Kevin Maguire, the artist behind most issues of Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis’s Justice League and Justice League International in the ’80s and early ’90s, has shared a new riff on the famous cover to Justice League #1, themed for 2020 and featuring the oft-imitated group shot of the team in a socially-distant manner consistent with this year’s reality. The image, featuring period-accurate versions of Guy Gardner, Batman, Blue Beetle, Booster gold, Fire, Ice, Black Canary, Shazam, Maxwell Lord, Captain Atom, and Martian Manhunter, depicts the group as wearing masks and standing atop a giant “2020.” Guy Gardner’s “you got a problem with that?” remains place.
The cover has been imitated too many times to count, and often riffed on by Maguire himself, who did versions for other Justice League projects, a Giffen/DeMatteis superhero story called Planetary Brigde, and plenty of art he shares to Twitter. One such image, a group shot of the Arrowverse heroes, was a pretty big deal when he first shared it.
You can check it out below.
This is the closest I would come to doing a political cartoon. pic.twitter.com/2LAoCOrUay
— Kevin Maguire (@maguirekevin) October 4, 2020
The Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Justice League era treated the situations and threats faces by the League as serious, but many of the characters as, essentially, characters in a workplace dramedy. Maxwell Lord, created for the series, was using the League to get rich, and brought in Booster Gold to help with that. Batman and Shazam came in to launch the series but quickly left, since they had other things going on at the time. It’s widely regarded as one of the best and most creative runs in the team’s history, even though the reason for its existence is more or less that DC wouldn’t let Giffen and DeMatteis use the “main” Justice Leaguers to relaunch the series following the Legends crossover.
The book is maybe best known for its comedy, and for casting Blue Beetle and Booster Gold as an inseparable duo. Their friendship is one of the things that stayed intact after most of the rest of the characters were returned to a more status quo take on superheroes, and when Ted Kord died in Countdown to Infinite Crisis, it set off a chain of events that fundamentally changed Booster Gold as a character.
Maguire was originally intended to draw Justice League 3000, a riff on the title set in the future and written by Giffen and DeMatteis, but ultimately withdrew and was replaced by Howard Porter.