jla-originRobby Reed Reviews
Justice League of America #9 (Feb. 1962)
"The Origin Of The Justice League"

Story by Gardner Fox
Art by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs

Hello comic fans! Welcome back to Dial B for BLOG. This is the first of TEN new issues, culminating in the awesome and historic spectacle that is Dial B for BLOG #600.

As we all know, a day is soon coming that will go down in comic history, film history, and regular history as the day of The Avengers. And that's what this new series is about! It may not seem Avengers-related at first, but you'll soon get the idea. We begin with a review of Justice League of America #9, featuring the JLA's origin.

Stan Lee wrote in Son of Origins of Marvel Comics: "It's easy enough to decide who the team should consist of. the tough part is figuring out how to get them all together. As you can imagine, it wouldn't make a terribly interesting story merely to have someone send the others a note inviting them to join a group of superheroes."

So how did DC go about getting their premiere super-team together? There was no blueprint for writer Gardner Fox to follow, because the grand-daddy of all super-teams, 1940's Justice Society of America, never had an origin story (until Paul Levitz wrote one in 1977)!

So, Gardner Fox was in uncharted territory. Maybe that's why the group went eight issues with no origin at all. Then, in JLA #9, an origin suddenly appeared. How did the League form? Well, various superheroes all ran up to a meteor "almost simultaneously" and turned into trees. Really! It went like this...

It begins: A bunch of weird meteors hit the earth (see panel above), and different superheroes race to examine one of them. MARTIAN MANHUNTER gets there first, and then AQUAMAN arrives "about the same time." Radiation from the meteor slowly starts to turn both heroes into trees. Why? Well, for one thing, it looks cool...

Next to arrive at the party was WONDER WOMAN, back in the days when she wore that star-spangled bathing suit. As the caption indicates, WW arrived "almost simultaneously with Aquaman."
Next, GREEN LANTERN appears "just as Wonder Woman shows up." Finally, FLASH races across the Atlantic, and arrives "almost at the same time as Green Lantern."
Hail, hail, the gang's all here ... in glorious JLAni-motion!
FREAKY! The tree-transformation is complete!
Using teamwork, the JLA gets out of it, and returns to normal. I'm not going into the details here, because we've all read the story. After the heroes return to normal, they chat with their superstar sales-leaders, BATMAN and SUPERMAN.

Batman, who would soon develop a "Brave and Bold" fetish for teaming up with other superheroes, makes a suggestion. In a nod to the group's Golden Age predecessors, Bats uses the word "SOCIETY," but Flash updates it to the more modern sounding "LEAGUE." A name is born!
So, as I said before, the origin of the JLA is basically this: A bunch of superheroes all run up to a meteor "almost simultaneously" and turn into trees. But wait! There's something that has bothered me for many years. Think about it. "Almost simultaneously"? How could that be possible?

Green Lantern and Manhunter can fly. Flash runs super fast. WW generally uses an invisible jet. Aquaman swims super-fast. Yet somehow all these people arrived "almost simultaneously" -- and never saw each other coming?!!?? That's not possible.

As a comic fan, I can easily understand how someone might turn into a tree. Or a piece of glass. Or a puppet. These things happen. And in DC's Silver Age, they happened with alarming regularity! But "almost simultaneously" has bothered me for YEARS. Even as a kid, I thought it was one of the most ridiculous things I had ever read. Not the tree part, the "almost simultaneously" part.

Remember, Stan Lee said, "It wouldn't make a terribly interesting story merely to have someone send the others a note inviting them to join a group of superheroes." Yet this is basically what happened here. The meteor sent the superheroes heroes a note. Oh well, things were simpler back then.

The important thing is, the JLA got formed, and their book sold well enough to inspire countless imitators. No one could have predicted that one PARTICULAR group of imitators would get their own major motion picture LONG before the JLA. But they did! And we'll "assemble" THEM soon enough!

By the way, the Justice League's origin was framed as a flashback story told to Snapper Carr at a JLA birthday party. Coincidentally, the JLA recently celebrated their 50th anniversary! Can you BELIEVE it? It's been half a century since a bunch of superheroes ran up to a meteor "almost simultaneously" and turned into trees! So we end with a song...
Next Issue
"Hey Robby! When do we get to THE AVENGERS?"
Any day now! Meanwhile
... Next issue,
Robby reviews the NEW Justice League origin story
and discusses DC's "New 52" universal reboot!