But each and every one of 'em owes a debt of gratitude and perhaps a monetary kickback or two to the premier superhero team of the Silver Age, the high-powered assemblage that inspired them all: The Justice League of America! And when you think of the Justice League of America, a lot of people think of Super Friends. And when you think of Super Friends, a lot of people think of the opening narration, done by Ted Baxter on one of his days off from frustrating Mary and Murray and Lou: "In the great Hall of the Justice League...there are assembled the world's four greatest heroes...created from the cosmic legends of the universe! Vibe!...Vixen!...Steel!...Gypsy!"
Ah, yes. The team nicknamed Justice League Detroit: because even DC Comics didn't want these guys in one of their fictionopolises. Nowadays there's an air of fond nostalgia around these Motor City mustangs, but they seemed to have been created to fulfill a "throw everything against the wall and try to be a new X-Men" idea...a gap that DC spent most of the eighties trying to fill. Give or take a Dale Gunn or two, there's not an awful lot memorable about the JLD era of the JLA.
Although...they did kick off their run with a pretty cool four-part cover mural:
(Click picture to Built-Ford-Tough-a-size)
Whoa, you certainly can't say that cover isn't full of colorful characters and lots of action. And, floating heads. In fact, each of the four new members of the JLA appears twice on these series of covers: once on their "spotlight" cover and on one other issue as a fine floating head. And I think we all know how painful that can be.
I like these interlocking covers and remember them a lot better than the stories inside. Sure, there's some inherent goofiness in the image, especially when you realize that Steel is the only thing holding that big-ass
The JLD didn't hang around long. Although they made it through the Crisis on Infinite Earths, where characters much more popular than they were eaten like popcorn by the Anti-Monitor, the guy who makes it impossible for you to see what's happening on your computer screen, half of them were dead by the time Legends rolled around, the other half on the run. A brand new series just called Justice League was right around the corner, and it wouldn't be long until every kid in America was running around declaring "Bwah-ha-ha-ha!" and "One punch! One punch!" and "Kooey Kooey Kooey!" Ah, those were happy days.
Guest-star bits and references to the four new characters of the Detroit era would pop up here and there in the DCU for the next several years, but my favorite recent appearance was in the Justice League Unlimited TV cartoon series, which put Orin's Quirky Quadrumvirate in the background of a lot of episodes, although Vixen had a running subplot romance and the others did get more face time in the accompanying comic book based on the series. Here's the last moments of the final episode of JLU, with each of the Justice Leaguers rushing towards us. In a clever moment of fanboy fancy, the heroes are grouped thematically: sprinting together in packs are members originating with the Justice Society, characters created by Steve Ditko, the JLI-era heroes, Ollie and Dinah, and of course, all together now...Justice League Detroit:
Nowadays, tho', you don't see a whole lotta references to the Detroit League, with the exception of Vixen. She's made quite a comeback for herself these days with her own miniseries and a prominent role in the brand-new, reborn JLA. Hmmmm, why is Vixen is getting all the attention, huh? I mean, Vixen!?! Gimme two good reasons why Vix..
Oh. Ohhhhh. Okay.
Want to "read more about" the Justice League of Detroit? Check your local library, or better yet, head on over to BitterAndrew's Armagideon Time for a Detroit-Rockin' survey of the JLD era! Tell 'im Bully sent ya!