July, 1977

The first of two entries in what I considered the “DC Secret Origin Summer of 1977”, JLA #144 reveals for the first time, the hidden beginnings of DC’s premiere super-team.

I had mixed feelings about Steve Englehart’s one-year tenure on JLA as it was happening–at the time, I wasn’t happy about seeing my favorite heroes snapping at one another, and dealing with personality clashes, Marvel-style–but it’s one of the best eras of the book. And even at the time, once my subscription copy of #144 appeared in the mail, I was enchanted by this particular entry. In true Roy Thomas fashion, Steve brought together all of the characters who were actively in print in 1959 (the year of the JLA’s formation), as well as a few other guest stars, and crafted a tale that played perfectly on the tenor of the time. It’s a truly iconic story, one that effectively conveyed a sense of scope and wonder and majesty.

The artwork by the underrated Dick Dillin was strong, streamlined and energetic. It’s amazing to consider that Dillin penciled JLA monthly in its double-sized format for almost two years without missing a beat.

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