Thursday, November 22, 2012


It’s Thanksgiving, so it’s fitting that today’s “Comicbook Candy”
booklet is the only real turkey of the eight mini-comics packaged
with Leaf candy and sold circa 1980. 

The Secret Origin of the Justice League of America is 16 pages: a
cover, 14 pages of story and a back cover advertisement for a DC
Super Heroes Collector Album.  This miniature comic measures 4-1/4"
tall and 2-3/4" wide.  The display box for this product was posted
in last Friday’s bloggy thing.  The Grand Comics Database has
indexed these minis.  So we know a lot about them, but by no means

Here’s what the GCD says about the cover: Dick Giordano in an email
to the indexer has confirmed that he inked this cover, and suspects
that he pencilled it based on a layout from Carmine Infantino.
However, the Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Green Lantern figures seem
to also have a Curt Swan look.

The small size of the booklet makes it difficult to determine the
artists in some cases.  On some of the other booklets, I couldn’t
see Swan in the art.  On others, like this one, I think the GCD is
right.  Someone should ask the esteemed Infantino if he remembers
working on these.

“The Origin of the Justice League of America” reads like one of the
PSAs (public service announcements) that Jack Schiff used to write for
the DC comic books of the 1960s.  Kids playing JLA tell young Kim
Luc that he can’t play with them because he’s not even an American.
Today those mean kids all work for Fox News.

Superman flies down to them and tells them the origin of the JLA,
badly condensed from the actual story.  He tells a meandering tale
of some JLA history, concentrating overmuch on the two headquarters
the League has had in its history.  He then points out that five of the
current League members aren’t American: Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Red
Tornado, the Martian Manhunter, and the Man of Steel himself.  One
of the mean kids demands a border fence around the Earth and moves
to Texas, one of the three dumbest states in the United States of
America.  I’m going with Arizona and Alabama for the others, but I
am open to suggestions.

The art on this story is just plain awful.  Concerning who was its
perpetrator, the GCD says: The Comic Reader #191 (May-June 1981)
lists the artists as "Buckler?/McLaughlin". Rich Buckler has denied
that he pencilled it in an email to the indexer. The art seems to
consist of a bunch of swipes from various sources including Irv
Novick, Marshall Rogers, Neal Adams, and others, but the name of
the creator of this art is eluding the art experts here at the GCD,
and it might have even been a joint effort. Todd Klein confirms on
his web site that he did the letters for this story. Mike DeCarlo
confirms that Frank McLaughlin inked this in an email to the

I’m dubious about this being a joint penciling effort.  All of the
art strikes me as coming from the same hand, though the swipes from
other better artists are evident.  Maybe editor Joe Orlando threw
this bone to an artist trying to break into the business.  Unless
the original art turns up or McLaughlin remembers whose pencils he
inked on this, we may never know the artist’s identity.

Two more “Secret Origin” booklets to go: Superman and Wonder Woman.
Come back tomorrow for “The Superman Story.”

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. A classic. I'm a little disappointed that you didn't have more scans of the art, including the magic disappearing Hawkman, or the last page where Superman's cape somehow writes "JLA FAN CLUB" on Kim Luc's shirt.

  2. That art looks truly wretched. I can also see why it might be presumed to be Buckler, perhaps not proud of a rush job and therefore in no hurry to take credit?