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Superheroes, Superteams

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This is a guest post by Megan Halsband, a mild-mannered reference librarian in the Serial and Government Publications Division, who may or may not have a superhero secret identity and a cape at the ready. Wonder Woman’s day job, film fans will recall, is an art historian in the Louvre. Megan, meanwhile, is an art historian who works at the world’s largest library. Hhmmmm. Here, she writes about superhero team building and one of Wonder Woman’s early appearances. Coincidences, all? We’ll never tell. 


Avengers, no. 1 (1963).

Ahh, the superhero team – where would comics be without them? No Avengers, no Birds of Prey, no Watchmen, no Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (my favorite)! From the beginning superheroes, anti-heroes, and villains have joined forces to create some epic comic stories. And you can come and read them here at the Library of Congress in the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room.

Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, no. 1 (1984).

One of the earliest teams, the Justice Society of America, appeared in All Star,no. 3 (Winter 1940). While Doctor Fate and the Spectre (two of the original members) might not be as well-known now as some of their other team members (Flash and Green Lantern), the Justice Society of America has included major characters such as Wonder Woman and Black Canary over the years as well.


All Star Comics, no. 3 (Winter 1940).




The Silver Age of comics introduced some of the most popular teams of today – the aforementioned Avengers – as well as the X-Men, the Justice League, Doom Patrol, and the Guardians of the Galaxy (to name a few).

Marvel Super Heroes, no. 18 (January 1969).



X-Men, no. 1 (September 1963).











Justice League of America, no. 21 (August 1963).

World’s Best Comics, no. 1 (1941).

And then there are the Team-Ups. Remember when Superman, Batman, and Robin teamed up in 1941 in World’s Best Comics (later World’s Finest Comics)? There was also that time when the Justice Society of America met the Justice League in August 1963. There were even entire series, like Marvel Team Up and Marvel Team Up Annual, devoted to team-ups. In this case usually Spiderman and someone else.


The Ren and Stimpy Show, no. 6 (May 1993).











There are so many others from WatchmenTeen Titans, and Suicide Squad to Alpha Flight and Powerman and Iron Fist. And there were teams and team-ups that were downright curious – like the Forgotten Heroes in Action Comics, no. 545 (July 1983) or when Spiderman joined Ren & Stimpy.

Got a favorite team/team-up? Tell us in the comments!

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Comments (3)

  1. The exhibit of the new comics collection was disrupted by the Trump NO WORK week….Do you plan on another exhibit to make up for it? Thanks

  2. From William Wirt Middle Schoolers:

    We love your comic strips series. It inspires us to be superheros!

  3. I think it cool because i haven’t seen these comics before like the originals

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