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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Super A - 1977

This is the super-spiffy box for Super A, a motivational reading kit designed to help students learn how to read. In the kit was a poster, a teacher's manual, some "task cards", and four full-color comics featuring reprinted stories re-dialogued.

The kit mostly focuses on Wonder Woman, but one of the comics does feature an Aquaman story, presented below:

This story confounds me a little bit--okay, a lot: I have no idea what comic its from! I did a search for this story on both the GCBD and Mike's Amazing World, and came up with nothing. Since the dialogue has obviously been rewritten, I guess its possible the title was, too, but that seems unlikely, not to mention pointless.

Also, the art: clearly its by the great Ramona Fradon, but there are panels--like, say, panel 2 page 7--that don't look like Fradon's work at all, leaving me utterly baffled.

You can learn more about this book and the whole Super A kit over on F.O.A.M.er Kyall Coulton's awesome WonderWomanCollectors.com site, and it was Kyall who sent me some of this material in the first place. Another
F.O.A.M.er, Chip Cataldo, just happened to send me the rest of the story almost around the same time--clearly something educational was in the air. Thanks guys!


J.P. said...

Oh wow! It's taken from the Aquaman story in Adventure Comics #206 called "The Haunted Island!" It was also reprinted later on in Action Comics #405.

And yes, it appears the art has been altered quite a bit.

Wings1295 said...

Interesting stuff indeed! The finds you get to post here. Sometimes I feel like an Aqua-newbie for what I didn't know existed!

John said...

Really neat find, Rob! Quick question: Who is that on the box, to the right of Superman?

M W Gallaher said...

It looks to me like the art revisions were done by Kubert School students, don't you agree?
And I'm not impressed with the (presumed) rescripting--I'd bet the original read a lot better than this disjointed, confusing script. From that first caption box that looks like a paragraph but should be separate blurbs, to the kid-confusing predicament on the boat (the boat has "run on to the ground" but it appears to be in the water where a boat should be--a kid can't be expected to understand that the boat is stuck in shallow water when they've been told it's "on the ground"!) to Aquaman's "But there is no such thing!" (No such thing as *what*, Aquaman?)...what a mess! But I still would have loved getting to read comics as schoolwork in 5th grade, even if they were awkwardly written.

rob! said...

JP- Wow, great catch! Thanks for the info.

Joe--Yeah, I love it when I get to see "new" stuff, too!

John--It one of a handful of new characters created specifically for this kit, to give the then lily-white DCU a little more diversity. The characters can also be seen in the DC Comics Super Dictionary .

MW--Yes,I bet they were, since Joe would tap the talent pool at the school to do projects like this. I regret never being part of one of these type of things when I was there!

Joe Huber said...

If these were the SRA's that I had to choose from in grade school I probably would have read a lot more of them.
I'm still horribly scarred by the teacher who indicated on my 3rd grade report card that I hadn't read any for quarter 2.

Earth 2 Chris said...

My school had these! I can't remember what grade I was in, but our teacher used these for a few weeks. I remember the Batman story with Catwoman and the circus. I later found out it came from a mid-70s 100 page giant Batman issue.

You could tell by the time my class used them, they were about to be discarded (this was 1983 or 84). I wish I could have gotten my hands on those kits!


JasonMotesBowles said...

John- Specifically, the woman's name is Conjura. She was an African American magician who spoke her spells backwards... sound familiar?

Earth 2 Chris said...

There is an article in a fairly recent issue of Back Issue that spotlights Zatanna with a sidebar on Conjura. Interesting read.


Aaron said...

I have a Phantom like this. The dialogue was GREATLY simplified and at lest one panel was modified so that the bad guys don't actually punch Girl Phantom in the face. Gotta love the 1970's!

Bill D. said...

I used to plow through SRA Reading Laboratories in school. I can only imagine how many more I would have read had there been comics in the mix.

Aaron said...

Now that I think about it... I think when I was in 7th grade, one of the classrooms had a Mister Miracle from this set?

Anonymous said...

Amazing! I have this comic in really good condition!! I've just found in in a huge bundle of my old stuff