'Stargirl' Q&A: Co-creator Geoff Johns recalls writing Justice Society's first live-action appearance

In a live Q&A session on DC Universe's community forums, Geoff Johns recalls the experience of bringing the JSA to the small screen on 'Smallville'


                            'Stargirl' Q&A: Co-creator Geoff Johns recalls writing Justice Society's first live-action appearance
'Absolute Justice' (the CW)

While 'Stargirl' may be the first TV series to feature the Justice Society in such a prominent role, it is not their first live-action appearance, in fact, nor is it even Stargirl's. In a live Q&A at DC Universe, co-creator Geoff Johns recounted what it was like bringing the Justice Society to life for the first time on 'Smallville,' back in 2010. 

Johns, who co-created 'Stargirl' along with artist Lee Moder, was instrumental in bringing her to the small screen. He wrote her first live-action appearance with the rest of the Justice Society in a two-hour special of 'Smallville' titled 'Absolute Justice' in Season 9 of the long-running series that was a pioneer in live-action superhero series. Responding to a fan who rewatched the old episode and noticed that Johns had written it, Johns noted the synchronicity.

"Wow. Writing Smallville way back when and the JSA was such a different experience. It was a great one, and ironically the director of Stargirl 101 was Glen Winter who directed part 1 of that!!!" Part 2 was directed by none other than Tom Welling himself, who played the lead role of Clark Kent on 'Smallville'.

Johns continued: "I had done a Legion episode of Smallville and they asked me the next year to pitch them something — I pitched them JSA and they liked the idea of introducing Clark and the team to them," he wrote. "I was there to help serve and break the story for 'Smallville', focused on Clark and the others. The JSA were guest-stars, rather than the focus. It was never meant as a backdoor pilot or anything but an episode of Smallville. So the focus wasn’t on Courtney and the JSA necessarily."

He then wrote about how great it's been to give the characters the full focus they deserve on 'Stargirl,' writing, "The advantage — and it’s been such a blast to do it — of doing Stargirl with her front and center and the JSA there, it gave us the opportunity to set a different world, a different tone for the show. It was a JSA-first show. They weren’t guest stars here." 

He also had nothing but praise for director Winter, likening the process of working with him to collaborations with prominent comics artists who have worked with Johns in the past. "Glen Winter did such an amazing job — I liken Glen to my collaborators like Gary Frank and Jason Fabok — Glen and I have worked together quite a bit, including the Flash episode where we introduced Captain Cold," he wrote. "He’s an unbelievable director and Stargirl was so lucky to have him for the pilot. He did the Doom Patrol pilot too — anyone who is a fan of Grant Morrison’s run should check out that show. The showrunner, Jeremy Carver, and his team have done such a wonderful job."

'Stargirl' premieres May 18, on DC Universe. 

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