Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Besting the Best - What Would Be A Good "Greatest Justice League of America Stories Ever Told" Trade?

It is hard to believe that a "Greatest Stories Ever Told" trade could be worse than the one DC came up with for their version of Greatest Justice League of America Stories Ever Told, but who knows? In any event, some commentaters began making their choices, and what can I say, it's an interesting topic! So, here, I will figure out what I would choose, using the rules laid out by DC themselves.


The rules, as it were, is that it has to be under 200 pages, it has to represent the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, the Giffen/DeMatteis Age, the Morrison Age and {shudder} the post Morrison Age. In addition, the stories cannot have been reprinted elsewhere (save, of course, in collections like "Justice League: A New Beginning" or the various collections of JLA that are out, collecting every issue since Morrison began). So, by "not been reprinted elsewhere," I basically mean you cannot pick the JLA/JSA adventures, as they've been reprinted in the Crisis on Infinite Earths trades, same with the early Zatanna appearances.

Here are my picks:

24 pages - Justice League of America #31 - Riddle of the Runaway Room!

Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, the introduction of Hawkman and a damn fine story, all wrapped up into one comic book!

22 pages - Justice League of America #94 - Where Strikes Demonfang?

Mike Friedrich and Dick Dillon tell this tale guest-starring Deadman. Friedrich may not be a classic JLA writer, but this issue was a classic issue.

72 pages - Justice League of America #200 - A League Divided

This was the tough one. SEVENTY-TWO PAGES!! That is a lot. However, I think that it warrants inclusion, as it includes art from George Perez, Joe Kubert, Brian Bolland, Gil Kane, Jim Aparo, Pat Broderick, Dick Giordano and Carmine Infantino!! In addition, the story also manages to involve the Justice League's origin AND all of its members at the time! That's enough for me to keep it in here.

17 pages - Justice League International #8 - Moving Day

Space constraints leads me to include this issue as the Giffen/DeMatteis representative, but I think it works, as this issue is quite indicative of the "Bwah Ha Ha" years, I believe. Great story, too (and nice Maguire artwork).

22 pages - JLA #5 - Woman of Tomorrow

Ultimately, space dictates that this IS the Morrison story that should be used, blue Superman or no Blue Superman. Great story (although I still think it is lame that no one showed up for Metamorpho's funeral. One of the biggest problems I've had with a Morrison-penned comic. I think he really dropped the ball there).

38 pages - JLA: Incarnations #7 - Inspiration

I will admit, 38 pages is a lot, but dammit, I was really stuck for a post-Morrison issue. The only other option WAS Two Minute Warning, and I refuse to go that route! John Ostrander is a much better pick, and this story is good AND also ties into the League's origins as WELL, leaving it as a nice bookend with Justice League of America #200. In fact, a very nice set-up would be to use the four-page origin story from #20 in the beginning of the collection, then do the two other stories, then #200 in full, then the other comics, so the beginning, middle and end of the comic ALL include stories about the League's origin.

That all comes in at 196 pages in total.

Well, that's MY picks. How about y'all?

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Anonymous Filipe said...

I'm cheating by going by the rules of the early Greatest series (300 pages, not as much recent stuff).
JLoA #31, 100-102, 144-145 and 250; JLI #20-21 and JLA #8-9. 285 pages. What would still leave space for a 10-page introduction where among other things the lack of recent material would be justified by point out to trades that have them (from Rock of Ages till Crisis of Conscience) as well as include a long rant about issue 200 had to be dropped for lack of space.

The Giffen/DeMatteis issues are the conclusion for a large arc but they stand alone rather well. If JLA 8/9 are already collect drop them in favor of JLoA 193 and JLA 27.

3/01/2006 04:25:00 AM  
Blogger Dulaney said...

"The rules, as it were, is that it has to be under 200 pages, it has to represent the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, the Giffen/DeMatteis Age, the Morrison Age and the post Morrison Age. In addition, the stories cannot have been reprinted elsewhere"

JLoA #11 "One Hour To Doomsday"
JLoA #12 "Last Case Of The Justice League" (26 pages each)

Two good examples of Gardner Fox/Cave HQ era before Batmania took over. 12 features the debut of Dr. Light while 11 has The Lord of Time and Abnegazar, Rath and Gast, so both issues have examples of the JLA rogues gallery.

JLoA #57 "Man, Thy Name Is Brother" (23 Pages)

Rare post Batmania issue to not feature Batman. One of DC's early attempts at "relevance" with the UN/Brotherhood theme.

JLoA #114 "The Return of Anakronus" (20 pages)

The sentimental pick. This was my first issue of JLA as a kid. Wein and Levitz writing with Dick Dillin art.

JLoA #144 "The Origin of the Justice League...Minus One" (33 pages)

The REAL origin of the JLA and where the White Martians enter into the equation.

JLI #8 "Moving Day"

Nice done in one example of the Bwah-Ha-Ha era.

JLAmerica #34-35 "Ka-Hooey-Hooey"

I sacrifice Post-Morrison to include this classic.

Yeah yeah...the Tomorrow Woman story. Close us out with that one.

3/01/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

You can't sacrifice Post-Morrison!

Don't you think I would have LOVED to have dropped Post-Morrison?!

That is probably the most challenging (and therefore, I think, the funnest - natch) aspect of this!

Trying to pick a post-Morrison story that you would feel okay with saying is one of the Greatest JLA Stories Ever Told.

It's tough...

3/01/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Attack Of The "O" Squad' by Dan Vado and Evan Dorkin from JLA Annual #8. All the villians whose names end in O get together (lead by Starro) to divide up the world. They get caught up in who gets what area and whether TO Morrow should be in the group or not. Meanwhile the JLA is on the satellite bored.

3/01/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Any such collection that does not include Mark Waid and Ty Templeton's "When Titans Date!" story from JLQ #10 is unworthy of the title "Greatest Justice League Stories Ever Told."

3/01/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Filipe said...

If I really need to pick a post-Morrison issue, it probably would be JLA 59. There's something really depressing about picking a Joker's Last Laugh tie-in for a greatest book, but truth is I can't think of a single good one shot post Morrison.

3/01/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Geez. What d'yall have against the Waid/Hitch/Neary issues? I'd rate them up their with Morrison/Porter, except maybe for the very last arc.

3/01/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff R. said...

Hm. Tricky. I'm tempted to cheat and pick Saga of the Swamp Thing #24 for the Satelite era, but no...

For Silver, I'll take JLA #10 (The first Felix Faust story) [26]

For Bronze, I'll take 189-190, an excellent Starro story at least in my memory; (44-ish)

Giffen I'll play against type and take the considerably more serious Despero story at 39-40 [say 50ish, since I might want a few pages from 38 or 41 to round things out.]

Morrison Era: Tomorrow Woman. [22]

Post-Morrison is rough. Even though I haven't read any, though, I'm going to pick an issue of Justice League Unlimited on the grounds that it's probably loads better than anything in the main universe title. Let's go with #7 for a Darkseid story. [32]

That leaves me with about one issue's worth of room, so rather than hitting another of the desloate eras (Detroit, Post-Giffen Superman and Friends League, Task Force/Extreme...) I'll go back to Giffen for #23, the first Injustice League issue.

3/01/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Interesting, Jeff.

I, too, considered picking a Justice League Unlimited story.

But, ultimately, I think it defeats the purpose of choosing a post-Morrison story for the collection. The whole point of having a post-Morrison story is to show that the book still has had good stories since he left.

3/01/2006 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

MarkAndrew, it is not that I hate Waid's run or anything. There are a number of his stories that I wouldn't be that upset about if they were included in the collection. My concern comes from the fact that he did not have very many one-shot stories (essentially, just the Christmas one).

Therefore, were I to include his stories, it'd have to be a multi-parter, and there's NO way I liked Waid enough to include a MULTI-parter.

3/01/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff R. said...

Well, my other post-morrison idea was to take the last two issues of "Syndicate Rules" and slap together a couple pages or panels from elsewhere to make it make sense.
Or to use the 'prolog to Syndicate Rules' story out of the 2004 Secret Files.

Actually, my first Post-Morrison idea was to use JLA:Classified 1-3, but that's really, really cheating, isn't it...

3/01/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Anonymous trilobite said...

I don't remember the number, or the name (or the color, or...) but I very much liked The One Where the Leaguers are split into their secret identities and hero selves by 6th-Dimensional aliens. Yes, it's been done before, but so what?

Loved League Divided. Definitely belongs in a Greatest collection.

3/01/2006 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger H said...

Well, since you asked,I'd have to drop JLA 200, which was okay, but not the classic that Englehart's 66 pages of Manhunter story from issues 140-141 was. If you're going to leave Englehart out of the collection, I'll have to hold my breath and throw a tantrum.

That frees up 6 pages for you too.

And I'm with you on including a Friedrich/Dillin tale - I like them all - but if I was given the decision-making power, I'd go with issue 90's "The Plague of the Pale People".

3/01/2006 07:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two comments:

1) JL: Moving Day was actually #8, not #7.

2) I'd have tossed in that Batman/Wonder Woman date or the Plastic Man/Batman teamup by Joe Kelly for post-Morrison.

3/02/2006 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Pól Rua said...

JLoA #144 "The Origin of the Justice League...Minus One" (33 pages)

The REAL origin of the JLA and where the White Martians enter into the equation.

One of my favourite comic stories ever!

3/02/2006 07:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Filipe said...

I think one can probably edit JLA 50 in a way that makes sense as a one shot. But I still don't know if it would be to heavy on continuity for the casual reader.

I liked Waid's run. It was solid but did suffer from him trying to do the sort of huge story that was typical on Morrisson's run and not pulling it off as well. Kelly's suffered from the same, but while Waid is no Morrison, Kelly is no Waid.

3/02/2006 11:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JLA 113 - The only one issue JLA/JSA crossover The Creature in the Velvet Cage spotlighting the GA Sandman and what happened to Sandy, the GOlden Boy. One of the few stories dealing with the mistakes of a hero and his shame for that mistake.

3/04/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"I liked Waid's run. It was solid but did suffer from him trying to do the sort of huge story that was typical on Morrisson's run and not pulling it off as well. Kelly's suffered from the same, but while Waid is no Morrison, Kelly is no Waid."

That is EXACTLY how I describe the Waid and Kelly runs to people when they ask me about them (except I don't necessarily say that I liked Waid's run...hehe).

It is actually freaky, as I quite literally have used pretty much that EXACT paragraph (sans the liking comment). I think I used it when my pal Lex was talking about how awesome Waid's Fantastic Four was.

3/04/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Anonymous FunkyGreenJerusalem said...

For post Morrison you could always go for #2 of Fomerly Known As Justice League.
The issue where they fight the street gang from Havard.

You could say that it doesn't count as it was just a retread of the old Giffen era, but I never read the Giffen era at the time, so this was all new to me.

It was the best Justice League issue I'd ever read, and hell, from one of the best superhero comics I've ever read.

3/04/2006 10:32:00 PM  
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