close menu

1997 JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Pilot Is Maybe the Worst Comic Book Adaptation Ever

We live in a golden age of comic book adaptations, not just in movies, but now television as well, with shows like The Flash, Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D to name just a few. Shows like The Walking Dead even have the creators of the original comics involved in some of the creative process. So it’s easy to forget that not that terribly long ago, comic book television shows were considered bottom of the barrel, lucky to even get the low budget treatment for a syndicated show. Even the Justice League, currently one of the most anticipated comic book adaptations for the big screen ever, got the cheap-o treatment as a pilot for CBS back in 1997. Yup, that means that Batman and Robin actually wasn’t the worst comic book adaptation of 1997, there was something out there even worse.

The Justice League of America pilot is a perfect example of how NOT to do a comic to TV adaptation, taking elements and characters from the comics but changing them beyond recognizability. You’ve got a Green Lantern who is said to be Guy Gardner, but is wearing Kyle Rayner’s mask, but doesn’t remotely act like either character, a Flash who is Barry Allen I guess, even though there is nothing resembling any version of Barry ever portrayed. The list goes on: Fire and Ice, members from the great Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis run of the Justice League International comic, are here as well. There’s a half-assed attempt at evoking the comedy approach from that era of the comics, but it fails miserably. The costumes look like bad cosplay from a convention, not something you’d see in a big budget production. And the effects make Cleopatra 2525 look good.

I could go on and on about how bad this all is, but former JLA writer Mark Waid said it best, describing the pilot as “80 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.” So for you brave souls with morbid curiosity and all you appreciators of camp out there, check out a 24 minute version of the pilot below… and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

HT: Dailymotion

Why Isn't Cyclops Blind?

Why Isn't Cyclops Blind?

Prince's 10 Most Controversial Songs

Prince's 10 Most Controversial Songs

Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd Recreate Go West Video

Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd Recreate Go West Video



  1. James Wilson says:

    Didn’t I see them on “The Big  Bang Theory?” 🙂

  2. Nick says:

    Did anyone else catch the weird comment when blue lantern questioned flashes sexuality cuz he redecorated his apartment 

  3. H. Brady says:

    I couldn’t even finish it. I tried so hard to do so, but it just doesn’t seem worth it .

  4. osi says:

    This could not possibly be real, must have been a Saturday Night Live Parody or something… Funniest stuff I have seen in a long time!!!

  5. Why do all CBS dramas have the boring filter put on them? 

  6. jim says:

    they’re so puffy!

  7. josie says:

    I would so watch this!! This is is pretty awesome to me

  8. Personally, I think we’ve just been spoiled by the high quality the effects and costuming have nowadays for the current shows, not to mention the mere NUMBER of shows now out there. For 1997, this was “state of the art”. Even if the story wasn’t the greatest, it was cool to see ANY comic adaptations on TV back then.

    • Jaggikinz says:

      Not true, the effects in the original ‘Flash’ series 7 years earlier were far better than this cheese factory, as was the costuming.

  9. Jodi says:

    why green lantern is blue?

  10. Vern says:


  11. Jason says:

    Why did the Green Lantern look more blue than green?

  12. Ramon says:

    Wow,and I thought the Generation X movie was horrible

  13. Tammy says:

    It has a lot of good Actors in it, like Miguel Ferrer. It isn’t too terribly bad. 

  14. ed says:

    MARVEL was bankrupt, selling off their most popular comics characters to movie companies and DC came up with this??Better than ‘batnipples’ I guess…
    Except BATMAN & ROBIN also came out in ’97. (Yeah, that was a weird year for DC.)

  15. Steven says:

    I wonder if the person who designed these costume ever got to work again. Hmm green lantern, i know blue. Yes nailed it

  16. Steven says:

    David Ogden Stiers as J’onn J’onzz sounds cool on paper but there is no way i’m going to be watching this (atleast not alone and sober anyway). At least he got redemption a little bit later in the Bruce Timmverse. I liked his Penguin in mystery of Batwoman. He was also Solovar in justice league

  17. hardfu says:

    Umm, why was Green Lantern blue?  Haha

  18. Shane G. says:

    Most likely created to protect the rights holder from losing the rights to The Justice League.  If you don’t use them, they revert back to DC.  Didn’t they just do the same thing with Wheel of Time by airing a pilot episode in the middle of the night on FXX?

  19. tna says:

    If this was being pitched to Disney Channel or Nick, then maybe…but normal TV LOL

  20. Richard says:

    Sorry, worst hands down adaptation of a comic book character was the Spirit.
    You take the iconic classic detective and turn him into bugs bunny.
    And, as a kicker, for some reason Samuel L Jackson is cast as a nazi and he
    has a scene if full regalia.
    If Will Eisner was not dead,watching this crap would have killed him.

  21. Yeah, point taken… couldn’t even finish it. Rough.

  22. Jay-Z says:

    The kicker from HBO’s 1st and 10 as The Atom?  what in the Wild, Wild World of Sports?!?!

  23. Gerard says:


  24. Mike A says:

    There was an even far worse superhero TV movie in the 70’s. With Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo.

  25. epobirs says:

    Miguel Ferrer? Blue Lantern? How did this not get picked up for series?

    If you could control the weather like that, wouldn’t there be legit ways to make plenty of money?

  26. David Riegler says:

    Wow.  Why, oh why, did you make me watch that???

  27. Tony says:

    Back in the day, getting a bootleg video cassette of this, the Corman Fantastic Four, and the Star War Holiday Special meant a great day of laughter with friends.
    For that alone, it’s worth the price of admission.

  28. Tip Meyerson says:

    I don’t know what you guys are talking about. This is the greatest thing I have ever seen.  

  29. Gaby A. says:

    Did I hear the theme to The Last Starfighter in there?