When superstar comic book artist George Pérez announced the sad news of his terminal cancer diagnosis last year, fans rallied for DC Comics and Marvel to re-release what is, perhaps, Perez’s most seminal work: JLA/Avengers. The 2003 crossover event was 20 years in the making and has not been in print since 2008. Well, sometimes, the Powers that Be actually listen. Coming this spring, JLA/Avengers returns for a limited print run. And it’s all for a good cause too.
JLA/Avengers will be available in March from participating comic book stores and will be distributed via Diamond Comic Distributors. This edition benefits the Hero Initiative, a charity helping comic book creators in need. Pérez is a founding member of the group, and he’s also the recipient of the Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award. You can check out the cover for the new edition below:
This 288-page full color, softbound volume features the original 2003 four-issue co-publishing venture between DC and Marvel, written by Kurt Busiek with art by George Pérez. The book carries a retail price of $29.99, and is limited to 7,000 copies. It also features 64 pages of companion content and will reprint introductions by original Avengers writer/editor Stan Lee and Justice League of America editor Julius Schwartz. The Hero Initiative edition includes a bonus: a new afterword by Kurt Busiek.
Marvel and DC originally commissioned a Justice League of America/Avengers crossover in 1983, as a follow-up to DC and Marvel’s massively successful Uncanny X-Men/ New Teen Titans crossover. Pérez, who in 1980 was briefly drawing Avengers, Justice League, and New Teen Titans at the same time, was the obvious choice for the art. He drew 21 pages of it before editorial conflicts canceled the project. The video below from ComicTropes on the incredible legacy of George Pérez goes into great detail about the event that almost was. And it’s all pretty fascinating stuff.
JLA/Avengers features not only both team’s most iconic lineups fighting each other, and also fighting together. All the nerdy things fans wanted to see for years occurred in this series. Flash vs. Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch vs. Zatanna, even Wonder Woman arm-wrestling Wonder Man. You even get a panel of Darkseid wielding Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet, and Superman holding Thor’s hammer and Cap’s shield. It featured every member of both teams up to that point.
Since the last time JLA/Avengers was in print, Disney purchased Marvel, making both companies part of mega conglomerates. That made future crossovers even less likely. So this is probably the last time fans will have the chance to purchase this seminal series. That alone is reason to grab a copy. Although the fact that proceeds are going to charity and honoring George Pérez’s charity of choice is also enough of a reason. For more information about the Hero Initiative, be sure to click on this link.