mid-Nite, Hour-Man (as it was then spelled), the Spectre and the Sandman and All-American's Atom, the Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkman. This makes All-Star Comics #3 the first inter-company superhero title as well as the first team-up title. An in-house rule (explicitly laid out on the last page of "All Star Comics" #5, reprinted on p.206 of "All Star Comics Archives" - Vol. 1) required that whenever a member received his or her own title, he or she would leave "All Star Comics", becoming an "honorary member" of the JSA. Thus, the Flash was replaced by Johnny Thunderafter #6; Green Lantern left shortly thereafter for the same reason. This also explains why Supermanand Batmanwere established as already being "honorary" members prior to "All Star Comics" #3; how these two heroes helped found the JSA before becoming honorary members was not explained until "DC Special" #29 in 1977. Hawkman is the only member to appear in every JSA adventure in the original run of "All Star Comics", a fact invoked sixty years later in the then-current JSA series when Hawkman temporarily takes command of the team. The Atom missed two issues.
"All Star Comics" is also notable for featuring the first appearance of
Wonder Woman, in #8 (Dec. 1941). Unlike the other characters who had their own titles, she was allowed to appear in the book, but only as the JSA's secretary and did not actively take part in most adventures until much later in the series (a fact sometimes seen as chauvinistic today), although she was excluded from the title due to the rules that had excluded Flash, Green Lantern, Superman and Batman from the title.
The early JSA adventures were written by
Gardner Foxand illustrated by a legion of artists including E. E. Hibbard, Jack Burnley, Jack Kirbyand Joe Kubert. The first JSA story featured the team's first meeting, a framing sequence for each member telling a story of an individual exploit. In the next issue, the team worked together on a common case, but each story from there on still featured the members individually on a mission involving part of the case, and then banding together in the end to wrap things up.
By "All Star Comics" #24, a real-world schism between Detective Comics, Inc. and
All-American Publications— a nominally independent company run by Charlie Gainesand Jack Liebowitz— had occurred, which resulted in the Detective Comics, Inc heroes being removed from the title. As a result, Flash and Green Lantern returned to the book. Eight months later, Detective Comics bought out Charlie Gaines' share of All-American and the two companies merged to form National Comics. However, the JSA roster remained mostly the same for the rest of the series.
"All Star Comics" and the Golden Age adventures of the JSA ended with #57, the title becoming "All-Star Western", with no superheroes. While Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman continued to have their own adventures, most of the characters lay dormant for several years during the slump in superhero comic books in the early to mid-1950s.
The explanation for the team's disappearance and the inactivity of most of its roster after the early 1950s was first given in "
Adventure Comics" #466 ("The Defeat of the Justice Society!"; December, 1979) by writer Paul Levitz, which explained that most of the Society chose to disband and retire rather than appear in front of the fictional Joint Un-American Activities Committee, which demanded that they unmask themselves; this was later retconned into the real House Un-American Activities Committee.
The chairmanship of the Justice Society mostly resided with Hawkman, although initially the Flash and later Green Lantern took their turns at leading the team. For a brief period in 1942 they were known as the Justice Battalion, as they became an extension of the armed forces of the
United States of Americaduring World War II. It was later revealed that the reason the JSA didn't invade Europe and end the war was due to the influence of the Spear of Destinywhich caused the JSA's most powerful members to fall under the control of its wielder, Adolf Hitler. It was also revealed in the 1980s that the JSA had a loose affiliation with the All-Star Squadron; the All-Star Squadron's adventures were set in the 1940s, and considered to have happened concurrently with the Justice Society's, an example of "retconning", or retroactive continuity, where new material is inserted into already existent continuity. Both teams were the brainchild of American president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The headquarters for the JSA was initially a hotel suite in New York City, and after the war, the team settled on a brownstone building in Civic City and later in Gotham City. For a very brief period, the JSA was provided a satellite headquarters, much like their later day counterparts, the JLA; however, this turned out to be a deathtrap orchestrated by a crooked senator's henchman from Eliminations, Inc. The Gotham City brownstone remained unoccupied until years later, when the team was active again.
The entire original run of "All Star Comics" has been collected in hardcover volumes in DC's series of Archive Editions.
Guest appearances in "Justice League of America" and others - (Silver Age)
Having successfully re-introduced several of their Golden Age characters (Flash, Green Lantern, etc.) during the late 1950s, DC tapped industry veteran (and former Justice Society writer)
Gardner Foxto pen a new version of the Justice Society, which Fox re-named the Justice League. As Barry Allen (the Silver Age Flash) was to Jay Garrick (the Golden Age Flash), so the Justice League was to the Justice Society: the same team, but with an updated roster and a fresh start.
In "Flash #123" 'The Flash of Two Worlds' (September 1961), the Silver Age Flash met his Golden Age counterpart, Jay Garrick, who (along with the rest of the original Justice Society) was said to inhabit an alternate universe. This historic meeting thus became one of the classic DC comics of the Silver Age. Fan letters on the pages of following issues were wildly enthusiastic about the revival of the original Flash, both from older fans who remembered the old JSA tales, and younger fans desperate to learn more of these new heroes. Further meetings occurred in "Flash #129" 'Double Danger on Earth' (June 1962) and "Flash 137" 'Vengeance of the Immortal Villain' (June 1963). "Flash #129" contains the first mention of the JSA in the Silver Age, and refers directly to their last adventure in "All-Star Comics #57", while in "Flash #137" the JSA actually reform.
These stories set the stage for 'Crisis on Earth-1"'Justice League of America" #21 (August 1963) and 'Crisis on Earth-2' "Justice League of America #22" (September 1963), a 2-part tale where the Golden Age Justice "Society" teamed up with the Silver Age Justice "League" to combat a team of villains from both worlds. The following year Earth-3 was fully introduced (it's existence was guessed at in the previous years' tale), with "Justice League of America #29" 'Crisis on Earth-3' (August 1964). This Earth featured an evil version of the JSA/JLA line-ups - Superwoman (Wonder Woman), Owlman (Batman), Ultra-Man (Superman), Johnny Quick (The Flash), and Power Ring (Green Lantern). These stories became the first of a long series of team-ups of the two supergroups, an annual summer tradition which carried on until 1985. These meetings produced a considerable number of notable events and characters to JSA history, including
Black Canaryleaving to join the Justice League, the return of a Golden Age team called the Seven Soldiers of Victory, the creation of the Freedom Fighters, which re-introduced a number of one-time Quality Comicsheroes, and the introduction of a number of other alternative Earths to house these other teams.
As well as the annual Justice League of America appearances, members of the JSA popped up in other titles over the next few years, The Golden Age Atom in "The Atom #29" and "#36", GA Green Lantern in several issues of Green Lantern. In addition, a number of the characters received their own issues of the DC try-out titles 'Brave and the Bold' and 'Showcase', although only The Spectre was given his own series as a result.
Almost uniquely in superhero comics at the time, the JSA members during this period were portrayed as middle-aged — and often wiser — versions of their younger, contemporary counterparts. Originally this theme appears to have been introduced simply to acknowledge the back-history of the JSA in DC continuity (another fairly new development for comics), later it was to become a major theme for character development.
Appearances to 1975
*"The Flash" #123, 129, 137, 170, 173, 215
*"Justice League of America" #21-22, 29-30, 37-38, 46-47, 55-56, 64-65, 73-74, 83, 91-92, 100-102, 107-108, 113-114, 123-124
Showcase" #55-56 (Doctor Fate and Hourman), 60-61, 64 (The Spectre)
The Brave and the Bold" #61-62 (Starman & Black Canary)
*"The Spectre" #1-7
*"The Atom" #29, 36
*"Green Lantern" #45, 52, 61
Return to "All-Star Comics" - (Modern Age)
The JSA's popularity gradually grew until they regained their own title. "All-Star Comics" #58 (January–February 1976) saw the group return as mentors to a younger set of heroes (briefly called the "Super Squad", until they were integrated into the JSA proper). This run only lasted until #74, with a brief run thereafter in "
Adventure Comics" #461–466, but it had three significant developments: It introduced the popular character Power Girl("All-Star Comics" #58); it chronicled the death of the Golden Age Batman("Adventure Comics" #461–462); and, after nearly 40 years, it finally provided the JSA with an origin story in "DC Special" #29. This run was mainly written by Gerry Conwayand Paul Levitz, and artists included Wally Wood, Joe Staton, Keith Giffenand Bob Layton.
The series was noteworthy for depicting the heroes as having aged into their 50s; the artwork gave them graying hair and lined faces. It was highly unusual, then or now, for a comic book to have heroes this old. Most obscure the timelines or periodically relaunch the series to keep the characters youthful. This depiction was a consequence of the fact that the heroes were closely linked to World War II era. This became problematic in the 1980s when the heroes would logically be well into their 60s. The explanation given for this by writer
Roy Thomasin " All-Star Squadron" Annual #3 was that the team (and several friends) had absorbed energy from the magical villain Ian Karkul during an adventure in the 1940s that retarded the aging process.
Meanwhile, the JSA continued their annual team-ups with the Justice League. Notable events included meeting the
Fawcett Comicsheroes, including Captain Marvel, the death of Mr. Terrific and an explanation for why Black Canary hadn't aged much despite debuting in the 1940s. A particularly popular JLA/JSA team-up came in #195–197, in which the two teams had to contend with a reformed Secret Society of Super-Villains, lavishly drawn by George Pérez.
A series taking place in the team's original setting of the wartime 1940s called "
All-Star Squadron" featured the JSA frequently along with several other Golden Age superheroes. This led to a spin-off, modern day series entitled " Infinity, Inc." which starred the children and heirs of the JSA members. Both series were written by noted JSA fan Roy Thomasand featured art by Rich Buckler, Jerry Ordway, Todd McFarlaneand others.
In 1985, DC
retconned many details of the DC Universein " Crisis on Infinite Earths". Among the changes, the Golden Age Superman, Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman ceased to exist, and the Earth-One/Earth-Two dichotomy was resolved by merging the Multiverse into a single universe. This posed a variety of problems for the JSA, whose history—especially in the 1980s comics — was strongly tied up in these four characters.
The JLA/JSA team-ups ended during the Crisis with "Justice League of America" #244.
Adventure Comics" #461-466
*"DC Special" #29
*"Justice League of America" #135-137, 147-148, 159-160, 171-172, 183-185, 193 ("All-Star Squadron" preview), 195-197, 207-209, 219-220, 231-232, 244
Wonder Woman" vol. 1 #231-232 (JSA guest-stars; part of a run of Earth-Two Wonder Woman stories set during World War II)
All-Star Squadron" #1-67, Annuals #1-3
*"All-Star Squadron Annual" #1-3
*"Infinity Inc." #1-10, 19, plus various other issues
America vs. The Justice Society" #1-4 (limited series; recounts the entire history of the JSA prior to 1985)
Secret Origins" vol. 3 #1 (Golden Age Superman), #6 (Golden Age Batman), plus various other issues
After "Crisis on Infinite Earths"
One of Roy Thomas' efforts to resolve the Crisis-created inconsistencies was to introduce some analogues to Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in a sequel to "All-Star Squadron" entitled "The Young All-Stars".
Meanwhile, DC editoral decided that the time had come to write off the JSA from active continuity. A 1986 one-shot issue called "The Last Days of the Justice Society" involved the JSA battling the forces of evil while merged with the
Norse godsin an ever-repeating Ragnarok(written by Thomas, with art by David Ross and Mike Gustovich). Only Power Girl, the Star-Spangled Kid, the Spectre and Dr. Fate escaped the cataclysm.
Thomas also revised the JSA's origin for post-Crisis continuity in "
Secret Origins" #31.
"Justice Society of America" (volumes 1 & 2) (1991; 1992 - 1993)
Supercbbox| title=Justice Society of America (vols. 1 & 2)
caption=Cover to "Justice Society of America" vol. 2, #1. Art by Mike Parobeck.
format= "(vol. 1)": Mini-series
"(vol. 2)": Ongoing
April 1991 - November 1991
August 1992 - May 1993
issues="(vol. 1)": 8
"(vol. 2)": 10
creators =Len Strazewski
Fan interest, however, resulted in DC bringing back the JSA in the early 1990s. An eight-issue "Justice Society of America" limited series telling an untold JSA story set in the 1950s was published in 1991. In the final issues of the four-issue "Armageddon: Inferno" limited series, the JSA returned to the modern-day DC Universe when Waverider transported the "daemen" of the interdimensional Abraxis to Asgard as a substitute for the JSA in the Ragnarok cycle, allowing the team to return to Earth.
In 1992, the JSA was given an ongoing monthly series titled "Justice Society of America", written by
Len Strazewskiwith art by Mike Parobeck, featuring the original team adjusting to life after returning from Ragnarok. Though "Justice Socity of America" was intended as an ongoing series, and was popular with readers, it was cancelled after only tenissues. Writer Len Strazewski, in an interview explaining the cancellation of this surprise hit series, said, "It was a capricious decision made personally by Mike Carlinbecause he didn't like Mike's artwork or my writing and believed that senior citizen super-heroes was not what DC should be publishing. He made his opinion clear to me several times after the cancellation." Much more "cartoony" than the more realistic artwork favored at the time, Parobeck's art was a pioneering example of the "animation" style that would become quite popular with "". "Justice Society of America" included the first appearance of Jesse Quick, the daughter of All-Star Squadron members Liberty Belle and Johnny Quick.
Not long after, most of the team was incapacitated or killed off in the controversial 1994 crossover series "Zero Hour". During the battle between the Justice Society and the villain , the latter removes the chronal energies keeping the Justice Society young. The Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite and Hourman die immediately. Hawkman and Hawkgirl (who were separated from the rest of the Justice Society by being pulled into the timestream) merge into a new Hawkgod being, resulting in their deaths. Dr. Fate dies of the resulting aging shortly after Zero Hour. Green Lantern is kept young due to the mystical effects of the Starheart but loses his ring and subsequently changes his name to Sentinel. The rest of the team is now too physically old to continue fighting crime and retires. Starman retires and passes on the Starman legacies to his sons resulting in one of the new series created following Zero Hour, James Robinson's "Starman". The new Starman series brought new attention to the JSA legacy.
caption=The cover to "JSA" #1. Art by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer.
date=August 1999 - July 2006
David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns, Paul Levitz
"JSA" (1999 - 2006)
The Justice Society was again revived in 1999 in a popular and critically acclaimed series (called simply "JSA") which mixed the few remaining original members with younger counterparts. This incarnation of the team was focused on the theme of generational legacy and of carrying on the heroic example established by their predecessors. The modern JSA was unique among superhero teams in that its membership contained three different generations of characters. The series was launched by
James Robinsonand David S. Goyer. Goyer later co-wrote the series with Geoff Johns, who went on write the series solo after Goyer's departure. The series featured the art of Stephen Sadowski, Leonard Kirkand Don Kramer, among others. It also featured a story by Pulitzer Prize Winner Michael Chabon.
As a result of the events of "
Infinite Crisis", some of the surviving Golden Age characters, such as Wildcat and the Gentleman Ghost, are aware of the existence of Earth-Two.cn|date=July 2008
*"The Last Days of the Justice Society" Special 1986
Secret Origins" vol. 3, #31
The Young All-Stars": various issues
*"The Golden Age" #1-4 (alternate history story based on the "All-Star Squadron" set-up, written by
James Robinsonand drawn by Paul Smith)
*"Zero Hour" #4-0 (this series was published with numbering in reverse order, reflecting a "countdown")
Wonder Woman" vol. 2, #130-133 (1940s adventure by John Byrne, retroactively establishes Queen Hippolyta as the Golden Age Wonder Woman in post-"Crisis" continuity)
Sandman Mystery Theatre" #1-70 (solo Sandman series written by Matt Wagner, set in the 1940s; not strictly in regular DCU continuity)
*"Sandman Mystery Theatre Annual" #1
*"JLA" #28-31 ("Crisis Times Five" - first post-"Crisis" JLA/JSA team-up, introduces
Justice Society Returns" issues (a story arc that ran through a number of comic books published by DC Comics in 1999, with issues named with various 1940s-era titles, set in the 1940s)
*"JLA/JSA: Virtue And Vice" (hardcover graphic novel)
One Year Later
After the events of "
Infinite Crisis", JSA members Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, and Ted Grant decided to revive the Justice Society after the World War III event that was chronicled in "52".
"Justice Society of America" vol. 3 (2006 - current)
Infobox comic book title
title=Justice Society of America (vol. 3)
caption=Variant incentive cover to "Justice Society of America" vol. 3 #1.
date=December 2006 - Current
issues=17 (as of July 2008)
creators =On December 6, 2006 a new series was launched with the creative team of
Geoff Johns(writer), Dale Eaglesham(pencils), and Alex Ross(cover art). According to a pre-release interview in Newsarama, Alex Ross also has the "honorary" title of "creative advisor". [ [http://www.newsarama.com/dcnew/JSA/JusticeSociety.html Newsarama.com: JOHNS, ROSS, EAGLESHAM RESTART JUSTICE SOCIETY IN OCTOBER] ]
The beginning of the new series shows JSA veterans Flash, Green Lantern and Wildcat choosing members of the new generation of superheroes to train. Continuing a major theme from the previous JSA title, this new series focuses on the team being the caretakers of the superhero legacy from one generation to the next.
The first "Justice Society of America Annual" #1 (Sept. 2008; oddly the issue was titled as "JSA Annual" #1 in the comic's legal indicia) featured the Justice Society Infinity, a team continuing from an analogous post-Crisis Earth-Two.
Collected story arcs
The following story arcs are collected in hardback editions:
*The Next Age: Cyclone, Damage, and Starman join the Society. Wildcat learns that he has a son with metahuman powers.
Vandal Savagetries to exterminate the families of the Society members, and although he succeeds in getting many people killed (including Trey Thompson and members of the Heywood family), he's defeated by Wildcat and son; the new Wildcat is then asked to join the Society. This storyline is immediately followed by " The Lightning Saga".
* Thy Kingdom Come, Part One: When Starman creates a
black holeto prevent a disaster, the Supermanof Earth-22 appears; inspired by the nature of this world's heroes compared to those of his own world, he decides to stay. Other new Society members include Citizen Steel, Lightning (daughter of Black Lightning), Lance, and the new Judomaster; also, Jakeem Thunderand the Thunderbolt return. While investigating a series of metahuman killings, Mister America (Jeffrey Graves) encounters the villain Gog and warns the Society about him.
* Thy Kingdom Come, Part Two
* Thy Kingdom Come, Part Three
In Sept. 2005, "JSA"'s popularity led to a spin-off series, "JSA: Classified", which tells stories of the team at various points in its existence, as well as spotlighting specific members in solo stories.
The first arc featured
Power Girl's origin. It was written by Geoff Johnswith art by Amanda Conner. As of issue #39, released on June 25, 2008 the title was cancelled.
The Golden Age issues of "
All Star Comics" have been collected in the following hardcover DC Archive Editions:
The "JSA" (1999 - 2006) series has been collected in the following trade paperbacks:
There have also been four volumes of "Crisis on Multiple Earths", collecting the annual Justice League/Justice Society team-ups up to 1977.
The Justice Society received a 1965 Alley Award for Strip or Book Most Desired for Revival.
Appearances in other media
A "Justice League" two-part episode called "Legends" pays homage to the Justice Society with a team of imaginary comic book superheroes in a perfect world. The team was called the "
Justice Guild of America".
"Justice League Unlimited"
Many members of the current incarnation of the JSA have been featured in Justice League Unlimited, including Atom Smasher,
Stargirl(with STRIPE), Sand, Mr. Terrific, Dr. Mid-Nite, Wildcat, Obsidian and the second Hourman. Stargirl and Mr. Terrific were the two with the most exposure; Stargirl had a speaking part in at least two episodes, while Mr. Terrific took over Martian Manhunter's job of manning the Watchtower. Wildcat had one episode, "Cat and the Canary" in which he was prominently featured. A version of Power Girlappeared as Galatea, and Jay Garrick's helmet can be seen in the episode "Flash and Substance". Hawkmanappears in the series and believes that he and Hawkgirlare reincarnations of a King and Queen of Egypt.
Power Girl, Atom Smasher, Jay Garrick, and Alan Scott have made appearances in the "Justice League Unlimited" comic.
"Justice League: The New Frontier"
The JSA appeared in the opening credits of the animated film . In this story,
Hourmanhad been killed and the Justice Society have retired. However, Ted Grant is still a professional boxer.
"Batman: The Brave and the Bold"
The Justice Society of America have been announced to appear on the new show. However, it's still unclear which members will be part of the team. currently, only
Wildcat (comics)and Doctor FateHave been confirmed as Justice Society members.
List of Justice Society members
*Roy Thomas, "The All-Star Companion" (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2000)
*Roy Thomas, "The All-Star Companion", (vol. 2) (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2007)
*Roy Thomas, "The All-Star Companion", (vol. 3) (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2008)
* [http://www.comicsarchives.org/JSAHOME.html Fact File: The Justice Society of America 1940–2004]
* [http://darkmark6.tripod.com/justice_society_index.html Index of the Earth-Two adventures of the JSA]
* [http://www.mykey3000.com/cosmicteams/jsa/index.html DC Cosmic Teams: JSA]
* [http://www.insidepulse.com/articles/7322 Comics Nexus - A look at the JSA's Golden Age heart and Modern Age influences]
* [http://www.wizarduniverse.com/magazine/wizard/002616734.cfm THE JSA FILES]
* [http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/justice_society Justice Society's secret origin at dccomics.com]
* [http://en.dcdatabaseproject.com/Justice_Society_of_America Justice Society of America]
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