The first comic that I remember buying for myself was a birthday present in 1982. The book was the Justice League of America #200 and this is where my comic book fandom took off.
Now, I had watched Adventures of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman shows on TV and I got up every Saturday morning with the dawn to catch The SuperFriends, but those were just the gateway bits of candy. The comic book was where I could get even more hero action.
Money was tight when I was a kid, even by those standards and this was right around my birthday that I walked into the local Magik Market and bought a Cherry Icey/Slushie and JLA #200.
And just like that, my fate as a comic book geek was sealed.
Justice League of America #200
The story featured fifteen heroes, three supporting characters, and seven aliens bent on using Earth as a battlefield.
Fairly simple and straightforward, right?
Well, what I did not know is that this story was also a wink and a nod to the story structure that the JLA had in the past, where individual heroes would attempt to confront the problem only to be beaten back and forced to regroup.
Once the heroes came together, then the heroes would succeed at their task.
Justice League of America Shield Logo
The Justice League of America was founded by seven heroes and then joined by nine more heroes.
The founding members of the JLA are:
Superman — Clark Kent — The Last Son of Krypton who wields amazing super strength, super senses, flight, and is nearly impervious to harm.
Wonder Woman — Princess Diana of Themyscira — The daughter of the Queen of the Amazons, Diana is imbued with the power of the pantheon of Olympus to bring peace to man’s world.
Batman — Bruce Wayne — The Dark Knight seeks justice in a world ever darker and ever stranger armed only with his keen intellect, gadgets, and superb fighting prowess.
Aquaman — Arthur Curry — Ruler of the Seven Seas. Aquaman can withstand the greatest of pressures, move through the water at immense speeds, and command sea life to do his bidding.
Flash — Barry Allen — The Scarlet Speedster. Struck by a lightning bolt that washed electrified chemicals over him, Barry Allen was gifted with mastery over his molecules and immeasurable speed.
Green Lantern — Hal Jordan — The Galactic Protector. Hal Jordan was given his ring by a dying member of the Green Lantern Corps and can use its power to construct solid light constructs.
Martian Manhunter — J’onn J’onzz/John Jones — The last surviving member of the Martian race, J’onn was teleported to Earth accidentally and has been forced to make a home amongst the human race using his telepathy, shape shifting, and strength to blend in with Earthlings.
Together they became the greatest fighting force for good that the universe ever knew.
JLA Original Seven
The original team was soon joined by
Green Arrow — Oliver Queen — The Emerald Archer — Shipwrecked on a hostile island, Oliver Queen was forced to master archery in order to survive and return to his home, now he fights for the common man with a common weapon.
The Atom — Ray Palmer — The Tiny Titan — Physicist at Ivy University, Ray Palmer devised a belt and gloves that when worked in tandem could shrink a man to microscopic size while maintaining his mass and strength.
Hawkman — Katar Hol/Carter Hall — The Winged Wonder — A police officer from far off Thanagar, Carter works as a museum curator while protecting the citizens of Midway City with ancient Earth weaponry.
Black Canary — Dinah Drake Lance — The Blonde Bombshell — Black Canary is a master of most forms of martial arts and can muster a sonic scream that can level most foes.
Elongated Man — Ralph Dibny — The Ductile Detective — When Ralph drinks his Gingold serum, he gains the ability to stretch his body to enormous proportions.
Red Tornado — John Smith — The Robotic Twister — Red Tornado’s robot body contains an elemental force, the Tornado Tyrant, and there in lies Red Tornado’s ability to create massive winds.
Zatanna — Zatanna Zatara — The Mistress of Magic — Zatanna’s backwards spoken spells are powerful enough to confound the mightiest criminals.
Firestorm — Ronald Raymond and Dr. Martin Stein — The Nuclear Man — Fused together, college student Ronald Raymond and physicist Martin Stein became Firestorm, they control nuclear bonds to transform matter.
The New Members
And now, most of the players are in their places.
Next Up: JLA #200. Part One: Secret Origin