Monday, December 28, 2020

“Super Friends” comic guest stars: good, bad, and original

Super Friends was a Saturday morning fixture for more than a decade, with new seasons every fall from 1973 to 1985 except 1974-76 and 1982; new episodes were produced in 1983 but didn’t air till later. 

I had a front-row seat almost the entire time.

A comic book based on the series was published from 1976 to 1981, 47 issues in all. I began collecting with #19 in 1979, then tracked down many of the 18 back issues, and ultimately got a subscription—the first and only time I subscribed to a comic book. 

The comic was interesting to me for a number of reasons:

  • it sometimes included guest heroes who never appeared on the animated series—and were not even popular characters in mainstream DC comics
  • it sometimes included villains who never appeared on the animated series
  • it sometimes featured villains created for the comic who never appeared on the animated series or in other DC comics, though at least one did later cross over into “regular” continuity
  • it introduced the Global Guardians, who also joined continuity

Statistics (covers only)

heroes who also appeared on show:

The Atom

Green Arrow (one appearance, 1973 season)
Hawkman

Hawkman

heroes who did not appear on show (not counting Global Guardians except Green Fury, who later became Fire):

Red Tornado

TNT and Dyna-Mite
(tied with Black Orchid for the most obscure guest star)

Swamp Thing
The Demon
Man-Bat (though a villain at the time)

Black Orchid 
(tied with TNT and Dyna-Mite for the most obscure guest star)

Plastic Man

Supergirl
(inside: Weather Wizard, enemy of the Flash)

Green Fury

Green Fury

pre-existing villains who also appeared on show:

Toyman (enemy of Superman; note: different version of Toyman appeared on show)
Cheetah (enemy of Wonder Woman)
The Penguin (enemy of Batman)

The Penguin

The Riddler (enemy of Batman)

Mirror Master (enemy of the Flash)

Bizarro (enemy of Superman)
Solomon Grundy (enemy of multiple heroes)

Grodd (enemy of the Flash)

Scarecrow (enemy of Batman)

Toyman

Sinestro (enemy of Green Lantern)

pre-existing villains who did not appear on show:

Poison Ivy (enemy of Batman)
Human Flying Fish (enemy of Aquaman)

Grax (enemy of Superman)

Time Trapper (enemy of the Legion of Super-Heroes)

Chronos (enemy of the Atom)

Queen Bee (enemy of the Justice League)
Hector Hammond (enemy of Green Lantern)
(inside: Kanjar Ro, enemy of the Justice League)

original villains (none of whom appeared on the show):

World Beater 
(also appeared in #45 and #46; see below)

Skyrocket

Greenback

Menagerie Man 
(also appeared in #33; see above)

Kingslayer 
(introduced in mainstream continuity in 2016)

Overlord 
(also appeared in #39 and #43)
(inside: Green Lantern, Mera, Aqualad, Nubia, Green Fury)

Warhead

Futurio (Overlord)

Green Thumb

Futurio-XX (Overlord)

The Conquerer

This leaves 17 covers that fell into none of these categories.

Quick lists

heroes who also appeared on show:

The Atom
Green Arrow
Hawkman

heroes who did not appear on show:

Red Tornado
TNT and Dyna-Mite
Swamp Thing
The Demon
Man-Bat
Black Orchid 
Plastic Man
Supergirl
Green Fury

pre-existing villains who also appeared on show:

Toyman *
Cheetah *
The Penguin
The Riddler *
Mirror Master 
Bizarro *
Solomon Grundy *
Grodd *
Scarecrow *
Sinestro *

* members of Legion of Doom

pre-existing villains who did not appear on show:

Poison Ivy 
Human Flying Fish
Grax 
Time Trapper 
Chronos 
Queen Bee
Hector Hammond

original villains:

World Beater 
Skyrocket
Greenback
Menagerie Man 
Kingslayer 
Overlord 
Warhead
Futurio (Overlord)
Green Thumb
Futurio-XX (Overlord)
The Conquerer

2 comments:

hobbyfan said...

Marc:

The Toyman used in the book DID NOT appear during the Challenge season. This was the original Toyman, Winslow Schott. The other Toyman, Jack Nimball, was on Challenge, and, from what I understand, was killed by Schott in the books around the time he was on TV!

BTW, I just copped the 2nd hardcover collection of the series to complete the set. having scored volume 1 earlier this year. Total bliss.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Yes, hobbyfan, thanks. I will amend!

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