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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Super Friends #20 - May 1979

Comics Weekend "Revenge of the Leafy Monsters" by Sergius O'Shaugnessy (aka Denny O'Neil), Kurt Schaffenberger, and Bob Smith.

Hmm, another issue of Super Friends that doesn't feature Aquaman on the cover. I hope that isn't indicative, like last issue, of a diminished presence by the Sea King. Let's find out...

This issue opens with a classic splash page, but...why is Batman trying to stop his junior partner?:
Ah! It's all a movie--now it makes sense(?). (BTW, I love Schaffenberger's take on the movie director. This feels like the Super Friends are teaming up with Erich Von Stroheim)

Anyway, as the movie filming rolls on, Director Frazzle carelessly drops some cigarette ashes into a prop bomb, causing it to go off! Superman and Wonder Woman get everyone out of the area, including the strangely-dressed man we saw earlier--who is none other than the legendary Merlin!

Frazzle learns that he can use the powers of the kindly old magician to create some amazing special effects for his movie, firing his entire crew and preparing to do the entire movie himself.

Back at the Hall of Justice, the Troubalert goes off, showing the prop trees have come alive and are on a rampage. The Super Friends split up and try to stop them, but one after the other they fail, with Frazzle filming it all. Then its Aquaman's turn:

"Out of water, I'm not much stronger than an ordinary man!"--Arrrrggghhh!!

Wonder Woman is able to fell one of the trees using her magic lasso, which tips Batman off that these trees are the product of magic. Batman has the Super Friends fan out, rounding up Merlin and a copy of the movie script.

Batman skips ahead to the next scene to be filmed, so to learn where the trees are headed. Moments later, Frazzle is there, ready to film, but he is shocked to see two groups of rampaging trees!

He tries to use the magic camera Merlin created for him to stop the second set of trees, but it doesn't work, causing the camera to explode! What's going on here?

Then we see it was because of the Super Friends:
...the end!

Well, Aquaman does get more to do here than he did in the last issue of Super Friends we covered, but not by much. And I think that last panel, with him sitting there in his sad sack pose, probably didn't win him any new fans. Oh well.

By far, my favorite character in this story is the mad director Fritz Frazzle. He's such a goofy caricature of an old-time movie director that I'd love to see him return in the new DC Super Friends book!


Bribaby said...

Aquaman's gas bladder was working overtime to keep him on the river bottom in that one, wasn't it?

Richard said...

Sergius O'Shaugnessy was not Nelson Bridwell. Denny O'Neil took that name from Norman Mailer.

(Apart from anything else, do you honestly think Nelson would have gotten that critical point about Aquaman's strength wrong? RAB walks off, shaking his head in dismay…)

rob! said...

RAB--I have no idea how I did that, because I knew that SOS was O'Neil's alias. I must have not even looked at the credits when I wrote this, and just assumed ENB did it, like most of the other issues of SF. Jeez, that's emabarrassing.

Bad, bad blogger!

Joe Huber said...

Aquaman wasn't the only one slighted here. They typically made Wonder Woman out to be a pathetic weakling also. In fact, I remember one episode of the cartoon series where she, Batman, and Robin are investigating a villains lair and she makes a comment about the "dreadful window curtains."

Schaffenberger's art was a hit or miss with me. I don't think that I ever liked the way that he drew Robin's face or Batman's cowl.

Russell said...

Rob, are you INTENTIONALLY choosing those issues of SF that shirk Aquaman? There were a handful where he was definitely the lead. When are you going to get to THOSE issues!?! :-)

rob! said...

Russell--No, its not intentional. :) I occasionally buy random issues of SF on eBay, and I try to find the cheapest copies I can, and unfortunately the last two I bougth were very Aqua-light. :(