In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, find out how a JLA/JSA crossover event by Geoff Johns, David S. Goyer and Carlos Pacheco was dropped because of 9/11.
Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and seventy-first installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends.
A JLA/JSA crossover event by Geoff Johns, David S. Goyer and Carlos Pacheco was dropped because of 9/11.
Appears to be True
We sadly lost the great Carlos Pacheco to ALS on Thursday, and I thought a nice way of honoring him is by doing some Comic Book Legends about his excellent career. We'll start by taking a look at a project that fell apart after he moved from Marvel to DC in the early 2000s. In 2012, Abel Ippólito did a career-spanning interview with Pacheco that cleared up some legends and introduced some I never knew about.
WHAT WAS CARLOS PACHECO'S ORIGINAL PLAN FOR HIS JLA/JSA CROSSOVER?
One of the things that I never knew was about what Carlos Pacheco had in mind when he moved to DC in the early 2000s. Pacheco had grown up as being a big fan of the Justice League of America/Justice Society of America team-ups, but he especially liked how these crossovers would often be used to sort of welcome in to the DC Universe characters from other comic book companies. For instance, there was a JLA/JSA crossover that brought the Quality Comics superheroes into the DC Universe...
Then there was a JLA/JSA crossover that brought the Fawcett Comics superheroes into the DC Universe...
And while it was a different sort of thing, there was a JLA/JSA crossover that firmly brought Jack Kirby's Fourth World superheroes (and villains) into the DC Universe (again, this was different, as the Fourth World characters technically had ALWAYS been part of the DC Universe, but never quite this mixed in)...
So Pacheco thought that a great idea for the then-planned first JLA/JSA team-up (since the return of the JSA in a series initially written by James Robinson and David S. Goyer and then Geoff Johns and Goyer) should be used to bring in the Authority from the Wildstorm Universe (which DC Comics had just recently purchased from Jim Lee) into the DC Universe. Jim Lee, though, balked at the move, as he felt it was too soon, so instead, Pacheco pivoted. He recalled in Grant Morrison's JLA, there had been a superhero team introduced called the Ultramarine Corps. When they parted ways with the JLA in JLA #26 (by Morrison, Mark Pajarillo and Walden Wong), the leader of the team had said something interesting to Superman, he said that they will do everything that Superman and the Justice League CAN'T do...
Then they set up shop in their own floating island and basically declared open war on all bad guys, regardless of country (this was obviously very similar to the Authority, which is partially why Pacheco instantly thought of them).
So Pacheco's idea was that since the President of the United States in the DC Universe at the time was Lex Luthor, the Ultramarine Corps should attack Washington D.C., kidnap Lex Luthor and then make him stand trial for all of his various crimes. This, then, would lead to an interesting conflict between the Justice League and the Justice Society in terms of how they should proceed with the conflict.
WHAT CHANGED PACHECO'S JLA/JSA CROSSOVER?
Pacheco had a take that the JLA were like the Republicans, while the JSA were like Democrats and, well, I'll be honest, I don't know whether his analogies all lined up well or not, but the basic gist of the story is that there would be a conflict between the two groups in how they handle the Ultramarine Corps. So Johns would write it (presumably with Goyer, but Pacheco only mentions Johns) but then, of course, the tragic terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred.
Because of this, a storyline that involves an attack on Washington D.C. and the kidnapping ot the President of the United States was considered too far, and the whole project was sunk.
Luckily, Johns, Goyer and Pacheco regrouped and they came up with the crossover event that became JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice (Jesus Merino working with Pacheco on the art), which was an excellent comic book work in its own right, that came out in late 2002...
One of the interesting side effects of projects like this is that Pacheco took part of 2001 planning this new project, but then it was squelched, and then, since Virtue and Vice was a graphic novel, he took the rest of 2001 and much of 2002 to draw what was sort of like a four-issue prestige format series, but all released at once, and so if you look at Pacheco's comic book resume, there's this fascinating gap between the end of his Fantastic Four run in late 2001 and the release of Virtue and Vice in late 2002.
Thanks to Abel Ippólito and the late, great Pacheco, for this fascinating story of what could have been.
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