Comfort Food Comics: Justice League

Here we are with another of my Comfort Food Comics custom bound book projects. I have assembled all of my favorite Justice League stories that provide me the most comfort. The ones I just cant live without all in one big custom book.

I commissioned professional comic artists Giannis Milonogiannis to craft me a cover for this collection, showing my favorite Leaguers from the stories within enjoying some Comfort Food. Its such an amazing piece and Im blown away at how fun he made it. Just gorgeous art. I feel super lucky to be able to have this as the cover to this book. For the spine and the back of the cover I had to use that Morrison 90’s Big 7 era, which is MY Justice League.

So, on to the contents!!

Justice League of America 29-30: Crisis on Earth-3!! Look, Im going to be real with y’all. Silver Age Justice League? It’s not good. For about 110 or so issues theres barely anything good. Sure, Issue 42 all about Metamorpho is great, Issue 60 with Batgirl fighting bee versions of the League is similarly awesome, but besides that you dont have too many great stories. The exceptions to this rule are the Crisis on Multiple Earths crossovers with the JSA and Earth-2. In this second titanic team-up we get the debut of the villainous opposite Earth-3 and the Crime Syndicate of America!! For my money this is the best of all the Silver Age JLA stories. Its just so fun and I have always loved the Crime Syndicate and the evil counterparts to our beloved heroes.

Justice League of America 110: The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus! This one has the League matched up against the Key on Christmas. This ones great not just because its about Christmas, the best Holiday, but its also the one where Hal Jordan slips getting out of the shower and knocks himself out. So the ring finds John Stewart and we get him joining the League for this case. Its just a really fun story that starts to change up membership and characters and really tap into the grander DC Universe. Just a really great comic book.

Justice League of America 151: Just look at that cover!! I bought this one awhile back without even looking inside due to how wild that cover looked. This is a really fun one by Gerry Conway and you can really feel his Marvel Comics style of writing done with the DC characters. This isnt some team up plot. Its a soap opera story continuing the lives of our favorite heroes. We open with Wonder Woman, Black Canary and Hawkwoman grousing that theyre left behind on monitor duty while all the guys in the league throw a bachelor party for The Atom. Later Wonder Woman is held captive and used by Amos Fortune to shoot a power beam into 7 random people to give them superpowers stolen from the League members. The League ends up having to deal with all of them and save Wondey. Its a really fun 52 page giant of a single issue story that has amazing characterization and continuity between each member of the League. A real standout. Dick Dillin’s art in this one is so pretty to look at. Wonderful stuff.

Justice League of America 189-190: Starro the Conqueror! Look at those Brian Bolland covers!!! This is an AMAZING 2 parter where a piece of Starro is fished out of the sea by a little boy fishing on Long Island and then Starro makes the boy’s family raise him and feed him then throw him in a pickup truck and take him to New York City.

If that’s not enough to immediately make you stop reading this and find those issues, Starro then takes over every single person in NYC including half of the Justice League. A squad of seven other Leaguers must sneak into NYC and stop Starro or the President is going to bomb New York City. Its just peak comics. Some of the best.

Justice League of America 200: Oh man, guys. This issue. This is a celebration issue worthy of that 200 number. The premise of this one is the original Big 7 fight the Satellite League members all drawn by some comic legend, all written by Gerry Conway. Its 72 pages!! Its about as perfect as a comic can get! Legend George Perez draws the main story consisting of the intro, the interstitial parts and the ending while we get seven Leaguer matchups all drawn by legendary artists at the time associated with one of the characters featured in the fights. Its an embarrassment of riches and I still cant believe all these artists are in one comic book.We get:

Firestorm vs Martian Manhunter by Firestorm artist Pat Broderick
Aquaman vs Red Tornado by Aquaman stalwart Jim Aparo
Zatanna vs Wonder Woman by WW artist Dick Giordano
Green Lantern vs The Atom by GL star Gil Kane
The Flash vs Elongated Man both co created by Carmine Infantino
Batman vs Green Arrow/Black Canary by BRIAN BOLLAND in what is the absolute highlight of the book artistically.
Superman vs Hawkman by Hawkman legend Joe Kubert. MY GOD LOOK AT THIS PAGE!

Justice League of America 251-254: Detroit Era baby!! A lot of people tend to drag this iteration of the League and its silly because they’d miss some of the greatest comics ever printed. Despero returns, powered by the Flame of Py’tar and able to seemingly reshape reality, he destroys the JLA Satellite and takes over Gotham, transforming it into some hellish inferno for him to rule over as he exacts his vengeance upon the Justice League. This is another Conway joint and its drawn by Luke Mcdonnell and he produces some amazing stuff here. The real hero of this story is colorist Gene D’Angelo who uses a bold palette of blacks and yellows and pinks to make a surreal haunting scene on almost every page. I love this stuff

Justice League of America/International 4-7: I LOVE JLI! I love it so so much. It was extremely hard to pick what I wanted to include from this era. I knew however that I wanted some of the earlier stuff. This Gray Man to International League arc is pound for pound the best. You get “One Punch”, you get Dr. Fate & Captain Marvel still on the team, you get some of Kevin Maguire’s best work. You get the set up of the International team and the new members. Its a great blend of the start and the more Bwa-Ha-Ha moments to come. I also just really have a fondness for the Gray Man story. The only other JLI story I HAD to have was:

Justice League International 24: The “Across a Crowded Room” story. We get Maguire drawing every single hero thats been introduced so far and we get the establishment of Justice League Europe. Its such a fun fun story with the iconic enemies storming in on the huge room of heroes and quietly attempting to immediately leave. Its the peak era of JLI and it had to be in here.

Justice League Europe 6: The best issue of Justice League Europe. The JLE are forced to take French Night School classes and the Injustice League of the time end up in the same class. Hilarity ensues.

Justice League Task Force 7-8: Im a staunch supporter of Justice League Task Force. I think its actually a really good series and I love these issues. Now yes, this is the story where Martian Manhunter transforms into a woman for a mission. Thats not really why I like this one. Now you may think for an early 90’s comic that it would be extremely offensive but it really isnt. There is no grand transgender message or anything really positive with it either. Its mostly played for wacky laughs and to fit into this all woman superhero team. I was surprised going back to it that it holds up. My main reason for loving these issues is that we get a Justice League team of Wonder Woman, Dolphin, Maxima, Vixen and Gypsy and I’d buy that book for the rest of my life. Peter David does a lot of his usual silly enjoyable humor and he does some great character work with the ladies. Sal Velluto draws the HELL out of these issues too. I just adore the interplay between all these icons in this book. My favorite part is the team watching An Affair To Remember and all having wildly different opinions on it. Wonder Woman and Dolphin being really sappy and crying is so fun. Gosh, I love that art.

Justice League of America 0: I love the really weird lineup of characters in the mid 90s JL books and I really treasure the rare art we get in this period from Chuck Wojtkiewicz, one of the comic industry’s all time underrated talents. He hasnt done much but did a handful of issues here. I think his stuff is phenomenal and this issue really shows off what he can do with this crazy team.

JLA 10-15: Rock of Ages!! This is my FAVORITE Justice League story of all time. Morrison’s JLA era is also my favorite JLA book as a whole. This story has EVERYTHING: an amazing Injustice League, actually good Electric Blue Superman content, Aztek, Connor Hawke, Wonderworld, Metron, Jemm Son of Saturn, Gary Frank, the first appearance of the android Hourman, Argent, the New Gods, Darkseid, the last readable Greg Land comic and an actual end to the DC Universe & the Fourth World in a proto Final Crisis. It is BONKERS and it is perfect and it is flawed and it is brimming with creativity and love for comics and the DC Universe all in one. Its just the best.

JLA 61: Joe Kelly & Doug Mahnke’s run on JLA are some of my favorite comics ever made. They are never perfect, but they stay with me more than most comics I’ve ever read because they are filled to the brim with new fun, smart BIG ideas. Theres just so much there, sometimes the books cant even keep up. The art & writing are so in sync its amazing. This introductory first Kelly issue shows his range on all the members and is a masterclass in perfect superhero art. It also contains probably a top 10 ever single page for me in this one of Wonder Woman sparring with Batman. Its a holy grail for me to own someday. Mahnke’s Wonder Woman is MY Wonder Woman. I cant think of an artist I love more drawing her than him. Gosh, I love this issue!

JLA: Welcome To The Working Week: I did a deep dive into this one here.

DC Comics 2,000 1-2: This is THE BEST JLA/JSA team-up ever. no ifs ands or buts to it. Its definitive. Tom Peyer, comic’s most underrated legend spins a joyful time travel tale between the two teams that gives you literally everything youd ever want in a team up as the JSA of their time have to deal with the JLA of the year 2000. The characterization is on another level and Peyer just writes the heck out of every single one of them. This is one of the best Spectre comics for you Spec fans out there. Just one of the greatest stories ever published and its so underrated and never talked about.

JLA/Hitman 1-2: Garth Ennis & John McCrea reunite well after the end of Hitman for this 2 issue story where Tommy has to come to the Watchtower to deal with an alien threat attacking the League. Its one of the few non biased(well as much as he can be) against superheroes Garth Ennis stories. Its funny, its exciting, its well told and it ends up a poignant, moving, amazing story that definitely DID NOT make me weep like a baby.

Justice League of America 25-26: Ahhh Dwayne McDuffie’s Justice League run. I still find it to be one of the most enjoyable, underrated runs even with all the insanity he had to endure from editorial. Characters yanked away, stories approved then told they needed to change over and over. The overall chaos of that era really affected the book and never let him do what he wanted. But theres still a lot of good stuff in there. 25-26 are about Vixen being abducted by the trickster Spider God Anansi as he remakes reality around her in issue 25 in a fun jam issue by multiple DC artists at the time. 26 then deals with this slightly different world and its crazy alternate heroes which includes the hilarious Brown Bomber. McDuffie was a legend and I miss him so much!!

Justice League United Sneak Peek, 11-12: Three of the world’s greatest comics ever produced. A shining example of what I love most in this industry. Just absolute perfect comics. I go deep on them here.

And thats that!! All the essential Justice League books that I just cannot live without!! I love all of these so much and I hope you all track them down and get even a little bit of the joy I feel from them!!

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