As DC Comics’ mainstream anchor superhero team, the Justice League has traveled all over the DC Multiverse and encountered many facets and characters of the DC mythos and beyond. From the Golden Age of comics to the year One Million, the JLA has seen it all, and in Classics on Infinite Earths: The Justice League and DC Crossover Canon from Sequart, author Julian Darius takes a look at many of these excursions. Meet me after the jump for more on this exploration of the shared universe.
Sequart Organization does some of the coolest books of commentary on comics and related genre in the business. Previous works of theirs I’ve read – Gotham City 14 Miles and Teenagers from the Future, essay collections on the 1960s “Batman” TV series and the Legion of Super-Heroes respectively – have been in-depth intelligent examinations of the subject matter. Often that type of serious tone isn’t taken for ‘funny books,’ the rise of the ‘internet troll’ making such discussions worse, so this type of intercourse is refreshing.
Written by comics scholar and Sequart founder Dr. Julian Darius, whose Martian Comics is currently in the middle of a Kickstarter (more to come), Classics on Infinite Earths: The Justice League and DC Crossover Canon takes a look at the shared universe of DC Comics, one forged as far back as 1940 with the formation of the Justice Society of America, comics’ first superhero team. It was my love of these Golden Age heroes that first drew me to this volume by Dr. Darius.
At the tender age of six in 1971, the first comics that really had a lasting effect on me were Justice League of America #91-92, featuring parallel line-ups of the Justice League and the Justice Society (two Flashes, two Green Lanterns, two Supermen, etc.) jumping between Earth-One and Earth-Two to battle both an alien threat and the menace of Solomon Grundy. This tale mesmerized me, and at six I completely understood the concept of the multiverse, something that the adult creative staff had trouble with in 1985, resulting in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. I was in love, and that love is still with me so when I saw Darius’ book, I immediately clicked and bought.
Now while Darius does spend some time in my cherished pre-Crisis simpler time of the Justice League/Justice Society team-ups, the bulk of the book takes on the larger crossover events involving the JLA with the DC Universe at large. The BIG events are covered, chief among them, the multiverse-destroying Crisis on Infinite Earths, as well as its bastard offspring Infinite Crisis. He also talks about the yearly company crossovers of past decades like DC One Million, Invasion, Underworld Unleashed and even Armageddon 2001 that had last minute changes made to its ending. In each of these cases, there is great detail regarding the reasons behind storylines, what was going on in comics at the time, and how the events were received.
The author also covers smaller more intimate events, and stories that were outside of the mainstream DC Universe. Julian Darius examines in detail stories like Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross and Darwyn Cooke’s The New Frontier, and how, even though out of continuity, those stories affected the DCU and how storytelling has changed. He also looked at stories like Brad Meltzer’s Identity Crisis that changed so much about how we view our heroes. Darius also dug into entire runs of these characters as team as depicted by Gardner Fox, Keith Giffen, and Grant Morrison, and how they have evolved over the years, along with the tastes of audiences, and their view of the shared universe concept. This is a book that belongs on every Justice League fan’s bookshelf.
It should be noted that Dr. Julian Darius doesn’t just write about other people’s comics, he also writes his own. As noted above, he is currently involved in a Kickstarter to put out the third issue of his Martian Comics. The series from Martian Lit presents smart cool scifi comics with a pulp edge. Remember the feeling you had back in the day when Vertigo first showed up? When you realized that comics weren’t just for kids, or only about spandex power fantasies? Do you like the vibe of Philip K. Dick and Neil Gaiman, and the soul of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, all mixed up with your old fashioned science fiction? Martian Comics is what you’ve been looking for.
Martian Comics #3 will be a 52-page special containing seven stories of a new scifi mythology. Featuring art by Jason Muhr, Sergio Tarquini, and Mansjur Daman, all stories are written by Julian Darius, under a cover by David A. Frizell. Please check out the Kickstarter details here. There are some terrific rewards for project backers, not to mention the best reward of all – Martian Comics #3.
Please view the Kickstarter video here.