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Friday, July 27, 2007

Super Friends #1 - Nov. 1976

sgFor this week's Comic Friday I thought we'd talk about the thing most responsible for Aquaman's enduring presence in Pop Culture: The Super Friends.

Even though I read the "regular" DC line, I always bought Super Friends, and it never really occurred to me that it was considered for younger readers; I enjoyed the simple tales of adventure, the collection of DC's best and brightest, and of course the tie-in to the show, which I faithfully watched every week.

This debut issue, "The Fury of the Super-Foes", is by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ric Estrada, Joe Orlando, and Vince Colletta. It opens with the Super Friends in training, helping their young charges Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog learn the ropes.

We then cut to a team of super-villains(Toyman, Penguin, Cheetah, Poison Ivy, and The Human Flying Fish--him again!) training a team of young proteges as well--except these guys are...evil!!

You know, looking back at this issue, I am a tad shocked that the costume of Poison Ivy's sidekick, Honeysuckle, got by in a code-approved, aimed-at-little-kids comic:
Holy mack!

Anyway, S.T.A.R. Labs calls on the Troublalert, asking for Superman's help. Apparently, something called "Project S R" is in danger. When Aquaman innocently asks Superman "What's Project S R?" Superman dickishly replies:"I'm sorry, Aquaman, but I'm sworn to secrecy!" It was at this moment that Batman started putting together his "If They Go Rogue" contingency plans.

Anyway, turns out there's trouble all over the world, including under the sea, which Arthur takes care of. The Human Flying Fish is attacking a scientific base underwater, and we're treated to this wonderful piece of non-ironic dialogue, from one scientist to another:"Aquaman stopped him the first time--but the Human Flying Fish is still as vicious and ruthless as ever!"

Aquaman shows up, and the HFF gets away--he thinks--by flying away, but Aquaman brings him down with a gaggle of real flying fish, who force him back down. Vicious and ruthless, indeed.

Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman take down the Cheetah, the Penguin, and their sidekicks Kitten and Chick. The Super Friends put Wendy and Marvin in charge of guarding Kitten and Chick, keeping them in the Hall of Justice. Wendy and Marvin think they have convinced the two budding super-villains that crime doesn's pay, but we see that Penguin's sidekick Chick is planning a double(or is that triple?) cross! Only Wonder Dog knows the truth, and I hope that's the last time I have to type that sentence! To be continued!

There's a text page called "Super Fans" written by Bridwell that gets into the reason for the book, it's differences to the JLA, and even the concept of Earth-2! It's an ok start to the series, though it wouldn't be until the great Ramona Fradon took over the art that The Super Friends really began to take off. And Aquaman, thankfully, was always there!


Scurvy said...

Wow. I think I know where Alex Ross got the design for his uber-sexy Poison Ivy in "Justice".

Great cover too!

Anonymous said...

For the run of this book, SUPER FRIENDS had a much, MUCH better Aquaman participation ratio than the actual JLA series. I especially remember the issue when the SF went to Egypt, and Aquaman was concerned about being a fish out of water, and then ended up saving the entire team. YES!

chunky B said...

I now have a new favorite side kick!

"More speed and less talk, Honey-Suckle!"

Anonymous said...

Nothing to do with Superfriends, but I didn't feel like tracking down the comment I wrongfully made about the new Outsiders team. Aquaman IS in fact on the team, as confirmed by new writer Tony Bedard at CBR...

"It's not the exact lineup they have in the ad... Obviously, I've got Batman. I've got Aquaman, Catwoman, Martian Manhunter… I've got Thunder and Grace and Metamorpho..."

Rick L. Phillips said...

I remember getting this issue. I was just getting out of the age that this series would have appealed to. DC putting out their TV comics along with Welcome Back Kotter, Isis and they incorporated Shazam who had been published as a regular book as part of the DC universe for a couple of years. This was the only issue of SuperFriends I bought and I kept it for years. At one point it just was kept because it seemed like I had always had it. Thanks for the memories Rob.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to Vince Colletta to make a character like Honeysuckle look so sexy.