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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Super Friends Special #1 - 1981

Comics Weekend Super Friends Special!

Since there's no Flashpoint stuff to cover, and this is the last Comics Weekend before DC's New 52 kicks in--which will keep the Shrine busy for the foreseeable future--I thought it'd be fun to take a look back at a beloved comic from my childhood--1981's Super Friends Special!

This is a 48-page book, with no ads, that was given away (I think) in boxes of Post Cereal. Maybe it was a mail-in thing; I don't remember and I couldn't find out for sure after researching it.

The inside covers feature black-and-white versions of two SF covers (#s 19 and 28, respectively). The first story is "The Mystery of the Missing Monkey", by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ramona Fradon, and Bob Smith, from the aforementioned Super Friends #19. Its an unusual SF adventure, in that it opens with Aquaman!:
In this adventure, the Super Friends tangle with The Menagerie Man, who is not one the DCU's most fearsome foes. When he sets a bunch of animals loose at an auto show, it's up to our heroes to save the innocent and contain the animals without hurting them:
The Menagerie Man finally gets defeated by The Wonder Twins and Gleek, something he never quite lived down.

In the middle of the book is a rather extensive fun and games section, with all the Super Friends getting a couple of pages to themselves--plus The Flash!:
The second half of the book features another reprint, "Warhead Strikes At Gotham", by Bridwell, Fradon, and Vince Colletta, from Super Friends #36:
As a kid (and even today), I loved Plastic Man, and was thrilled to have him guest-star in one of my favorite comics. This is a fun story, even by Super Friends standards: in between fighting the Dick Tracy-esque villain Warhead (who looks like Beldar Conehead), Plastic Man learns that he and the Super Friends just get in each other's way:
They finally manage to defeat Warhead, but Plas resolves to just work with Woozy Winks in the future!

There's an ad for the Superman Club (which I can't believe I never joined), and then a cover gallery on the back:
This book, like so many things, was better in my memory than it is in reality--after all, its just two reprints sandwiched between two covers with some puzzles thrown in--but as a kid I loved these special editions, they were, well...special!


Aaron said...

Always love the TV-style panels - and I like that some of the bigger ones foreshadow widescreen TV's! (Which by the way are fun to watch vintage cartoons on, you can really see how trippy the backgrounds were)

Russell said...

Never even heard of this! Cool!

Randy Meyer said...

Not I only do I have this book, but I was just rereading it yesterday morning!! You must have known, Rob!!

Wings1295 said...

Never knew of this, either. Seems like a fun book, at least.

But something had me wondering here. If Zan is underwater and the twins use their powers to transform, Zan becoming water, is he then the entire ocean or whatever body of water he is in? Or is he just a small part of it?
Cause this could be an amazing power!

JasonMotesBowles said...

Ah! I have this book, but never knew its origins. I'm guessing it was a mail-away thing. I can't imagine a book this size coming packed in a box of cereal.

wich2 said...

Boy, ol' Kal has his biggest torso since the Wayne Boring era in that first story!

Laurie S. Sutton said...

OMG, I WORKED ON THAT ISSUE! I was Joe Orlando's assistant in the Special Projects department at DC at the time. I can't remember if this comic was for a mail-in offer or some sort of promotional give-away. What a blast from the past!

rob! said...


Neat-o! Its one of my all-time favs. I loved the Super Friends, and I loved special editions like this. Plus Aquaman got a lot to do!

Earth 2 Chris said...

I actually won a prize in one of the many Post Super Heroes contests of the time, and this comic was the main prize I won. I also received a set of DC Super Heroes puffy stickers too.

If I remember right it was a scratch-off match game contest. You had to match three character heads on a card inserted in Post Cereals.

And if memory serves, the character I matched 3 times was...AQUAMAN!!!


Anonymous said...

How did I ever miss this Plastic Man villain?? I thought Rubberneck was obscure but Warhead is right up my Dick Tracy-villain-loving alley! Arrrgh...times like this makes me miss Batman: The Brave and the Bold even more!


Anonymous said...

What is Jayna wearing on page 1 of Super Friends #19 Mystery of the Missing Monkey?