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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Super Friends #6 - Aug. 1977

sgComics Weekend Smashing out of your TV screen--The Super Friends!

I haven't talked about the Super Friends series too much, and I should change that, since as a kid I loved the Super Friends comic.

Even though I was concurrently reading the more "adult" comics, I always thoroughly enjoyed the simple, straightforward stories by E.Nelson Bridwell...and of course the top-notch art of Ramona Fradon, here inked by Bob Smith.

This issue takes the legendary Juilus Schwartz's maxim that Gorillas On A Cover Sold Comics and does it one better--here, we've got an angry, drooling gorilla!* That 35 cent sale is guaranteed!

This issue's story is "The Menace of the Menagerie Man", featuring the debut of the title one, of the most goofily dressed bad guys in all comics. And a handlebar mustache, too boot!

Anyway, at a Gotham City basketball game, The Menagerie Man bursts in and, using a throng of angry, threatening animals, demands the crowd's money!

They comply, but one of the attendees--Junior Super Friend Wendy, is there, and calls for help
...I love that bracelet with all the symbols. Someone should've actually made that.

As called, Batman arrives, only for The Menagerie Man--and his animals--to vanish into thin air. They all head back to the Hall of Justice, where they are met by the other Super Friends, and one special guest:
...The Atom!

Now, if you'll pause for a moment and take a look at the above panel--it works as a great visual metaphor for Aquaman's participation in this story.

Aquaman had a hard enough time, being on a team with heavy-hitters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Add another superhero into the mix and Aquaman frequently finds himself fighting even harder for attention--although, as we'll see, Aquaman does get a nice moment or two further along in this story.

The Super Friends figure out where The Menagerie Man will show up next, and The Atom is there to meet him.

While fighting him, The Atom figures out that MM isn't teleporting away, he's using the same Dwarf Star material that The Atom uses to shrink himself and his animals to appear to be disappearing!

MM gets away, but now that The Atom has told the Super Friends what the truth is, they devise a plan to stop him. They wait at the next likely place for The Menagerie Man to strike--a local museum.

MM does arrive, but when he uses some of his animals again, he's met with a rude surprise:

...having been temporarily thwarted, The Menagerie Man tries using a herd of elephants and hippos to wreck the place. But of course they are no match for the Super Friends!

Superman and Wonder Woman take out the elephants, and Aquaman and Batman and Robin subdue the hippos. But there is some tension:
"...Our Batropes are as strong as you, Aquaman!"? Hey, Bruce, keep your loudmouth pet quiet!

The Atom takes out The Menagerie Man with a solid left hook, causing MM's mustache to flap in the breeze before he loses consciousness.

Later, at The Hall of Justice, we learn that The Atom has joined his friends to tell Wendy and Marvin that they are ready to "graduate" from being Junior Super Friends, since they have proved so helpful in this and previous cases.

But that's for another issue...

*ok, they're chimpanzees, not gorillas. I think my point still stands.


Anonymous said...

Looks like the Menagerie Man shopped at the Phantom's garage sale, and decided to accesorize!

I don't remember this costume (or story) but I know he returned with a refined (but still pretty ridiculous) look and no handlebar mustache.

Aquaman looks ad in that panel standing behind Supes and Atom. "Crap, a guest star. Well at least I made it on the cover this time!"


Anonymous said...

I blame Superfriends for the lack of respect the Sea King gets...and you can sorta' see that here.