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The History of Justice League Comics

The Justice League, also known as the Justice League of America, is one of the more enduring comic book series. The first Justice League story was in Brave and the Bold #28 in 1960, as a revival of the earlier Justice Society, and received its own imprint that same year.

The plan was simple. Take the most popular characters owned by DC Comics, and put them all in one comic book. The plan worked so well it inspired reactions from other companies such as the Fantastic Four. During this time the League moved from a secret base in Rhode Island to a satellite.

In 1984, in reaction to the success of the Teen Titans line, the Justice League was reorganized to focus on younger heroes, and most of the big names were removed from the list. This was a critical and commercial failure, and the original Justice League comic ended at #261. This is sometimes known as the Detroit years, after their new base location.

The line was revived in 1987. This new league was to be more international, and an array of comics were built to show the Justice League International, normally called simply the Justice League, with Justice League Europe, Extreme Justice and Justice League Task Force.

The problem was the Legends storyline was the lead-in, and so heroes from that storyline must be included. As well, the big names were not available due to changes in their own storylines. This forced the team building the new stories to start writing before they knew who would be on the team.

They later said this was a strength, since it forced them to tell stories about the team instead of finding the correct foe for a group of heroes. This allowed the use of second tier characters and build stories around their personalities and interactions, with a mix of humor and heroics. By the mid 90s, the format was proving hard to sustain, and the various Justice League comics were all canceled.

In 1996 the league was reformed, this time as the JLA. The plan was to return to basics, and assemble the greatest collection of heroes possible. The new league was so extremely powerful they only dealt with grave threats worthy of their amazing abilities. With Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and others, they were the cream of DC Comics heroes.

Instead of multiple ongoing comic lines built around the JLA, this team saw a number of limited run specials and most of the stories were self contained to avoid conflicts with the various other titles with the same characters.

Despite the popularity of the new title, the comic was again canceled at #125 at the conclusion of the DC wide Crisis of Conscience storyline. This ended with the moon watchtower destroyed and the league dissolved.

Gavin Roberts has grown up with comic books and has compiled a massive comic book collection. He has also created an Online Comic Book Store that showcases thousands of constantly updated comic books. Check out some Justice League Comics or any other of your favorite comics at his website