Under the name 'SuperFriends' the Justice League endeavored to train young superheroes in the art of crime-fighting. They established a training facility on earth which also operated as a pseudo-headquarters for the Justice League.
Although they had been called many things over the years, such as the Superfriends, Super Friends, with two words, and even the Super Powers Team, one thing was certain about them: they were dedicated "to fight injustice, to right that which is wrong, and to serve all mankind."
Formation of the Justice League of America
Much of the back-story concerning the formation of the Justice League of America is the same as in the parallel universe of Earth-One; with the exception of the date of formation. Instead of the date being early 1962, it was 1973.
In the parallel-universe of Earth-One, in February, 1959 (1971 in the Earth-1A universe), a panic is generated by the revelation of the presence of Martians on Earth. A few years before this, in 1955 (1967 in the Earth-1A universe), Professor Erdel's robot brain transported a Manhunter named J'onn J'onzz from Mars to Earth. Erdel died before he could reprogram the robot brain to send the Martian Manhunter back to Mars, stranding him on Earth. To blend in with humanity, J'onn J'onzz used his shapeshifting power to assume the identity of John Jones, a Middleton police detective. In the weeks that followed the Martian Manhunter, as Jones, observed the citizens of Middleton, finding them to be prone to paranoia. Fast forward four years and we see that J'onn J'onzz had been living successfully as a human policeman, while also operating in secret as the Martian Manhunter. As it turns out, Commander Blanx, and a small squadron of White Martians have been scouring the universe looking for the Manhunter. They eventually find him on Earth. The Manhunter confronted Blanx, and the White Martians. Their brief, but public battle was interrupted by Barry Allen a young and inexperienced Flash. He and the Manhunter partner up, but realize that the terrified civilians, upon seeing the aliens began to panic.
The Flash did his best to assure the citizens of Middleton that he would protect them from the Martians but only came under suspicion himself. As paranoia began to spread through Middleton, the Flash addressed the citizenry, at city hall, offering to bring in Superman.
As the Flash races to Metropolis, the Manhunter is captured by Commander Blanx. Upon his arrival, the Flash makes contact Superman, Batman and Robin. It is not long before our heroes are back in Middleton. As they arrive the Middleton police headquarters, they are informed that Detective John Jones (aka the Martian Manhunter) has been captured. As they discuss their plans, major news organizations begin to arrive. As morning approaches, several champions begin to gather, claiming they had heard of the alien invasion. These heroes include: the Blackhawks, the Challengers of the Unknown, Plastic Man, the Vigilante, Robotman, Congo Bill with his amazing Congorilla, Rex, the Wonder Dog, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen. The only other active and prominent hero at the time missing is Green Arrow, who is involved in a case that takes him and his sidekick Speedy (Roy Harper) back to the island of his origin, Starfish Island. They had heard Professor Hagen had been lost in the area during a storm. As they search for the professor, they are attacked by a lost tribe of Indians. In the attack, the Arrowplane is damaged and they are captured. Using his wit, he is able to offset any future harm and leave unscathed with the professor.
Meanwhile, our assembled heroes separate into three groups. The first group, which consisted of Plastic Man, Jimmy Olsen, and the Blackhawks accidentally run afoul of Rip Hunter's newly invented Time Sphere. The second group of heroes, Robotman, the Vigilante, Congo Bill, Congorilla, Lois Lane, the Challengers have a near-encounter with Adam Strange and his Zeta-Beam. While our third group, Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, Rex the Wonder Dog are summoned by an unnamed military General who has received intel from the famous TV detective/journalist Roy Raymond. Roy introduces Hal Jordan, a pilot for Ferris Aircraft to the group. The young pilot explains that Ferris Aircraft will launching new booster rocket at tomorrow's launch for the 'Explorer Project.' He explains that just a half an hour ago, as patrolled the Canaveral, he was shot or more specifically grazed by a ray-gun in an ambush. Intrigued, out heroes converge on the launch pad at Ferris Aircraft. They soon discover a plot to kill the Manhunter, Flash had spoken about. He was strapped to the top of the booster rocket. Just then, Blanx strikes. In the battle that ensued, our heroes defeat Blanx and his men, and rescue the captive J'onn J'onzz.
After their success, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash and the Manhunter discuss forming a club or a society to uphold Justice in the World. Batman says he’s not much of a joiner and the rest discuss the panic that was involved in this Martian excursion and the fear that coming together as a team with a Martian might foster. So they decide to wait until the time is right. Hal Jordan and the gathered reporters present also offer their oath of silence believing that global panic would not be good.
As fate would have it, aliens from the planet Appellax had come to Earth seeking to conquer it. This naturally gains the attention of Earth’s most well-known heroes: the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, the Martian Manhunter and later by Superman and Batman. Individually, they fell to the Appellaxian Wood King, only by combining their strengths and gifts, would the heroes overcome their foe. Defeating this final foe and saving Superman, the assembled group of heroes then decide to work again in the future, and thus the Justice League of America was born!
And the rest is history…
The initial Justice League lineup then, was also the same as the Earth-One universe. It included seven of the Leagues most prominent members: Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman.
Within a few years of being a team, the JLA entered a volunteering program to help train young people to become superheroes. Teenager Snapper Carr was the first teenage member or more specifically he was the first unnofficial Junior SuperFriends Member.
The SuperFriends Expansion
The SuperFriends were founded in order:
|“||To fight injustice, to right that which is wrong, and to serve all mankind.||”|
In late 1975, shortly after the Martian Manhunter had left Earth, the Justice League, believed that (as Superman stated), "the best way for us to combat crime and be prepared for world-wide emergencies is to work together. From now on, we'll be the SuperFriends."
This arrangement was spear-headed by Superman, Batman (and Robin), Aquaman and Wonder Woman (the core-five) and included the training of young people (or Junior Super Friends) for law enforcement at the Hall of Justice. Marvin White and Wendy Harris, and later Zan and Jayna of the Wonder Twins are the first of the trainees.
This is another significant departure from the parallel universe of Earth-One.
Junior SuperFriends Members
- Main Article: Jr. SuperFriends
The Junior SuperFriends were young heroes that the Justice League would train to be crime-fighting, superheroes. This training organization was called the SuperFriends and primarily led by Aquaman, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
|Members of the Justice League of America|
|Expanded Justice League Lineup.
Picture is from the SF Comic Book
Limited Collectors' Edition #C-41 (Jan. 76').
|Artwork by Alex Toth: |
Hawkman, Robin, Atom, Batman,
Captain Marvel, Black Canary, Flash and Green Lantern.
The Justice League also made use of an earth-base, 'Hall of Justice', located in Gotham City, but later relocated to Metropolis. The Hall was primarily the training academy for young people, but was also equipped with an advanced communications network and "Trouble Alert" system through which important government officials such as Colonel Wilcox, often alerted the Super Friends to various global threats, including alien invasions. The Justice League Satellite continued on as the League's official headquarters. Over time though, the Hall becomes their main headquarters.
|“||Gathered together from the cosmic reaches of the universe – here in this great Hall of Justice - are the most powerful forces of good ever assembled.||”|
— SuperFriends, Narrator
- Justice League Antarctica
- Justice League Europe
- Justice League Task Force
- Justice League Detroit (formed Pre-Crisis)
- Justice League mini-radio
- JLA Communicator
- Justice League 'Communication' Ring
- Justice League Teleporter
- Justice League Voice Duplicator
- Justice League Patrol Craft
- Delta Probes
- SuperFriends Space-Flight Vehicle
- Super Powers Team Space Shuttle
- Having successfully re-introduced a number of their Golden Age superhero characters (Flash, Green Lantern, etc.) during the late 1950s, DC Comics asked writer Gardner Fox to re-introduce the Justice Society of America. Fox, influenced by the popularity of the National Football League and Major League Baseball, decided to change the name of the team from Justice Society to Justice League.
- The Justice League of America first appeared in The Brave and the Bold vol. 1, #28 (1960)
- Sometime in the late 60s or early 70s, Gardner Fox wanted to showcase an even more child-friendly version of the Justice League, hence the SuperFriends were born. The reason that the show was called Superfriends, rather than the Justice League of America was due to the fact that the show was coming out during the Post-Vienam War and a name like Justice League of America seemed to patriotic. Nevertheless the team is still referred to as the JLA, even though it didn't make the title.[?]
- The SuperFriends turned out to be the longest-running version of the Justice League, which ran in various incarnations from 1973 to 1985.
Appearances in Other Media