] type='image/vnd.microsoft.icon'/>

Monday, July 05, 2010

Super Friends: The Revenge of The Super Foes - 1977

The Aquaman Shrine Revisited This is the first installment of a new feature called The Aquaman Shrine Revisted, where I go back and revisit something I covered in an old post but do a more thorough, complete job.

This book, Super Friends: The Revenge of the Super Foes, was something I talked about in November of 2006, when the Shrine was less than a month old. I really didn't know what I doing back then, and all I did was a small cover scan and a brief discussion of the story. So these occasional "Revisited" posts will do justice to some of the Aqua-Items that really, really deserve it.

(One more thing before we move on: don't worry, this is not an indication the Shrine is running out of stuff to cover, I promise!)
Okay, with that out of the way, let's explore what happens in this unusual book. Its an 8 1/2 x 10", all-original book, I believe the only one of its kind. The story opens in The Hall of Justice (mentioned here as being in Gotham City, something I didn't think I've heard before) with an Army colonel telling the Super Friends about a series of robberies going on around the country.

Turns out the robberies are being committed by a cadre of super-villains: The Penguin, Poison Ivy, The Cheetah, The Toyman, and The Human Flying Fish. Each hero goes after their favorite bad guy, with Aquaman confronting The Human Flying Fish (must..stop...chortling) out on the open sea:
At first, each of the villains seems to get the drop on the Super Friends, either knocking them out or trussing them up in some way. Thankfully, their junior charges, Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog follow along and help them out.

Aquaman, for once, does not require any assistance. He gets away from his finny friends who are under the control of the Human Flying Fish, and swims under the villain's boat, tipping it over in an amazing show of strength:
The Human Flying Fish gets away, escaping to a nearby hovering helicopter. Drat!

Later, Superman and Wonder Woman meet up, and then round up the other Super Friends--it seems that the villains have all met at...Wayne Manor, turning the place into their criminal hideout!
The Super Friends burst in, but the Super Foes have various weapons ready to take them on. The Toyman surrounds Aquaman with some toy hoops, rendering him immobile. Luckily, Wonder Woman uses her tiara to cut through them, freeing the Sea King.

He then turns to the Human Flying Fish, doing nothing less than taking over his mind with his mental powers:
With all the villains rounded up, the Super Friends decide to celebrate by having a meal together at Wayne Manor. Wendy, the official Super Friends cook, offers to prepare the meal, but her mentors offer to each make a dish, as a way to say thanks for all their help with the Super Foes.

Superman brings a cooked goose, Batman brings a salad, Wonder Woman bakes a cake, and Aquaman brings a plate of...seaweed? Yes, "fine, plant seafood", since Aquaman says, "I don't eat pals."
...the end!

Looking back over this book, I'm glad I chose to revisit it, since its a really delightful story. There's no credits, but it was written by E.Nelson Bridwell and the cover (featuring the tiniest Wendy you've ever seen) is clearly by Kurt Schaffenberger, pencils at least.

Bridwell gives Aquaman some key moments here: an amazing display of strength (flipping the boat over), as well as using his telepathic powers on humans, something rarely touched on in Aquaman comics to this point. Also, I love the final scene, underscoring Aquaman's inherent kindness towards his finny friends.

Sure, the villains are a little on the lame side (any team of bad guys featuring The Toyman, The Penguin, and The Human Flying Fish is way over the Turkey Quotient), and the inside art is pretty bland, but overall this is a great book, a wonderful story for wee kids who love the Super Friends and are ready to start reading longer-form stories.

As far as I know, this was the only book of its kind: too bad. I would have loved to have seen more of these!


JRainey said...

Vic Bragg aka The Human Flying Fish has gotten a bad rep. I think he could make for a great Aquaman Supervillain if he is portrayed right. I really like the Penguin. However I have seen where they made have made a worthy foe to Batman and then I've seen where they treat him like a straight up joke. It all depends on who is writing the story and how they feel about the character. It's a shame they all can't be treated equally and fairly.

Wings1295 said...

That is quite an interesting find! Never even heard of this one before. Cool stuff.

Russell said...

There was mention of this in one of the early SUPER FRIENDS issues, because I remember Bridwell saying he wrote it, but not the intro that said Wendy was Batman's niece (an impossibility). I think I remember him saying that the art was by Ric Estrada....

Anybody else remember this, or do I have to go dig out my old SF comics?

Andy Luckett said...

This book sounds right up my alley (or rather, right up my current, maybe). Aquaman portrayed as powerful and sea creature-friendly, the Human Flying Fish, and the Penguin? I'm there, if I can ever find one of these for a reasonable price.
And I agree with JRainey: I think the Human Flying Fish could be reinterpreted to be cool and menacing. Maybe play up the "given gills through surgery" angle to include more of a freakish underwater mutation.
And the Penguin has had some great stories written with him. Check out Jason Aaron's Penguin one-shot in the first "Joker's Asylum" series from a couple years back. Anyway, rant over, but very cool book!

rob! said...

I don't mean to besmirch The Penguin or the HFF, since obviously both characters can be effective (as Tad Williams proved in Sword of Atlantis).

I just think having both of them on a team with Toyman is really pushing it. :)

Andy--I believe I found the book online for like ten bucks or something--not too bad.

Russell said...

Just found on the letters' page for SF#12 a reference to this, and E Nelson Bridwell saying he wrote it. No mention of the artist, though. Sorry!

images2icons said...

I remember seeing them in the comic book with their junior sidekicks. Even flying fish had one, but they turned over a new leaf by the end of the story.

JasonMotesBowles said...

I knew about this book, but I always assumed that #1 it was a novel, not an illustrated storybook and #2 knowing the villains of the piece, I assumed it was a novelization of the first two issues of the SF comic book! Wrong on both counts!

I read the same interview with Bridwell that Russell mentioned, which I THINK was in the SF Treasury-size book, where he discussed Wendy being Bruce's niece and he also said something about the Hall of Justice being in Gotham. (It makes sense, since Batman and Robin would have the hardest time getting to a base if it were too far away.) But on the cartoon, in a later season, they specifically say it's in Metropolis.