My Justice League: Back to Basics

I have not yet seen the recently released movie Justice League and frankly, I am not looking forward to seeing it. I do not like live-action movies based on comic book superheroes. They do not appeal to me in any way. To me, a bunch of second-rate actors doing cosplay is just not the same as reading a comic book. And do not get me started on how Flash’s costume reminds me of Lady Gaga’s meat dress.

This all that I am going to say about the movie. Except to say that if anything, I do give credit to the movie as being one of the triggers that brought me back into the wonderful world of DC comics or as I should say the DC universe.

It was about a year ago that my son was home from Christmas and in a fit of nostalgia, we spent a day huddle beside the fireplace, binge-watching Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995). Remembering that this show first came out when my son was about 5-years old, got me to reminiscing about how much I enjoyed reading comic books when I was a kid.

I asked him about any of the DC movies that he might have seen. He said that the ones that he had seen were bad. The Ryan Reynolds “Green Lantern” disaster and “Batman vs. Superman”. Then when he mentioned the Justice League movie that was currently in the works, I was reminded as of how my all-time favorite DC comic book series was the Justice League of America (volume 1 1960-1987). It all started to come back to me. How my allowance was spent on buying as many comic books as I could afford – five?

My reason for liking this particular comic book series over all the others was simply that I felt that I was getting a good value for my 12-cent investment because each issue contained more superheroes than any other comic book series.

The original Justice League of America as it was formed in the early Sixties consisted of seven super-heroes (Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Wonder Woman). In 1961, a comic book cost 10-cents. By 1964, when I first started reading the series and a comic book cost 12-cents, the team had grown to include Green Arrow, the Atom, and Hawkman. It would not be until the end of the Sixties before another woman, Black Canary, was added and she became a member primarily to replace Wonder Woman, who was on hiatus for a few years. Others such as the Phantom Stranger and Elongated Man joined the team in the Seventies. Later in that decade, Hawkgirl and Zatanna boosted the feminine side of the team to four members, Wonder Woman having rejoined the team in ’73.

I do not know when exactly I stopped reading comic books, but I estimate that it was sometime around 1971/72. I could no longer afford to buy comic books as I had started smoking cigarettes when I was 15-years old.

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I am cancer free now, and the additional good news is that I quit smoking. As I now have some extra money at the end of the month, where is that money going? I kid you not, Comic Books. I also recently quit drinking and that means even more comic books.

As I have previously accounted here in this blog, my mother threw out all my comic books in June of 1973 and thirteen years later I mocked the comic book event known as the Crisis on Infinite Earths (1986) because, at the age of thirty, I thought that I was far too old and mature to be wasting my time reading comic books.

I have since forgiven my mother. She had to pack up an entire household for a move to another part of town and no one in the house (four kids and a husband) were helping her.

In addition, this past year, I finally, after thirty years, have gotten around to reading the 12-issues of the Crisis of 1985/86. I see now why “Crisis of Infinite Earths” was and still is considered to be both controversial and groundbreaking.

 This past year I read all six-volumes that collect all JLA/JSA “Crisis” cross-overs from the first one in 1963 to the next-to-the-last one in 1982. For some reason, that last actual crisis crossover, the one that occurred in 1984 (issues #231 and #232) are left out of the collection. I found them at Comixilogy and they have been added to my collection.

Just for the heck of it, I have put together a reading list of all Justice League of America from the first one that I read as a kid, the one with the creepy cover where the members of the JSA are smiling down from the clouds at the JLA members seated around a table, JLA #21 (August 1963), to the last one that I would have read before the crisis JLA #232 (November 1984)

Although the title “Justice League of America” continued to be used, in November 1984 the name of the team was changed to “Justice League of Detroit” and the first issue in the 12-issue series “Crisis on Infinite Earths” came out in April 1985.

My new reading plan involves reading all 211 issues and while I am at it, I plan to blog a review of my reading. Do not expect there to be 211 posts when I am done because I plan to group issues according to storylines and other combining factors. Perhaps there will be 50 to 60 posts when the dust settles.

So, with that said, look for the next post where I get started on the reading list and I review the very first cross-over crisis.