For All Mankind #31

Rob and Super Friend Dr. Anj review "How To Trap an Orchid" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ramona Fradon, and Vince Colletta, from SUPER FRIENDS #31! Plus another installment of "For All Merchkind" and Listener Feedback!

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21 responses to “For All Mankind #31

  1. Black Orchid: “Perhaps I have special ways of defending myself.”

    Like, say, a force field? Like the one she projected over the Kryptonite in the museum?

    It’s as if Black Orchid had… oh, I dunno… a force field belt created by a green skinned intelligent hero from 10 centuries in the future… which may have been a gift given during one of his dates with a certain time-traveling Kryptonian…?

  2. You know, I think at this point resistance, as a certain race of cyborgs would say, is futile: that award is going to be called the Robbie whether you like it or not.

  3. They Kelly’s Heroes Five-Star Hero Award for Five-Time Solo Kelly Show Co-stars…

    Or “Robbie” for short…

  4. Rob Mccarthy head canon
    1. since Earth Superfriends had a Superboy. Maybe a very young Lex Luthor turned on a machine to actively attract kyptonite,
    2 Better yet Luthor makes fake kyptonite and sells it?

  5. Hey, Superman m. If that kryptonite seems to be kill Black Orchid… maybe you should stop holding it over her head. Just a suggestion.
    Thanks for another fun installment of For All Mankind. I look forward to each monthly installment they way did for my comic book subscription to come in the mail when I was a kid. I have no idea what the next issue will be about, I know it will be fun and entertaining. As you mentioned during the episode, most of us loved the Legion of Doom episodes of the cartoon. I personally have to say that I’m glad they left it behind. It was great, and they ARE my favorite episodes, but it did get repetitive. Changing it up allowed them to give us more villains from the comics like Gentlemen Ghost, and Darkseid, new interpoof classic monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula as well as all kinds of weird alien races and disasters. Not to mention the classic Universe of Evil episode. That’s just my opinion.
    As far as a name for the award. I suggest the Five Star Cohost award.

  6. Great episode gents! Always a pleasure to hear from Dr. Anj! I never knew much about Black Orchid, first encountering the cover of her first appearance in an issue of Comic Collector magazine in the early 80s, pre-Who’s Who.

    I had no idea there was a Supergirl/Black Orchid fan theory. I guess it makes sense if you assume Kara wanted to prove she could shine as her own hero out from the shadow of her more famous cousin, somewhat like her Earth-Two counterpart, Power Girl, but even more removed from their Kryptonian legacy. Or you could retcon that an amnesiac Kara maybe went through something similar to what caused the Post-Crisis Superman to unknowingly assume the guise of Gangbuster for a bit!

    I have never read this particular issue (my SF collection is still incomplete, and I need those hardcovers) but now I want to! I always liked the Orchid’s design. Despite being covered from head-to-toe, I think it’s a very sexy costume. Maybe because the form-fitting purple reminds me of Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl costume?

    I miss Bob Smith’s inks here too. and what’s with the thick white outlines around Batman and Twins on page 1, and fake Black Orchid on page 5? Was that a Jerry Serpe thing? It’s pretty odd.

    As for the name of the award, how about The Superior Five Award, a backhanded reference to the Inferior Five? Or Ultra, the Multi-Podcast Guest Award.


  7. For All Mankind

    Splendid episode, could the host and guest BE and better? Anj is the perfect person for this episode, I’ve been following his Black Orchid posts and they’re fascinating. Congratulations to Anj on being the first Rob Kelly Five Star Spectacular!

    I bought this issue when it came out, knowing nothing about Black Orchid, and ENB made me want to know more. And what a great opening, I love ENB looking at the practical aspects of Batman’s getting around Gotham, things most of us never considered as kids.

    Batman is such an arse in that panel early on: ‘Nice going, Twins! I spotted it a moment before you did – but wanted to see if you’d also noticed it!’ Yeah, right.

    ‘Form of smog’ feels appropriate for murky Gotham, and lo, it proved useful!

    I like that Superman has confidence that BO – such an unfortunate set of initials, that – will likely be able to sort things out by herself

    That’s a great line from Lisa, ‘the orchid will start to droop’. Lisa is such the criminal mastermind, DC should have used her more, maybe made her a villain for all the DC ladies with strips – Supergirl, Wondy, Lois…

    ENB seems to have had an idea for BO’s background, telling us she was from Earth. Could he have intended her to be a Supergirl robot who wanted to do some good when she wasn’t needed by Supergirl – heck, Supergirl robots lived inside trees, that’s quite ‘planty’. She would have the superpowers but not the vulnerability to Green K. I’m sure she could whip up a force field, what with the Brainiac 5 connection.

    It’s a wonder that Superman didn’t use x-ray vision to see who Black Orchid was, he had no compunctions in the Seventies. Not like today when Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark frets about the morality of using X-ray vision, yawn.

    As ever, Ramona’s pencils were great. Shame Vinnie didn’t earn his pay cheque.

    The only less than stellar art was Robin on the cover, he looked as big as Bats.

    Nice For All Merchkind section from Chris!

    Rob I was confused by your comments about Back Issue, and how you miss it, and how it has changed publishers… It’s still coming out, and from TwoMorrows. I know you know that because you’re a contributor. Somewhere there is a stick and I have the wrong end.

    Perhaps I should’ve said, ‘plait’ is pronounced ‘platt’ and not ‘plate’.

  8. Hello Super Fans, and welcome to the podcast, Dr. Anj!

    We’ll start with the cover, which (as pointed out by you both) featured all the characters, no one was missing, and no floating Wonder Twin heads. Always a plus.

    I’m surprised the first panel didn’t get a lot of discussion, I thought it was a great shot of Batman training Zan & Jayna.

    Regarding the “best friend”, I would give it to Batman, not only for his work with the Twins, but for figuring out the clue of the gem in the fake Black Orchid’s flare.

    Like Dr. Anj, I liked the large panel of the fight, and Zan & Jayna not using their Exxor powers, and rather showing off their training. Regarding his question about Jayna as a flying squirrel, in the comics, if the Twins had changed shape, and then wanted to take on other forms, they did indeed have to touch again.

    Black Orchid may not have an action figure, but she has a pin. The company FanSets makes pins of DC Heroes (I’ve collected a number of the Super Friends characters) and they recently released one for Black Orchid.

    See ya next podcast!


  9. I guess I’m in the minority this issue but, although this was my first time reading about Black Orchid, this story didn’t turn me into a fan. I would have liked a BIT more of actual origin or truth as to who or what she was. As Rob pointed out, this seemed like a Black Orchid story guest-starring the Super Friends. She didn’t grab me as an interesting character. I just didn’t like her or the story. I’m sure I didn’t care that Black Orchid never appeared anywhere else. I probably did expect to see her in The Brave & The Bold or DCCP, though. Odd that she never appeared in either of those books.

    Now, I DID pick up the Black Orchid Vertigo series ten plus years after this, and it was pretty weird yet entertaining. I don’t see this Black Orchid as the same one as that one, though.

    That splash page of the Wonder Twins and Batman leaping across the gap between buildings has always been one of my favorite images. It’s a shame that it’s basically the best piece of art in the whole issue. Vince Colletta certainly was a hack. Geez.

    As for the Super Adventure Colorforms, I happen to have a full set, sitting right behind me as I write this. I remember seeing it at a SEARS when I was a youngster. It went for the exorbitant price of $3.37 and I just didn’t want it THAT badly. (I was already old enough to not actually play with the colorforms by that point, approximate 1975. I had my MEGO action figures.) However, it was still at the same SEARS about a year later, so I did finally buy it and added it to my Aquaman collection. I have all the pieces, and even the color pamphlet! If I knew how to post pictures to this page I would.

  10. Welcome to the show Dr. Anj – looking forward to hearing you again in a few episodes, you were great!

    As the authority on Robin’s thicc thighs (listen to any episode of Batman Family Reunion for proof), I can certify that Robin WOULD INDEED be able to catch that meteorite with his feet.

    Like most people here, this was my introduction to Black Orchid.
    After hearing Dr. Anj talk about her I decided to read all of her previous appearances – – – but to add even more to her puzzling nature – – – none of those can be found on the DC Universe Infinite app! She really is mysterious!

  11. Great episode! Dr. Anj’s enthusiasm and expertise always make for a great show. In mentioning Black Orchid’s appearances, I’m not sure if you guys mentioned Blue Devil Annual 1. This is such a fun story and contains the many origins of Black Orchid. It’s my favorite story featuring the powerful BO…..I may want to reconsider that abbreviation.

    Thanks for a great show.

    Sean Ross

  12. Fun story review Uncle Rob and Dr. Anj.

    It wasn’t mentioned on the show, but Dr. Anj knows that the “one case” where Black Orchid “reprogrammed a computer using X-rays” happened in Phantom Stranger 36.

    Speaking of that, I pulled out my dad’s old Adventure Comics and Phantom Strangers to see if there was a printed reader letter that brought up the Supergirl fan theory. There wasn’t. One that comes close is in Adventure 431, where letter writer Chip Bestler complained about the new Black Orchid feature, saying, “She is little more than a combination of Supergirl and the Phantom Stranger.” I wonder if this prompted the idea to make Black Orchid a back-up strip in the Phantom Stranger book when the Spectre took over the Adventure title.

    Another letter by Kurt Johnson in Adventure 432 mentioned that “the removal of Supergirl from the pages of Adventure [to star in her own series] was a change for the better”, and suggested Black Orchid be removed as well… and be a back-up in Supergirl. I have a feeling Kurt was happy to see the Spectre.

    And to be clear, there were more letters of praise for the Black Orchid feature than complaints. A response in Adventure 431 said the reaction was “running about 2 to 1 in favor of the strip.”

    I like the idea of Black Orchid being a rogue/reprogrammed Supergirl robot… maybe triggered by Earth’s pollution, but a less disastrous result than what happened to the Superman robots.

  13. Great episode as usual Rob. Great to hear Anj – congrats on the Robbie!
    Like Anj, I have always been intrigued by Black Orchid. I don’t know why! But she looks cool and the mystery surrounding her is where the interest lies. I did not know about the Supergirl fan theory, but you can see how it makes sense. Thanks for that intel, Anj! And now I have to read the Black Orchid posts on your blog!
    I laughed at your Batman Family Reunion call out, with Robin throwing the boulder with his legs. Shawn might disagree that he could do it – he loves to talk about his thicc thighs!
    For all Merchkind- color forms! Loved them and I think I had this one too. Good thing Vince Colletta didn’t ink the color forms box, it would have been blank….

  14. Great show, Rob. I didn’t have this issue as a kid, so it was new to me. I always liked the design for Black Orchid even though I know nothing about her, except apparently she’s not above fighting dirty like when she “real housewifed” Lisa on page 14. Another great group punch-out scene by Ramona at the end. Which henchman do you think caught the most crap in the paddy wagon? The guy who was slapped by Superman can’t feel good about that dismissive smack, but the thug who was knocked out by Gleek’s tail has got to be more humiliated by his buddies on the way to jail. And the guy Aquaman gut-punched was most likely too busy barfing up his internal organs to care. I can’t forget Robin catching the massive rock with his legs and whipping it back into the henchman. Seems impossible? Look, if you’re gonna choose to wear a green speedo and show all of your bare shaven legs, you aren’t skipping leg day. Good on you, Robin.

    I had a major nostalgia moment when I saw the image for the colorforms set. I had that as a kid and absolutely loved it. I do remember how lame the villains were, but who cares? I played with that set until there was nothing left of it. What a great memory. Thanks, Rob and Chris.

  15. Great show. I listened while sitting on the beach last week hip-deep in vacation. As much as I love the coverage of the Super Friends issues, I LOVE when Chris comes on to do For All Merchkind. I have great memories of having the Super Friends colorforms set as a kid. And about ten years back I re-obtained the set at a convention! I’m only missing three of the really tiny pieces, and my set came with two of the color booklets! Good stuff. In fact… I think I’m going to go play with it now.

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