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Holy anachronisms, Batman!
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The Justice League of America appeared, fully formed, in the pages of the anthology series, Brave and the Bold #28 in 1960, battling the interstellar starfish called Starro the Conqueror. Writer Gardner Fox felt that the time had come to update the original Golden Age superhero team, The Justice Society of America, but thought that a Society was a bit too genteel, and instead used the term League, bringing to mind a baseball team.
After the team got their own title, the story goes that one of DC's publishers was playing golf with one of Marvel Comics' head honchos and remarked how popular their team was. True or not, Stan Lee was instructed by Martin Goodman to come up with a new superhero team book for Marvel, The Fantastic Four, debuting in 1961. The cover of that issue would appear strikingly similar to that of the JLA's first appearance.
The books would be drawn by artist Dick Dillon, from the late 1960s until the 1980s.
In 1985, after DC Comics rebooted their storytelling universe, the history of the League was retconned. After the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the JLA's New Earth origin differed  from the Pre-Crisis origin slightly, most notably the inclusion of Black Canary, the absence of Batman, and Superman single-handedly defeating the last alien but leaving moments before the group arrived.
The team was rebuilt in the 1987 company wide crossover miniseries, Legends. This new team was given a less America-centric mandate than before, and was dubbed the Justice League International (or "JLI" for short); the new comic was written by Keith Giffen and DeMatteis, with art by Kevin Maguire. This new and very popular series added a quirky sense of tongue-in-cheek humor to the stories, with an occasional slant toward excessive silliness.
The Lost Years
Because the decision was made not to completely abandon all of the Pre-Crisis history, there was a six to seven year period that was "skipped" between when the revamp occurred and the regular series began. This period has sometimes been referred to as the "Lost Years" and has been covered in such series such as JLA: Year One and JLA: Incarnations as well as countless flashbacks and allusions in such works as Identity Crisis.
The Justice League titles expanded to a total of five by the early 1990s: Justice League of America (formerly Justice League International), Justice League Europe, Justice League Task Force, Justice League Quarterly, and Extreme Justice. By the 1990s, however, with the departure of Giffen as writer, the humor prevalent in the early JLI-era had disappeared in favor of more serious stories. As the commercial success of the series faded, each of the titles was canceled.
JLA: Grant Morrison's Pantheon
In 1997, a new Justice League series titled JLA debuted, written by Grant Morrison and with art by Howard Porter and John Dell (though the new version of team first appeared in the miniseries JLA: A Midsummer's Nightmare #1-3, written by Mark Waid and Fabian Nicieza). This series, in an attempt at a "back-to-basics" approach, used as its core the original and most famous seven members (or their character successors) of the team: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), and the Martian Manhunter.
Added to this core roster was the character Plastic Man, as well as a new headquarters for the team, the "Watchtower", based on the moon. Morrison introduced the idea of the JLA allegorically representing a pantheon of gods, with their different powers and personalities. Since Morrison left the title, other writers and artists have taken over, though none with the success of Morrison's version of the Justice League. Has fought the Injustice Gang, which consists of Lex Luthor, Prometheus, Queen Bee, and Wade Eiling, who now inhabits Shaggy Man I.
JLA: Mark Waid and Ra's Al Ghul
In 2003, Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire returned with a separate miniseries called Formerly Known as the Justice League with the same humor as their Justice League run, and featuring some of the same characters in a team called the "Super Buddies" (which parodies the Super Friends). A follow up miniseries entitled I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League soon began to be prepared, though it was delayed due to the events shown in the Identity Crisis limited series.
Justice League of America: Brad Meltzer
In late 2006 a new series, again titled "Justice League of America" began with the first 12 issues written by Brad Meltzer who, ironically, wrote the story Identity Crisis in which the revelation of the mind-wiping by members of the original team led in many ways to the dissolution of the last incarnation.
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