Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Justice League of America #1 Ad

The ad that started it all! What kid could have possibly turned this book down?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Justice League of America #8 Ad

One of thousands of quarter-page ads DC did in the 1950s and 1960s, where you could just drop two different covers in ad infinitum. I found this in an issue of Wonder Woman--naturally, if you're reading Diana's solo title, maybe you'll like this other book she's in!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Justice League of America #53 Ad

Very charming and dynamic ad for Justice League of America #53, presumably designed by DC's in-house genius Ira Schnapp. How he managed to get so much info in such a tiny space and yet not make the ad look crowded is still a mystery to me, and I've been looking at these ads since I was a kid.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Justice League of America #71 Ad

Pretty simple ad for Justice League of America #71, though I have to admit I'm not sure what, if anything, "point of no return" is referring to. Is it Blanx's attack on Mars? Manhunter's dedication to his home planet, which eventually pulls him out of the JLA? Or is it just about the cover? We'll never know.

Also, I feel like someone at the last minute realized the ad didn't mention when the book went on sale, so they grabbed a pen and squeezed it in.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Justice League of America #4 Ad - 1961

This is one gorgeous ad for Justice League of America #4, the induction of the team's first new member. Most likely the work of Ira Schnapp, who could cram a ton of material into a tiny amount of space and still have the final product look clean, elegant, and exciting as all heck!

I like how they took the classic JLA "shield" logo and raised it up a bit so they could fit in the "...as a full-fledged member" line. In the pre-desktop publishing era, that was probably a lot of work!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Action Comics #314 - July 1964

What is the story behind this hideous mash-up costume?!?

The Story: "The Day Superman Became The Flash!" by Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino.

Superman gets an urgent message...from the Justice League of America!

Jor-El consults a "computer" built by Zhan-Zar, who says his machine can use probability statistics to peer into the future (and also figure out what baseball players are underrated). By putting into the computer that he will be potentially sending his infant son to various planets, the computer presents several scenarios.

On the planet Xann, for instance, Kal-El would be miniature compared to that planet's giant inhabitants. Turns out that young Kal, still with Superman-like powers, would again become a costumed superhero, similar to The Atom! Jor-El tries again, seeing what would happen if Kal was sent to the all-water planet known as Valair:
On the planet Ntann, due to that world's red sun, Kal wouldn't have superpowers, but the computer extrapolates that he would take up archery, turning into him an ersatz Green Arrow. Kal's future on the planet Saruun is a grimmer one, where he is adopted by a widower to teaches his son to take the form of a bat-like creature known as The Diro. Finally, on the planet Gangor, young Kal would gain the power of super-speed, but that doesn't turn out that well either:

Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Arrow, Atom

Notable Moments: What a bizarre story! It has become known over time that during the early 1960s, DC was having a lot of trouble coming up with stories for its big three characters, and this story certainly reads like someone was desperate for inspiration. "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to see Superman act like the other Justice Leaguers?" seems like a fine enough proposition, but the whole "Jor-El peering into the future" conceit is so ridiculous and contrived that (IMO) it clocks an 11 at the Goofy-Meter.

And while I'm not complaining of course, it feels strange to A)have Aquaman as the spokesman for the League (since when?) and B)have the other JLAers never utter a single word in the story! They show up and then just stand there, as Aquaman drones on and Superman gets all misty-eyed, as he always did when talking about Jor-El and Lara.

This story marks the JLA's fourth-ever appearance outside their own title; other than helping out Adam Strange in Mystery in Space #75, the team was generally written into members' solo books as a colorful mob who basically just sat around, commenting on the action. At least here some of them got a nice trip to a tropical island!

One final thing: I wonder why the cover and title of this story focuses on Superman becoming The Flash only? I'd say "The Day Superman Became The Justice League" has a little more snap to it.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Fury of Firestorm #4 - Sept. 1982

Firestorm versus...The Justice League of America?!? 

The Story: "The Icy Heart of Killer Frost!" by Gerry Conway, Pat Broderick, and Rodin Rodriguez.

Over on The Fire and Water Podcast, my co-host The Irredeemable Shag and I have moved on from reviews of the now-cancelled New 52 Firestorm comic to looking back at what we're calling Fury of Firestorm Classic; issue-by-issue recaps of the 1982 series. We just finished looking at Fury of Firestorm #3, the first of a two-part tussle with The Nuclear Man's (IMO) premier villain, Killer Frost.

Some of you might know that the Justice League of America makes a guest appearance in FoF #4. And while we'll be getting to it soon enough on the show, it occurred to me that it's been forever since I updated JLA Satellite, so why not "read ahead" a little and cover it here?
At the end of the previous issue, Killer Frost has taken over all of New York, and has forced Firestorm to do the whole kneel-before-Zod bit. Of course, KF doesn't trust Firestorm to willingly be her slave, so she demands he pass a test: in this case, it means flying to California and retrieving Big Time Movie Star Curt Holland. KF has a big crush on Holland and is looking to get her icicles melted, or something.

Firestorm initially refuses, but when Killer Frost almost kills some innocent civilians with a frozen billboard, he relents and takes to the skies. It's here that The Nuclear Man runs into his new found teammates in the Justice League, and earns his nickname Hot Head:
At the JLA Satellite, Firestorm explains everything that's happened, going so far as to reveal his dual secret identity once it's revealed that a detailed knowledge of physics will be needed to deal with this problem.

With Prof. Stein stuck back at the Satellite, Ronnie needs help finding Curt Holland, so he and Red Tornado teleport to Los Angeles. Holland is not interested in helping out (can't really blame him), angering Ronnie and they head back to space. In the meantime, Prof. Stein has developed a machine that, while cumbersome, has the capacity to freeze Killer Frost!

A little while later, Firestorm arrives with Curt Holland, and Killer Frost is overjoyed. She plants a frosty kiss on him, but when he doesn't seem affected by it, the jig is up! Killer Frost blasts "Holland", revealing him to actually be Red Tornado!

Firestorm engages in battle with Killer Frost, keeping her distracted while Red Tornado, who has Prof. Stein's device implanted in his chest, goes into action. It works, sapping Killer Frost's powers long enough for Firestorm to knock her out. But all of New York is still encased in ice!

Reddy is frozen too, and Firestorm uses his powers to boost Prof. Stein's device and creating a massive heat bubble over the city:
I really loved this story; I can remember buying the issue off the newsstands at the time. I think I bought Firestorm intermittently, but when I saw the JLA on the cover it was a Must Purchase.

Roll Call: Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Red Tornado, Zatanna, Firestorm

Notable Moments: This story (according to Mike's Amazing World) takes place between JLA #205 and another guest appearance in Action Comics #535.

The scene where Firestorm just loses it and attacks the JLA is quite powerful and well-executed; he uses his powers in nearly lethal ways and it's fun seeing the new kid on the block really put a beat down (albeit temporarily) on the big guns like Superman and Zatanna. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense that the World's Greatest Superheroes would just let NYC stay frozen, handing off the assignment to just Firestorm and Red Tornado, but that's a standard trope of superhero storytelling and it's something you just have to roll with.

Gerry Conway, writing both books of course, used this guest appearance to actually forward the characters relationship, something pretty rare for guest appearances, which are often as not done as sales drivers. Here the JLA learns Firestorm's real identity (Superman already knew but kept it from everyone; as we all know, Kal is big on keeping secrets from his JLA teammates), and while it never really came that much into play over in Justice League of America, it's still a nice moment.

Top it off with learning that Red Tornado is a Steve Martin fan, and you've got one fun issue of The Fury of Firestorm!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Justice League of America #10 Ad - Jan. 1962

I found this full-page promo in a contemporary issue of Aquaman; I never get tired of finding "new" JLA ads!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The New Teen Titans #4 - Feb. 1981

The New Teen Titans face off against...The Justice League of America?!?
The Story: "Against All Friends!" by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, and Romeo Tanghal.

This issue opens 22,300 miles in geosynchronous orbit above Metropolis, where some members of the Justice League of America are gearing up for trouble:

Three magical beings see the JLA approach, and fire a series of blasts at them, knocking them off their feet (metaphorically) for the moment. Some sort of gag appears over Zatanna's mouth, preventing her from casting a spell. Green Lantern attempts a direct assault, but a voice yells out, telling him to stop!

It's the voice of Raven, demanding that the JLA let the sorcerers perform their ritual. Green Lantern refuses, and tries to cage Raven, but she escapes. The three sorcerers expel even more energy, knocking the JLA out. Raven then disappears, transporting to another faraway, fantastical world. Waiting for her in one of the grand palaces is Raven's mother, who admonishes her daughter for coming here.

Raven's mother tells her she can do nothing to save the Earth, and with a touch sends Raven home, where she awakes:

Raven seems to remember a battle involving The Fearsome Five that none of her teammates can recall, which distresses her. We then see that this is all being watched by the FF, who are, as usual, squabbling among themselves. We learn this is a plot to destroy the JLA and the Titans--by pitting them against each other!

Raven learns that due to the inadvertent efforts of the JLA, the demi-god Trigon will be able to build a bridge to Earth. So Robin declares that the JLA must be stopped--any any cost!

Back at the satellite, the members of the JLA know nothing of any of this, so they aren't quite ready when they receive unexpected visitors:


The Titans watch the JLA disintegrate, but turns out its just an illusion of Raven's, who has put them all in stasis until she can figure all this out. Eventually, the Titans wake up and the JLA rejoins them to fight the three sorcerers. In the melee Trigon is set free, and the whole dimension seems to explode:
Eventually, a bigger truth emerges: that this new team of teen heroes has been formed partly due to lies and the magical influence of Raven, who has been using her powers for what she calls a greater purpose.

The Titans are enraged, and wander off--as does the JLA, leaving Raven alone, screaming to the heavens dire warnings about Triton, who is watching all this with delight. To be continued!
Roll Call: Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Atom, Hawkman, Zatanna

Notable Moments: This story takes place between the two stories in JLA #188 (according to Mike's Amazing World, at least).

It's great seeing the JLA (or some of them, at least) drawn by George Perez, and battling some of their former sidekicks, to boot. Batman clocking Robin in the back of the head with his elbow is particularly wince-inducing...unless you've always thought the Boy Wonder deserved a rap in the head; then it's great.

Since I've made the decision to update this blog occasionally with original JLA content I want to cover, I thought taking a look at this team-up was long overdue. How I ever resisted that cover the first time around I'll never know!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mystery In Space #75 - May 1961

A classic tale of the Justice League versus one of its more fearsome foes!

The Story: "The Planet That Came To A Standstill" by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino, and Murphy Anderson.

Out story opens with honorary JLA member Snapper Carr relaying an adventure that starts in deep space:
While Kanjar Ro hatches another plan to defeat the JLA, Adam Strange and Alanna are enjoying themselves on Rann. Soon, though, they find themselves in another scrape, against some invaders atop giant birds!

One of them rings some sort of small crystal, which forces Adam and Alanna hurtling into space, where they are soon caught by the planet's orbit. Thanks to Adam's ingenuity, though, they manage to escape and fall over one of Rann's highest peaks, softening their fall.

Adam and Alanna re-engage the invaders, and pretend to be held captive so they can find out who is behind them--namely, Kanjar Ro! Thanks to Ro's experiments, he is now more powerful than ever, and tests his powers on some JLA duplicates:
Adam and Alanna escape, and Adam comes up with another plan, but one that involves him making a trip back to Earth. Adam grabs Ro's "Slave Ship of Space" and takes it to Earth, leaving it there before the Zeta Beam takes him back to Rann.

The Flash finds the ship, and calls in his JLA pals:
Adam and Alanna spy Kanjar Ro leaving his lab, so Adam grabs Ro's gong and strikes it so hard he paralyzes everyone on Rann, including Ro! Then another Zeta Beam brings Adam back to Earth, leaving his body back to normal (got all that?):
Kanjar Ro manages to defeat each of the JLAers, but is stopped by Adam Strange, who strikes Ro with the gong's mallet. Why does this stop him? Because Strange figured out that its made of metal from his home planet, Dhor, and that it would affect him the way Kryptonite does Superman. Flash is so impressed he thinks to himself "Terrific! I'm going to propose Adam Strange for membership in the Justice League at our next meeting!"

Later, Adam introduces the JLA to Alanna:
...The End!

Roll Call: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter

Notable Moments: This story takes place between JLA #s 3 and 4, making it the last appearance of the original seven, in terms of publishing history.

This is a very fun story, but complicated as heck! A bunch of characters, with Adam Strange bouncing back and forth between Rann and Earth like a ping-pong ball. There's so much plot in this issue that if they did this story nowadays, it would take up six issues and be given its own trade paperback.

It was suggested at the time that JLA Satellite.com cover this issue, since its pretty much a direct sequel to issue #3, but I was just starting out and didn't feel the need to take even a momentary diversion into another title (plus I didn't have a copy of the book!). But now that I've decided to bring back this blog every so often, I thought why not start almost at the very beginning of the JLA's career!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mystery in Space #75 Ad

Be here tomorrow for the Justice League and Adam Strange in "The Planet That Came To A Standstill!"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Justice League of America #200 30th Birthday!

Today--December 3--is the 30th birthday of one of my all-time favorite comic books, Justice League of America #200, which hit the stands on December 3, 1981!

Not only is this book one of my all-time favorite comic books, in any genre, but its hands-down my favorite superhero comic, and I put it on my Top 10 list of Greatest Aquaman Stories Ever Told, since it features the Sea King drawn by my all-time favorite Aquaman artist, as well as (IMO) one his finest moments as a superhero.

While I had originally hoped to do an Aquaman 70th Birthday-styled celebratory post, I just couldn't pull it together in time. So I'm settling for this, a re-run of my original post on the book from back in 2008.

At the bottom of the post I added portions of the interviews I did with this book's writer, Gerry Conway, and editor, Len Wein. While talking to Gerry, I tried to remain as professional as possible, but by the end I couldn't help but completely geek out and blabber on about the book, since how many times would I get the chance to talk to the man who wrote it? Also, we have some scans of original JLA #200 art, plus some shots of a very special, one-of-a-kind copy, courtesy of a F.O.A.M. member.

So sit back and enjoy:
"A League Divided" by Gerry Conway, George Perez, Brett Breeding, Pat Broderick, Terry Austin, Jim Aparo, Dick Giordano, Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, Frank Giacoia, Brian Bolland, and Joe Kubert.

Welcome to the 200th issue of Justice League of America!

This mammoth, 72-page anniversary issue opens, after the wonderful three-page origin prologue, with Firestorm, bored out of his mind while on Monitor Duty.

Suddenly, founding member The Martian Manhunter comes smashing through the hull of the satellite!:

Firestorm, not having boned up on JLA history, has no idea who this guy is. At the same time, Manhunter is acting very strangely, even without all the satellite-smashing. He doesn't seem to know that this is the JLA satellite, even though he has been here before.

Firestorm manages to fend off Manhunter for a while, until his inexperience gives Manhunter the chance to knock him out and grab what he's there for--a small green meterorite residing in the JLA Trophy Room.

Minutes later, Firestorm wakes up amid the wreckage, and, not knowing what is going on, sends out a Triple Priority Signal to all members, past and present!

Soon the satellite is filled with JLAers Atom, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Red Tornado, Zatanna, and Green Arrow. They inform Firestorm who it was he faced, and alone among them its Green Arrow that seems to know what's going on, and why none of the original members--Superman, Batman, etc.--have answered the distress call!

They quickly figure out that all the original JLAers must be after the Appellax Meteors, relics of the JLA's first case.

Then another face from the past shows up--Snapper Carr! Green Arrow takes charge, breaks up the heroes into teams, ordering Firestorm to stay behind with Snapper. Pwned!

Next we find ourselves at the Indian Ocean:

Cut back to the satellite, where Reddy, unconscious, mysteriously appears from out of nowhere! Firestorm wonders aloud, "How did Reddy get up here, anyway?"

As the book says, "somewhere, a Stranger is smiling. His job is done."

Next we go to Paradise Island, where Zatanna is hoping to stop Wonder Woman before she performs her task:
Unfortunately, the Amazing Amazon beat her there, and Zatanna proves to be no match for her. She gets knocked out by Diana using one of Zee's own spells against her, and she wakes up, hours later, with the Amazons using their curative Purple Ray on her.

Next, in Zimbabwie, a local General receives a phone call, and is a little shocked to see who made the call:

The Atom finds Green Lantern, digging up one of the Appellax meteors. He momentarily knocks GL on his butt, and tries to reason with him, trying to make him remember who he really is.

It seems to be working, except that GL has just been sneaking up on Atom, and traps him with his ring. He grabs the meteor and takes off.

The Atom shrinks beneath the atoms of the ground, and slips out of the bubble, and heads back to the satellite. The Atom chalks up all their defeats to the "edge of experience" the others have, but Red Tornado theorizes that its because the original members are facing unknown opponents, while they are fighting friends.

Over in Italy, The Elongated Man lays in wait for The Flash:
He gets the drop on The Flash, and feels sick about attacking his friend, but like Reddy guessed, the Scarlet Speedster has no such compunctions. One good super-speed punch, and The Flash has accomplished his mission.

Down at the original JLA Sanctuary, the original members start to talk, and can't figure out when all these changes--Wonder Woman's new uniform, the sancutary in ruins, Mars II--occurred.

On the North Carolina coast, Green Arrow joins Black Canary in searching for Batman:
The Batman, of course, gets the drop on both of them, and uses the tight, confined space to his advantage. Green Arrow fires off an arrow, which misses, bounces off a tree, and knocks out Black Canary!

As Green Arrow finds himself handcuffed, he yells at a departing Batman: "You can't do this to me!" To which a smart-ass Batman replies: "I already have."

Canary then wakes up, and Brian Bolland shows off his mastery of distinct facial expressions:
...I love Canary's annoyed, pursed face in panel four. They move on, thinking they've found Batman, but it turns out to be a decoy--Batman, and the Appellax meteor, are gone.

Last is what can only be the result of Hawkman drawing the short straw: he has to take on Superman!:
Hawkman figures Superman can't retrieve the Kryptonite-laden meteor himself, so he isn't surprised when he encounters several Superman robot duplicates instead. But the third one looks a little different--its actually Superman!

One punch, and its all over, ending with Hawkman being hit so hard he drifts into outer space. Superman, using a paper-thin lead alloy suit to cover himself, finds the meteor and heads off.

Hawkman wanders so far into space he hits an oncoming Zeta Beam, and disappears! He is then found by old JLA friend Adam Strange, who calls the JLA and tells them they plan to beam Hawkman back. The Elongated Man, stretching himself farther than he ever has, shoots himself out of an airlock, and retrieves The Winged Wonder.

Meanwhile, at the Secret Sanctuary, the JLAers notice that all the Appellax meteors are glowing, and they eventually explode open, releasing the seven Appellax warriors!

This obliterates the JLAers' amnesia, and they are told, years ago, the Appellax meteors put a post-hypnotic suggestion in them, triggered to go off, just as it did.

The JLAers attack the Apellax warriors, but they find themselves overwhelmed, one by one, until finally there is only Wonder Woman:
...that panel always felt so harsh to me. Yeah, I know Diana is nearly invulnerable, but taking a bunch of crystals to the face like that? Ow.

The Appellax warriors decide to pick up where they left off--that is, to fight one another, to see who will be the leader of their home planet!

Next, we see Batman and his fellow JLAers slowly waking up, but surrounded by their fellow heroes. Apologies are made, the heroes collect themselves, and head out to stop the aliens:

(click to JLAify!)

The massive group of heroes split up into teams, classic Gardner Fox style, and Batman, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Zatanna head to Vermont to battle the Wood King, Crystal Creature, and Mercury Monster.

Unlike what defeated them before, the JLAer use teamwork, and after a well-placed Batarang shatters the Crystal Creature, its over.

Next, we go to the Irish Coast, where Aquaman, Elongated Man, Flash, and Red Tornado find the Glass Creature and the Fire Monster. The Flash tries a frontal assault, giving Aquaman the chance to sneak up from behind:
...this is one of my favorite Aquaman sequences of all time. I love the examination of Aquaman's ability to survive in depths that would kill almost anyone else, but holding the Glass Creature by the throat until he shatters into little bits is just hardcore.

In the meantime, Flash, Elongated Man, and Red Tornado take out the Fire Monster--mission accomplished.

Last, in the heart of New York City, The Atom, Firestorm, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter take on The Golden Roc and The Stone Creature.

Lantern pummels the latter into chunks of rock, and The Atom is fired directly into the head of the Golden Roc, giving Manhunter the chance to shatter it with a well-aimed punch. It's all over!

Back at the satellite, Green Lantern and Red Tornado shoot the aliens' remains into the sun, destroying them forever.

Then the three old JLA friends, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, and Snapper Carr take their leave...well, two of them do:

What to say about this issue? Its one of my all-time favorite comic books ever, and certainly my all-time favorite superhero comic, ever.

I love the scope of it, and the fact that Conway took the time to work in as many people from the JLA's past as he could--The Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Snapper Carr, Adam Strange, The Phantom Stranger...

Of course, the one glaring exception is Hawkgirl. Apparently over in the solo Hawkman feature in World's Finest running at the time, Hawkgirl was missing or something, hence her not being here.

As as kid, I loved internal continuity, and having all the characters work in a definable time line. But--in this instance, I wish Conway and whatever other editors would've made the call had forgotten that for a moment, and put Hawkgirl in here. This is the big JLA story, and Shayera definitely should've been included.

The art is of course fantastic--Aparo, Perez, Kubert, Bolland, and lots more, many of them working on their signature characters (Aparo even gets a two-fer). Having Perez do all the linking chapters gives the book a cohesiveness that improbably works, considering all the people involved.

(Fun Fact: The Superman/Hawkman chapter was lettered by The Joe Kubert School, the first time I can remember hearing of such a place. Little did I know I would be a student there, a little less than eight years later.)

As if all this wasn't enough, Gerry Conway gives us a two-page text piece on the history of the team, which is enormous fun. Click
here to read it.

I remember buying this comic at the now forgotten-but-not-gone Voorhees Tobacco and News Shop, which had a huge selection of comics, many more than my local 7-11. To that end, I used to beg my Dad as much as I could to take me there.

Like I said, the place is still there:

The copy I have is the same one I bought in Dec. 1981--its beaten up, has brown pages, the binding is held together with high hopes and a lot of scotch tape. Yet if there was ever a fire in the house and I could only save one comic, this would be it.

To me, this book sums up everything that is fun about the world of superhero comics, and what drew me to the Justice League so passionately at such a young age--camaraderie, action, humor, plus a sense of enormous history. Not too long after this, the Crisis would take place, forever putting the DCU I knew and loved into the Past Tense. This book is one glorious 72-page tribute to what made DC so great for so long.

In regards to Aquaman, there was some debate on my JLA blog at the time about how it was disappointing that The Phantom Stranger had to "save" Aquaman from being defeated by Red Tornado, since of course us Aqua-Fans didn't believe Aquaman needed any such help.

And while I can see that point of view, I've always thought that it was worth it to have Jim Aparo draw both Aquaman and The Phantom Stranger again, after distinguished runs on both characters.

Also, Aquaman has, to me, one of his all-time best moments in later in the book, when he grabs the Crystal Apellax alien and crushes him to bits which, thanks to a random series of events, showed up as an example of Aquaman's amazing powers in the book The Physics of Superheroes:
So, in the end, I thought it was a good trade-off. I would never trade the above moment for anything--in a book full of great moments, Gerry Conway makes this scene unforgettable.

Here's some original art from the book. Man, I would kill to own some of these:

Speaking of art, F.O.A.M.er John Trumbull--also a huge fan of this comic--went on a crusade to get as many signatures from JLA #200's creative personnel as possible, and he's amassed quite a collection! John was kind of enough to provide some scans of all the John Hancocks, along with the story of how it all got started:

Wow--Perez, Broderick, Giordano, Kane, Infantino, Bolland, and Kubert! How'd you do it, John?:

"A little history of how I got started on this project: My original copy of JLA #200 went missing sometime back in the late 80s (I subsequently found it, so I have two copies now). Since, like you, this is one of my favorite comics of all time, I knew I had to get a replacement copy. I managed to pick one up at The Great Escape in Nashville, TN for $1.50. When I got it home & cracked it open, I discovered that the very first page was signed by none other than George Pérez! I'm sure the dealer hadn't noticed, or I would've paid a LOT more than $1.50 for that copy. I wondered for years if it was really a George Pérez signature, since it looked a bit different from how he traditionally signed his artwork. Thanks to Facebook, I was finally able to reach out to George personally in 2010 and verify that it was an authentic signature. Here's my correspondence with him:

'November 28, 2010

George Pérez

John: My autograph has mutated quite a bit over the many years and many times I've had to sign it. That is most definitely my signature-- before I developed a style wherein I seldom pick up my pen between signing my first and last names.

Take care,


Needless to say, I was ecstastic to get this response. It was a thrill to correspond, even briefly, with one of my artistic idols, as well as get the answer to a question I'd had for nearly 25 years!

So the Pérez signature planted the seed in my mind that I should try and get the various artists who worked on JLA #200 to sign my copy as well. Dick Giordano, Gil Kane and Brian Bolland were all guests at the Atlanta Dragon Con in 1990, so I got all three in one fell swoop. I got Joe Kubert to sign it when I attended a weekend workshop the Kubert School did in Nashville in 1992, prior to my attending the school from '94-'97. I had a friend get the Carmine Infantino signature for me at a New York con in the early 2000s. I think I must've had my friend get the Pat Broderick signature for me at the same con, as I don't recall ever meeting him myself.

Sadly, I never had the chance to meet with Frank Giacoia, Jim Aparo or Adrienne Roy before they each passed away, which is too bad, because I was a big fan of all of their work. I'm still hoping to someday get signatures from writer Gerry Conway, editor Len Wein, inkers Brett Breeding & Terry Austin, letterer John Costanza and colorists Carl Gafford & Tatjana Wood to add to the book! I think it's safe to say that if this book hadn't engaged my imagination at age 9 the way it did, that I may not have grown up to be a cartoonist. So thanks, one & all who where involved with such a great comic book!"

Now we hear directly from two of the people involved in the making of this awesome comic. From my interview with Len Wein on 6/16/2008:

JLA Satellite: As editor [of JLA], you presided over my--and a lot of people's--favorite era of JLA, roughly issues 185-220, including the blockbuster 200th issue. Whose idea was it to have such a massive 200th issue, with so many characters and artists?

Len Wein: Oh, mine. After all, I had to come up with some way to top what I'd done with issue #100. As an editor, I'm incredibly proud of that issue. We had an amazing array of artists and Gerry Conway's script weren't exactly chopped liver neither.

Finally, from my interview with Gerry Conway on 7/23/2008:

JLA Satellite: I've mentioned here before, and on your blog, that--and I am barely kidding when I say--that I think that JLA #200 is the single greatest piece of literature ever produced by Western Civilization.
Gerry Conway: [laughs] Oh, wow. How old were you when that book came along?

JLA Satellite: Let's see...1981, so I would've been ten years old.

GC: I figured it would've been around that time.

JLA Satellite: This probably won't make the interview, but I have to mention this--years ago, I had a girlfriend who also read comics.

Now that's rare enough, but she didn't like superhero comics. I guess if you don't first find them as a kid, they don't resonate with you, so she couldn't understand why I liked them so much.

So one day we decide to exchange comics we each liked, and she asked me for one comic that summed up what I liked about superhero comics. So I bought her a copy of JLA #200.

GC: Wow.

JLA Satellite: So anyway, I give it to her, its in a bag and board, and she puts it off to side.

She lived in another part of the country, so we only saw each other every few months. I go back, a month or two later, and there's the book, in the same spot it was when I left, completely untouched.

And I thought to myself "This relationship's doomed! She can't find the time to read one measly 72-page superhero comic!"

And you know what? I was right! We eventually broke up.

GC: [big laughs].

JLA Satellite: I thought "How can you not read this?" Its so much fun, it moves so fast, the artwork is so nice..."

Really, I'm like, "If Gerry Conway only wrote one comic book in his life, this would be enough." This thing was the most tremendous comic ever.

GC: [laughs]

JLA Satellite: I'm going to leave it at that. I cannot express how much it means to me to get to talk to you. I appreciate all the work you did, its so beloved to me, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me for the blog.

GC: Oh, it's been a pleasure. Thanks so much for remembering.

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