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Post By
Commander Benson

In Reply To
The Rev

Subj: It Wasn't HUAC
Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 05:49:23 pm EST (Viewed 3 times)
Reply Subj: Re: The Man Who Defeated the JSA
Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 at 04:50:12 pm EST (Viewed 1 times)

Previous Post

What you have there is actually the first telling of the story of the disbanding of the JSA and why it happened. It is the final issue of an arc of stories that began in Adventure 461 which picked up after All Star Comics was cancelled with issue 74. These are all actually some pretty good stories which have only recently been collected in trade as Justice Society of America vol. 1 & 2. Long story short, the disbanding of the JSA was brought about because the HUAC decided that they could not be trusted if they would not remove their masks and expose their identities to the American people. This is the implication of the man who defeated the JSA. He was just a man on the committee rather than a villain or someone they lost a great battle to. It was their choice in order to protest the distrust the administration and the HUAC and to protect their families.

This is mentioned in America vs the Justice Society but the difference is that in that particular mini-series, the team was being accused of being traitors during WWII by a journal written by Batman which was found after his death. This story took place during the current timeline which would have been the early 80s rather than 1951 when the team was brought before HUAC. The nature of the mini-series was kind of a recap of all of the exploits of the JSA while the mystery of why Batman would have written all of these lies about them was taking place. It was actually a pretty good story but unfortunately it has been considered to be Out of Continuity since Crisis so pretty much the whole thing never happened. Of course now that Infinite Crisis has brought Earth 2 back to the playing field and we have seen the ghost of the E2 Batman in JSA I guess anything is possible.

The Rev

A SPOT-ON ACCOUNT of the "last case of the Justice Society", Rev--except for one small detail.

Actually, it's a detail that I found rather amazing that Paul Levitz was aware enough to insert.

As you related, the thrust of "The Defeat of the Justice Society" (which is the actual title of the story), from Adventure Comics # 466 (Dec., 1979), is that the JSA was brought down, not by super-villains, but by a mechanism of America's own government. And Levitz inserted--but did not name--a look-alike of real-life Senator Joseph McCarthy into the story.

The detail which I found it impressive that Levitz caught is, if he wanted to use McCarthy or a McCarthy-like character, in his story, then he could not use the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). This was because, in the real world, as a senator, Joseph McCarthy never sat--and could never sit--on HUAC, a House of Representatives committee.

This is a fact that eludes almost everyone. (Senator McCarthy actually sat on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.) But Levitz was savvy enough to know that, so in "The Defeat of the Justice Society", the committee before which the JSA appeared was the Combined Congressional Un-American Activities Committee, a joint House-Senate committee. Thus, Levitz could insert his Senator McCarthy character and still conform to Congressional parlamentary procedure.

This was continued in the "America Versus the Justice Society" mini-series (Jan. through Apr., 1985), written by Roy Thomas, in which the committee was called alternately "the Combined Congressional Un-American Activities Committee" or "the Joint Congressional Un-Activities Committee".

Thomas did undo one aspect of Levitz' story, though. Where Levitz included a Joseph McCarthy character on the committee in his story, America Versus the Justice Society did not. Thomas' tale insisted that Senator McCarthy had been killed in an automobile accident prior to the hearing at which the JSA disbanded, and a senator named O'Fallon took his place.

I often--justifiably--berate DC's writers for their sloppiness in getting facts right, but in this case, Paul Levitz showed exceptional attention to detail.


Commander Benson


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