Laurel, Diane, and Ashford discuss the spectacular America vs. the Justice Society. Posthumously, Batman's Diary accuses the JSA of Treason for their treacherous role during World War 2. Did the JSA betray America? There must be some misunderstanding for sure. Please write to us at www.thehuntresspodcast.com
Hey gang. Love the podcast.ReplyDelete
I think I can help with some of your questions about JSA history.
I’m no expert but what knowledge I have comes from the fantastic podcast “Tales of the JSA” by Michael Bailey and Scott Gardner and my own reading.
- The JSA was at the time a collection of heroes from National Comics and All-American Comics.
- It was used as a vehicle to promote their heroes who didn’t have there own title. Once a hero got their own title they were made a Honorary Member. So Batman and Superman were not original members but automatically Honorary.
- Wonder Woman became a member of the team in All Star Comics #11, after All Star Comics #8 (where her first solo story was told). However, for the most part she only every as secretary. And rarely took part of the adventures.
-In All Star Comics #11, the JSA decided to briefly disband to volunteer as their secret identities in the various Armed Services. But coming across serious events in the issue each member had to take on their hero persona to fight it. At the close of the issue a general tells they can best serve their country as a hero. And forms them as the Justice Battalion.
- The publishers made a conscious decision to keep the team out of overseas action. So very few issues have them in Europe or Japan. They mainly fought the foreign actors in the USA. The comic book world’s explanation of this was retconed in DC Special #29: The Untold Origin of the Justice Society (by Paul Levite’s) which came out in 1977. It turns outs that there non action in the actual war was because of Hittle’s ownership of the Spear of Destiny. If they with in its sphere of influence it would give Hittler control over them.
- Because of the JSA’s activity, FDR wanted to have a greater expanded team of American heroes. Thus, he helped create the All Star Squadron (created by Roy Thomas).
- Finally, the initial retcon story of the teams disappearance in the 50’s was told by Paul Levitz in Adventure Comics #466: “The Defeat of the Justice Society of America” (1979). Where the team is brought before the Joint Un-American Activities Committee and were demanded to unmask themselves. The answer was to disappear from the committee room and retire.
I hope I didn’t make any mistakes with this. And that it was helpful to you.
Keep up the great work on the podcast.
Thank you for the info and details. We are trying our best to cover the material as best we can. I, Ashford, have listened to Tales of the JSA back in 2014, which was a major influence in me starting a podcast in 2015. This is the third JSA podcast I have ever covered. I try my best to cover the material with reverence. Thank you for listening and writing in; we really appreciate it.Delete
Also note that while a lot of covers of Superman comics during the war had patriotic images of Superman fighting the Germans or Japanese, the stories inside avoided this. The thinking maybe have been that comics were to be an escape. Thanks again for the show. This looks to be an interesting story. CluckTrentReplyDelete
OK. This is good to know. I remember seeing those patriotic covers. The first part of the story was pretty heavy with a lot of the expository lifting that had to be done. Moving forward, this should be interesting once we start discussing the actual narrative. Thank you for the support.ReplyDelete
Hey, gang! I have not read any of the original golden age stories, and have read some of Roy Thomas' work over the years, so I'm no expert. But I am a random guy on the internet with a keyboard, so that's just as good, right?ReplyDelete
One thing I admire about Roy Thomas is he typically is not a "retconner". He wants to make everything that's been published in the past stay canon, and works to craft stories that preserve those moments, rather than just hand wave them away or outright contradict him. This is similar to how Grant Morrison or Geoff Johns approach things, and it's a pleasant attitude. Embrace the wackiness of the past, and use it to make new stories.
But here's something that Thomas did at both DC and Marvel (in regards to the Invaders). Making Hitler unnaturally powerful, almost supernaturally powerful. Now to be clear, my take is this is not Thomas saying the real world Hitler was like this. We're strictly talking about comic-book universe version. Since there were so many superheroes published during WWII, this exaggeration of his qualities is one way to explain how this was allowed to happen by the superheroes. Since they're larger than life, it must take a larger than life figure to wage war on the whole world and keep the superheroes away from it. Again, I take this as how Thomas wanted to explain it in the comics, and not how he viewed the real deal.
However, it's just something that didn't need to be explained. There's ample examples in our lifetimes, and even today, of terrible problems in our world that superheroes would be able to solve in a heartbeat. If the comics dwelled on those constantly, the heroes would come across as callous and uncaring because they'd be ignoring or unable to get involved, or the heroes would solve those problems and the comics completely diverge from the real world as to be unrecognizable, and readers might lose their connection to them. For me, superheroes do represent a wishfulness fantasy: how would I help others if I had more power than I do? I also know the world's problems can't really be solved with a sock to the jaw, but boy, I wish they could.
Anyway, I hope I didn't ramble too badly, and my thoughts are at least interesting to you all. This is my first time reading this mini-series, so I'm excited to keep going and enjoying your coverage as always. Thanks, Huntrio!