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DC and Marvel’s Justice League/Avengers crossover that could never be reprinted is being reprinted

A limited edition reprint of the crossover pays tribute to artist George Pérez

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

In partnership with the Hero Initiative, Marvel and DC Comics will re-release a comic most readers probably thought they’d never be able to buy a hard copy of again: Kurt Busiek and George Pérez’s JLA/Avengers. First published in 2003, the book was the last time the Marvel and DC comics universes officially had a crossover.

With the limited release, says a joint Marvel, DC, and Hero Initiative news release, “Hero Initiative is honoring one of George Pérez’s seminal bodies of work and his long-time support of Hero.” Proceeds will go toward a general fundraiser for the Initiative.

Pérez is a founding member of the board of directors of the Hero Initiative, a charitable organization that assists comics creators with medical and other quality-of-life expenses. His long and storied career included stints at both Marvel and DC Comics, during which his work revitalized and redefined characters like Wonder Woman, the Avengers, and the Teen Titans for generations. In December, Pérez announced that he had been diagnosed with stage three pancreatic cancer and had decided to forgo radiation therapy in favor of spending his limited time with loved ones.

The reprinting of JLA/Avengers is just one example of an outpouring of support from all sides of the comics industry — Pérez is one of the few comics creators where it’s actually not that surprising that Marvel and DC were motivated to work through all the complications of a joint Warner Bros. and Disney partnership to pay tribute.

For contrast, even in 2003, Pérez and Busiek’s JLA/Avengers had a rocky road to publication. Originally scheduled for release in 1983 — from the combined talents of writers Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas and Pérez’s art — the project fell apart over editorial disputes. Two decades later, however, it was revived, and Pérez was teamed with Busiek for an all new story in which DC’s Krona (an alien scientist obsessed with observing the formation of the universe) played a game with Marvel’s Grandmaster (like, from Thor: Ragnarok?) for the fate of the Marvel Universe. The Avengers and the Justice League of America were their pawns.

The series was published in four issues between 2003 and 2004. In 2009, the Walt Disney Corporation announced its intention to acquire Marvel Entertainment, and Marvel/DC crossovers became a very firm thing of the past. JLA/Avengers has not been made available on digital comics retailers like Comixology, or subscription services like Marvel Unlimited or DC Universe Infinite.

A host of DC and Marvel superheroes stand assembled on the cover and spine of JLA/Avengers (2022). Image: George Pérez/Marvel Comics, DC Comics, The Hero Initiative

The reprint of JLA/Avengers will run 288 pages, including 64 pages of extra content, reprinted introductions from Stan Lee and DC editor Julius Schwartz, and a new afterword by Kurt Busiek. This new limited edition reprinting will be limited to 7000 copies, with each book selling for $29.99. The book, distributed by Diamond, is expected to hit the shelves of participating comic shops in March.

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