Friday, September 8, 2023

Happy Anniversary Super Friends

50 years ago, on this date, the Super Friends cartoon premiered on ABC, introducing the world to Marvin, Wendy and the Wonder Dog, who worked alongside the World's Greatest Super Heroes....Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, who had been in animation before (but not paired as the Super Friends).

Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice (or, DC Comics), always on the lookout for more comics to produce, decided to make comics based on the Super Friends animated series, with the first issue of Super Friends cover dated November, 1976, and the title lasting 47 issues to August, 1981.

Along the way, the comics gave some back story to the animated series (Marvin White was the son of Daniel and Diana White, Diana being the lady who gave Wonder Woman her Diana Prince identity, while Wendy Harris was the niece of detective Harvey Harris, who helped train Batman).  The comics even facilitated the change from Marvin/Wendy to the Wonder Twins (Zan and Jayna from Exor, with their monkey, Gleek).  

The comic also had the Super Friends operating as a subset of the Justice League of America, though the whole team did appear (at least up to Hawkgirl), as well as other heroes like Plastic Man, Supergirl and Black Orchid, as well as new international heroes like Green Fury, Ice Maiden, Rising Sun, Jack O'Lantern, Tasmanian Devil and more (who became the Global Guardians).

They also faced established DC villains not in the cartoon (like the original Toyman, Poison Ivy, Human Flying Fish, Grax, Time Trapper, Chronos, Hector Hammond and Queen Bee), a few solo villains who made it into the cartoon (like Penguin and Mirror Master) and even some of the members of the Legion Of Doom (though not together...individually, Cheetah, Riddler, Scarecrow, Bizarro, Solomon Grundy, Grodd, Giganta and Sinestro), as well as villains only for the comic, like Menagerie Man and the Overlord.

Here's a few places that Super Friends tales were reprinted in....

Best Of DC #3 (January-February, 1980) 

This Digest, with cover by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Bob Smith, reprints Super Friends #3, #4 and #10... well as Justice League of America #57 and Teen Titans #18.

Super Friends (July, 2001)


This trade, with cover by Alex Ross, reprints Super Friends #1, #6, #7, #8, #9, #14, #21, #27 and the Toth stuff from the Limited Collector's Edition.

...and, in two volumes, all 47 issues were reprinted here, along with the Alex Toth Limited Collectors' Edition wraparound for two JLA tales!

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