We are back for another article examing cool headquarters diagrams and blueprints! I already did one of these for the Legion of Super-Heroes headquarters through the years. I am obsessed with anything surrounding a super team’s headquarters, vehicles, and gadgets. I already covered the Legion’s space cruisers through the years, the Legion flight rings, and the design of the world of the Legion of Super-Heroes. These little extras are so vital to a comic book franchise. These extras are what add depth and texture to a franchise’s setting and world.
All of these articles are a blast to do. So, I decided that it was time to do another one. In this article, we will be examining the different designs for the Justice League’s headquarters through the years. DC Comics has delivered some cool schematics and diagrams of the various headquarters. The majority of these are found in comics from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. It is a real shame that Marvel Comics and DC Comics no longer do fun things like blueprints and schematics to various headquarters and vehicles. Of course, that would require Marvel Comics and DC Comics to focus on fun and the target demo of kids 6-18 rather than focusing on Twitter users in the 30-50 demo who love to tweet about politics and social issues in between bites of avocado toast and sips of a soy latte. Sorry, Gerald. Marvel Comics still won’t give you your artisanal cheesemaker turned superhero comic book. At any rate, that is a subject for a different article at a later date. Right now, let’s kick back and have some fun as we check out the various Justice League headquarters through the years!
The first blueprint of the Justice League headquarters that I could find was in Justice League of American #78 from 1969. This issue debuted the futuristic JLA satellite headquarters which was a big upgrade from the original Secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor. This is not the most detailed blueprint, but it is cool nonetheless. We get the basics any superhero headquarters needs like a lab and the main meeting room. I dig the fact that we get a trophy room. That is a must for any headquarters.
What I love the most is that there is a dedicated computer room! Nowadays, the computer is just seamlessly integrated into the main meeting room. But, back in the late 1960s, if you had a computer you needed a dedicated computer room for all those massive tape archival mainframes and such. We also get another archaic feature in a library! Yes! A place for physical books to do all of your important research! Another cool touch is that each JLA member gets their own individual office! Very classy.
The overall design of the original JLA satellite is a wonderfully sleek and simple mid-century design. I love the nice touch of the small glass top on the satellite.
In Justice League of America #95 from 1971, we get another blueprint of the JLA satellite. This one is far more detailed than the simple one we got in 1969. The layout in the 1971 blueprint is identical to the layout in the 1969 blueprint. However, the big difference is all of the cool detailed artwork we get in each of the rooms. This makes this blueprint far more enjoyable to look at and helps make it pop off the page more than the 1969 blueprint.
The JLA satellite is drawn with some subtle design differences in Justice League of America #104 from 1973. The design that we got back in 1969 was smooth with cylindrical designed spokes coming from the main orb of the satellite. In 1973, we get more angular spokes coming off of the main orb. The 1969 design had the main orb constructed of two pieces. A more conical base with a small dome half on top. In 1973, the main orb is constructed of one piece instead of two and the general shape is more round. Also, the cool side vents on the main orb in 1969 are missing from the main orb in 1973.
I know that this is not a Justice League of America headquarters. But, it was too cool to not include it in this article! Justice League of America #111 in 1974 presented us with something pretty neat. The JLA’s nemesis, the Injustice League of the World gets its own satellite headquarters! Personally, I think the villains get the far cooler-looking satellite headquarters. I adore the fact that the villains adorn their satellite with their name and logo! You cannot be a proper villainous organization unless you advertise to the world your name and location! I love the atomic symbol rings around the satellite. This is an excellent design flourish.
Justice League of America #130 from 1976 delivers one of the best-looking diagrams of them all. We get treated to some of the external features of the JLA satellite. I appreciate the attention to detail in being told that the Hangar Bar is housing Hawkman’s spacer. We also get a cool cross-section of the JLA satellite showing the different levels. However, the best part of this blueprint is the excellent layouts for each deck of the JLA satellite. It is interesting to note that the JLA satellite has gone from having a sole computer room to a computer room plus computer terminals located on every deck in addition to the main computer room. This shows the progress in computer technology from the 1960s through to the mid-1970s.
“A” deck is the least detailed which is too bad since that is the observation deck which is the coolest external design element of the JLA satellite. “B” deck is exactly the same blueprint that we got for the entire JLA satellite in 1969 and in 1971. “C” deck is entirely new. We get more wonderful details like how the pool in the Gymnasium is for Aquaman. Love it! We also get a machine shop on “C” deck. You don’t see those too often in superhero headquarters!
As much as I love this diagram, I must admit that the artist mailed it with “D” deck and “E” deck. These two are the most boring of all the decks. Having said that, the fact that the private quarters have doubled in space on the JLA satellite shows how the roster of the JLA kept expanding since the 1960s.
Unfortunately, not everything lasts forever. The JLA satellite headquarters was shown as completely destroyed in Justice League of America Annual #2 from 1986. What is interesting to note is that the external design of the JLA satellite headquarters had changed even more since the 1970s. The external design of the JLA satellite from 1986 has far more exterior detailing running all over it than the previous versions from the 1960s and 1970s. The glass dome portion of the main orb of the satellite is also larger in the 1986 design. We also get metal arms running across the glass dome which is different from the all-glass design of the domes in the 1960s and 1970s.
After seeing the destroyed JLA satellite, we are then introduced to the new Justice League of American headquarters located….in an abandoned factory…in Detroit. Hmmm. Decidedly less cool than a futuristic satellite in space. This design for the JLA’s new headquarters got a thumbs down from me back in 1986. Guess what? Time and nostalgia have not changed my opinion. This design still gets a thumbs down from me. Side note, look how happy Ralph and Sue Dibny looked back then! Good times. Good times.
Okay, so the exterior design of the Detroit Justice League may have been a miss with me. But, this interior shot of the new JLA Detroit headquarters was fantastic. I love all of the neat details that the artist put into this shot. We get several cool vehicles ranging from a sedan to a six-axle urban assault vehicle (which gives me strong Damnation Alley vibes) to futuristic motorcycles. We also get a cool spacecraft. There is an underwater jet. We also get a ton of interesting-looking mechanical equipment and tech. What I particularly enjoy is the slightly messy look of the main hangar. This gives the headquarters a wonderful lived-in feeling to it.
The coolest blueprints and information on the Justice League of America’s headquarters can be found in the DC Heroes Justice League Sourcebook from 1990. This was a publication for a DCU role-playing game. The amount of information is insane. The blueprints are as detailed as you are going to find.
First up is a gorgeous blueprint for the Secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor. Just take in the glory of this illustration. I love that this blueprint has hi-tech features like an underground telephone line. Amazing. What will they come up with next? The library is still hanging in there, too. You get some neat Sci-Fi tech as well like the grapple beams for landing aircraft. I dig the design of the vehicles sitting in the hangar. The curved stairway to the balcony is a classy touch.
I appreciate how committed to physical fitness the JLA members are as the Secret Sanctuary has not one but two gyms! Speaking of fitness, one of the gyms has a pool that also has a water passage to the Atlantic Ocean just for Aquaman to come and go as he pleases. Fantastic! I also dig the stairway from the lounge that takes you all the way back to the top of the library. All in all, this blueprint is an absolute gem.
The DC Heroes Justice League Sourcebook also gives us a multiple-page blueprint of the JLA satellite as well as a ton of information describing each level of the satellite. This is nerd heaven for me!
Behold all of the insanely detailed information that you get in this blueprint showing every single room and feature of the JLA satellite. We learn all sorts of information about the JLA satellite. Did you know there was a pond in the JLA satellite? Now you do! I like all the details like how the satellite does not just have a sick bay. It has an infirmary, a quarantine room, an operating room, and a scrub room. We get lots of detail like how there is a water purification and circulation room. There is even a think tank! You have to have one of those! That is probably where Batman goes to think up complex plans like how to defeat his own teammates in a battle.
We get a cool view of each level and the different rooms to be found on each level. I appreciate the diverse offerings that the JLA satellite supplies to its residents. You get things that range from a shooting range to a pantry and a food processing area! By the way, who uses the shooting range? The only member of the JLA that I can think of who would ever use a shooting range would be Green Arrow.
The wonder continues with even more detail for the various levels of the JLA satellite.
Nothing is permanent in comic books. Not death. Not the destruction of a headquarters. In JLA #72 we get a wonderful shot of the new JLA satellite. The JLA satellite in the 1990s had even more detailing on the exterior than the satellite from the 1980s. The all-glass dome from the 1960s and 1970s made its return in the 1990s. However, the shape of the satellite’s middle orb is more like the one from the 1970s and 1980s than the 1960s. This exterior design might be my favorite of all the designs of the JLA satellite up to this point.
Justice League America #0 from 1994 gives the JLA yet another headquarters: The escape pod from the Overmaster’s ship. I like this shot of the interior of the escape pod. It conveys the fact that it has more alien technology than the JLA satellite.
You can see a small exterior shot of the escape pod in the long rectangular middle panel. That is the escape pod right there on the right. The exterior design is nothing that exciting. These interior shots of the escape pod convey the size of this new headquarters. The dialogue also has fun with the concept of a superhero clubhouse (hat tip to the Legion of Super-Heroes!) and the use of secret decoder rings (found in your favorite box of cereal). I also adore the dialogue about why Cindy Crawford married Richard Gere instead of a garage mechanic. This is excellent! And, yes. Yes, I did have a poster of Cindy Crawford on my bedroom wall when I was a teen!
This is an excellent shot of the meeting room on the escape pod. Again, I love all the alien tech in this headquarters. It helps to give the escape pod a unique vibe compared to the JLA satellite. Also, kudos to the artist for pulling off not one, not two, but three butt shots in a single panel. Suck it, modern comic artists!
JLA #4 in 1997 gave us a new Justice League of America headquarters: The JLA Watchtower! This headquarters was conveniently located on the moon. A wonderful place for any hip headquarters. The Justice League Watchtower was more of a fortress than a headquarters as it came with a perimeter fortress. Something all prior headquarters lacked. The Justice League of America Watchtower is massive and has the most imposing look out of all of the headquarters that we have seen up to this point. This headquarters feels more like a small city combined with a military base.
We got treated to a cool crosssection of the JLA Watchtower in JLA #16 from 1998. This blueprint is fantastic. The art is gorgeous and packed full of enjoyable details. We get an armory for the first time in a JLA headquarters. We get another Trophy Room which we have seen in the prior JLA headquarters. However, what is new is a Villains Gallery. What a great addition! We also get a Hall of Justice! This is a nice nod to the Hall of Justice from the 1970s and 1980s Superfriends cartoon.
We get an upgraded JLA Watchtower in JLA #52 from 2001. This version is even more massive and imposing than the original JLA Watchtower. This JLA Watchtower is more reminiscent of the Legion of Super-Heroes headquarters from the mid-1980s. Personally, I prefer the design of the first JLA Watchtower.
We get a nice shot of the interior of the new JLA Watchtower. We also get to see what the new emergency alert looks like. The Monitor Womb is certainly a great design with the platform that extends out above a massive glass window.
We get another good look at the exterior of the new JLA Watchtower in JLA #76 from 2003. This exterior shot reaffirms the strong mid-1980s Legion of Super-Heroes headquarters vibe in this design.
I adore this panel. This is a highly unique one-page splash shot in JLA #125 from 2006. This is a rare moment where we get a splash shot with all of the various JLA headquarters from the 1960s up until 2006. We get the original Secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor from the 1960s. We have the Justice League satellite from the late 1960s through the 1980s. We have the Hall of Justice from the 1970s and 1980s Superfriends cartoon. We also have the JLA Watchtower from the 1990s and early 2000s. Lastly, I believe that might be the escape pod headquarters from the 1990s at the very bottom.
At any rate, I adore this shot. It is rare to see a team’s history of headquarters all assembled together in a beautiful one-page splash shot. Seeing all of them together on one page makes me realize that out of the five different headquarters, the JLA satellite is still my favorite with the Hall of Justice coming in a very close second place.
Justice League of America #7 from 2007 was an important issue. This comic book gave us the debut of the Hall of Justice from the Superfriends cartoon! This was the first time the Hall of Justice had appeared in the DCU. This was a huge moment. I remember marking out big time over this surprise reveal. Yeah, I might have squealed like a little kid. Moving on. The design of the Hall of Justice is an absolute classic. I love the JLA shields on the top of the friezes on the far right and far left columns. The addition of Blind Justice completes the theme.
We get some great panels showing off the impressive interior of the Hall of Justice. Of course, no headquarters would be complete without an amazing trophy room! This panel is chock full of fantastic Easter eggs. Enjoy!
It is unveiled that the Hall of Justice houses a secret. There is a hidden entrance that transports the Big Three of the DCU to a cosmic meeting room in the stars. This is a secret meeting room only for Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. This is where they can go for some privacy in order to discuss matters that are above the pay grade of all the other members of the JLA. Yeah, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are elitist jerks.
Of course, what made Justice League of America #7 so special is that do not just get one new headquarters! We get two new headquarters! The second headquarters that is unveiled is the new Justice League of America Watchtower. This is the first time the JLA Watchtower was in a satellite form just like the Justice League Watchtower from the DC Animated Universe. This was another moment where I completely geeked out while reading this issue. Damn, this really was a fun issue to read.
Justice League of America #25 from 2008 gave us a cool interior shot of the Crow’s Nest in the JLA Watchtower. It is a sleek and futuristic main control room of the Watchtower. The Crow’s Nest also has a huge window with a commanding view of the stars. We also get a slightly different exterior to the JLA Watchtower. The rings surrounding the spindle of the Watchtower are now gold rather than being the same color as the spindle.
We get another exterior shot of the JLA Watchtower in Justice League of America #30 from 2011 and we see that the two rings around the spindle are now the same color as the spindle. However, the entire JLA Watchtower is now entirely silver rather than the green color it had in prior issues.
We get another nice exterior shot of the JLA Watchtower in Justice League of America #60 from 2011. We see that the color of the rings is now gold again like they were in Justice League of America #25 from 2008. The Crow’s Nest looks different, too. I far prefer this design of the Crow’s Nest to the one that we got in Justice League of America #25. Also, check out the roster of characters! That is one unusual mix of characters!
Justice League #2 from 2016 gave us the New 53 version of the Justice League Watchtower. Once again, the color of the rings were changed to match the spindle. Also, the iconic two rings around the spindle are flipped upside down. Before this issue, the Justice League of America Watchtower always had a small ring on the top and a large ring on the bottom. However, the New 52 Justice League Watchtower has a large ring on top and a small ring on the bottom. This was so New 52. Random changes just for the sake of change.
Justice League of America Rebirth #1 in 2017 washed away the foul taste of the New 52 and restored the mystical Secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor to the Justice League continuity. This is a glorious shot that effectively conveys the mysterious nature of the Justice League of America’s original headquarters.
We also get an excellent interior shot of the Secret Sanctuary. It looks like the Bat Cave on steroids. I love the multi-level structure of the headquarters. I also dig the interior design that fuses hi-tech elements into the organic foundation of the cave.
Justice League #1 in 2018 gives us a redesigned Hall of Justice. Gone are the JLA shields and Blind Justice in the far right and left friezes. Instead, the new Hall of Justice design gives us smaller outer columns with a more simple frieze on each outside volume consisting of obelisks of varying sizes. The new Hall of Justice also lacks the ornate sculpture that was in the middle of the Hall of Justice. We also get the name “Hall of Justice” written across the exterior arch of the Hall of Justice which was lacking from the original design. This version also has an abstract sculpture in the front courtyard just like the Hall of Justice from the Super Friends cartoon. Overall, this new design for the Hall of Justice is more mid-century modern that looks more like the version of the Hall of Justice from the Super Friends cartoon.
We learn in Justice League #9 from2018 that the Hall of Justice is far more than just a headquarters. The Hall of Justice is also a museum that is free and open to the public! I love this! I could easily see the Hall of Justice as a part of the Smithsonian down on the National Mall in Washington DC. I have always been fascinated with the concept of a museum celebrating the wonders of the DCU. This evolution of the Hall of Justice makes perfect sense that the Justice League stands not just to protect the Earth but also to inspire the people of Earth.
Another great feature of the Hall of Justice is the cafeteria! Yes! You can see your favorite superheroes relaxing and enjoying a meal together. I have always loved seeing superheroes handing out together at headquarters. In fact, those were some of the best stories in any Legion of Super-Heroes title. There is something so fun about a cafeteria for all the Justice Leaguers to go and refuel and recharge with each other. And check out who is the chef! It’s Ferdinand! He is a minotaur who first appeared in Wonder Woman #195 in 2003. Ferdinand served as the head chef for the Themysciran Embassy.
We are going to end this article on the Justice League of America headquarters through the years with the final form of the Hall of Justice that we got from Justice League #36 in 2018. I completely marked out when I saw this gorgeous shot of the Hall of Justice transforming into a warship. This was something straight from the pages of Japanese manga! I absolutely loved this. I love anything that transforms. Henshin heroes? Yes, please. Transforming robots? Always. Transforming headquarters? Pure perfection.
Up to this point, the Justice League of America Satellite remained my favorite headquarters of all time. However, with this one page, the Hall of Justice leapfrogged the JLA Satellite to take first place on my list of Justice League headquarters.
We get another fantastic double-page splash shot of the final form of the Hall of Justice in Justice League #37 from 2018. This is about as badass as it gets for a headquarters. I need this as a giant wall-sized poster for my office. Not only can the Hall of Justice fly, but it also is loaded to the gills with all sorts of weapons. If this does not put a huge smile on your face then nothing will!
All right, that is it for the history of the Justice League of America/Justice League headquarters through the years. It has been a long time since we got a cool blueprint of the Justice League headquarters. The last one was from 1998! C’mon, DC Comics! You need to rectify this glaring shortcoming immediately! If anyone out there knows of any blueprints or schematics of a Justice League of America/Justice League headquarters that I missed then please let me know!