Tuesday, May 11, 2021

What Might Have Been - Justice League #160

Sometimes there is a sort of comic cosmic karma.

Since the initiation of the JSA Presents show on the Fire and Water Podcast Network, I have been more interested in seeking out the JSA/JLA crossovers from the Bronze Age.

I am always on the search for Supergirl history nuggets in comic history.

SO imagine my feelings of luck and serendipity when Professor Alan sent me a comic care package including Justice League of America #160, the second part of 1979's JLA/JSA crossover.

It is a completely bonkers story with other heroes ripped from time, like Jonah Hex and Miss Liberty, joining in the fight against The Lord of Time. Don't expect much to make sense here.

But it was the letter column that really caught my eye.

The beginning of the letter column states that Zatanna will be joining the League in the next issue. I can tell you that Justice League of America #161 is a sentinel book from my youth, important enough that I talk about it on Fire and Water Power of Fishnet podcast here.

What I didn't know before getting this issue is that Supergirl was in the running to be the next member!

Turns out she came in fourth place in a reader poll of who should be the next member. She garnered 36 first place, 26 second place, and 21 third place votes.

Yes, that was a far cry from the votes that Zatanna got. But that's a decent showing for the Girl of Steel. 

I can only imagine how great it would have been to have Kara be a part of the preeminent superhero DC team, interacting with the big hitters and being in the spotlight. It even could have resonated with the fact that Power Girl was on the JSA at this point.

But honestly, I was surprised to see her do so well here. If I am reading this correctly, the poll was open to any character the letter writer wished. That means of the myriad of heroes, Kara came in fourth! 

If only she had won!


Martin Gray said...

It would have been brilliant, it was always a treat when Supergirl interacted with the JLA

Do I see a case for a Captain Comet Comic Box Commentary next April?

William Ashley Vaughan said...

I'm surprised Supergirl didn't do better. At the time the poll was taken she was the only one of the heroes on it to still have a solo series. Granted, it was the Jack Harris run in Superman Family which was mostly undistinguished.

Relatively Geeky said...

I love me some Captain Comet. Make it so! — Professor Alan

Anonymous said...

Yeah she lost out to Captain Comet, who did not have a dedicated feature anywhere in the DCU at the time, that I know of...but given DC's increasing indifference to Kara Zor El at the time, making it into the top five is an enduring testament to her popularity. Although, my own thought was that she'd a ended up a back bencher in the JLA, overshadowed by and yet also simultaneously somehow threatening the popularity of her cousin.
For her to work in the JLA you need someone like Bruce Timm who like the character and understands how she'd interact in a group setting and with her cousin as well. My own Bronze Age Fantasy is that Kara and Batgirl found their own all female superteam, they could've filled it with C-listers like Lady Blackhawk and "Merry the Gimmick Girl", Lana Lang as Insect Queen, whatever...that book I'd a bought.

H said...

The one I'm most surprised about is Black Lightning- he's the only one who hadn't worked with the JLA yet. He hadn't been around that long either. Maybe people wanted to make sure he didn't disappear after his series got cancelled.

It would have been nice to have Kara on the team, but I agree with the fan consensus at the time. A magic user balances the team out better. Plus, Supergirl's usually better as a headliner or guest star than as a team member (LoSH excepted).

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

It is interesting that Captain Comet was so high for an 'open' ballot.

And agreed that Zatanna balances the team better.

Professor Feetlebaum said...

It would be interesting to see the complete list. What other potential JLA members, besides Metamorpho, did Supergirl come out ahead of? Maybe I'll drop a self addressed stamped envelope to Bob Rozakis at that Rockefeller Plaza address and see if I get something back.

Captain Comet was appearing in Secret Society of Super Villains around this time, so that may account for his good showing here.

Julius Schwartz only had a few more issues as JLA editor. Ross Andru took over with JLA # 166, although Gerry Conway continued as writer.

I like the idea of Supergirl as part of an all female team. I think I would want Mary Marvel on the team-just because she and Kara were both co-created by Otto Binder.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Mary could be The De Facto Magic User, someone conversant with the Gods of Olympus and sundry things...the team is already shaping up fine.



H said...

You guys should check out issue 20 of the Justice League Unlimited comic. I don't think they were an official 'team', but it was a bunch of the female members all working together (including Kara and Mary).