04 March 2010

The Smallville Secrets of Rodolfo Migliari's JUSTICE SOCIETY

Just in case you didn't catch the landmark two-hour 'Absolute Justice' episode of Smallville last month - or you did but a closer look would be like sex for your inner fan boy/girl, the episode marked the 'live media' debut of DC Comics' legendary World War II-era superhero team, The Justice Society of America.  And whether you saw the episode or only caught a teaser or two, it'd be hard to miss the JSA's mural-sized portrait, a visual that's long-been a part of the team's comic book legacy. 

If you've been wondering exactly who created Smallville's wall-sized tribute, the answer is DC Comics' cover artist Rodolfo Migliari, whose most recent work can be seen on the variant cover editions of Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, and Blackest Night.  

Migliari's piece, like much of his work, isn't an illustration but an actual painting.  Interestingly, it's not the actual - or Migliari's original rendering of the JSA - that appears in 'Absolute Justice'.  Migliari confides on his blog that given the show's size requirements, the Smallville painting is actually a print; the original work is considerably smaller (about 27.5" by 11.8").

While the iconic visual of the JSA seated about their engraved conference room table has been seen many times throughout the team's publication history, it's the original appearance of the image that served as Migliari's inspiration. 
All-Star Comics Issue #3, which debuted during the winter months of 1940, marked the very first appearance of the Justice Society of America, a team comprised of various superheroes who enjoyed their own individual adventures in other concurrent DC Comics' series.  The cover art (right) was drawn by illustrator Everett E. Hibbard .

Migliari's other influence for his Smallville JSA came from Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, which, in many respects, must also have been a source of inspiration to Hibbard over sixty years ago.

While we'd love Migliari's JSA painting to be hung in as many households as reproductions of da Vinci's work surely are, Migliari notes that the possibility seems unlikely due to copyright restrictions.  But, to his credit, he's let 'the powers that be' know the demand is there -- and we think any and all interested dabblers should, too. DC Comics editorial is just an email away! For an even closer look at Rodolfo Migliari's work, scoot over to his self-named blog HERE.
(For a gi-normous view of The JSA by Migliari, right-click on the image to make much bigger!)

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