Justice League Of America #21, DC Comics, 1963.

We were talking big comic book events at the shop recently, as a shopkeep I like the high profile, well-executed ones as they tend to bring good business. Anytime we have discussions like this my mind seems to drift towards the genesis, the origin, the first time. I don’t know what the first-ever big comic crossover event was

We were talking big comic book events at the shop recently, as a shopkeep I like the high profile, well-executed ones as they tend to bring good business. Anytime we have discussions like this my mind seems to drift towards the genesis, the origin, the first time. I don’t know what the first-ever big comic crossover event was, the first ones that I remember were the Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars and DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths both of the mid-1980s. As soon as I had Crisis in my head I knew this week’s Undervalued Spotlight had to be Justice League of America #21.

Justice League of America (JLA) #21 features the first Silver Age appearance of Hourman, Doctor Fate, Icicle and Wizard, the issue re-introduces the Justice Society of America into the Justice League title. The “Crisis on Earth One” story is a prelude to the Crisis on Infinite Earths saga and it is the issue that starts the tradition of the annual JLA/JSA “Crisis” crossovers.

Yes, Flash #123 (September 1961) is the first comic that introduced the idea of the Multiverse but as you’ll see below it has priced itself up quite nicely. JLA #21 is as stale as yesterday’s bagel right now but the book is a big piece of the whole History of DC puzzle and I see interest and demand in the book eventually increasing. JLA #22 had the follow-up story “Crisis on Earth Two”, in August 1964 JLA #29 had the next story “Crisis on Earth Three”, JLA #38 “Crisis on Earth A”, etc. Members of the two teams would meet once each year until the epic Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985.

You can snag a CGC 9.2 for $1,250 while a very solid CGC 8.0 can be had for $465. A CGC 9.2 copy of Flash #123 will run you well over $12,000, even a CGC 8.0 will set you back about $4,600. The point here is that JLA #21 is cheap at the moment, it’s not as big a book as Flash #123 but it doesn’t have to be, there is lots of room for growth at today’s prices. When you snag a copy of JLA #21 you are getting a summer of 1963 comic, one of the big titles, with first Silver Age appearances, that launched a story thread that led to one of the biggest and farthest-reaching events in the history of the publisher all at bargain prices.

Mike Sekowsky’s cover pays homage to All-Star Comics #3, the issue that featured the first appearance of the Justice Society of America (JSA).

JLA #21 is a big DC book that should be revered more and it’s because I think it will be revered more that I’m advising you pick up a copy. The play here is a CGC 8.0, don’t go lower. There are less than 100 CGC graded copies at 8.0 or better which gives you some real scarcity of grade. As always look for a crisp, tight to the corners copy with lots of colour gloss.

The 48th Overstreet price breaks for this book are $340/$770/$1200 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

Strengths that make this comic a good long-term investment are:

  • First Silver Age appearance of Hourman, Doctor Fate, Icicle and Wizard
  • Starts the “Crisis” story thread and a big piece of DC history
  • Cheap on today’s markets