For All Mankind #38

Rob and Super Friend Captain Entropy review "The Fate of the Phantom Super Friends" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ramona Fradon, and Vince Colletta and then are joined by Special Guest Henry Bernstein to discuss "The Seraph's Day of Atonement" by Bridwell, Bob Oksner, and Kim DeMulder from SUPER FRIENDS #38! Plus Listener Feedback!

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Opening and closing themes by Hanna Barbera.

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26 responses to “For All Mankind #38

  1. Fascinating! Absolutely fascinating. Thanks for going so deep into the Seraph story. I learned a lot. It’s great that ENB put the effort into being so accurate.
    I’ve always found it confusing that some folks will balk at not only religious discussion, but avoid experiencing anything of a religious nature when it comes to books movies or TV. They’ll protest against the inclusion of the Abrahamic (I hope I got that word right) God in their pop culture, avoid faith based stories, yet not bat an eye when a character uses a crucifix or holy water to battle a vampire. Ghost Rider, Damian Hellstrom, The Spectre and numerous other comic book characters are deeply embedded in superhero universes. Very few people have a problem with that.
    Thank you Rob, Henry, and Captain for exploring and educating. For the record, I myself am not a religious person, that’s my personal choice, but I respect what other choose to believe. We CAN all get along if we choose to.

  2. Guys, what a wonderful episode!
    As a secular listener, not only I did not feel put off or excluded at all, but I had the opposite reaction: I was enthralled by all the data, discussion, context review and general interest of the conversation. Also, Henry’s glee at the fact that the story exists but also the care and quality that went into it, it was contagious. Once again, representation matters, folks.
    Finally, what a great tribute to ENB! Each new detail about his work and life only adds to the awe. Although this network and podcast recognize him every step of the way, I do feel that he is an unsung hero and deserving of much wider recognition.

  3. Matt and Gus, I can’t tell you how reassuring your kind words are. I can’t speak for Rob or Henry, but I’ve been more nervous about this podcast than any of the other three I’ve been on. I want to discuss faith and belief systems (mine and other people’s), and I want to represent mine well without being off-putting. The apostle Paul even charged Christians to do that — “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone,” in Romans 12. But it’s difficult to know where that line is, and I acknowledge that some of us aren’t even trying. Anyway, thank you very much for letting me know that in your opinions, Rob, Henry, and I stayed on the right side of the line, and our conversation was worth listening to, to boot. Now I know how Henry felt when he found out the excellent podcast he and Rabbi Brandon share has a wider audience than he thought.

    1. One more point: Matt said, “We CAN all get along,” and I agree that we can, if we respect and value one another, as I think he’s implying. The dictates of several religions, including Judaism and Christianity, are to love your neighbor and treat other people the way you would want to be treated ( Lots of people who adhere to no system of faith do this pretty well. Rob is an excellent example. The least I can do as a person of faith is try to keep up.

      1. That is indeed what I was getting at. We don’t have to all believe the same thing to get along. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

  4. Depending on how one defines God and universe God’s been part of Dc since the Spectre (more fun 52 1940) I don’t think the spectre DOES work for GOD because why would God make him SEW his own costume? But then I can see a God that says “Dont cut your hair” saying “Sew your own costume!”

    1. Yeah, God handed out several construction and craft projects in the Old Testament, with instructions (big ark, little ark, tabernacle, etc.).

  5. This was the podcast I needed to listen to today. I could “see” your smiles and hear the joy as you three discussed the Seraph story. Thank you for sharing your enjoyment of this story with us.
    I remember thinking of this story as similar to the scene of the Spectre talking to “the voice” on several occasions (most recently at this time in JLA 124, probably). As someone who is basically agnostic, I enjoy these scenes from a purely dramatic POV.
    I do remember thinking at the time that the Seraph stories were more overtly religious. That made me want to “read ahead” and look at the next Seraph story. THAT one is by Bob Oksner, who also illustrated it. I wonder if he, as a Jewish man, had an affinity for this character, or maybe helped ENB with some of the visuals.

    As for the lead story, it was surprising that none of the Super Friends remembered Commissioner Gordon’s comments except Aquaman. Good on ya, Artie!

  6. Another terrific episode! I’ve believed for years that E. Nelson Bridwell was the great unsung talent of both the Silver and Bronze Ages, not only as a writer, but also as an editor, and as the keeper of DC’s lore. If Fire and Water is looking to add another podcast, I would rejoice to hear a show dedicated to the life and work of ENB.

  7. And just like that, For All Mankind has become my favorite religious discussion podcast (not that I listen to many). I am Protestant, but I love to listen to discussions from different belief systems than mine. Specifically, respectful dialogue where people from different faiths are not trying to bully and berate each other in regards to what they do or do not have in common. Bravo to all three of you for just such a discussion!

    As for how much effort E. Nelson Bridwell put into each story, I wonder if he didn’t have that Seraph story already written and was sitting on it until he had space for it. He may have seen the ‘main’ feature as being light enough that he could make quick work of it.

  8. Another wonderful episode of For All Mankind; like everyone else above, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the deep-dive into the Seraph story and the character himself.
    As for other topics, I have to say, I had to smile when you began speculating about the extent of Zan’s powers. I recall that the Super Friends cartoon came up in a discussion among friends back in college, and we started joking about how Zan and Jayna never lived up to their potential. Ultimately, we thought that Zan should have regularly turned into the Pacific Ocean – or at least a tsunami – while Jayna should have become the Supreme Being (which circles back to your theological discussions…)

    Also, it’s completely off topic, but since Henry brought up Bernie Rosenthal – I have to say (and I think I’ve mentioned it at least once elsewhere on this site), she’s always been my favorite love interest for Cap/Steve, and I think she should have become his one-and-only (i.e., the MJ to his Peter Parker/Spidey, or the Lois to his Clark/Superman). So I’m always up for a discussion of the character and look forward to any podcast episode that features her.

  9. I had this one as a kid and I think I was perplexed about the Seraph story. I was a ultra-practicing Catholic at the time, knew a lot of scripture, and knew about stories of repentance, this one even seemed out of place to me. I vaguely remembered it and have been waiting to hear the discussion so I can’t thank you enough! Such a great discussion. Kudos to all.

    As for God in comics … Frank and I discuss DCCP #29 where God talks to Superman!!

    1. Anj, I remember DC Comics Presents #29 — even more so now that I’ve checked out your interesting discussion with Frank. I enjoyed the story and the lessons Superman learns, but I have a slight preference for the representation of God in the Seraph story. That said, the golden calligraphy script Starlin uses for God’s voice in DCCP #29 is far superior to any lettering in Super Friends #38. In fact, I’d go so far as to call it a font of many blessings.

  10. I like to think that Aquaman got the spotlight in the main story in recompense for being left off the cover. Also, the Seraph story sounds really interesting. I’ll have to track this issue down.

    Thanks for another excellent episode.

  11. I had this issue as a kid, and the cover layout made an impression. Not only did the heroes actions recall JLA #9, but the cover is VERY similar to JLA #5!

    JLA #5

    Was that thug Charles Bronsan…or Larry Storch?

    Great Seraph discussion guys! I liked Seraph too, and ever since Rob mentioned he should have been in the Warolrd line, I can’t get it out of my head! Just for posterity, the line consisted of Warlord, Machiste (the only figure I had from the line), Hercules, Mikola (wolf guy), Arak, and Deimos. Remco also advertised the line with their own generic Warrior Beasts as well.

    I will admit, the relgious content of the story threw me a bit, but I was taken in by Spire Comics’ own Barney Bear, and their sneaky, preachy Archie Comics, that looked like REGULAR Archie comics. But the stories were so good, I got over it quickly.

    I agree ENB is a fascinating subject who deserves a book, a podcast, a biopic…something! Someone get on that!

  12. Thank you very much, Chris!

    I’m sticking with Bronson. The F Troop guy just isn’t as menacing.

    I want to note that Rob named everyone in the REMCO line except Machiste. Glad I was good for something in the clutch. I can also remember that one dwarf you forget whenever you try to name all seven.

    I liked the few Spires I had, though I never saw Barney Bear. The approach they were best at, in my opinion, was when they adapted prose biographies. No chance of confusing God’s Smuggler with a mainstream comic, either.

    An ENB biopic sounds perfect for Isamu’s first entry into the Cannes Film Festival! (Having uncles means having lots of people planning your future for you, Isamu.)

  13. Another great episode, Rob. Your and Captain Entropy’s conversation with Henry Bernstein was fascinating. The Seraph story was deep and a bit shocking. I mean, who would expect the Settlement’s founder to be that hot? Seriously though, a really thoughtful discussion. You should be proud of that.

    Speaking of depth, Grax is back! This guy clearly has no sense of how to secretly gather a group of powerful gangsters for an evil meeting. Where is the big mahogany table with fancy chairs? Where’s the high-end liquors in fancy glassware? Where’s the dark mood lighting? Where’s the obligatory violence against a doubting attendee to show everyone he means business? This place looks like Grax rented a conference room at the Gotham City Best Western.

    When the gangsters get away from Superman by jumping in the sewars, it reminded me of what I like about the Super Friends version of Superman. He’s not going into a nasty Gotham sewar for a couple of thieves. The Super Friends have interns for this crap. He can just catch them later. This is the third issue in a row where the heroes look like a bunch of dummies. Good on Aquaman for actually listening when Barney Miller called them at the Hall of Justice earlier. Aquaman was the only one who used his brain. Not sure why that whale had lips, but I’m not a marine biologist.

    The security outside the Hall of Justice could use some beefing up. You’d think it may raise some alarm bells when a four-armed guy in his pajamas shows up with a big magenta cannon. But then I also wasn’t aware the Hall of Justice is beach-front property, so what do I know? But good for Topo destroying Grax’s machine by getting it wet. If Grax had picked a rainy day for his evil plans, it would’ve been over before it started. Also, what was his plan? Blow the planet to space dust with a machine that’s sole weakness is moisture? Maybe just rob the Best Western first. Start small, Grax. Start small.

  14. Another splendid episode of For All Mankind, and a bumper one at that, thank you Rob, Captain and Henry!

    How can anyone say anything but HURRAH! for the return of Grax the Grestroyer… sorry, Grax! He’s just a tonic to look at, the daft four-armed barmpot. This isn’t the most exciting story, but the art just makes me smile, even when VC has rubbed out the backgrounds (I dare not type his name if full for fear all the furniture behind me vanishes…).

    The discussion of Xan’s power was interesting – I wonder if he was given his particular water ability by the SF producers because he would be able to team up with Aquaman, allowing the Sea King to show off his awesomeness more often.

    Like Anj, I was a good Catholic kid (baptised in Latin, Martino Alexandre!) but regularly read my hardback collections of EC’s Picture Stories from the Bible, so was familiar with the Old Testament vibe. That Voice of God signalled by the shofar heard by Chaim on the final page after his repentance – now, are we sure that wasn’t actually Mal from the Teen Titans in his Hornblower mode?

    I loved all the Seraph talk, and the strip deserved it, it was something special. I’d never heard this idea that Christians turn into angels at death apart from, as Rob says, in the odd Hallmark Christmas film. Nutty.

    Seraph also gave a New God his name, Serifan, interestingly!

  15. Welcome to the podcast Captain Entropy – you did a great job! I can’t wait to hear you on future podcasts!

    We always (rightfully) praise Ramona’s work – but this issue had 4 stand out panels to me:
    Page 2 – the shot of Grax with his four hands pointing in different directions – he simply has never looked better than this!
    Page 5 – you guys talked about Superman’s forlorn look on his face – but I love the smug satisfaction of the crook whose jaw is NOT being crushed by Superman’s fist!
    Page 8 – that GREAT looking Aquaman sailing over the crooks in the boat. I’m surprised that that pose wasn’t lifted for some merchandise (hey Chris Franklin – this is YOUR que to tell me that it WAS!)
    Page 9 – the whale overturning the crook’s boat and dumping them in the water!

    Normally I like to be one of the first commenters, but I was on vacation and purposefully stayed away from all of my podcasts.
    Normally I DO NOT repeat things that the other listeners have posted about but in this case I will happily make an exception.
    Your discussion about the Seraph was fantastic – and this is coming from a man who is either agnostic or atheist (depending on which day of the week it is).
    Your respectful, thoughtful, educational, and even caring talk about the religious overtones of the story gives me hope that people CAN be understanding of differing viewpoints.

    The only thing that makes me very sad is realizing that we never got a Who’s Who page for the most recent confirmed character in the DCU. God!
    Maaaaaaan, think of the incredible page that Xum would have made for him!

  16. Always nice to be used as a good example, especially where religion is concerned. Thank you, Captain.

    One thing I’m a bit surprised that hasn’t come up yet, even though people have mentioned The Spectre, since the character was co-created by Jerry Siegel and represents God’s Wrath (real Old Testament type stuff), would “The Voice” be considered the Jewish God?


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