Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

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Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:05 pm

I know it's probably slightly unpatriotic of me, but ever since I first discovered the Justice Society of America in a mid 70s issue of All-Star Comics, the veteran superheroes of World War II have been among my favourite comic characters and certainly second only to Captain Britain in my personal league table of superheroes. I have no idea what seemed to me at the time to be an older version of the JLA composed of half a dozen middle aged men and two young women (Power Girl and the Huntress, who were at least thirty years younger than all their male team-mates) made such an impression on me, but I've devoured everything they've been in since voraciously, and I still look forward to their ongoing adventures every month. Even the fact that logically, the Flash, Green Lantern and wildcat are all now at least 90 and shouldn't be capable of getting into their costumes without assistance let alone taking down the Injustice Gang doesn't detract from their appeal. For some reason, they just seem more heroic and more real than their younger counterparts, the Justice League. Any other fans of the Golden Age heroes out there?

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:39 pm

Just found the covers to three of my favourite JSA stories from the 70s (hopefully, they'll show up...)

The first one is part one of the murder mystery 'Who Killed Mr Terrific' from JLA #171-172, in which the JLA and JSA team up to discover which of them murdered a veteran JSA member at their annual get together.


The second one is one of the earliest JSA stories I read, the one in which Huntress joins the team...



and this was my first ever exposure to the team-All-Star Comics #72. I had no idea what was going on or who the old guys claiming to be Flash and Green Lantern were...


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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Hourglass on Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:31 am

I gather this is how Justice League started out right?

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:41 am

Hourglass wrote:I gather this is how Justice League started out right?
The Justice Society were the original superhero team, founded in 1941 (it was eventually revealed in a late 70s story that they were called together to save Britain from invasion and asked to remain together to protect the home front by FDR). They were disbanded in 1950, but later reassembled after the debut of their successors, the Justice League. The League and the Society then had a tradition of annual get togethers which lasted for years. It was originally established in the sixties that the JSA and the rest of the Golden Age characters lived on the parallel world of Earth 2, while their modern counterparts lived on Earth 1, but since the epic 1985 limited series 'Crisis on Infinite Earths' streamlined the DC Universe, they are now considered to be all residents of the same world, the JSA members being regarded as the elder statesmen of the superhero fraternity. The few surviving original JSA members eventually reformed the team full time in order to train younger superheroes, mostly those with a connection to the original JSA such as Damage, the son of the deceased original JSA member the Atiom, and Stargirl, successor to the original Star Spangled Kid. Many of these 'legacy heroes' now comprise the membership of a sub-team, the JSA All-Stars.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by GBF on Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:05 am

Jack and Stan's FF - 'Nuff said!!!!

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:22 am

GBF wrote:Jack and Stan's FF - 'Nuff said!!!!
Ah, but the FF only came into existence because Martin Goodman wanted Stan to create a super team to rival DC's Justice League, and neither the League nor any other super team would ever have existed if the Justice Society hadn't got there first...

The FF, like every other team of superheroes, owe their existence to the JSA. Cool

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Spiff_B on Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:34 am

tony ingram wrote:neither the League nor any other super team would ever have existed if the Justice Society hadn't got there first...
If not for the Justice Society, no super teams would exist?! I'm sure someone else would've created one at some point!

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:39 am

Spiff_B wrote:
tony ingram wrote:neither the League nor any other super team would ever have existed if the Justice Society hadn't got there first...
If not for the Justice Society, no super teams would exist?! I'm sure someone else would've created one at some point!
But would the idea have caught on so well? And more importantly, given what I said about the FF being created as a rival to the JLA and the JLA being effectively a revived JSA: if the JSA had never existed, would DC really have had a huge hit with a revamped version of the Boy Commandos or the Seven Soldiers of Victory? Would Goodman really have asked Stan for a team book to rival the revived Newsboy Legion?

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Spiff_B on Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:15 pm

tony ingram wrote:
Spiff_B wrote:
tony ingram wrote:neither the League nor any other super team would ever have existed if the Justice Society hadn't got there first...
If not for the Justice Society, no super teams would exist?! I'm sure someone else would've created one at some point!
But would the idea have caught on so well? And more importantly, given what I said about the FF being created as a rival to the JLA and the JLA being effectively a revived JSA: if the JSA had never existed, would DC really have had a huge hit with a revamped version of the Boy Commandos or the Seven Soldiers of Victory? Would Goodman really have asked Stan for a team book to rival the revived Newsboy Legion?
I think the idea would've caught on as well, just later. Other 'would haves?', probably not, but 'No JS = no FF' isn't the same as 'No JS = no superteams'!

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:19 pm

Spiff_B wrote:
tony ingram wrote:
Spiff_B wrote:
tony ingram wrote:neither the League nor any other super team would ever have existed if the Justice Society hadn't got there first...
If not for the Justice Society, no super teams would exist?! I'm sure someone else would've created one at some point!
But would the idea have caught on so well? And more importantly, given what I said about the FF being created as a rival to the JLA and the JLA being effectively a revived JSA: if the JSA had never existed, would DC really have had a huge hit with a revamped version of the Boy Commandos or the Seven Soldiers of Victory? Would Goodman really have asked Stan for a team book to rival the revived Newsboy Legion?
Probably, but 'No JS = no FF' isn't the same as 'No JS = no superteams'!
OK, how about 'no JSA=no successful super teams? Prior to the JLA, the JSA were about the only group of note (with the possible exception of the Challengers of the Unknown). None of the others had lasted beyond a few years. Timely's All-Winners Squad had only managed three stories!

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by GBF on Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:38 am

So does that mean that a Sopwith Camel aircraft is better than Space Shuttle? No. It's different thing. The JSA are crap and Stan & Jack's FF is brilliant!

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:42 am

GBF wrote:So does that mean that a Sopwith Camel aircraft is better than Space Shuttle? No. It's different thing. The JSA are crap and Stan & Jack's FF is brilliant!
'Crap'? My favourite super team? Glenn, I'd take exception to that if I didn't know you'd never read a JSA story in your life and were therefore ignorant of their utter brilliance...

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by GBF on Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:15 am

I thought you and I were your favourite super hero team?! But you are correct - I don't recall reading any of them because I was die-hard Marvel fan...but S & J's FF are still brilliant - Silver Surfer...Galactus...Inhumans...Lockjaw! Not bad!!

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:20 am

GBF wrote:I thought you and I were your favourite super hero team?! But you are correct - I don't recall reading any of them because I was die-hard Marvel fan...but S & J's FF are still brilliant - Silver Surfer...Galactus...Inhumans...Lockjaw! Not bad!!
Oh, they're undoubtedly great-but, I'd qualify that by saying that for me, FF has only been really great maybe three times in its run, first under Stan & Jack, then when George Perez was on it, then under John Byrne (before he lost all credibility). At other times, the FF have been handled diabolically, while the JSA seem to bring out the best in their creative teams (I've rarely read a story i didn't like).

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:29 pm

The Justice Society were also the first team of superheroes to really introduce the concept of the 'superhero legacy' when Infinity Inc debuted in 1983. This was a team made up of 'the sons, daughters and proteges of the Justice Society of America', the JSA themselves being by then semi-retired. The idea of superheroes having children who would themselves become superheroes wasn't exactly new: second generation JSA member the Huntress, the daughter of the Golden Age Batman and Catwoman, had already been introduced in All-Star Comics a few years earlier, and prior to that we'd seen a second generation version of Air Wave and Zatanna, daughter of Zatara the magician. But Infinity Inc (of which the Huntress was a founding member) explored the concept of the superhero legacy in depth, showing what it might actually be like to grow up knowing that your parents were superheroes! The members were: spoilt rich kid the Silver Scarab (Hector Hall), the son of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who felt he was 'entitled' to a slot on the JSA and the adulation that came with being a hero; Fury (Lyta Trevor), the daughter of Wonder Woman and Hector's equally privileged girlfriend; Jade and Obsidian (Jennie Lynn Hayden and Todd Rice), the previously unsuspected twin children of the Green Lantern, who had been raised by separate foster families (Jennie in a pleasant middle income home, Todd in a slum by an abusive alcoholic father) and had only just learned their real identities; Nuklon (Al Rothstein), the godson of the Atom and grandson of deceased villain Cyclotron; Northwind, the bird like godson of Hawkman, of whom Hector was deeply jealous; Huntress (Helena Wayne); Power Girl (Kara Zor-L), the younger cousin of Superman; the Star Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton), a hero from the 1940s who was still in his twenties due to having been lost in a time warp; and Brainwave Jnr (Henry King), the son of the villainous Brainwave, desperate to atone for his father's crimes. They were later joined by Hourman II (Rick Tyler), the permanently resentful and angry son of the original Hourman; Dr Midnight (Beth Chapel), a young doctor who had been trained by the original Dr Mid-Nite; Wildcat II (Yolanda Montez), a young woman with catlike powers whose father was a friend of the first Wildcat (originally, the line-up was to have included a cat costumed woman called La Garro, who appeared in early solicits but never in the actual comic; she was later developed into Wildcat II a couple of years down the line) and Mr Bones, a walking skeleton who started out as a supervillain but turned out to be a misunderstood mutant teen. Over 53 issues and a handful of annuals and specials, Roy Thomas used Infinity Inc to explore the concept of superheroes as an extended family, and to weave a complex history of the Golden Age DC Universe (begun in his World War II based series All-Star squadron and continued later in its follow up series, Young All-Stars and in Secret Origins, all of which were companion titles of a sort to Infinity Inc). Sadly, many of the ideas Roy came up with were later ignored or revised by later writers and his beautifully woven tapestry of comics history unravelled piece by piece, but in recent years many of the surviving members of Infinity Inc have finally graduated to the ranks of the JSA proper, bringing the idea of the legacy heroes (since then also explored in titles like The Flash) to its logical conclusion. I'd heartily recommend the quartet of Roy Thomas penned titles to anyone interested in the Golden Age superheroes. They ran only until the mid 1980s (All-Star Squadron began in 1981 and ended in 1987, Infinity Inc, the last to go, ended in 1988) but as an intricate, interlocked series of titles telling a huge overarching story, they're an incredible piece of work.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by mafiafran on Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:28 am

I gather this is how Justice League started out right?

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:59 am

mafiafran wrote:I gather this is how Justice League started out right?
The Justice Society were the original super team, but following their (temporary) retirement a group of the new generation of superheroes-including the modern day successors to several of the original JSAers such as the Flash, Green Lantern and Black Canary-grouped together and named themselves the Justice League in honour of the old team.


Last edited by tony ingram on Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:13 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by GBF on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:51 am

Tony - you sound like one of those football fans who only see their team. Just because you're easily pleased ("I've rarely read a story i didn't like") doesn't mean they're any good - it means YOU think they're good. I could never get my head around Superman (invincible, right, apart form that green stuff) and Thor (a god for God's sake!) being in superhero teams - why would they be there? They're too powerful to be in a team! Nah, JLA or JSA or whatever they might be called this month don't cut the mustard with me. FF all the way! But that's only my opinion! What a Face
PS: Everybody else - watch Tony come 'flying' back at me now...go on Tony!

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:16 am

Well, the fact that they've just kept on coming back for the best part of seventy years would seem to sugggest it's not just my opinion, and in fact, Superman was only an honorary member and rarely featured in the stories (the most powerful JSA members are probably Doctor Fate and Power Girl, and Power Girl didn't appear until 1976). Besides, I'd be more inclined to trust your judgment if I didn't know you've never read an issue in your life...

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by GBF on Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:40 am

See - told you he get me!!! Very Happy

And I HAVE read some of them - and the FF were better ...and Oscar Schindler was 'only' an honorary member of the Nazi party - didn't mean he wasn't one Suspect

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Lucy McGough on Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:59 am

Superman needs to be in a team because he's not that bright. Which is why he gangs up with Batman and the Martian Manhunter. Also, he's not telepathic like the Martian Manhunter is. Neither is he a shape-changer or capable of invisibility like the Martian Manhunter is, so he's pants at being covert. And he's vulnerable to magic, so the JLA (they change their roster every five minutes) sometimes have a magic-user like Zatanna or some sort of vaguely celestial, I-have-contacts-in-other-planes person like Zauriel. (Who is also just a really nice guy to be around.)

And he doesn't have contacts on Olympus or a magic lasso that forces people to tell the truth like Wonder Woman has (although said lasso is probably redundant if the Martian Manhunter's around).

And he doesn't control 70% of the Earth's surface like Aquaman does.

And no matter how powerful he is, Green Lantern (whether it's Kyle, Hal or John) will be more powerful. And the Flash will be faster. And Oracle (yes, she was once in the JLA too) will be better-informed and more tech-savvy.

And he doesn't have loads of money like Batman, which is probably why he keeps being pwned by Lex Luthor, who is just a businessman.

But I must admit that for Superman to team up with Green Arrow, Huntress or Steel (for crying out loud!), who have all been members of the JLA in their time, is just daft.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:13 pm

Superman is actually not always that much of an asset, when you look at it like that.

Anyway: the Justice Society are still the world's greatest superheroes. Even their non super powered members have saved the world more than once, and I'd back any four of their powered members against the FF or the JLA any day.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Lucy McGough on Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:32 pm

Well, obviously, 'cos they've got Doctor Fate.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:34 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:Well, obviously, 'cos they've got Doctor Fate.
They used to have the Spectre too, but I think they felt that gave them an unfair advantage. Having the spirit of God''s vengeance on your team is a bit unsporting, really.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Lucy McGough on Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:48 pm

So now they've just got a bloke aided by one of the Lords of Order.

Still - the JLA have got the goddamn Batman! Razz

(Or will have, once he recovers from the Omega Sanction.)

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:06 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:So now they've just got a bloke aided by one of the Lords of Order.

Still - the JLA have got the goddamn Batman! Razz

(Or will have, once he recovers from the Omega Sanction.)
They've still got a Batman in the meantime. Even if he is a bit of a Dick.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Lucy McGough on Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:29 pm

ISWYDT Very Happy

Dick will always be Nightwing to me.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:32 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:ISWYDT Very Happy

Dick will always be Nightwing to me.
You can always tell someone's age from who Dick Grayson is to them. He'll always be Robin, the Teen Wonder to me.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Lucy McGough on Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:57 pm

Really? 'Cos if I asked my mum or Frankie who Dick Grayson was to them, they'd look at me like I was mad. (Mind you, Frankie does that anyway.)

Apparently Damian Wayne is now Robin. Go figure.

Funny how the misanthropic grumpy-pants Batman has such a huge family (literally - he's adopted half of them) but shiny happy Superman only has Lois Lane.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:23 pm

He also has Ma Kent, cousin Kara (Supergirl), adopted cousin Conner Kent (Superboy) and, until recently, Pa Kent, adopted son Chris Kent (Nightwing), Aunt Alura and Uncle Zor-El...

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Lucy McGough on Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:33 pm

But why doesn't he have any kids? Batman's got Dick, Tim, Damian, Cassandra and even Stephanie (sort of). Superman just hangs out with people who are his age and have his powers. He might as well be looking in a mirror.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:35 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:But why doesn't he have any kids? Batman's got Dick, Tim, Damian, Cassandra and even Stephanie (sort of). Superman just hangs out with people who are his age and have his powers. He might as well be looking in a mirror.
He sort of had one, as I said-Chris Kent, a Kryptonian boy he and Lois took in for a short time. But it's been implied that he and Lois can't have any kids naturally because they're technically not the same species.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Lucy McGough on Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:46 pm

Well, if the Doctor can be half-human.... Razz

I never liked Superman. Shiny happy git. I bet he won't adopt any kids in case they get the carpet dirty in his super-apartment.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:49 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:Well, if the Doctor can be half-human.... Razz

I never liked Superman. Shiny happy git. I bet he won't adopt any kids in case they get the carpet dirty in his super-apartment.
It's probably made of special dirt repelling Kryptonian fibres. I can't see Lois getting the hoover out too often.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Lucy McGough on Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:05 pm

Of course not - she might break a nail!

Pah. Gimme Batman any day. Superman is J'onn J'onzz without the telepathy, the shape-changing or the likeability.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:11 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:Of course not - she might break a nail!

Pah. Gimme Batman any day. Superman is J'onn J'onzz without the telepathy, the shape-changing or the likeability.
On the other hand, at least he's not bald...

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by Lucy McGough on Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:42 pm

Martians are meant to look like that, you racist.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Aug 26, 2010 4:00 pm

Lucy McGough wrote:Martians are meant to look like that, you racist.
I thought Martiansssss were meant to be tall, sssscaly and live in glaciers? Or be giant squids in Tripod war machines? Or be small and green?

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by felneymike on Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:25 pm

I don't think they were giant squids. I got the impression they were the size of largeish dogs at best. That's why they needed giant walking death machines.

Though if you beleive The Great Game they are not the original Martians, they actually came from the planet that is now the asteroid belt, and invaded Mars when that was destroyed. This of course happened back in prehistory when earth was inhabited by the Silurians and Sea Devils (who were presumably succeeded by the Atlanteans who were then succeded by the Golgafrinchans, having been weakened so much by Treen enslavement that they were easy pickings for a bunch of telephone sanitisers.

Of course, the not-really-martians later tried to invade Venus and presumably got thier asses kicked, so by the time humanity invented space flight and made thier first trip to Mars in 1988 there was nothing there!

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:11 am

Thanks for clearing that up, Mike. But what about John Carter?

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by GBF on Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:18 am

Fantastic Four 51 - 'Nuff Said!! Shocked

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by GBF on Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:21 am

I'd start a 'thread' if I knew how...saw a bit of 'Batman begins' last night. Excellent - and good to see that the three main characters are played by English actors (or at least British).

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:32 am

A definite improvement on the last few Batman movies, I agree. The franchise ended up in a bit of a mess, last time.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by GBF on Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:12 am

I was always surprised Clooney survived his Batman stint. The whole thing was awful especially the girl with the Rio Ferdinand lip. Shame Heath Ledger died. He was brilliant. The part where he's dressed as the nurse is so funny but uncomfortably chilling...

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:14 am

I expect Heath Ledger thinks its a shame he died, as well. I would, if I were him.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by GBF on Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:17 am

I always knew you had a heart.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:22 am

GBF wrote:I always knew you had a heart.
I have several. I keep them in a chest freezer in the shed after I've been out stalking the midnight streets in search of blood.

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:23 pm

And it seems the JSA are going back to their former spiritual home, Earth Two... Very Happy

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/08/27/james-robinson-confirms-nicola-scott-on-jsa-and-earth-2/



At last, a bit of good news! So here's a pic of their classic Earth-Two line-up from the '70's...


Last edited by tony ingram on Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by tony ingram on Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:30 pm

And just to remind people why they're the world's greatest superheroes...


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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

Post by PhantomRambler on Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:37 pm

That's pleasantly surprising news about the JSA!]
(Thanks for alerting me via PM, Tony)

And they've got James Robinson wriiting it.
I wonder what thois New Earth-2 will be like? And what time period will this JSA be set in? Looking back at Robinson's work on Starman, I hope he mixes it up a bit with JSA stories of the WW2 era, as well as any contemporary sagas.

Looks like there may be a DC book that I'll actually buy in the future ('tho probably in the collected tpb versions...)


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Re: Justice Society of America: World's Greatest Heroes?

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