Favorite Quotes

"The fact that you think you are a person is a socially induced hallucination. There is not such thing as a person."
- D. Chopra, Playboy March 2011 interview

Thursday, December 22, 2011

River On Fire 1969

Justice League Of America #78 (February 1970) [National Periodical Publications]

On the Newsstands today in 1969 was this issue of the JLA.  According to Mike's Amazing World of Comics (www.dcindexes.com), this issue shipped on Dec. 11, 1969.

So, what's interesting about this issue?  It actually is a great issue showcasing superhero comics and comic book fandom of the time.

First, the JLA story begins with the river running near Star City accidentally catching fire because of its polluted state and the superheroes needing to put it out.  The whole story by Denny O'Neil is one of the many of "relevant" comics that were the vogue at this time. 
This story also is the introduction and first use of the JLA satellite headquarters that lasted for years and was even in the cartoons.  Of course, 1969 is the year of the first Apollo moon landing, so men in space were on every one's mind.
Second, its letters pages contain fine examples of fandom at the time.  The first letter is from Mike Tiefenbacher who (along with Jerry Sinkovec) a few years later in 1973 took over The Comic Reader and greatly expanded its coverage and pages making it the the premiere comics newszine of the time.  As Street Enterprises, they also published the The Menomonee Falls Gazette and The Menomonee Falls Guardian which reprinted newspaper comic strips; and published their own b/w comic books.
Other letter writers in this issue were several well know letterhacks Dornbaum, Henley, and Lillian.  Letterhacks were fans who tried to get as many letters published in comic books as possible.  Guy Lillian III claimed to have more than 62 published letters by 1967 and he's still writing them in 1969.
Henley's letter is especially interesting since he lived in North Canton, Ohio at that time, which is just south of the Cuyahoga River watershed.  That river is the one which caught fire on June 22, 1969 that Time magazine featured and probably lead to the JLA story in the first place.  It wasn't the first time the river had burned, but it was the first time it got national attention.

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