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Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Secret Origin of the Justice League - 1981

"The Secret Origin of the Justice League of America" by ?, ?, and ?

After talking about the biggest (at least in terms of physical size) JLA adventure ever yesterday, I thought we'd follow that up with the smallest--the Justice League installment of the Leaf Candy comics, a series of origin stories that came packed in small bags of candy (check the label to see other posts related to this topic).

This issue opens up with a sadly Aqua-deprived splash page followed by an unusual opening gambit for a kids' comic:
Superman tells the little racists about the origin of the JLA, which he says involved a giant alien who tried to conquer Earth, an alien so powerful that it took the combined might of Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and himself to defeat it.

When they did, they realized they should form a team:
There's mention of some of the JLA's most fearsome foes, like Despero, Brainstorm, Starro, the Shaggy Man, and Dr. Destiny. There is no mention as to why Martian Manhunter doesn't get a chair, or why the alien foe on the inside does not match the (presumably) robot on the cover.

Also shown is how The Joker discovered the location of the Secret Sanctuary, forcing the JLA to build its satellite:
Before we get to the conclusion of this little tale, I feel like I have to mention a couple things: first, how is Flash surviving in airless space like that? Second, regarding the big JLA group shot: once again someone has left out Hawkgirl. Man, and I thought DC had it out for Aquaman! Third, I love how happy Superman and Batman are to see Aquaman and Flash arrive. Must have been a JLA birthday party or something.

Okay, anyway, back to Superman and the kids:
...the end!

I reviewed this book for my JLA Satellite blog, and at the time I couldn't figure out why the origin was changed for this story. I must have been pretty dense then, because now it seems rather obvious: the writer of this book only had a few pages to get in a lot of info, and trying to fit in seven Apellax aliens makes no sense when it can be just one big bad guy. Duh.

The one thing I didn't know then and still don't know now is who wrote and drew this book. I thought maybe it was our pal Paul Kupperberg, since he wrote a few of these Leaf Candy books (including the Aquaman one). But Paul said it wasn't him, maybe it was Bob Rozakis?

I then asked Bob, and he said no, maybe it was Len Wein? I then turned to Len, and he said no as well. Having no further leads, I gave up my search, and have to admit the author still remains unknown as of this writing. Same thing with the art: parts of it look like the work of Rich Buckler, inked by someone else, but I can't be sure. They, too, remain unknown.

And as much as I've been kinda goofing on this book, I really do like the whole "inclusive" angle the author tried to work in here. That's a lot to ask for in such a limited, absurdly commercial enterprise such as this. Who would have expected an social commentary in a comic book included with a bag of candy?
I guess my only real complaint is with the splash page: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and...Hawkman. Hawkman, really? Don't make me start a "My Grudge Against Hawkman" page, DC!


Aaron said...

Oh, excellent, that brings back memories, it's actually a pretty full little book! Heh, that is funny with Flash out in space, reminds me of watching Super Friends how he'd suddenly be flying off somewhere. The Speed Force moves in mysterious ways!

M W Gallaher said...

I'm pretty rusty on art-spotting, but this looks to me like the work of Frank McLaughlin over layouts by Ross Andru.

Randy said...

Can't tell the writing style, but the art looks like it could be Jose Delbo. His art always reminded me of a stiffer combo of Ross Andru and JLGL.

rob! said...

Hmmm...Delbo/McLaughlin seems very plausible to me!

Russell said...

I think the inker is definitely Frank McLaughlin. You should ask him if he remembers doing this job.

Shellhead said...

Why the dig at Fox News, though? Let's try to keep the Aqua Shrine politics free, shall we?

JasonMotesBowles said...

I have these... they still have the candy in them!