The Justice League has been a staple of the DC Universe since 1960, debuting in Brave and Bold #28 by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, Bernard Sachs, Joe Giella, Murphy Anderson and Gaspar Saladino. Over the decades, the artists behind the Justice League have included comic book legends.
Bringing the Justice League to life across numerous series, many talented artists have brought their unique style to the adventures of the Justice League. As special projects came in, the list of creators grew. Create memorable works of art that complete epic stories and set the stage for heroes to shine, the greatest Justice League the artists left their mark.
ten Mike Sekowsky was the JLA artist in the Silver Age
The very first artist to chronicle the Justice League of America was Mike Sekowsky. Collaborating on many stories, Sekowsky became known for his speed. Gene Colan described his pencils as “very loose, but so beautifully made”.
Sekowsky drew Justice League of America for the first 63 issues, and his artwork helped define DC Comics’ entire Silver Age era. He helped create many of the team’s most iconic enemies, and after leaving the title, he took over as an artist on wonder woman for three years.
9 Dick Dillin gave the best Bronze Age stories for the JLA
When Mike Sekowsky left Justice League of America, Dick Dillin became the regular cartoonist. With a few breaks, he drew the title until 1980. He died shortly after turning pencils for Justice League of America #183, written by Gerry Conway with additional art by Frank McLaughlin, Gene D’Angelo and Ben Oda. The next issue’s page of letters contained fond memories of Dick Dillin.
Dillin was the artistic bridge between the Silver Age and the Bronze Age. Watching his first and last issues shows his growth as an artist. One consistent area he excelled in was his use of unconventional layouts. It would place panel borders at odd angles and odd shapes, avoiding the Silver Age reliance on rectangular panels in a conventional layout.
8 Alan Davis created a beautiful Alternative Justice League
JLA: The highlight is an exceptional Elseworlds that explores a world without Superman. Alan Davis’ art depicts an aimless Justice League. To emphasize this, members are separated by battles resulting in beautiful splash pages. When he reveals a Kal-El raised in seclusion, the power of the future Superman is evident.
Alan Davis has an organic quality to his anatomy, never failing to convey the action. Likewise, his characters have qualities that separate them from each other. His backgrounds raise the tone without betraying their unique qualities. The only thing that would be better than JLA: The highlight is if Alan Davis had drawn the regular title.
seven Howard Porter brought the iconic Justice League back from obscurity
The first half of the 1990s saw a decline in the Justice League, and many teams of C-level heroes tarnished the League’s reputation. In 1996, Grant Morrison brought back DC’s seven greatest heroes to reform an iconic JLA. Howard Porter provided the art for much of the new title’s first four years.
Howard Porter’s style worked through the 1990s. He carved out his own niche and nailed iconic moments, like Superman wrestling an angel. Porter created the Watchtower which has become almost as iconic as the JLA Satellite. Much of his work contributed to the modern Justice League.
6 Jim Lee defined the new 52 Justice League
When DC Comics relaunched its entire line in a company called “The New 52,” a new Justice League was needed. Redesigning the members of the Justice League fell to DC executive Jim Lee, who then drew the first storyline, “Origin.”
Jim Lee brought an energy with his illustrations that fit the story perfectly. Darkseid has threatened Earth and the mightiest heroes have banded together to stop him. Every member felt like they belonged, especially Cyborg, the newest addition to the team. Looking at the six numbers drawn by Jim Lee, his talent has become legendary.
5 George Pérez was supposed to draw huge team books
George Pérez excelled in team books, such as the new teen titans, The Avengersand the Justice League of America. After Dick Dillin’s death, Pérez stepped in to work on his dream book. His stint on the title was brief, especially compared to his time on New Teen Titans and wonder woman.
George Pérez drew a team of iconic characters that fit together. Superman didn’t eclipse his teammates, he worked with them. As the Justice League moved out of the Bronze Age, Pérez set the stage for later artists to update the team. With George Pérez, readers were on the edge of their seats and eagerly awaited the next issue of Justice League of America.
4 Kevin Maguire gave his expression to the humor of Justice League International
When Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis revived the Justice League in 1987, Kevin Maguire was the artist. Maguire made it clear he could convey action and humor, and his expressive faces told the story in a way that enhanced the words that accompanied them.
Maguire’s Justice League lacked many of the Justice League’s most iconic members. Batman was there but often relegated to the background. His team’s Green Lantern was the over-the-top Guy Gardner, befitting Maguire’s style. Looking back, it’s no surprise that Kevin Maguire has become many fans’ favorite artist.
3 Alex Ross provided an iconic and realistic justice league.
Alex Ross first drew the Justice League in kingdom come. His true mark on the JLA came with the 2005-2007 limited run Justice. The story was not set at any point in the continuity and featured more iconic versions of characters. DC capitalized on the series by releasing action figures designed by Ross.
Ross included Shazam-powered Captain Marvel and Plastic Man, which aren’t yet included in the Bronze Age versions of the League. Zatanna wore her stage outfit rather than one of the two costumes she wore during her time with the League. Ross even included the Metal Men in a twist that camouflaged an advantage the JLA had over its villains.
2 Bryan Hitch brought epic, epic storytelling to the Justice League
After Ultimate and Authority, Bryan Hitch cemented his reputation as a master of cinematic storytelling. He used panels across the width of the page and he could also draw anything Mark Waid threw at him. Two stories featured Hitch’s impressive skills.
JLA: The ladder of paradise gave Hitch the opportunity to draw several alien worlds. He even rendered a chain of captured planets arranged like DNA. In JLA #54 — written by Waid with art by Hitch, Paul Neary, Laura Martin, and Ken Lopez — the JLA members parted ways with their secret identities, creating two separate individuals for each. Hitch rendered this bizarre scene in a completely believable way for readers, proving his level of skill.
1 Adam Hughes became a superstar in Justice League America
Adam Hughes exploded onto the scene when he started drawing Justice League America, his first regular assignment at DC Comics. His relationship with the publisher would last for decades. Hughes redesigned the costumes for Fire and Ice, and he proved capable of portraying the drama during the League’s battle against Despero.
Adam Hughes’ rendering continued to evolve, and he had plenty of humor to illustrate thanks to the content Giffen and DeMatteis provided him with. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold’s casino on the sensitive island of Kooey Kooey Kooey has proven a fan-favorite classic. Although Hughes’ time with the Justice League was short, it was memorable.
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