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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Super Friends #32 - May 1980

sgComics Weekend Aquaman and the rest of the Super Friends vs. that master of fear, The Scarecrow!

Dipping into an old issue of Super Friends is like visiting an old friend. I read every issue of the title during its original run, but generally never looked at them for many years afterward.

Now when I dig one of them out again to talk about here, I warmly remember moments from each specific issue, and I recall just how large the "Super Friends" concept loomed in my heads as a kid. (I never missed an episode of the TV show, either--no matter what they called it)

As promised, this issue features the Friends duking it out with The Scarecrow, in a story by E. Nelson Bridwell, Kurt Schaffenberger, and Bob Smith--"The Scarecrow Fights With Fear!"

After the awards ceremony, a creepy looking, super-skinny(!) photographer asks if he can take a picture of the heroes inside the Hall of Justice.

The Super Friends, being trusting folk, agree. The photog uses an old camera, one with a flash bulb. When it goes off, though, suddenly all the Friends' plaques start to melt!

The smoke from the flash bulb dissipates, and of course the mysterious papparazi is revealed to be
...all of a sudden, all the Super Friends are gripped in irrational fears. Wonder Woman becomes afraid of metals, Robin develops a fear of bats, and poor, poor Aquaman:
With Batman afraid of the dark and Superman now afraid of heights, The Scarecrow easily gets away into a nearby helicopter, piloted by his henchmen.

Back at the Hall of Justice, the Super Friends regroup. Even the Wonder Twins are affected--they're afraid to touch one another! But that's just the one of their problems:
The Scarecrow, meanwhile, begins planning his crime wave, beginning with a robbery of...millionaire Bruce Wayne!

The Super Friends get word of the robbery from Commissioner Gordon, and our heroes have to jerry-rig a way to get there, given their current disabilities--Aquaman drives the Batmobile, while Superman and Wonder Woman run alongside it.

They arrive at the Wayne Foundation building, and Superman asks Aquaman if he can make it, since he looks pretty shaky. Aquaman says yes, and Wonder Woman grabs him and takes off:
Wonder Woman heads inside. Without her bracelets, she becomes "like an Old Norse berserker, completely irrational in battle!"

Scarecrow is confused, because he was sure shooting bullets at the Amazing Amazon would stop her. But not quite:
The Scarecrow agrees, thinking that an enraged Wonder Woman is about to splatter him onto the ground below (doesn't he know this is a Super Friends story?). He drops an antidote pellet on the ground, giving him time to escape.

He makes his way to his copter, but Robin The Boy Wonder is there waiting for him:
...maybe its me, but I find that fourth panel ghoulishly funny--"Oh, look--the Scarecrow is drowning Robin!"

As the Scarecrow and Batman fight, Robin tries to get over his fear to help his friend. He dives at the Scarecrow, and he goes flying off the roof's ledge!

Superman, down below, sees The Scarecrow falling. He, too, overcomes his fear and takes flight, catching The Scarecrow in the process.

Back at the Hall of Justice, everyone is cured, except for The Wonder Twins, who are still afraid to touch, thereby stripping them of their powers. But Gleek grabs them both, and:
...I'd say The Wonder Twins owe Aquaman a nice dinner!


Anonymous said...

This was one of my all-time favorite SF stories..and most of them were pretty good, so that's saying something. I even used this as a base for when I was writing and drawing my own bilingual JLA stories while I was an English teacher in Japan...I kept Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, but substituted Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkwoman for Robin, Superman, and the Wonder Twins, respectfully. I'll have to scan that issue to you, Rob!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I've never read this issue of Super Friends, but it seems a little darker than most. Wonder Woman going all Wolverine, and the Scarecrow trying to drown Robin on-panel? Heady stuff. By the way, Rob, the Halloween issue of DC Super Friends that came out a little while back had an almost identical plot to this one: Scarecrow battles Super Friends, sprays them with Fear Toxin, Aquaman becomes afraid of water, Batman of darkness, Superman of heights, etc. WW doesn't Hulk out in this one though, and as far as I know, they don't show anyone with their head forced underwater. But otherwise, eerily similar. By the way Rob, thank you for posting my story, and thank you to Cindy Healy for her kind words.