Great Pages: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #21

From Justice League of America (Vol. 1) #21 (1963)

From Justice League of America (Vol. 1) #21 (1963)

In 1961, Barry Allen, the Flash, discovered that on an alternate Earth there existed a group of heroes similar to him and his Justice League friends. Called the Justice Society of America, these heroes had been active during World War II on their Earth and had gone into retirement soon after the war ended. Two years later, this revelation paid off when the Justice League found themselves in a situation from which they couldn’t escape. Turning to the only people who could help then, the League called for the Justice Society who were living on a world dubbed Earth-2. On this page, for the first time, the first two Green Lanterns met as did the two Atoms. Doctor Fate appeared alongside Wonder Woman, Green Arrow met Black Canary, and Hourman stumbled across Aquaman.

This page, written by Gardner Fox and penciled by Mike Sekowsky, is also the first use of the word ‘Crisis’ in the DCU. From then until now, the various Crises have held a special place in the history of DC Comics. Each subsequent Crisis, both the major ones and the minor ones, impacted the DCU in fundamental ways. Sometimes they resulted in a smaller continuity and sometimes they expanded the continuity and sometimes they indicated a tonal shift to the universe, but they were always an event. This first Crisis set the tone. It gave a road map to future creators, which they’re still following to this day.


Comments

  1. Awesome. I took this issue art from that DC Covers book and framed it. It is great.

  2. Interesting that the older heroes, who predate the new one (Barry Allen was inspired to take the name Flash from Jay Garrick, right?) are on Earth-2. Really, they should be Earth-1, but I guess since Barry did the discovering, he can call it what he wants.

    • That was brought up a few times over the years, usually in jest. If my memory holds (which it may not), in an issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Jay makes that same point but says the people on Earth-2 were just being polite.

    • Chronologically thats true too. In our world, the Justice Society existed first before the Justice League. So it’s almost like the real world impacted the fictional one or that the fictional world changed our…um… Someone get Grant Morrison, this’ll all make sense to him.

    • Thanks Jeff, I had no idea!

    • Morrison’s EARTH-2 Comic (Admittedly about the CSA and not JSA) pokes fun at this idea the whole time. (The DCU’s Earth and CSA Both refer to each other as Earth-2, because from both their perspectives, it was a second earth.)

    • @IthoSapien Exactly, Grants mind is out there but he can make sense out of things most people can’t wrap there head around. Takes real life experience’s and to really live to understand some of his works, subliminal poetry at times, kinda like Jim Morrison, The Doors, William Blake, Alduos Huxley, Doors of Perception…..I like how Grant can write the farthest reaches of the mind kinda stuff then write a solid golden age style story all the same. His book illuminates much of why he thinks the way he does and how much he loves the mythology of the superhero. Gods Among Us, What Miraculous Mutants, a Sungod from Smallville and Masked Vigilantes Can TeachnUs About Being human, I’d recommend the book to anyone.

  3. When you consider all the fuss and kerfuffle over the various crises, should this first one be dubbed a “Great Page”? Sure it is a significant, defining page, but a great one? I don’t care either way, just wondering what the ifanbase who know DC better than I, think.

    • Yes, absolutely.

    • Cool. Good to know, thanks!

    • Looks like a Great Page to me

    • Basically, if Mike Sekowski drew it, it’s great. lol

    • Classic and great page, spotlighting the 1st Superhero team ever being called upon by the most famous team, I believe this was the JSA’s 1st modern return since they disappeared the 1st time or faded away from the shelves anyway. I love that they decided to make them Earth-2 and JLA Earth-1, even know they came 1st, they’d be taking a backseat popularity wise and not look as important as they truly are. I liked when they were all on Earth-1 but it was said they were from Earth-2, trapped here, now they’re back at Earth-2 and the cycle of every morphing DCU history continues, in the end it doesn’t matter cause it can and will all be reset time and time again like before, which is fine by me, I know what stories I love and that stuff just creates elements to ponder and see what they do with the characters each time around.

  4. Does anyone know if Batman’s name is missing from the roll-call for a reason, or was it just a mistake?

  5. I love these two issues, they are in Greatest Team Up Stories Ever Told that I got at the Warner Store in like 1995 heavily discounted.

  6. Also Gardner Fox was the most meta dude out there in the 60s.

  7. I want a poster matted and framed of All-Star Comics #3, and this is a good issue to frame for nostalgic value.