How the Joker forced the DC team to move into space
Today we take a look at how the Joker completely pushed the Justice League out of Earth!
In “When We First Met” we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable pieces of comic lore, like the first time someone said “Avengers Assemble! ” or the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey / half-Peter. Stuff like that.
Reader Dan Q. wanted to know when the Justice League satellite headquarters debuted. The story is fascinating, Dan!
HOW THE SECOND GENERATION OF COMIC BOOKS SHAKED THE UNIVERSE OF DC UP
Beginning in the mid-1960s, the second generation of comic book writers began working at Marvel Comics and then DC as well. These are the first fans who grew up reading comics. So they had a whole different point of view than the first generation of guys who wrote comics during that time and who themselves grew up with pulp fiction and comics as their primary source of entertainment. The previous generation just didn’t consider the comics to be that important. Now, however, with the generation of Roy Thomas and Denny O’Neil, we have a group that saw the comics this way. And suddenly this new group was tackling the kind of stories comic book fans always thought of. Denny O’Neil, however, was a little different from those other writers, as he wasn’t as devoted to a comic book fan as a Roy Thomas or a Len Wein or a Marv Wolfman. While these guys were making a lot of stories that basically dealt with things that fans had always talked about since they were fans, Denny O’Neil instead took a completely different look at things because he wanted to see a different approach. adopted with the superhero genre. This led to the many comic book stories he made about the politics of the day.
One of those stories was the 1969 Justice League of America # 77 (art by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella), which saw Justice League mascot Snapper Carr turned against the League by a populist named John Dough ….
ON WHOM IS THE MYSTERIOUS JOHN DOUGH BELIEVED TO BE BASED?
John Dough is a clever O’Neil riff on Frank Capra’s famous film, Meet John Doe, about a newspaper columnist who lost her job. She finds a way to avoid being fired by inventing a man named “John Doe”, who plans to kill himself to protest the evils of modern society. John Doe becomes a sensation and she is forced to hire a vagrant to pretend to be John Doe and then she basically uses him as a chair for her opinions on corruption and stuff like that and John Doe soon becomes a major populist movement in the country (the chronicler’s boss then plans to harness the people’s love for John Doe in the service of his own political ambitions).
So here a John Dough started a movement across the country pushing for the “average” person in front of the world’s superheroes, and Snapper turns against the Justice League (O’Neil’s sensitivity was such that he didn’t didn’t want Snapper Carr, the wacky teenage Justice League member who was actually just their mascot, on the team and so this was his outing) with a number of other people. The Justice League is examining the state of the world and many of them understand the sentiment …
Meanwhile, Dough has captured Batman and is now posing as him (because these are Silver Age comics, nobody pays attention to anyone, so you can easily pass yourself off as n ‘anyone).
A WORLD TURNED AGAINST THE LEAGUE FOR JUSTICE
An anti-Justice League rally (which was presented to the Justice League as a way for them to reconcile with Snapper) quickly turns violent and the Justice League finds itself facing protesters in a way that makes them really bad, so they beat their feet (later learning that the tickets to the rally were traps that disrupted their nervous system, forcing the riot to occur) …
Things were not going well for the Justice League, especially when Congress asked them to testify on whether they were responsible for starting the riot.
THE JOKER IS REVEALED!
“Batman” is about to testify that the Justice League was planning to overthrow the US government when the REAL Batman shows up and reveals that John Dough is a villain. Dough escapes, but when the League returns to their headquarters, Doe is there to attack them, as Snapper has told him how to get into the Justice League base.
He is defeated and we learn that John Dough is in fact the Joker in disguise!
After that, the Joker would experience one of the longest interruptions of his comic book career before O’Neil and Neal Adams brought him back in a character overhaul. Snapper would be out of the book, though the League ostensibly forgave him for betraying them. Funnily enough, O’Neil would be out of the book soon as well, with fellow second-gen writer Mike Friedrich picking up the book, also doing it in the same vein as O’Neil’s work.
THE LEAGUE OF JUSTICE WAS FORCED TO LEAVE EARTH ENTIRELY
With its headquarters now on display, the League is forced to head into space with a brand new satellite headquarters in the next issue …
I love how convinced the Atom is that the satellite will be too difficult for anyone to attack, because we all now know that the satellite has apparently been destroyed three or four times over the years. However, the satellite was a major part of the League for the next decade and a half.
Thanks for the suggestion, Dan!
Okay friends, if anyone has a suggestion / question about a notable comic first, drop me a line at [email protected]!
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