|Publisher|| Noble Comics |
|First appearance||Justice Machine #1 (Noble Comics, June 1981)|
|Created by||Mike Gustovich|
|Base(s)||Earth, formerly Georwell|
The Justice Machine is a fictional team of superheroes originally created by Mike Gustovich and appearing in comic books from many small publishers in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition to Gustovich, writers Tony Isabella and Mark Ellis have also had lengthy creative associations with Justice Machine.
The characters debuted in Justice Machine #1 (June 1981), created by writer-penciler Mike Gustovich, published by the small independent publisher Noble Comics,with a cover penciled by John Byrne and inked by Gustovich. The Justice Machine series lasted five issues, cover-dated June 1981, Winter 1981, April 1982, Fall 1982, and Winter 1983. The first three issues were published in magazine format, with the fourth and fifth issues appearing in traditional comic-size format. (The final two issues were also flip books with another Gustovich property, Cobalt Blue). Noble Comics folded after the publication of Justice Machine #5.
A new publisher, Texas Comics,licensed the characters from Gustovich, putting out Justice Machine Annual #1 in 1983. The annual featured a crossover with the then-defunct Tower Comics' superhero team T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, by writer William Messner-Loebs (as Bill Loeb) and penciler Bill Reinhold. A second story, by writer-penciler Bill Willingham, introduced the superhero team the Elementals.
Texas Comics had planned to bring out a bimonthly Justice Machine series, but in the end only produced only the one comic before it too folded.
In 1986, Comico: The Comic Company revived Justice Machine — and the Elementals — putting out a limited series, Justice Machine Featuring the Elementals #1-4 (May-Aug. 1986), by writer Willingham and artist Gustovich, which rebooted the series' continuity from the original Noble Comics/Texas Comics series.
Comico subsequently published an ongoing Justice Machine series (vol. 2) that lasted 29 issues (Jan. 1987–May 1989), plus a 1989 annual. That series' initial creative team consisted of writer Tony Isabella co-plotting with artist Gustovich (who stayed on for the whole series). Picking up from the end of the Justice Machine Featuring the Elementals, the ongoing title became one of Comico's best-selling series, selling upwards of 70,000 copies of each issue at its peak.Other writers on vol. 2 included Doug Murray (issues #14–26) and Michael Eury (issues #20–29).
Innovation Publishing published a three-issue limited series, The New Justice Machine (Nov. 1989–March 1990), by Mark Ellis with pencils by Darryl Banks and others, and inks by Gustovich. An accompanying one-shot, Justice Machine Summer Spectacular #1 (Summer 1990), by writer Messner-Loebs and penciler Reinhold, contained a story that had originally been created for publication by Texas Comics in 1983.
Innovation followed the limited series with a new ongoing series, Justice Machine vol. 3, which ran seven issues (April 1990–April 1991), as well as the one-shot Hero Alliance & Justice Machine: Identity Crisis #1 (September 1990), by writer Ellis, pencilers Banks and Rik Levins, and inker Gustovich. Initially produced by Ellis and Banks, the series acquired creator Gustovich as both penciler and inker for issues #4-6, and Isabella as writer for the final three issues.
Ellis' Millennium Publications produced two issues of a fourth volume (Oct. & Dec. 1992), by writer Ellis and penciler Banks. These feature updated versions of the characters. Ellis had purchased the Justice Machine rights from Gustovich in 1991.This would be the last new appearance of the Justice Machine for over 20 years.
The New Justice Machine: High Gear Edition, Volume One was released by Ellis' Millennial Concepts and Gary Reed's Transfuzion Publishing in March 2009.The compilation volume collected the New Justice Machine limited series and the first issue of the regular series published by Innovation.
Object of Power, an original Justice Machine graphic novel by Ellis and artists David Enebral and Ivan Barriga, was published by Bluewater Productions in June 2014.
The Justice Machine is currently trademarked by George Sarantopoulos, publisher of It's Astounding.
In the first two versions of the team, the Justice Machine is an elite law enforcement agency from the planet Georwell, a parallel world with advanced technology that the Machine members believe is a utopia. ("Georwell" is a play on George Orwell, the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four , and the society of Georwell is based on the society of the novel, though much more technically advanced.)
Arriving on Earth in pursuit of Maxinor, a criminal and accused terrorist from their world, the team members soon discover that Georwell is much more fascist and dystopian than they had previously believed. Meanwhile, the Georwellian authorities have activated a second team, called The Guardians in the Noble Comics series, or the New Justice Machine in the Comico series.[ which? ]
Zarren, their superior, recognizes that Georwell's government is corrupt, but he has no desire to change the system; he merely wants to advance to a position of more power. The Machine's idealism might interfere with Zarren's personal goals. He has the Machine indicted as traitors, and they have no choice but to remain on Earth. Later, Zarren falls victim to his own schemes and must flee to Earth, where he sets himself up as the president of a small South American island, the Arriba Atoll.
In "The Chimera Conspiracy", scripted by Mark Ellis and Darryl Banks, drawn by Banks, and published by Millennium Publications, it is revealed that Georwell is actually Earth in an alternate future, some 900 years hence. Rather than traveling from one dimension to another, the Justice Machine went sideways and backward in time, drawn to a temporal nexus point where the events which eventually create Georwell are in a state of flux.
The Justice Machine
The Justice Machine was the subject of a sourcebook for the role-playing game Heroes Unlimited , published by Palladium Books. This version was based solely on the Noble Comics version, but includes details of storylines and characters stretching beyond the comic-published material.
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