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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 42

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at Len Wein and Dick Dillin’s Justice League of America…

Enjoy!

Len Wein had a relatively short run on Justice League of America (partnered with longtime JLA artist Dick Dillin), fifteen issues in total from #100-114, but boy did he do a lot in those fifteen issues (also, since the book went bi-monthly shortly into his run, he was on the book for more than two years)!

He opened up with a bang with a tremendously fun storyline involving the League teaming up with the Justice Society of America AND the Seven Soldiers of Victory, a team that had not been used in DC Comics since the end of World War II (the run began in 1972)!!!

It was a great adventure, and it was especially cool seeing all these mostly unused characters be used again. Wein really put DC’s library of character to great use.

On that same note, the following issue featured a great guest-star that Wein was quite familiar with (having written a number of his stories), the Phantom Stranger!

Check out his awesome introduction…

Man, Dillin NAILED that, didn’t he?

The following issue was a fun action issue with the League taking on the Shaggy Man.

Next, we saw how Wein was also putting his mark on the Justice League by adding, in back to back issues, no less, TWO new members of the team (theorizing, correctly, that it really didn’t make much sense NOT to have these characters be members)…

First the Elongated Man…

then Red Tornado…

It was at this same time that Wein introduced both the John Smith persona for Red Tornado AND Smith’s love interest…

So we’re just seven issues in and Wein has already brought back the Seven Soldiers of Victory, added two members to the team AND invented John Smith and his girlfriend, Kathy!

He then followed by introducing the Quality superheroes to the DC Universe…

in a cool storyline that involved the Justice League traveling to Earth X, the world where the Nazis won World War II!

Check out this cool page by Dillin featuring Batman scaring some Nazis…

Wein continued to shake things up by having Hawkman leave…

Look how DRAMATIC everything is!

This was really noteworthy adventure comics right here.

Speaking of dramatic, Wein mixed drama with a great sense of humor for the next issue…

It was a really whimsical tale that holds up really well today.

Finally, in his last really amazing issue, Justice League of America #111, Wein introduced Libra, in a story so cool that it influenced Grant Morrison decades later…

The last three issues of the run aren’t BAD, but #100-111 measure up nicely with the best JLA runs of all-time (a few of which will be featured this year)!

18 Comments

Definitely looks to be one of the series classic eras. And looking at that last cover it’s funny to see “Here Come TV’s Super-Friends”. I didn’t realize the comics had tied the series and the cartoon together like that. Of course, they eventually gave us a Super Friends comic book.

Totally agree with this choice, Brian- the only JLA run to beat it in the original incarnation being Steve Engleharts run a few years later. It was Len Wein who made me like Elongated Man for a start and packed in characterisation and excellent storylines.

Wow…

I remember some of these (must have been reprints) but I certainly loved them…

Have they been collected?

Tales of the Boojum

February 12, 2010 at 9:04 am

I know those are Hawkman’s wings on the page where Elongated Man joins the team but, at first glance, it looked for all the world like Aquaman was wearing a pair of giant comedy fake boobs. Or maybe some kind of flotation device.

Love, love, LOVE this run. Some of the most fun comics ever produced. Len Wein & Dick Dillin are both HORRIBLY underrated creators.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

February 12, 2010 at 11:21 am

Even Engelhart spent some time following up on Wein’s work in his run. Engelhart’s JLofA #143 follows from Wein’s story in #111, and likewise #149-50 use elements from #110′s story. (I’m trying not to spoil anything with my comments.)

One of the very first comic books I ever bought was that one where Hawkman quit. I didn’t even know who most of the characters were at the time.

nice to see Weins run on the jla featured . for loved it when the red tornado was introduced and also the look of shcok on supes face when the phantom stranger came a calling.for after all the mystics of the dcu seem to have that creepy factor built into their character. can not wait for more of the run featured

Oh yeah, this was great stuff. Good call!

“Have they been collected?”

Archive editions run through #80. Showcase Presents is up to #83. So not yet.

Some issues have been collected: all the JSA team-ups in the Crisis on Multiple Earths TPBs, and the new-member issues in various collections over the years. But the whole run hasn’t been collected yet.

Absolutely loved these books, as you could tell from the horribly curled spines and shredded covers on my copies. These bring back some very fond memories of some of my earliest comic books. What about the horribly sad story about Sandy, the Golden Boy, being locked up in the basement of the Sandman for decades as a conscious, immobilized mutated monster? So sad. . .

Thanks for all those pages of that gorgeous Dillin artwork. I will never understand why he’s not as well-known and more widely respected as some of classic older artists: Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, John Romita Sr.

Dick Dillin had a way of making the stupidest looking costumes look awesome.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

February 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm

JLofA #111 was reprinted as one of the Countdown-related 80-page giants because it was Libra’s first appearance.

Does any title have its fortunes wax and wane quite like the JLA? One year, it is a license to print money. The next year, you have Len Wein and Dick Dillin pumping out a classic run at a rate of six issues per year. Not because they were slow, but because DC couldn’t move enough copies.

It is amazing.

These were among some of the very first comics I read, and even today there are countless single panels in them that I vividly recognise whenever I see them. Dillin’s faces were so expressive in close-up. There was a great one in the Seven Soldiers of Victory arc of Starman straining to make mental contact with his cosmic rod, which is outside the Egyptian pyramid in which he and his companions are trapped, every line of which shines out clearly in my memory across the decades.

Brian, were you reading at the time? If not, how do you come to discover great old runs like these?

When I think of the JLA, I think of this era and the later Englehart stories. Great, memorable tales.

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