Justice League of America #161 (December 1978) FN $4.80
In 1969, after Wonder Woman left the Justice League of America, Black Canary became the only female member of the team. In 1972, two more men and a male android were added to the League bringing the total number of members to 12 heroes (11 men and one woman). The following year, Wonder Woman returned to team after feminists led by Gloria Steinem complained to DC Comics over the superheroine losing her powers and her uniform. Finally, after years of excuses, Hawkgirl was allowed to join the team in 1977 (#146). And then along came Zatanna in 1978.
The cover of #161 was provocative on more than one level. On the cover we see six members of the Justice League of America surrounding a woman who appears to be the magician Zatanna. The Justice League members are upset because they have just voted to induct the Magic Maid into the League and she appears to have turned them down. Also Zatanna is wearing a very revealing outfit that she has not worn before.
When Zatanna first appeared in the mid-60s her appearance seemed a bit dated. Now between the covers of #161, Zatanna revealed a new costume and explained that she was now a sorceress. She turned down the offer of membership in the League in a bizarre cryptic manner. It was later determined the Zatanna was speaking in code.
The new costume that was revealed in issue #161 looked like a ripoff of Marvel Comics’ Dr. Strange.
This look lasted only a couple of years and she later changed to a costume that reminds me of Ozma of Oz, a character from the L Frank Baum Wizard of Oz series. See this earlier post where I discuss Zatanna’s fashion evolution (Hawkgirl’s Marriage Problem). The bottom line is that Zatanna was now a member and from this time forward (at least for the next 10 issues) it became Zatanna Zatanna Zatanna with the magic maid appearing on 6 out of the next 10 covers of the Justice league of America. Hawkgirl appeared on only two of those covers.
In Justice League of America #187 (February 1981), Zatanna changed her costume once again. (writer Gerry Conway – artist Don Heck)
As for Hawkgirl she is not listed in the roll call but it does at least say “with brief appearances by the membership”. When she is seen, Hawkgirl makes mention of her being “finally accepted a few months ago”. Flash explains that Hawkgirl was admitted under some new bylaws.
This is a great story and the artwork is wonderful. It is the beginning of a story-arc that lasts for the next 4 issues.
From the Solicitation: “The Reverse-Spells of Zatanna’s Magic” is written by Gerry Conway, with art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin. Characters: Atom [Ray Palmer]; Batman [Earth-1]; Black Canary; Green Arrow [Earth-1]; Red Tornado; Elongated Man; Wonder Woman [Earth-1]; Green Lantern [Hal Jordan]; Superman [Earth-1]; Flash [Barry Allen]; Hawkman [Katar Hol]; Aquaman; Hawkwoman [Shayera Thal] (as Hawkgirl); Zatanna (joins) (all as the Justice League of America/JLA); The Druid (flashback); The Warlock of Ys (flashback); Zatara. Cover by Rich Buckler and Frank McLaughlin. Cover price $0.40. Grade: Fine