Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Classics - Justice League of America #1

   I've never owned a copy of the first issue of Justice League of America, but I've read it countless times.

   And here I'm not talking about reprints (though I do have those in my collection) - I'm talking about an actual copy of the issue.

   That's because of a good friend of mine when I was young - who was also named Chuck (the only other Chuck in my school).

   One time when we were at his house I was looking through some of his comics. He didn't have a big collection, but there among the other (unmemorable) comics was this issue - Justice League of America #1!

   I have no idea where he got it, but even in those days (this would have been the late '60s, I'm guessing) we knew that this was a rare gem for anyone's comics collection.

   I tried desperately to talk him into trading or selling it to me, but he wouldn't hear of it, so I had to settle for reading it every chance I got.

   It followed (or set) the pattern for JLA stories, as the League is captured by an alien named Despero (in his first appearance). The character wasn't the Hulk-like powerhouse as he's now depicted. He was a spindly alien who used his mental powers to capture the League - but his powers didn't affect the Flash, so he tricks the speedster into playing a game that he can't win.

   As a result, the members of the team - Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter - are exiled to distant worlds, and must team up to overcome assorted alien menaces and return to deal with Despero.

   Like most of the JLA issues by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, the story is a bit formulaic - but a heck of a lot of fun.

   By the mid-'60s, the JLA was one of the few DC Comics I was still interested in - I was mostly buying Marvel by that point - and this issue was the holy grail for me.

   But even though I never managed ownership, it was a thrill just to be able to real the actual comic. I wonder if the other Chuck still has that comic?

Grade: A


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