Mike Sekowsky Charter Member: Justice League of America

by Patrick Bain

051721B-300x157 Mike Sekowsky Charter Member: Justice League of AmericaIf you don’t prefer an artist, it may not be the artist!  It could be the era.  I think the Justice League of America’s premier artist is a good example.  Mike Sekowsky, a.k.a. co-creator, first artist, he’s certainly a charter member of DC’s most important superhero club, the JLA.   Sekowsky is an example of a guy whose style mirrored the era, but as times changed, his art evolved.  In this article, we’ll look at the JLA co-creator’s accomplishments, his recent sales, and some coming attractions.

High Praise for Sekowsky from Joe Jusko

Justice-League-of-America-26-with-cover-art-by-Mike-Sekowsky-202x300 Mike Sekowsky Charter Member: Justice League of AmericaMaybe Sekowsky can’t boast the huge fan-following of other Silver Age work-horses like Gil Kane and Gene Colan.  Probably Don Heck is more revered.  We won’t mention Mike Sekowsky in the same breath as Jack Kirby for fear of multiverse rioting.  However, I like a recent post of Joe Jusko.  Jusko’s thoughts on Mike Sekowsky mirror mine.  A great artist in his own right, Jusko focuses on the technical nuances of Sekowsky’s work.  That’s beyond me.  But, like Jusko, with age and experience, I have a fonder appreciation for the man who brought Amazo, JLA-JSA team-ups, and so many other great memories to life for me.

Mike Sekowsky: Charter Member

Brave-and-the-Bold-28-CGC-3-0-189x300 Mike Sekowsky Charter Member: Justice League of AmericaMike Sekowsky made his manic first JLA appearance in Brave and the Bold 28, along with other charter members Aquaman, Green Lantern, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman.  The first Silver Age team debuted just before New Year 1960.  The menace of Starro the Conqueror demanded not a single superhero, but a team of DC’s all-stars.  Besides being simply a ‘charter member’ of the Justice League, Mike Sekowsky co-created the team with Gardner Fox.

As an aside, be sure to check out my blogger dome battle with Ryan Kirksey demonstrating the superiority of Brave and the Bold 28 over Avengers 1.

Most Memorable Stories and Art

Memorable-JLA-stories-from-Mike-Sekowsky-300x200 Mike Sekowsky Charter Member: Justice League of AmericaI’ve pictured six Sekowsky standout tales.  How many of these memorable stories by the illustrator do you remember?

The combined power of the Justice League often required epic teams of super-villains to match that power.  Going toe to toe with the JLA, villainous teams like the Royal Flush Gang and Crime Syndicate were made to order.  Sekowsky, and Dick Dillin after him, had to master the multi-character pages and free-for-alls!

What stands out in your memory from the JLA annals of the sixties?

Recent Sales for Mike Sekowsky

Justice-League-of-America-29-Page-1-by-Mike-Sekowsky-and-Bernard-Sachs-222x300 Mike Sekowsky Charter Member: Justice League of AmericaLast January, three interior pages from Justice League of America 29 sold through Heritage Auctions.  The story featured the introduction of Earth III–a planet where the heroes were villains battling the forces of good, or is it evil?  At any rate, the counterparts of the Justice League and Justice Society from Earth One and Two, all stood for evil in this parallel world.  The pages ranged from $26,400 to $50,400.  The splash page fetched the best price.  Sekowsky and frequent inker Bernard Sachs illustrated the art.  The notorious doppelgangers of the JLA called themselves the Crime Syndicate of America.

Coming Attractions: Mike Sekowsky JLA Charter Member

Brave-and-the-Bold-30-213x300 Mike Sekowsky Charter Member: Justice League of AmericaFour Sekowsky panel pages come to auction through HA in June.  The oldest is from Brave and the Bold 30.  The others pages hail from JLA issues 14, 20, and 24.  All are fun examples of Justice League of America art by Chart Member Mike Sekowsky.

JLA-14-Page-7-by-Sekowsky-and-Sachs-206x300 Mike Sekowsky Charter Member: Justice League of AmericaJust for fun, I’ll mention that on the Comic Art Trends (CAT) grading scale, the JLA pages mostly fit in the R4-R5 range.  Issue 24 Page 17 features Grade A character Wonder Woman.  It grades CAT R6.  Art connoisseurs may utilize the CAT grades for comparing these unique pages of art to other JLA pages by Sekowsky previously sold.  Thus, buyers have a sense of what collectors/investors have paid for similar art in the past.  The “R” stands for interioR panel page art.  The higher the number, the better.

The Big Sekowsky Wrap-Up

Wonder-Woman-191-197x300 Mike Sekowsky Charter Member: Justice League of AmericaMike Sekowsky’s works are significant enough that I have included him in the CAT Silver Age Index.  (It’s past time for me to number crunch and update the graphs.)  Sekowsky’s long Silver Age run on JLA cements his place in comic history.

In my Facebook Group, Comic Art Trends Advisors, I asked about Sekowsky.  Many agreed that his Wonder Woman run was among his best works.  The style on that later series demonstrated Sekowsky’s skill at adapting to the times.  And I’ll just go ahead a give a shout out to the fan group “The Big Sekowsky” on Facebook.

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Joel Blashka May 18, 2021 - 2:19 pm

Sometimes it’s not the artist, it’s the inker. Or the subject matter. Bernie Sachs was an excellent inker, but superheroes were not his forte. Sekowsky was better with Murphy Anderson (JLA covers) and Sid Greene (interiors). But I loved Sekowsky and Sachs on Star Hawkins.

Patrick Bain May 18, 2021 - 2:44 pm

I think Anderson’s JLA cover inks were terrific and probably led to the most memorable of covers.


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