As you know from my previous posts on this subject, by this time I was hooked on Action Comics. The comic book infection I was already experiencing was about to get much worse. On another trip to the grocery store, I notice a comic book called “Justice League of America” (#112). I didn’t know anything about it, other than I had seen some Justice League of America cartoons in the 60s, there were some recognizable characters (like Superman and Batman) on the cover and it had a tag line stating, “Here come TV’s Super Friends!”. I figured, I like Superman and Batman. I’ve seen the Super Friends and I enjoy the cartoon, so why not!
This issue was a bit different than the Action Comics that I had been purchasing. This one, was a THICK comic book! Instead of the 32 pages of the comic books I had been getting, this one boasted a full 100 pages! Being a much heftier magazine, the price was heftier too. It was 60 cents as opposed to the 20 cents I was spending on the previous ones.
Inside, I was treated to a story entitled “War with the One-Man Justice League!”, in which the heroes of the Justice League, reactivate an android who, in the past had fought them and had the ability to duplicate all of their powers! They had done this in an effort to restore the abilities of six in their rank (Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Flash and Elongated Man) half of whose powers had been stolen by another villain in the previous issue.
I was introduced to so many characters in this story! It was a thrill ride from start to finish. All the while there were a myriad of hints dropped that there was a history behind these characters and this team that I could scarcely imagine. I left the story with far more questions than I had going into it. Rather than discourage me from reading further issues, it induced in me a fever to know! I had to know who these people were. I needed to learn their histories. I was hungrier than ever for comic books.
Immediately following the story, there was a two page feature that briefly gave more information about the history of the android they fought. It seems that he was originally created by a mad scientist to steal the powers of the Justice League’s member and destroy them all. Some of my questions were answered, but they were replaced now, with other still.
In the pages following the main story, I was introduced to the concept of a “reprint”. These were stories that had previously been published and were now being printed again in this book. I was later to learn that by some readers, these reprints were disdained in favor of new stories, but I loved them. Suddenly my comic book universe expanded to include not one hero, not a few heroes, but literally dozens of heroes and history that spanned decades, not merely months or years!
In the rest of the book I was introduced to Starman, Martian Manhunter, The Seven Soldiers of Victory (including Green Arrow, Speedy, Vigilante, Shining Knight, Crimson Avenger, the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy) and the villains Black Star and Dr. Destiny (among others).
Since, at the time, Justice League of America was published on a bi-monthly schedule, I had to wait for two whole months for the next issue. I didn’t know how I was going to survive until then, but I knew that Superman would come to my rescue at least once in that time.
In the meantime, I re-read that book at least a dozen times. I practically absorbed every word and every piece of art in it. I still have the book and cherish it. To call it dog-eared is giving it being charitable. Not knowing any better at the time, the cover is now held together by more than one piece of transparent tape.
Even now, just writing about my experience with this book, my eyes get moist just thinking about the beauty, wonder and enjoyment I experience with it.
My comic book infection was bad by this point, but it was about to get (thankfully) much worse!