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Monday, February 26, 2007

Super Friends Pencil Sharpeners Box


I had always assumed that the Super Friends line of pencil sharpeners just featured Superman, Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman. Not only were they the only ones I've ever seen on ebay, but they were the only characters pictured on the tag (Aquaman having been unceremoniously removed from the more widely seen SF logo). Logical assumption, right?

Then I came across an ebay seller selling this sharpener display box along with Superman and Batman sharpeners. As you can see, there's Aquaman, mis-colored gloves and all, and the phrase "12 character styles." Holy Poseidon! To me that virtually guarantees there was an Aquaman sharpener (not to mention Flash and Captain Marvel/Shazam! ones), maybe even more than one, if perhaps most of the seven characters pictured above each got two.

So I picked up the box, gave away the Supes and Bats sharpeners to someone who really wanted them, and am now certain I have to keep looking for an Aquaman pencil sharpener! Um...Yay!


Tegan said...

Those aren't miscolored. Those are the original color of Aquaman's gloves. Somebody provided a really old color guide to the box designers.

Anonymous said...

Rob, I hate to say this, but....there are actually SEVEN characters featured on the box, not six. :-)

rob! said...

i knew that aquaman's old gloves were yellow, but since ive seen them miscolored in so many "modern" comics i assumed it was a printing error. (i wonder if there is any genuine 40s-era Aquaman merchandise?)

as for my miscounting...hey, i went to art school. i don't take to any fancy book learnin.'

Doug Slack said...

Ahhh, the tactile pleasures of DC pencil sharpeners!

rob! said...

"soft, firm, yet yielding to the touch. plus you can put your pencil in it!"

Anonymous said...


I have the Flash pencil sharpener (in its original package and hangtag...but I'm also the proud owner of a 1950s Martin & Lewis Tucks Cellophane Tape dispenser, so you have every right to question my sanity)--it's the only one of the set that I've ever seen, and this is the first time I've seen the display box.

What prompts my comment of 'odd' is that the image of Flash on the box LOOKS like Infantino/Anderson art, but the actual sharpener has art by Tuska/Colletta (looks like it might have been lifted from the World's Greatest Superhero newspaper strip). Am I just misreading the image or is that the case?

Paul Kupperberg

rob! said...

i think i'm a solid B+ student when it comes to recognizing art styles, but this Flash piece leaves me stumped:


...it looks more Tuska/Colletta to me than Infantino/Anderson, but neither of those combos wouldve come to me when looking at it closely.

on a side note: when you think of a Cellophane Tape Dispenser, you think Martin & Lewis!

Anonymous said...

This is a hard one. How about Tuska/Frank McLaughlin? The smoothness of the mask reminds me of how McLaughlin worked on Dick Dillin's art near the end of Dillin's run on JLA. The poses of Batman and Superman "look" like Tuska, though...

Doug Slack said...

It could be some nameless shlub copying an Infantino rendering. This happens a lot with coloring books and such.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the close-up, Rob. I've got a Ph.D in sussing out art styles (although don't try me on anyone post-IMAGE; that's when everybody starts looking like the same bad Liefeld/MacFarlane clone to my eyes)--I'm the guy who first identified Bruno Premiani inking Kirby on one of the Showcase CHALLS OF THE UNKNOWN issues and Ruben Moriera over Plastino on a LOIS LANE Showcase (both when I wrote the intro for the ESSENTIAL SHOWCASE volume from several years back--the folks at DC still call me to help identify artists and writers...I've even been asked to identify letterers!).

I'd say the penciller of the Flash image is Curt Swan (the foreshortening of the raised left hand and the face are the clinchers). Curt's Flash always came off as kind of clumsy to me; he never could get the grace to the figure that Carmine brought to it and this figure reads like that--hell, it might, come to think of it, even be lifted from the cover of one of the Superman-Flash race stories.

The image is still a little too fuzzy to pin down the inker, but it's definitely NOT Vinnie; way too slick for him. If it IS a lift from a SUPERMAN cover, it's likely Murphy...but if not, then I'd vote for Frank McL (who I spent some time with at the NYCC this weekend) or Frank Chiaramonte.

If you have a hi-res scan of the entire box and you care, I'm sure I can figure out who did what.

And, yes, when *I* think of tape, I think Martin & Lewis...but I've got an unhealthy obsession with M&L, Jerry in particular. I also own a 2-faced M&L handpuppet, Neal Adams art from the DC JL comic book, a large chunk of the books written about Jerry, including autographed copy of his bio, several autographed comics (which he signed for me when I went backstage during his Broadway run in DAMN YANKEES)...and a Jerry Lewis lifemask, made in 1961 for make-up tests on NUTTY PROFESSOR. Remind me someday to tell you the sad story of the upscale artbook I was set to do with Abrams Books reprinting a whole bunch of JL comic book stories that now will never be...


Paul Kupperberg

rob! said...

ok, thanks to Paul Kupperberg and Bob Greenberger, we've figured out who drew what:

>> Rob,
Piece 'o cake!

Capt. Marvel is by Beck, lifted from the cover of SHAZAM! #2

Flash is by Swan & Anderson, point of origin unknown but, according to Bob Greenberger (former DC collected editions editor now working here with me at WWN as production manager), NOT from one of the covers of a Flash-Superman race...he edited the SUPERMAN/FLASH RACE collected edition & should know

Robin-Batman-Superman by Buckler and Colletta, which Bob & I both think was taken from a WORLD'S FINEST cover

Wonder Woman is a stock shot from what passed for style guide art in them days by Buckler & Colletta

Aquaman is by Dick Giordano, ditto the WW style guide art comment above