For All Mankind #28

Rob and Super Friend Dr. Jennifer Swartz-Levine review "Masquerade of Madness" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ramona Fradon, and Vince Colletta, from SUPER FRIENDS #28! Plus Listener Feedback!

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29 responses to “For All Mankind #28

  1. Another great episode! And of course, Dr jen elevates all podcasts she’s featured in. Maybe it’s time to give Jenny … tenure? (wink wink)
    Love both the cover and the splash, so so much. I know we shouldn’t (still) be reading things this way, but good thing Bruce and Dick had dates, cause if the billonaire brought his same sex, minor ward as his companion to a date…well, you know.

    Speaking of parties, I have done the costume thing several times: as Superman, as Mr Incredible (including dyeing my hair for realism) and as the Eurythmics-era Annie Lennox (another dye job). I’m nothing but committed.

  2. Great episode with a great guest.

    I remember as a kid that I would always look for books which had ‘strange’ guests or people I didn’t know. This was pre-Whos Who! If you wanted to learn about the extended DC universe you had to look for it!

    I am relatively sure I had encountered all the ‘monsters’ on the cover before this issue. But I am sure I hadn’t seen them a lot. Grundy! Man-Bat! The Demon! I am also almost certain that this was the first time I saw Felix Faust in action! So this was amazing. But like you Rob, I was a little disappointed this wasn’t the actual characters, instead people trapped in costume.

    As for Jimmy, he did indeed use the Wolfman potion in Jimmy Olsen #44, reviewed here given the role Supergirl plays in the story:

    And the kiss from Jayna isn’t just bonus for saving the day, it is the cure to return Jimmy to normal!

  3. Great episode as usual. Dr. Jennifer is a great guest and gives a very interesting perspective. I do recall this issue and also being disappointed that they were not the “real” characters.

    Jimmy Olsen ehhh. But now I want to see the Aqua Rob pictures!!!

  4. PS “Ramona Fradon inked by Vince Colletta” is like saying a fine fine French wine mixed with mustard and topped with cream cheese.

  5. Welcome to the podcast Dr. Jen! You were a great guest!

    I’m one of the very few who was GLAD that the Super Friends weren’t going against the real ‘monster’ characters. By this time I had read both The Demon AND Man-Bat in Batman Family so I was VERY happy that Man-Bat especially wasn’t back to being a villain!

    I think so many people know of this issue because of the house ad you mentioned that featured the cover so prominently. There were only a very few issues of Super Friends that had house ads.

  6. This is another great episode, Rob, but I am writing mainly to thank Jennifer for her comments about the viability of comics as a literary medium. With working in public education as an English teacher for sixteen years, I have met more than a few people who are willfully ignorant of the complexity that comics can attain and of what they can offer to students. Just a few weeks ago, a colleague said that graphic novels are “lazy reading” because of the visual element. This is a teacher struggling right now to be effective in her class, and I think her comments make it obvious why that is.

    Please, excuse my catty excursion into schadenfreude there.

    Anyway, I appreciate the affirmation from the good professor.

    1. Thanks, Steve! I’ve never understood why comics are dismissed as a way to engage people, particularly kids, in reading. It’s mindboggling that those who deride comics as means of reading don’t understand the concept of visual storytelling and that “reading” happens in a variety of ways, not just printed words on a page. Going to dismount the soapbox now…

  7. Another great episode with Jenny (who’s becoming a Fire & Water regular contributor)!

    I was especially interested in listening to your comments on teaching comics at the college level. I also have BA & MA Degrees in Literature and I teach comics in nearly the same manner I would as any other writing. For example, this academic year I taught “Contemporary Popular Literature” where we read such post-WWII authors as Arthur Miller, John Cheever, Amari Baraka, David Mamet, and more. Examining a comics text is not really that much different when all is said and done.

    The academic study of comic books & other popular culture (which we define as “the culture of everyday life”) is largely due to a great scholar named Dr. Ray Browne. He established our academic department and the BGSU Popular Culture Library in the late 1960s with the intention that “popular entertainments” like comic books are worthy of our attention and examination. Next Fall, I will be teaching my “Comic Books, Superheroes, & Culture” course once again and it is lots of fun and (hopefully) informative. FYI we are beginning to plan for a “Spider-Man in Popular Culture” conference in the Fall 2023 semester. More info coming later this year! I’m currently looking for keynote speakers from the comics industry. If you have any ideas who we can get (and afford) please let me know!

    Looking forward to hearing Jenny on another Fire and Water series!

    1. Hi Chuck! I want to take that class–it sounds fabulous! And I’ve said it before in other venues and want to say it here: the BGSU Popular Culture Library is extraordinary. What a resource for everyone who loves pop culture and you all are so incredibly warm and welcoming. Hope a lot of the F&W listeners can find their way to Bowling Green at some point–it’s a must see!

  8. Great show, and it’s always a pleasure to hear Jennifer on the network! As detailed when Cindy and I covered this issue on Super Mates’ House of Franklin-Stein a few years back, I coveted this issue for DECADES! I remember that house ad with Cain announcing special Halloween issues, and I desperately wanted this comic, but I could never find it!

    When I did finally receive it as an adult, the Colletta inks and the fact that the actual monster characters weren’t really in the story did let some air out of my balloon. But at least the story is a lot of fun, AND this is actually pretty good Colletta. I think he was inking with his hand, and not his foot this time. It’s a bit stiff, but acceptable.

    Jimmy was still kind of a big deal at this time. Yes, his comic had become Superman Family, but he was still a headliner of his own solo stories, something unfortunately not even Aquaman could always boast. He was still running on the gas put in his popularity tank by Jack Larson’s portrayal on The Adventures of Superman, still in heavy syndication. His popularity for 30 years is a bit of a headscratcher now, though.

  9. I loved the pairing of Aquaman and Swamp Thing. Two heroes who share psychic/mystical connections with different aspects of the natural world, and seek to protect their respective domains. I believe there was a 2-issue crossover between the two, sometime relatively early in the New 52 era, but I think there’s a lot of additional story potential with this duo.

    Also, Rob, if you’re looking for a live action Bizarro, then I recommend his appearance in the 2nd season of Superman and Lois on the CW. I am by no means an expert on the character, but I really enjoyed the show’s portrayal of him.

    Finally, I am now officially shipping Jimmy and Jayna.

    Thanks for another amazing episode.

    1. Just wanted to second the recommendation on Bizarro in Superman & Lois. It’s obviously a serious and darker take on the idea, but it’s a really intriguing twist. In general, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I’m enjoying that show.

  10. Okay, first things first. Last night I told my wife I had to stay up a little longer to start writing this, because I had to set the Fire and Water crew straight. She said she was sure that Rob and “what’s-his-butt” (I can only assume she meant Shag) and “that other guy” (Chris? Siskoid? Ryan? No way to tell) were “on it.” She said she believed in you! I think she just wanted to go to bed.

    See, a month ago, I made notes for a comment on last month’s excellent episode with Rob and Chris — the one with the clueless aliens stealing Atlantis — and then I failed to write the comment. In so doing, I failed all of you. No, no, I hear what you’re saying, but “failed” is the correct term, not “spared.” My cryptic notes will serve as headings:

    Heads — I’m pretty sure the Wonder Twin heads were to tell the kids at the spinner rack that this was a SuperFriends comic, even if the logo and the cover art were obscured. Just my guess, though.

    Haberdashery — The suits that doubled as space suits were dry suits, not wet suits. Dry suits are baggy sometimes. Wet suits keep you warm by letting only a little water in, which your body warms, and then you’re insulated. Dry suits keep you far warmer by not letting any water in. What’s inside with you is air, and you’re better insulated.

    Hydrogen — This issue messed up my understanding of how fish breathe for years. Fish breathe the oxygen molecules dissolved in water, not the oxygen that makes up the water! If they did the latter, we’d be short on water pretty quickly. We’d also have an excess of loose hydrogen, which makes for explosions when some fisherman smokes or runs an outboard motor. Rob knows about these things. The Hindenburg was in New Jersey.

    Hiyaa – It makes sense that a behind the back chokehold would be a go-to move for the Sea King. Subsurface combat is fully three-dimensional, and with his speed in the water, it would be easy to swim around behind his opponent.

    Hydrangea – (I needed an H word that would remind me of smells.) My local car wash sells superhero air fresheners (with updated art, of course). I think I remember seeing Superman, Batman, and the Hulk, so Marvel and DC are both included. I’ll have to buy some to see the scent they use. I’m guessing Superman smells of peanut butter.

    Anyway, it was a fun episode with Fradon art in the gallery. On to this one!

    I was part of the clamoring mob that appealed to Shag over at the JLI podcast to bring Dr. Jennifer Schwartz-Levine back, and I’m glad she’s broadening her podcast horizons. She was a lot of fun here, just like she is there, and I add a hearty “Hear, hear” to her points on comics as a storytelling medium.

    The two of you covered almost everything I had to say about this issue, except that 1) Vince or no Vince, Ramona made everything look great, but especially Bruce and Dick’s dates, and 2) I’m with Rob McCarthy on seventies Jimmy Olsen knocking out Felix Faust. “Mr. Action” was John McClane, Indiana Jones, and Nellie Bly rolled into one.

    Oh, I forgot to answer your question about costume parties: Yes, once in college. I was a vampire cowboy.

  11. Once more, another scintillating story for sure.

    Any chance there’s a podcast that covers the Super Friends episodes? Maybe you guys could take a look at them after you finish the Super Friends comic series?

  12. That was fun, as always. No merch this month?

    Please note another vote for Mitch’s idea on covering the tv episodes when the issues are done.

  13. Cheers for another fun-filled listen, and yes, it’s great to have Jenny on the show.

    I made a note that this issue of Super Friends features my favourite cover ever – and then Rob says the exact same thing. And Jenny too! Does anyone not love this? What a detailed image, Ramona didn’t have to put the little music men at the bottom, but she did, and it makes a good cover even better.

    This story was pure fun, a typically entertaining, imaginative romp confirming once more that the Super Friend were in the regular DCU (despite Batman’s refusal to go off brand and bring in the rest of the JLA).

    Bob Smith was missed but Vince Colletta did a decent job. I wonder if he was responsible for the rich black inks that had Swampy looking so authentic to his Seventies self.

    I’ve only been to one costume party, I was the Invisible Man. You probably can’t see it.

    Jenny’s mention of the spinner rack (‘carousel’ in the UK) reminds me – there should be a comics podcast entitled simply Spinner Rack, perhaps dealing with random issues… break out Siskoid’s Randomiser! If only someone at the Fire and Water Network had their very own spinner rack…

  14. Oh, yeah, great show – and it seems like For All Mankind always has such a high caliber of guests.
    And yes, the cover to this issue is definitely the best of the series.
    Also, regardless of what I think of Colletta’s inks, like I said over in the comments to the latest Treasury cast, I sometimes defend his work, but as with that Legion story, he didn’t do Fradon’s work any favors here. And yes, I can so relate to Rob recounting how his spirits fell when he opened a comic as a kid and saw that Colletta was the inker.

    As for the costume party question: yes, I’ve been to a few but mostly dressed in civilian garb. The one time I didn’t was in college, when a friend and I dressed as Smurfs. Interesting story, too: we drove to the party in a big Chevy Monte Carlo. We Smurfs were in the front, and another friend, dressed as Elvis, was sitting in back. We got a lot of amused and approving smiles from people in other cars at every stoplight.

  15. I distinctly remember this issue as a kid because I snatched it off the spinner rack the second I saw the cover. I’ve always been a sucker for hero/villain face-off covers. My favorite is the Strange Sports Stories cover with the good guys facing the bad guys in a baseball game, but this Super Friends cover is up there as well. It was probably the first time I had seen Etrigan and his ridiculous costume. I appreciate Felix Faust taking artistic license to alliterate all his commands to kill the various Super Friends. When you’re a dark arts evil-doer, you gotta have fun when you can. Speaking of Faust, he’s frightened by a cat with bat wings and an ice skeleton so badly he sets himself up to be Will Smith-ed by Jimmy Olsen? His co-workers are hell demons and ghouls. Come on, Faust. You’re better than this.

  16. Hi, gang! Long-time listener, first time I’ve written into this podcast.

    I can’t help but wonder: would you guys be interested in covering the actual episodes of the Super Friends cartoon series after you reach the end of the “Super Friends” comic series? And/or maybe the “Super Powers” comics done by Jack Kirby?

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