The Justice Society of America (JSA) is a central element in the new teenage superhero drama, Stargirl by DC Comics. If you’ve never picked up a comic book, the JSA might be a bit unfamiliar to you. So here’s a quick recap…
Most of the JSA heroes actually date back as far as the 1930s. In fact, heroes like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were all members of the team back then.
The Society Is Formed
The Golden Age of Comic Books is defined as the earliest years of popularity for the medium. DC Comics, a prominent early name in the industry, enjoyed much success with characters like Superman, Batman, Flash and Green Lantern. Bringing these heroes together under one comic seemed like the right idea, so in All Star Comics #3 (1940), the Justice Society of America made its first appearance.
The team originally included heroes who didn’t have their own individual comics like Hour-Man, the Atom, Hawkman and Doctor Fate. Eventually, Superman and Wonder Woman would join the team regularly.
The characters of the Justice Society were wildly popular in comics set during World War II and were said to be a source of inspiration to soldiers overseas and children back home. By the 1950s, America lost its fascination with superheroes and the Justice Society gradually fell into obscurity. DC Comics would see a resurgence in the early 1960s when the Silver Age of Comic Books began. During this period, characters like Green Lantern and Flash were reimagined with new identities and origins to match the times. This led to the birth of the Justice League of America.
A Tale of Two Earths: JSA Versus JLA
DC Comics had an interesting problem in the 1970s. If Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman all served on the Justice Society during World War II, how were they the same age in the ‘60s and fighting alongside the JLA? To explain this, DC introduced the concepts of Earth-1 and Earth-2. This meant there were two versions of Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince and so on. On Earth-2, the heroes were the versions introduced in the ‘30s, while Earth-1 revolved around the heroes of the 1960s.
Though the characters would go through a number of bizarre changes and editorial mandates over the years, the Justice Society would not see true popularity again until the late ‘90s. Geoff Johns, the executive producer of Stargirl, joined with writers like James Robinson, Paul Levitz, and David Goyer to release the comic JSA. A smash hit from the first issue, JSA involved a mix of the original and legacy members like Stargirl as they faced an array of problems, villains and events.
The JSA and Stargirl
Though Stargirl did not appear during the first 70 years of the Justice Society, she became a fixture on the team from 1999 until the present day. The show Stargirl opens with the supposed deaths of the Justice Society, specifically the hero known as Starman. Ten years later, a young Courtney Whitmore discovers she might be Starman’s daughter. This leads Whitmore to uncover certain truths about her family, her town and herself. The show follows Whitmore, played by Brec Bassinger, as she attempts to reform the Justice Society with new members.
Today, though the history of the Justice Society of America dates back almost a century, the story of heroism is still reaching an enthusiastic and loyal audience. Hop into Stargirl by streaming it on CW or DCU and learn more about the legacies of these remarkable characters.