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Justice League

The Justice League is a team of comic book superheroes in the DC Comics universe. The roster includes some of the most famous superheroes in pop culture. The team has also gone by the names Justice League of America, JLA and Justice League International.

The original line-up, to which the league has often returned, is Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and The Martian Manhunter. Other notable members have included Hawkman, The Atom, Green Arrow, and Plastic Man.

Table of contents
1 Publication History
2 Character History
3 Other media

Publication History

The original team first appeared in The Brave and The Bold #28 (1960) as a revival of the Justice Society of America (or "JSA") under a new, more dynamic name of "League" and soon gained its own title that same year. The creator was a writer named Gardner Fox, who was inspired by the Justice Society to create a similar, contemporary concept, and who decided upon the word "league" influenced by the National Basketball League and the American Baseball League. This comic was initially amongst the most popular of DC Comics's publications, but by the 1970s it had become overshadowed by Marvel Comics' equivalent super-team The Avengers series in sales and quality. Various writers tried to include more complex characterization into the JLA comic, but it proved to be an uneasy fit. Other efforts to improve the sales of the title included swelling the ranks of the team's membership, and moving the team from their cave headquarters to an orbiting satellite. The JLA comic had a brief spike in popularity in 1982 as artist George Perez joined the creative team, but the commercial success was short-lived.

In 1984, in an attempt to emulate the success of DC's most successful comic, The New Teen Titans, an editorial decision was made to have most of the regular members leave the team, to be replaced by young unknowns. This move was highly unpopular with readers, who dubbed this period of time the "Justice League Detroit" era. DC Comics then had the team disbanded and rebuilt in the 1986 company wide crossover mini series, Legends. This new team was given a less American-centric mandate than before and was dubbed Justice League International (or JLI), written by Keith Giffen with art by Kevin Macguire. This new and very popular series added a quirky sense of tongue in cheek humour to the stories, while avoiding the obvious camp silliness such as in the 1960s Batman TV series. The titles expanded to a total of five by the early 1990s: Justice League America (formerly JLI), Justice League Europe, Justice League Task Force, Justice League Quarterly, and Extreme Justice. By the mid 1990s, however, with the departure of Keith Giffen as writer, the humor prevalent in the early JLI-era had disappeared in favor of more serious stories, and as the commercial success of the series faded each of the titles were cancelled.

In 1995, fan favorite comic-book writer Grant Morrison was instrumental in returning the JLA to much of its former glory with a new series titled simply JLA. This series used as its core the original seven members (or their character successors) of the team: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, the Martian Manhunter, and to a lesser extent, Aquaman and Plastic Man, with various other characters brought in at different times. Morrison introduced the idea of the JLA allegorically emulating a pantheon of gods, with their different powers and personalities. Morrison left the title, and the book gradually floundered over a period of years under a succession of writers.

By 2003, Keith Giffen had returned with a separate title called "Formerly Known as Justice League", featuring some of the characters and the humour of his 1990 series, and which achieved modest commercial success.

Character History

Its origin (according to Justice League of America #9) begins when Earth is infiltrated by various competing alien warriors sent to the planet to see who can conquer it first. While most of the invaders are defeated by the superheroes individually, they are at the last enslaved by one competitor and only by working together do they manage to defeat him. The group decides that they should form a permanent organization to confront menaces that require similar poolings of resources and dub themselves the Justice League of America.

This team protects the world fighting various menaces, often working with its precursor, the JSA. A team originally formed by the teen sidekicks of a few Justice League members (and thus known as a "Junior Justice League" of sorts) is called the Teen Titans.

Other media

The comic has been adapted for television numerous times. The first was as a segment in The Superman/Aquaman Adventure Hour animated series. The longest running version was a heavily toned down animated series called Super Friends which ran in various incarnations from 1972 to 1985. There was also a live action television series pilot in the mid-1990s which failed to sell, possibly due to multiple licensing issues with having the 'Big Three' of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman in the same series, so the live action series opted instead for the lesser known characters, and even then most of these were quite contrary to the characters as written in the comics. Finally, Cartoon Network's Justice League animated series debuted in 2001 and as of 2003 is still in production.