The first team of superheroes in comic book history, the Justice Society of America, or JSA, is a DC Comics superhero group conceived by editor Sheldon Mayer and writer Gardner Fox. The JSA first appeared in All Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940).
Unlike subsequent "all-star" teams, the JSA was limited to heroes appearing in comic strips in anthology titles, but not at the time featured as the stars of their own comic books, because the publisher wanted to bring attention to lesser known characters. Therefore, Superman and Batman were only honorary members and Flash and Green Lantern's early tenures were brief, ending when each character was awarded his own comic book series. However, a 1944 change in policy allowed them back into the group. Other popular members were Hawkman, the Spectre, Hourman, Doctor Fate and the Atom.
The team was popular throughout the 1940s, but with the arrival of the new decade, superheroes' cultural prominence began to fade. The JSA's adventures ceased with issue 57 of the title (Feb-Mar 1951) and All Star Comics became All-Star Western. JSA members remained absent from comics until 10 years later, when the original (Jay Garrick) Flash appeared in The Flash #123 (September 1961).
During the Silver Age, DC Comics reinvented several popular Justice Society members and banded many of them together in the Justice League of America. However, instead of just replacing JSA, the publishers announced that the team existed on "Earth-Two" and the Justice League on "Earth-One". This allowed for annual, cross-dimensional team-ups of the teams, lasting from 1963 until 1985. It also allowed for new series, such as All-Star Squadron, Infinity, Inc. and a new All-Star Comics, which featured the JSA, their children and their heirs. These series explored the issues of aging, generational differences and contrasts between the Golden Age and subsequent eras.
In the 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi-series, the series merged all of the company's various alternate realities into one, placing the JSA as World War II-era predecessors to the company's modern characters. A few unsuccessful and often controversial revivals were attempted, until a new series, titled JSA, was launched in 1999 and continued through July 2006. A new Justice Society of America series launched in December 2006, coinciding with the new Justice League of America series, also launched in 2006. The title ended in August 2011, with issue 54, as part of DC Comics' September 2011 reboot of its DC Universe properties. The team is slated to reappear in the Earth 2 ongoing series that was launched in May 2012.