The Great 1967 JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. AVENGERS Face-Off That Should Have Been

Courtesy of Bombastic BOB LAYTON…


I love face-off covers and one of my absolute favorites was probably my introduction to them — the cover to 1967’s Justice League of America #56 by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson. As I’ve said before, I really loved the Infantino/Anderson team. Carmine had an awesome design sense and Murph was fantastic at shaving off all the rough edges.

There is just a ton of action there although, even with his Hour of Power, I’m not sure Hourman would fare very well against the Man of Steel. And Wildcat would probably not have a chance against Green Lantern unless Ted Grant was able to get in close and give Hal Jordan a good ol’ fashioned haymaker. And Mr. Terrific against The Flash?!? Terry Sloane would probably take a terrific fall.

Now don’t get me wrong — I adore the Justice Society; I’m just keeping it real. And, frankly, that’s one of the fun things about covers like these: Before you get into the meat of the story, you can evaluate the match-ups. Now, as much as I love this cover, I was disappointed that it didn’t feature Dick Grayson in his newly debuted Batman-inspired duds from the previous issue, but what are you going to do?

But, match-ups! Probably one of the biggest during the late 1960s would have been between DC’s Justice League of America and Marvel’s Mighty Avengers. Could Superman take down Thor? Would Captain America triumph over Batman? Could Wonder Woman deflect Iron Man’s repulsor rays with her Amazonian bracelets? Can you imagine if that story had been published by the House of Ideas and its Distinguished Competition?

Well, wonder no more! As I was scanning the internet for some super-heroey logos and trade dress, I came across a marvelous commission by Bombastic Bob Layton from 2016. Bob is well known for his ground-breaking run, with David Michelinie, on Marvel’s Iron Man, as well as writing and drawing a fantastic Hercules mini-series. And we’re not forgetting X-Factor and the Scott Lang Ant-Man!

Stunningly, Bob took on that that imaginary super-hero battle from 1967 and pitted DC’s Trinity (the Man of Tomorrow, the Caped Crusader , and the Amazon Princess) against Marvel’s top three Avengers (the Asgardian Thunder God, the Star-Spangled Avenger, and ol’ Shellhead) using the cover of JLA #56 as the inspiration

I knew I had to color it and I wanted to beat it up to high-heaven so that it looked like it came out of that time-period.

I’m an old guy. Back in the mid-’60s, you’d have to scour the drug stores, newsstands, and candy shops to get your weekly fix of comics. But one outlet has long been forgotten — the barber shop! For those old enough to remember, there was, generally, a pile of coverless and/or roughed-up comics, and if you were lucky you might find a treasure in that collection — a comic you had never seen before.

Well, that’s what I wanted to do with to this cover, make it look like a beat-up treasure!

Wow! That issue would have been the talk of the town had it happened! And here’s Bob’s pencils and inks for this mighty meeting! Amazing stuff!

Make sure to check out Bob’s work at his website, or visit him on Facebook.


— 13 GREAT ILLUSTRATIONS: The Groovy Glory of EARTH-TWO ROBIN. Click here.

— 13 COVERS: Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the JLA-JSA Team-Ups. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Unlike Avengers No. 4, which younger me inexplicably let disappear from my collection, I would have made certain this one would have stayed safe.

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    • Ive been a dc fan since i was 3 or 4 y.o. but I also like Marvel i think James Gunn and his Marvel adversary head should bring this live action movie project to the theaters i would love to see could be a movie dc and marvel fans will want to see.
      But also i think it would help out both DC and Marvel movies because the movies that are being made now dont appeal very much to fans, give us a movie that will want to make us go out and see and ticket sales will grow, but what do i know im just a average DC fan.

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  2. Love it. The inks look very like pre-sharpie/flair pen Terry Austin or Art Thibert.

    JLA in a cake walk. In fact, Batman alone could wipe them out—EMP Iron Man, devise some way to turn Thor back into Don Blake and let Superman and Wonder Woman take care of the Captain…

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