The Avengers. X-Men. The Justice League of America. Doom Patrol. Guardians of the Galaxy. The Teen Titans. These are all huge moneymakers both in and out of the world of comic books, each of them inspiring their own respective rabid fan-base with their out of this world, wonky and multiversal spanning epic adventures. But…There was a group of heroes from the so-called Golden Age of comic books. The group was bright, shiny and beautifully gaudy. In 1938, when superheroes first hit the scene (thank you very much, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, fathers of Superman), these exotic adventurers were dubbed “mystery men” and their early exploits in comic books with titles like More Fun, Leading Comics, Whiz Comics, Flash Comics, All-American Comics and Marvel Mystery inspired and laid the groundwork for what would one day become a rich and vibrant mythology. And then this aforementioned group of mystery men assembled in November of 1940 – not during the war itself as has been erroneously reported in other venues – in an oddball comic book titled All-Star Comics which had originally begun life as an anthology. Just imagine Dear Readers: A band of strangely attired and super-powerful characters from a pre-World War Two world that numbered eight in the original lineup of a group called the Justice Society of America: The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Doctor Fate, the Spectre, the Atom, the Sandman, Hourman. These were and are the forerunners to everything else that followed in the comic world and – from All-Star Comics #3 all the way until the bitter end in All-Star #57 – they created worlds of magic and endless possibilities. And now, in 2021, the Justice Society are headed to the land of animation according to our four colored buddies at The Hollywood Reporter.
The JSA was announced as having an animated movie on the way last summer and finally details have begun to emerge on the project which is being as Justice Society: World War II. The ensemble piece will feature a WWII era Wonder Woman (good ol’ Wonder Woman joined the Society as its secretary back in All-Star Comics #12), Hawkman, Hourman, Flash, Dr. Fate and Black Canary (in the world of comic books, Black Canary did not actually debut until after WWII in a 1947 issue of Flash Comics). This animated project is notable in that it marks the very first feature film for the fabled Justice Society after 42 prior animated films from DC which focused on other characters and teams.
The cast assembled to provide the voices for these legendary characters is a mighty one, indeed: Elysia Rotaru as the diminutive Black Canary, Matt Bomer as Flash, Stana Katic as everyone’s favorite Amazon Wonder Woman, Omid Abtahi as the winged wonder Hawkman, Matthew Mercer as Hourman, Keith Ferguson as Doctor Fate. Other actors will essay the voices of characters such as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Darin De Paul), Iris West (Ashleigh LaThrop) and Steve Trevor (Chris Diamantopoulos).
Jeff Wamester of Guardians of the Galaxy TV series fame has been tapped to direct this Justice Society of America feature. He will be working from a script penned by Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural) and Jeremy Adams (Batman: Soul of the Dragon). Producing credits go to Jim Krieg and Kimberly S. Moreau, with Butch Lukic serving as a supervising producer.
On a personal note, if I may: I first encountered the JSA at the tender age of four when I stumbled upon my cousin’s beat up copy of Justice League of America that featured a team-up between the JLA and the JSA. But it wasn’t until 1983 with the Roy Thomas written Jerry Ordway illustrated All-Star Squadron issues 19-20 – which chronicled untold WWII era stories of DC’s first superheroes and of the JSA proper – that I officially fell head-over heels in love with the first super group. My love and devotion has never wavered since that halcyon day, despite some questionable treatment over the years from their parent company, DC Comics. As such, it was a true pleasure to write up this article. Ahem. End of op-ed.
Justice Society: World War II is set to see release sometime in 2021.