Hero Initiative will bring ‘JLA/Avengers’ back into print

Marvel and DC’s biggest and arguably best crossover event returns to print next month in honor of artist George Perez.

JLA/Avengers, arguably one of the greatest comics crossover events ever and, hell, probably a contender for one of the greatest Avengers AND Justice League stories of all time, will find its way back into print later this year thanks to the Hero Initiative.

The organization announced a special limited-edition reprint collecting the stellar miniseries by Kurt Busiek and George Perez, with the intent to honor “one of George Pérez seminal bodies of work and his long-time support of Hero.” Perez is a founding member of their board of directors and has served as chair of its Disbursement Committee, and this of course follows the news from last year that the legendary artist was diagnosed with Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer.

JLA/Avengers walked a long and winding road to publication, with many speed bumps and false starts along the way.

DC and Marvel’s first few crossover events came out in the early 1980s — Superman/Spider-Man, Batman/Hulk, Uncanny X-Men/New Teen Titans (which was also very epic and awesome in its own right). Justice League/Avengers was first conceived of around that time, with Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas and George Perez hired to create it, but editorial disagreements led to it being cancelled. It wasn’t until the early 2000s, after regime changes at both companies and several other crossovers between their characters came out, including the DC vs. Marvel miniseries where fans voted on who would win in inter-company match-ups, that the crossover to end all crossovers finally happened. Kurt Busiek and George Perez put together an epic story involving both teams, which was first released as a prestige format four-issue miniseries. It was later collected, but once Disney bought Marvel relations between the two companies cooled again, and it hasn’t been kept in print.

Until now. So big kudos to the Hero Initiative for getting permission from both companies to do this.

The print run will be limited to 7,000 copies, so these will likely go fast. In addition to the original series, the softcover will also include 64 pages of companion content and will reprint introductions by original Avengers writer/editor Stan Lee and Justice League of America editor Julius Schwartz. There’s also a new afterword by Kurt Busiek.

Interestingly, it’s also being distributed to comic shops by Diamond — who is no longer the main distributor for Marvel and no longer any kind of distributor for DC. It’s due out in March, which is just around the corner, so you may want to check in with your retailer sooner rather than later.

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