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Friday, January 1, 2016

Justice League Dark Key Comics Part 1

 We're gonna break into 2016 with a Justice League Dark key comics series. Okay, this key issues series doesn't actually pertain to key comics within the Justice League Dark comic book series. It pertains to the 1st appearances of members of the group.

Since the line up of the team was a revolving door, I'll focus on the main members more with a few short-term members. Since it's been confirmed that a Justice League Dark film is still in the works and Ron Perlman has been rumored to play Swamp Thing, this is a consolidated list of 1st appearances in regards to the super-natural and occult version of the Justice League.

Ready? Here we go!

1st issue to anthology comic
1st appearance of House of Mystery
1st D.C. Comic's horror title

Okay, I know this is stretching it, but the Justice League Dark's headquarters is actually the House of Mystery. Yes, this creepy house is the base for the team, and, of course, it 1st appeared in House of Mystery #1.

Besides it's a Golden Age goodie and is considered DC Comic's 1st horror comic. Definitely no cheapie, but if you're a fan of horror comics and the Justice League Dark, this one should at least be on your radar.

Not saying you should go out and get it, but you should at least know about it. This issue did make the Horror Key Comics list done a while back. Will not be an easy find though. House of Mystery #1 has the cover date of January, 1951.

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1st appearance of Frankenstein in DC?

A lot of comics have their different versions of Frankenstein. Marvel has one and DC has one as well.

This is obviously the DC version and the monster 1st appeared in Detective Comics #135. Based on the Mary Shelley creation, Bob Kane and Edmond Hamilton introduced the classic horror monster in the pages of DC Comics.

The character of Frankenstein does become a member of Justice League Dark, but was revamped several times before then. This is actually the Earth 2 version, so probably not the same Frankenstein that becomes a member of Justice League Dark.

Golden Age goodie here just to keep in mind. Not sure if the character of Frankenstein will be in the film, but stranger things have happened concerning comic book movies and Hollyweird. Thought I'd just throw this one in for the hell of it.

Who would've thought Killer Croc was going to be in the Suicide Squad flick, or in the very 1st movie at least. Not me.

Frankenstein was one of the main or featured members of Justice League Dark, but isn't a founding member. He left in issue #30 but eventually rejoined the team. 

I believe the version of the character that joins the Justice League Dark has his 1st appearance in Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1. The Modern version was created by Grant Morrison & Doug Mahnke.

Detective Comics #135 was published May, 1948.

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1st appearance of Phantom Stranger

Another Golden Oldie here. Before there was Constantine battling occult forces, there was Phantom Stranger. This character did debut in the later Golden Age era and was created by Carmine Infantino and John Broome.

Phantom Stranger was a six issue anthology series and is one of those mysterious characters in the DC comic world. The guy has had various possible origins written throughout the years.

In his most recent incarnation, Phantom Stranger was once Judas Iscariot. He tried to kill himself after his betrayal to best-friend Jesus Christ.

Instead of dying, he came into the possession of the Trinity of Sins, a group of wizards gave him his punishment. He would walk the Earth as a resurrected entity and stranger to both the living and the beyond with the single mission to redeem himself of his betrayal.

Phantom Stranger is a powerful character with various powers. He seems to be immortal as well, but his most recognized power is his omniscience.

Phantom Stranger seems to know about everyone and most everything. Phantom Stranger has been a member of the Justice League, Sentinels of Magic, and, of course, the Justice League Dark just to name a few.

He is not an original member and joined or helped the team very briefly. He's not a main member or on the team currently, but is closely associated with the team and Madame Xanadu who is or was also a member of the Sentinels of Magic. Phantom Stranger #1 has the cover date of September, 1952.

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1st appearance of Zatanna

Ah, this one again! I know, I know, but if we are talking about Justice League Dark, the 1st appearance of Zatanna in Hawkman #4 is gonna pop up again.

I've discussed this key issue recently in the most recent Part to the Undervalued and Sleeper Comics and elsewhere, so I'm gonna keep it short.

Silver Age DC key issue, popular character, and her 1st appearance is not yet crazy expensive like Action Comics #252 is. That's the 1st appearance of Supergirl in case ya forgot.

Her earliest appearances are contained in a story line that is being considered the first or one of the first cross-over events in DC Comics. I dunno, you make the call. Hawkman #4 was published October, 1964.

1st appearance of Deadman

Although it appears that recent reports haven't said anything about Deadman, that doesn't mean homeboy won't be in the first installment or a future one. DC and Warner seem to have fully jumped on board the shared universe thing that Marvel and Disney paved the way for.

Deadman was created by Carmine Infantino and Arnold Drake and 1st appeared in Strange Adventures #205. This character isn't a heavy hitter in the world of DC, but he has had a cult following and is gaining popularity in more recent times.

Neal Adam's contribution to the series and the character of Deadman is quite well recognized. Him and Jack Miller took over the art and writing after Infantino and Drake shortly after Deadman's first appearance.

Deadman was once trapeze artist Boston Brand, who was murdered and is now basically a ghost. He has the  powers of intangibility, flight, invisibility, and can possess beings.

Like Frankenstein, he is one of the main members or featured members of the Justice League Dark, but Deadman is a founding member of the team unlike Frankenstein. Surprised casting rumors for this character has yet to be bounced around on the net yet.

If the movie franchise is successful, this guy has to pop up somewhere in the movies. Strange Adventures #205 has the cover date of October, 1967

1st S.A. appearance of Phantom Stranger

Here we have the 1st Silver Age appearance of Phantom Stranger in DC Comics, and his 1st Silver Age re-emergence is in Showcase #80. Currently, this is a pretty over-looked key issue.

The back up features in Showcase for Phantom Stranger was to retell tales that were told in his Golden Age series, but were rewritten to tie into the newly written story, "Men Call Me The Phantom Stranger".

The other story in this issue is - "The Three Signs of Evil" - and is reprinted material from Phantom Stranger #2 volume 1.

Might be one to check out, but not quite sure if this character will be in a Justice League Dark flick. Then again, if you're a fan, who cares about movie hype.

This issue still seems to be an over-looked but later Silver Age DC key comic. November, 1969 is the cover date for Showcase #80.

Alright...nothing really has been confirmed concerning the line up for Justice League Dark. These are just some of the 1st appearances of members or supporting characters for the team, but we ain't done yet.

Part 2 is ready, so click the link below to continue!


  1. Well I have the last three books listed here. So I'm off to a pretty decent start on this list of Justice League Dark keys.

  2. First appearance of Deadman is in the works... The Showcase 80 got bagged today in 8.0 for 44. I think the 3 Golden Age books are out of my reach in decent grades. The first appearance of Zatanna has allready gotten some hype, so that one will also be a tough one. Anyway, great list.

    All the best for 2016 for you from

    Speculation Jones

  3. Hope you include DOORWAY TO NIGHTMARE #1 (1st Madame Xanadu) in the follow-up! Nice idea, btw!