For All Mankind #36

Rob and Super Friend Max Romero review "Warhead Strikes at Gotham" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ramona Fradon, and Vince Colletta from SUPER FRIENDS #36! Plus a special For All Merchkind and Listener Feedback!

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21 responses to “For All Mankind #36

  1. Another great episode.

    I had 5 issues of the Super Friends growing up. Like most, this was my favorite. So many of the images you described I could picture in my head even before looking at the gallery: The cover image of Plastic Man as a rifle, Robin’s boot print on Plastic Man’s face and Plastic Man’s disguise as an overweight bullet-proof man. I even remember the Wonder Twins story with their blonde wigs and the alien dinosaur.

    As a kid, my neighbors had Stretch Armstrong. My parents bought me Stretch Monster. It went well with my Maskatron from the Six Million Dollar Man. I stretched the heck out of him until a small hold appeared in his leg. After that I mostly kept him in the comfy styrofoam packaging. He is probably still in my parent’s attic, though I’m afraid to see what kind of condition he is in 40 years later.

    I thought for sure there had been a Plastic Man Halloween costume in the 60s. I recall seeing something as a kid. After a brief google search, it turns out to have been a cheap Mr. Fantastic costume. But the colors were reversed (similar to the John Byrne redesign) and the mask had a mask on it which looks like the Hal Jordan Green Lantern but with blue instead of green. No wonder I was confused!

    Here is a link to the Mr. Fantastic costume:–468444798722997817/

  2. Hello Max – welcome to For All Mankind. It was great to hear you on this show!

    Although I certainly understand why it DIDN’T happen,
    I would have loved for there to have been some sort of mention of Plastic Man helping out the Super Friends previously (in the season 1 episode).

    Regarding the price increase and the extra pages of story material – most listeners are probably very family with the rollout announcing that the DC books were going to 50 cents along with the multi-star trade dress banner at the top. A full page ad started appearing in the DC books with an illustration of ‘stamps’ featuring many different DC heroes and where they would be appearing as back up stories. The next month was a two page centerspread featuring the cover of next month’s issue and the ‘stamps’ reformatted.
    What I don’t think that some people realize is that THIS is exactly what the plan was for the DC Explosion two years prior. All of this is covered in ‘Comic Book Implosion: An Oral History Of DC Comics Circa 1978’ by Keith Dallas and John Wells (specifically pages 115 – 117). This is a great book which I highly recommend to everyone listening!

    Regarding the Super Friends special edition giveaway that reprints this story and issue 19’s ‘The Mystery Of The Missing Monkey’ (along with some puzzle pages) : I think that this was part of the Post cereals Create A Super Villain contest. If I’m wrong Chris Franklin will correct me!

  3. Oh, yeah! Great show. You’ve already reached the point a few issues ago when I had stopped picking up Super Friends completely back in the day, but man, am I sorry I missed this issue. I love Plastic Man, and Fradon drew him quite well (and I agree that in this instance, Colletta’s inks really look quite good).
    Otherwise, at the risk of straying too far off topic, I totally agree that the Plastic Man stories from Adventure Comics by Pasko and the great Joe Staton really need to be collected and reprinted. I used to love that phase of Adventure, when it was split between Plastic Man and Starman – in fact, I also wish the Prince Gavyn Starman stories by Levitz and Ditko would also get the tpb treatment (and before anyone points it out in the comments: yes, I know they were reprinted in the second Ditko omnibus, but I specifically want a book dedicated solely to Prince Gavyn that would include the follow-up story from DC Comics Presents #36).

    And finally, I think you’re both wrong about the pointy extra part of Warhead’s head. I think – like a camel – it’s store of fat that he uses to sustain himself, so he can go weeks or possibly even months without eating…

  4. Great episodes and one of my faves of the series. Like many, it was around this time that I began loving Plastic Man. I definitely liked how here he was an effective NBI agent thwarted by the Super Friends. I watched the show, read the Adventure comics, and bought this too. I think Warhead has an average sized brain, maybe slightly molded for his skull, and just has more spinal fluid surrounding it.

    I wasn’t a big fan of this backup story. In fact, most of these back-ups I find a little lacking. But it was nice to see the twins ABBA-errific secret identities again.

    The more I reread this series to follow along with the show, the more I like it. You can see Bridwell using this as almost kiddy Who’s Who, bringing in guest stars and other ephemera like Matches Malone into the stories to introduce the concepts to kids. Really cool.

    And as a Rhode Island Italian-American, the correct pronuciation of capicola is ‘CAH-ba-ghoul’

  5. Fan in the early 80s wanted comics to be taken seriously and if you knew Plastic MAN HE SMELLS OF (EWW COMEDY)
    Of course the KYLE Baker stuff came out during IDENTITY Crisis so people said “Oh thank god humor!”
    I LOVE Batman in disguise. Batman is smart but he’s not telepathicly linked to the entire human race he’s gotta Go somewhere to learn something!
    as for the mass problems i know he’s he’s Dc but you could always do the Marvel universe “Plastic man can gain or subtract mass as his mind and body are attuned to a non newtonian dimenson (it’s to the left of the waste from Doctor Doom’s jetpack.

  6. Great episode, even if I missed that call on the All Merch Kind segment. Wait a minute… mad at me over the Wonder Twins? Who am I, Shag all of a sudden?

    This is one of my favorite SF issues, and I also had/have the special that reprinted the story. I was a fan of Plastic Man’s cartoon series, so I was all in for any guest appearance he made in the DCU. I’m guessing one reason this was a done in one was that Plas’ show, while also on the ABC network, was produced by Ruby-Spears, and not Hanna-Barbera. Now Ruby-Spears were producers who had worked at HB for years before going off on their own, and I THINK there was still some kind of connection between the two studios, but they were separate entities. In DC editorial’s eyes, all the characters belonged to them, but maybe the marketing folks thought differently.

    I always kind of assumed Warhead must be a regular Plas villain, because he made such an impression. If you ever wonder what Charles Grodin would look like as a Conehead, look no further than that last panel on page 11. Robin kicking Plas in the face is another indelible image that leased a room back in 1980 and I can’t evict due to rent control.

    As a super hero purist, I scoffed at Mego’s initial Elastic Super Hero offerings. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and the Hulk did NOT stretch, so the toys were silly, by my 4 to 5 year old estimation. And this is coming from a kid who was a HUGE fan of Kenner’s Stretch Armstrong and Stretch Monster. My Stretch Armstrong figure bit the dust when I left him in a reclining chair which folded up with him, bursting his skin and leaving corn syrup (the relatively harmless goop inside) all over the chair, ruining that too! I remember taking Stretch Monster to Kindergarten Show N’ Tell. Had I known Mego made Plastic Man, I would have begged for him!

    As far as I know, most vintage Elastic Heroes and Strech characters are now found either hard as a rock, or their corn syrup contents have leaked out. I believe our aforementioned pal Brian Heiler owned a Plas that leaked and drew a mouse, who unfortunately succumbed to the overflow of corny goo. He found a deflated Plas and a dead mouse in his box, as I recall.

    Always a pleasure to hear Max talk Plastic Man!

  7. I have to agree plastic man should have bin in the super friends . But here’s my question witch side kick would you rather with plastic man had in the super friends .woozy or bad luck hula hula ?

  8. Great episode as always, Rob and Max. Warhead had a great look. He basically dresses like a nutcracker. Try not to think too much about the inside of his skull, just be glad Mr. and Mrs. Head didn’t name their son Richard. Then it’s a Black Label book. I never saw an explanation why Warhead’s crew dressed like G.I. Joe cartoon extras. There’s no real reason to dress like soldiers. I would’ve much preferred if he had them lean more into his Nutcracker motif. Way better costumes, and timely with the holiday season.

    It was great hearing about this issue from Max’s point of view. His joy of Plastic man is infectious. The only thing that always throws me off about Plas is I can never figure out if he’s wearing stockings, or if artists are too lazy to draw his toes. But I’m a sucker for scenes with criminals who are completely oblivious to out-of-place red and yellow objects that suddenly punch them in the face. And I did enjoy his undercover work as Eel O’Brien. That Scrappy really knows his political coups.

    Upon further review, the story did make all the Super Friends, except Batman, look like a bunch of dopes. I guess it was practice for any JLA story after 1997.

    The Carpenters backup was okay. The lesson of this story is: If an ethereal dinosaur in briefs shows up and wrecks a museum, the least he can do is throw the earthlings a few space bucks before he splits. Shake him down, Wonder Twins! Don’t stick Superman with the bill!

    1. When Eel O’Brian was doused with the experimental acid, he lost his toes (and his pants). Whether this is a choice by Plastic Man or if Jack Cole just decided he didn’t want to draw his toes in every panel is unknown.

  9. Fantastic issue and great listen! Awesome to hear Max on FAM (& Rob too, I guess). My Bat-Cousin Shawn made the point about the price increase already (and I wholeheartedly recommend the Implosion Book from TwoMorrows), but I just wanted to add that somehow getting to a higher price point was always a DC business objective and specifically that of Jeanette Kahn. The higher price point theoretically would enable the retailer to make a higher profit and thus they would be more willing to carry DC books. That was the whole point of Dollar Comics after all. This idea has persisted in DC’s “DNA” even to this day if you think about it. Dollar Comics, prestige format, early trade paperbacks, and even the anthology books today.

  10. Good morning Super Fans, and thanks to Rob & Max for another great podcast.

    I must admit, while I knew of Plastic Man, I had not read any of his books, so this was my first exposure to him, and I thought he was a great fit into this book. Funnily enough, my first exposure to Plas was when he made a guest appearance on the Super Friends cartoon, way back on season 1.

    Ramona’s art (as always) is top notch. Loved the imprint of Robin’s boot on Plas’ face.

    In the cartoon it’s usually the Wonder Twins messing things up, but in this issue, the senior heroes seem to be the ones causing all the problems.

    And speaking of Wonder Twins, I enjoyed the backup story, even though (as you both pointed out) it did come across as a long Hostess Pie ad. I get that most readers wanted to see more of the main heroes and guest stars, but for Wonder Twins fans (and yes, we exist LOL) the only place for us to see them was Super Friends, so we always appreciated seeing the back up stories when they appeared.

    See ya next month!


  11. Thanks for a terrific episode, Brett was a great guest. I enjoyed this issue hugely, I love Plastic Man. I especially love him for displacing the Wonder Twins strip.

  12. Fun show and fun comic story. I too like the competent police detective crimefighter version of Plastic Man who is more of the straight man to the goofiness that surrounds him.

    I also liked how Wonder Woman initially stated that Plastic Man got in the Super Friends’ way at first, and then compromised when rebutted.

    And Warhead is so outrageous! I count him among Plas’s villains, which are actually almost all “one in dones”. I think only Dr. Dome and his daughter Lynx (from the 1960s/Earth12 Plas series) and the Corruptible Carrot Man had made more than one comic appearance (and both also showed up in the cartoon show). I suppose Gully Foyle might count, though he was more of a… ah… foil for Plas in the NBI until he became a one-time super-villain called Kolonel Kool, then he was gone (I should let Max make that call…).

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