I was going to do a thread on my FIVE favorite Justice League/Justice Society team-ups when I discovered that I couldn't pick just five! So I'm going to write about all of them. These won't be synopses since I am assuming that everyone is familar with them, thanks to the Justice League Archives and the Crisis On Multiple Earths TPBs. This will just be my personal recollections and observations with a few facts. I'll start in the Mister Silver Age sub-heading then continue in my Fan of Bronze.

The first seven team-ups were written, of course, by Gardner Fox and the first six illustrated by Mike Sekowsky.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #21-22 (Au-S'63): The Crisis on Earth One & The Crisis on Earth Two

The JLA: This was the only JLA/JSA meeting that the Martian Manhunter played a part in the Silver Age.

Green Arrow meets his future love interest, the Black Canary. Naturally no reaction.

Both Flashes are taken out of the story early since they already had three team-ups in Flash.

 

The JSA: Instead of including Wonder Woman and Doctor Mid-Nite, Fox revived Doctor Fate and Hourman, neither seen since WWII.

Doctor Fate-restored with his full golden helmet, something that Silver Age readers would not know or even Bronze Age ones since DC would only reprint one Dr.Fate story with his half-helmet! But his gloves would be missing for awhile.

Hawkman-was revived wearing a hawk helmet in Flash #137 yet returned to wearing his yellow cowl. He appeared in Justice League before his Silver Age counterpart, even though he was mentioned in #3.

Black Canary-her marital arts skills and amulet devices are highlighted.

Hourman and the Atom--neither's super-strength is mentioned.

Green Lantern-seemed to hit it off with Hal Jordan right away.

The Villains: The Crime Champions are a great idea but...

Chronos takes on Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman!

The Icicle goes one-on-one with Doctor Fate!

The Fiddler is bald and wears a wig. Take that, Luthor!

The Icicle looks like Groucho Marx! "Last night, I shot Green Lantern in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know!"

The Crime Champions have a HQ between the Earths in "a great sphere of vibratory energy" that is multi-leveled and tastely furnished. Their civvies however leave a lot to be desired!

Some Notes: The golden, chained cages that the two teams are trapped in #22 was ripped off inspired by Mystery In Space #18 from 1954!

While the two groups meet, they do not team-up until the end when sixteen heroes gang up on six villains.

The Crime Champions do not return until the 80s!

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It was established in Weisinger comics, but was it established in Schwartz comics?
Luke Blanchard said:

But as this conversation points out


That's the wrong page: I meant this one, at the same site.

I've mentioned before the shocking decline in Sekowsky's artwork from #61 to #63. Did he know #63 was his last and "phoned" it in?

The use of the Superman of the future, which it should be noted, would never had happened in a Weisinger comic, was Fox's plot gimmick/macguffin of the issue. He probably thought why not have Superman save the day? But the League's shall-we-say innovative way of dealing with the Key would be addressed later in #110.

Roy Thomas had seen both Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four become cartoon shows, not to mention the static Marvel Super-Heroes series so merchandising and rights were coming to the forefront so his not wanting to give away 100% new characters does make sense but he claims Stan wanted the Vision to be an android, not that there's any point of asking Stan! I think that he and Gardner Fox could have known of each others' ideas but Gardner never intended for Reddy to be a JLA member, that was Len Wein.

And Reddy did allright for himself with Kathy Sutton and was a "father" to Traya far earlier than the Vision became one.

P.S. to Figs, perfectably understandable. Hope all is well!

Eric L. Sofer said:

. . . and really, after Rip Hunter and his team, Superman and Supergirl, the Flashes, and the Legion of Super Heroes, who else transported themselves through time anyhow?


Well, there was the Atom, thanks to Professor Hyatt's Time Pool.

 

The Batman and Robin, through Professor Nichols.

 

And the Green Lantern, courtesy of his power ring---which did have the power to permit him to travel through time, as seen in "5708 A.D.---a Nice Year to Visit---But I Wouldn't Want to Live Then", from Green Lantern # 66 (Jan., 1969).

 

 

Philip Portelli said:

I've mentioned before the shocking decline in Sekowsky's artwork from #61 to #63. Did he know #63 was his last and "phoned" it in?


I agree completely that Mike Sekowksy did a terrible job on his last two JLA efforts.  But some of the blame must be shared by his inker for those two efforts---George Roussos, who never positively complemented any artist's work, from what I've seen.

 

Nor did I like Gardner Fox's stunt of swapping the 1968 Superman for his 1965 self in JLA # 63.  As you and others have pointed out, it's too much of a rabbit out of a hat.   I remember being a bit puzzled when I read it because Fox was usually knowledgeable about the continuities of the JLAers in their parent series and adhered to them.  Now, sure, he undoubtedly was more familiar with Julius Schwartz's stable of characters.  But he knew enough about the Man of Steel's mythos to be aware of the lesser-known fact that Superman also lost his powers under a green sun (n.b., "Superman Under the Green Sun", from Superman # 155 [Aug., 1962]) and use it as a plot device in JLA # 52 (Mar., 1967).

 

So, it was definitely a cheat, as far as I'm concerned.

 

What makes it particularly galling is that it was unnecessary.  There is a completely acceptable alternate solution, one that would also cover what I consider a noticeable oversight in JLA # 63.

 

As you recall, the situation was that the Key, thanks to his psycho-chemical, had instilled the Justice Leaguers with an unshakeable compulsion to remain in their secret sanctuary.  Also, you remember, the Martian Manhunter was the only JLA member absent from this story, without an explanation provided.  The plot of the story was written as if J'onn J'onzz wasn't a member of the League, at all.

 

Instead of the whole nonsense of Superman switching places with his past self, Gardner Fox could have written it this way.  The reason why the Manhunter missed the regular JLA meeting was because he was visiting Mars.  Consequently, he was out of range of the Key's influence.

 

So when the JLAers realised that they couldn't escape their HQ, no matter how hard they tried, it would have been a simple matter for the Green Lantern to order his power ring to bring J'onn J'onzz from wherever he was to the sanctuary.  Since the Manhunter was not under the Key's influence, he could have forced the other members out of the cave.  Granted, he would have had a bit more trouble with the heavy hitters than Superman did, but there were work-arounds, especially for a clever writer like Fox.  (He could have thwarted G.L.'s power ring by turning his body yellow; and against the Man of Steel himself, he could have used green kryptonite or Wonder Woman's magic lasso; for example.)

 

Yeah, it would have ruined the cover idea, but certainly another equally dynamic one could have been concocted.

I am (finally!) caught up reading this entire thread! I even started reading along with the Crisis on Multiple Earths tpb which leads off with #91-92. Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, that’s where I left off reading the last time I tried to work my way through all of the JLA/JSA team-ups. I stopped between issue #91 and #92 as a matter of fact; the one with A-Rym and Teppy is my candidate for worst JLA/JSA team-up.

The new Robin costume is not only designed by Neal Adams, but by the Neal Adams of Earth-2, Dick Grayson’s personal costume maker. Wasn’t it Neal Adams who designed Tim Drake’s first Robin costume, too?

Commander, you're right - but I didn't include those examples because they weren't really "innate."

 

The Atom and Batman and Robin needed special assistance to time travel... well, yes, so did Rip Hunter and most of the Legion, I guess... but in both the latters' cases, they had their mechanisms right at hand, and could decide any time, "Beautiful morning, eh? Let's go watch The Great Disaster at the end of the 20th century, shall we Priscilla?"  The Atom had to make sure that Professor Hyatt had the Time Pool on that day, and Bruce and Dick had to be sure that Professor Nichols was available; they couldn't do it on their own - or at least, not that I ever recall.

 

As for Green Lantern, I was obviously mistaken - but I thought that he didn't travel to the 57th century of his own volition, but was pulled forward through time to be Pol Manning.  Of course, there's little doubt that a power ring could break through the centuries...

 

x<]:o){


Commander Benson said:

Eric L. Sofer said:

. . . and really, after Rip Hunter and his team, Superman and Supergirl, the Flashes, and the Legion of Super Heroes, who else transported themselves through time anyhow?


Well, there was the Atom, thanks to Professor Hyatt's Time Pool.

 

The Batman and Robin, through Professor Nichols.

 

And the Green Lantern, courtesy of his power ring---which did have the power to permit him to travel through time, as seen in "5708 A.D.---a Nice Year to Visit---But I Wouldn't Want to Live Then", from Green Lantern # 66 (Jan., 1969).

 

 

Actually Luke, I don't remember it being mentioned until Weisinger was gone from DC.

Luke Blanchard said:
It was established in Weisinger comics, but was it established in Schwartz comics?
Eric L. Sofer said:

As for Green Lantern, I was obviously mistaken - but I thought that he didn't travel to the 57th century of his own volition, but was pulled forward through time to be Pol Manning.  Of course, there's little doubt that a power ring could break through the centuries...


Don't blame your memory; I almost forgot it myself.

 

On G.L.'s previous trips to the 58th century, yes, he was pulled involuntarily to that era by Dasor, chairman of the Star City high council.  But, as you might recall, at the end of most of those adventures---Green Lantern # 8, 12, 47, and 51---when the Emerald Gladiator was returned to his own time, he brought along some remnant of his trip to the future.  They were puzzling to him because his memory of his future adventures was wiped slick in the process.

 

As we learn in GL # 66, the Lantern has kept all of these "souvenirs".  In this story, he finally determines to learn where they came from, so he orders his power ring to home in on the source of those objects and then transport him there.  The power ring takes him through the time barrier to A.D. 5708.  At the end of that adventure, G.L. returns to his own time, using his power ring, rather than Dasor's equipment.  Thus, from then on, G.L. is aware of his alternate life in the 58th century.

Eric L. Sofer said:
Actually Luke, I don't remember it being mentioned until Weisinger was gone from DC.

Luke Blanchard said:
It was established in Weisinger comics, but was it established in Schwartz comics?


Oh, that rule was in place long before Mort Weisinger retired.

 

Mort established the idea that Superman, or another time-traveller, turns into a phantom whenever he journeys to a time in which he already exists---thus avoiding the paradox of being in two places at one time---in the story "The Town That Hated Superman", from Superman  # 130 (Jul., 1959). 

 

In this tale, Superman solves the mystery of why Bruce Cyrus, the mayor and town father of Cyrusville hates the Man of Steel with an avid passion.  He does this by taking Cyrus back to the time when they were both foundlings at Smallville Orphange.  The first panel of their arrival in 1930's Smallville remarks on the phantom phenomenon:

 

Hope this helps.

I hope you don’t mind, Philip, if I offer some commentary on the issues around the JLA JSA team-ups in my Showcase JL vol V.  They were all new to me and I’d like to discuss them. I thought of starting their own thread, but that’d only get messy when I get to the JSA appearances.  Think of them as context.  Context is everything!

 

(They also tie in quite strongly to my Morrison reading, which is handy!)

 

Issue 66 has the JL against the ‘Dirty Half Dozen’.  These 6 soldiers of a minor nation and their morale-affecting machine aren’t a real threat to the League, but this issue has GA’s first break with the team.  Things are quiet and he suggests answering a minor request in a letter from a college professor.  The super-powered members disagree and leave Batman, Snapper, GA and the Atom to it.  However everything is hunky dory again by the end of the issue.  Again, I’ll return to this sub-plot later.

 

67 must have been a reprint issue, and 68’s villain, Neverwas, is something of a proto-type for Aquarius in the next JSA team-up.  Perhaps it is a move away from the simple Manichean dualities of good and evil that fired earlier stories, but Denny seems to be arguing that perceived villains may not just be bad, like General Gog, but may also be mad (Aquarius) or simply ‘dangerous to know’, like Neverwas.  I love Superman’s final gift to the child-like Neverwas – a giant toy.

 

As Superman says: 

 

“As you know, everyone needs friendship ... and play!  So I arranged for the creature to be too busy to bother us again!”

 

He’s such a Hippy!

 

A lot of O’Neill’s scripting in these issues offers a subtle critique of the JLA stories that preceded his run, and their prevailing attitudes.

 

Issue 69 has the team up against an old foe called the Head Master, who I’d never encountered before.  Someday I’ll catch up on the JL Showcase vols II & III.  Having read vol IV, it should be less of a chore now.

 

There was one thought-provoking line in a thought bubble by the Flash towards the start.  Wonder Woman has popped in for a quick visit, but without her powers, she is no longer a member of the team.

 

Flash thinks:

 

“I’ve always felt that some day Superman might marry her... Now they’ve lost each other!

 

“As Aquaman has lost his wife Mera... and Green Lantern has lost Carol Ferris!  Sometimes it seems that we are getting old.”

 

It’s so strange to see that even in 1969, hardly 10 years since they begun, time and change are threatening the early Silver Age Eden.  All of those events are really things which there would be no going back from in the real world, so Flash is highlighting something for us later readers that the show will be kept on the road long after these tragedies and more besides, with all these events and back-stories weighing the heroes down more and more.  That it is the gentle, likeable Flash, doomed to be the poster boy for permanent death - and its reversal! - who is saying it adds to the remarkableness of the lines.

 

Issues 70 and 71 were the reasons I started reading around the tream-ups actually.  Both were referred to by you, Philip, in explaining where Morrison was drawing his inspiration in my JLA thread, so it was great to get a chance to read them.

 

Issue 70 has Mind-Grabber Kid, who I don’t believe appeared anywhere again until Morrison's Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer mini-within-a-maxi.  As I said, these JLA stories depend on incident being thrown on incident to keep the plot ticking, so here we have the JLA investigating the Creeper, while MGK convinces some passing aliens that the JL are despots.  Morrison’s handling of MGK as someone on the margins of the superhero world, who has to console himself that he once mixed it with the big guns, contrasts well with the sketchily motivated character here.  There may be less incident in Morrison’s Seven Soldiers issues (just!), but that is more than made up for by the sensitive and affecting way he portrays MGK in Bulleteer’s story.  I think its a real shame if anyone reading this thread has an interest in MGK and hasn’t read Seven Soldiers.  As I said to Philip, the series was, in a way, written for fans of just this era of Justice League with lots of little things like MGK’s grown-up appearance to enjoy.

 

These issues in particular seem to be Morrison’s ‘Golden Age’ (he’d have been 9 – typically precocious!), and the next issue – 71 – is the inspiration for the first arc of Morrison’s JLA.  We see Martian Manhunter’s return to Mars after a 13 year exile.  His exile was in real time, no less!  This was such a different era for DC comics!  So we meet the White Martians.  In retrospect there are some mad story choices here.  Jonn’s return to his homeland and attempt to save it from its despoilers, as well as his subsequent exile from the solar system, should surely be the stuff of epics.  Instead it is all done in just ONE ISSUE!

 

The tale also depends on J’onn never asking Superman in all those 13 years to have a look at Mars and tell him how things are going there.  Can’t Superman see across the Universe?  Wasn’t J’onn curious?

 

Often a small, barely noticeable point in these JLA issues became major character-defining traits and plot-points in later DCU history.  In this case, J’onn’s sudden done-in-one-issue self-exile at the end, became a major part of his future history in DC One Million.  Another example was Jean Loring’s space-madness in later issues, which became her core defining characteristic by the time Identity Crisis roled around.

 

Having read the Commander’s well thought-through objections about how MM wasn’t used properly when the readers knew he was on Earth, it’s clear that DC brought him back just for this one issue to wipe out his homeland and send him as far from Earth as possible!  Short shrift for poor old J’onnz!

 

Issue 72 has been alluded to by Philip.  Red Tornado saves the day, and Hawkman and a load of people from staying turned to salt, but the JL still keep him waiting TWO WEEKS when he comes to ask for their help in saving the ENTIRE UNIVERSE of Earth 2!  Morrison’s titular ‘Rock of Ages’ may, or may not be, the Philosopher’s Stone which appears in this story.

#70 with the Creeper always bothered me somehow. His prescence in the story was, I think, a way to draw readers to his rapidly fading series, Beware the Creeper! and/or use a great Neal Adams cover that had no connection to the actual story. I suppose it's best to put *SPOILER ALERT* on. The gist of the plot was that Batman had just teamed with the Garish Guardian in Brave & Bold, another Adams link, and, for some reason, asked the JLA to settle once and for all if the Crazy Champion was a hero or a villain. Uh, Bats, you already made up your mind when you didn't arrest him when you had the chance! And in the end the JLA knew what side the Creeper was on, they just didn't want him on their team. Plus he was able to defeat the misled aliens from Ur and their power-duplicating meta-caps (this is from memory, folks! Just don't ask me the actual JLA line-up today! *sigh*) because he had no super-powers, basically filling what would have been the Caped Crusader's role in this tale. But then, I always thought that the Laughing Loon had more than human strength, speed, agility and rapid healing, not to mention the quickest costume change this side of the Flash.

As for the Mind Grabber Kid, he made you miss Snapper Carr. However I do recall hoping that MGK would show up when they revived the Teen Titans but they didn't and they brought back Gnark! Maybe Morrison just wanted to finish his story or felt bad for the little bugger!

#71, as I gathered, was a sore spot for the Commander, Mister Silver Age, Fogey, Dave and the rest as it completely altered J'onn J'onzz's origin and backstory! He went from a reluctant visitor to a political exile after boasting how peaceful and wonderful Mars was. Yes, it gave a reason for not asking the team not to bring him home but for space travellers like Superman, Green Lantern and Hawkman, it made them oblivious to what was happening "next door"! So much for those intergalactic patrols and missions Kal was famous for! Unfortunately technology caught up with J'onn and by the late 60s, scientists were 100% sure that Mars was lifeless so the Martian Manhunter became passe and no longer viable, even in a fantasy world. He probably would have survived if he were J'onn J'onzz the Manhunter From Meh!

I don't recall much about #72, only there was a real convoluted plot and a great cover by Joe Kubert!

And yes, please add whatever you like! Any JLA issue is fair game here! 

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