The Justice League is a DC Comics superhero team. In most incarnations, its roster includes DC’s most popular characters and thus many of the most recognizable superheroes in pop culture.
The original, and arguably most popular, line-up is Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and The Martian Manhunter. The League has also included Captain Marvel, Plastic Man, Green Arrow, Hawkman, The Atom, Elongated Man, Black Canary, Firestorm, Zatanna and dozens of others.
The team first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #28 (1960). Although series featuring the League have occasionally gone stale and been subjected to ill-fated experiments, the team has been fairly popular since inception.
The team’s concept was loosely adapted into the cartoon series Super Friends (1972-85) and more directly into the Cartoon Network’s Justice League (2001-04) and Justice League Unlimited (2004-present).
The team has also gone by the names Justice League of America, Justice League America, JLA and Justice League International.
The original team first appeared in The Brave and The Bold #28 (1960) as a revival of the Justice Society of America (or JSA) under a new, more dynamic name of League and soon gained its own title that same year. The creator was a writer named Gardner Fox, who was inspired by the Justice Society to create a similar, contemporary concept, and who decided upon the word league influenced by the National Football League and Major League Baseball. The artist for the first five years of the comic was Mike Sekowsky.
This comic was initially amongst the most popular of DC Comics' publications, but by the 1970s it had become overshadowed by Marvel Comics' equivalent super-team The Avengers series in sales and quality. Various writers and artists tried to include more complex characterization into the JLA comic, but it proved to be an uneasy fit. Other efforts to improve the sales of the title included swelling the ranks of the team's membership, and moving the team from their cave headquarters to an orbiting satellite. Creators during this period included writers Cary Bates, E. Nelson Bridwell, Steve Englehart and (longest of them all) Gerry Conway, while the art chores were primarily handled by Dick Dillin. The JLA comic had a brief spike in popularity in 1982 when artist George Pérez stepped in following Dillin's death, but the commercial success was short-lived.
In 1984, in an attempt to emulate the success of DC's most successful comic, The New Teen Titans, an editorial decision was made to have most of the regular members leave the team, to be replaced by young unknowns. This move was highly unpopular with readers, who dubbed this period of time the Justice League Detroit era. Created by Conway and artist Chuck Patton, the team was eventually disbanded by writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Luke McDonnell. The final issue of the original Justice League of America series was #261.
The team was rebuilt in the 1986 company wide crossover mini series, Legends. This new team was given a less America-centric mandate than before and was dubbed Justice League International (or JLI, originally simply Justice League), written by Keith Giffen and DeMatteis with art by Kevin Maguire. This new and very popular series added a quirky sense of tongue-in-cheek humour to the stories, although often edging into silliness reminiscent of the 1960s Batman TV series, slapstick often being Giffen's humor of choice. The titles expanded to a total of five by the early 1990s: Justice League America (formerly JLI), Justice League Europe, Justice League Task Force, Justice League Quarterly, and Extreme Justice. By the mid-1990s, however, with the departure of Giffen as writer, the humor prevalent in the early JLI-era had disappeared in favor of more serious stories, and as the commercial success of the series faded each of the titles were cancelled.
In 1995, a new Justice League was announced to be developed by writer Grant Morrison with art by Howard Porter and John Dell (though the team first appeared in the series JLA: A Midsummer's Nightmare written by Mark Waid). Morrison was instrumental in returning the JLA to much of its former glory with a new series titled simply JLA. This series used as its core the original seven members (or their character successors) of the team: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, Green Lantern, the Martian Manhunter, and to a lesser extent, Plastic Man, with another set of less well-known characters brought in at different times. Morrison introduced the idea of the JLA allegorically representing a pantheon of gods, with their different powers and personalities. Since Morrison left the title, other writers and artists have taken over, though none with the success of Morrison's League.
In 2003, Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire returned with a separate miniseries called Formerly Known as Justice League with the humour of their Justice League run and featuring some of the same characters in a team called the Super Buddies (which parodies the Super Friends). A follow-up miniseries entitled I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League! was in preparation as of February 2004, though it was delayed by the tragic events shown in the Identity Crisis limited series.
In 2004, Morrison teamed with artist Ed McGuiness to produce a miniseries called JLA Classified. The story involves Batman's efforts to stop Gorilla Grodd's subjugation of humanity while the rest of the core JLA pursues a mission inside a cubical proto-universe. Following the 3 part Morrison story in JLA Classifed, Giffen and Company's delayed I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League finally saw print, reteaming the Super Buddies for one more adventure.
George Perez and Kurt Busiek come out with a Justice League/Avengers crossover mini-series which had a 20 year delayed release. Marvel and DC comics intertwine a spectrum of characters from the decades long history of both teams. The Justice League and the Avengers are trapped in a game in which Krona, and the Gamesmaster are involved. They find key artifacts in one another's universe by racing against each other to save their worlds
Its origin (according to Justice League of America #9) begins when Earth is infiltrated by various competing alien warriors sent to the planet to see who can conquer it first. While most of the invaders are defeated by the superheroes individually, the heroes are at the last enslaved by one competitor and only by working together do they manage to defeat him. The group decides that they should form a permanent organization to confront menaces that require similar pooling of resources and dub themselves the Justice League of America.
This team protects the world fighting various menaces, often working with its precursor, the JSA. A team originally formed by the teen sidekicks of a few Justice League members (and thus known as a Junior Justice League of sorts) is called the Teen Titans.
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