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This is the thirteenth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous twelve.
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Justice Society of America was cancelled for a reason other than sales.
In 1991, Len Strazewski and four different artists did a mini-series starring the Justice Society of America, who had not appeared in comics since DC’s Crisis event from six years earlier, in a flashback story set in 1950.
Surprisingly enough, the series was a success. I say a surprise because the mini-series seemed to be designed just to keep Strazewski and the four artists busy while waiting for their !mpact line of comics to launch, as Stezewski and the four artists all worked on various !mpact Comics, so this probably was not created with the thought that it was going to be all that popular.
Therefore, in 1992, as a sequel to their popular summer crossover, Armageddon 2001, DC had a mini-series called Armageddon: Inferno, where they finally rescued the Justice Society of America from the limbo that they were sent to (to keep them from making DC stories confusing, DC literally sent the JSA to limbo, to fight eternally…how odd is that?).
This lead to a new ongoing series titled, Justice Society of America, written by Len Strazewski and drawn by the late, great, Mike Parobeck.
This new series was a critical darling, but was cancelled after only ten issues in 1993.
A year later, a good portion of the Justice Society was killed off in the pages of Zero Hour.
Why was the book cancelled?
Was it because Dan Jurgens planned to kill them off in Zero Hour?
As it turned out, it was neither of those two reasons.
As Len Strazewski recounts (in this interview with Mike Aragona), “It was a capricious decision made personally by Mike Carlin because he didn’t like Mike’s artwork or my writing and believed that senior citizen super-heroes was not what DC should be publishing. He made his opinion clear to me several times after the cancellation.”
Now clearly, one must take Strazewski’s claims with a grain of salt, after all, he was quite close to the project, however, his explanation appears believable enough that I think it is essentially true.
Justice Society of America was cancelled not because of sales, but because Mike Carlin no longer wanted to publish it.
And hey, he was the head honcho, so it was his right to make such a decision (That last statement brought to you by “People for the ethical treatment of Executive Editors”).
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