For All Mankind #41

Rob and Super Friend Dr. Chris Lewis review "The Toyman's Tricky Thefts" by Bob Rozakis, Ramona Fradon, and Vince Colletta and "Dry Earth...Stolen Waters" by Bob Oksner from SUPER FRIENDS #41! Plus another installment of For All Merchkind and Listener Feedback!

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Opening and closing themes by Hanna Barbera.

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38 responses to “For All Mankind #41

  1. I used to love going to my gran’s as well because there was a newsagent that had three or four American comics – very rare in the UK. The Defenders and Captain Carrot were always available there! I wish we’d had all the Saturday Morning Cartoons over here although we did have Superfriends. And I can confirm that at one point on BBC2 a Tex Avery cartoon was followed by Newsnight.

  2. I am so glad Rob and Chris brought up the Story of Superman boxed set. My wife found a set for me at random several years ago (even though they are close to falling apart) but I had never heard of anybody else having them.

  3. And so it finally came: Fradon’s last issue as the title’s main artist. In that regard, I really enjoyed everyone’s tributes to her work on Super Friends and in general. Definitely an artist who deserves all of the accolades and then some. And connected to that, that ‘For All Merch Kind’ segment was even more enjoyable than usual, not only because it focused on Fradon, but highlighted something I also never knew existed.
    As to the issue at hand, I also like that cover – it’s basically the Super Friends vs. the Village People (which in turn makes me wonder why they never got their own comic book back in the day, kind of like Kiss…). And based on the gallery page, I have to say that the art in the Seraph back-up is amazing.

    1. The Village People is a great analogy. And absolutely agree about that Seraph artwork; definitely a win which elevates the entire issue.

  4. Hello Rob, Chris L, Chris F, and listeners!

    Rob, you and Chris L. had great chemistry together, the quips were very funny, I truly laughed out loud a few different times.

    It’s a shame that Ramona didn’t finish out the book, her art has always been top notch, and will be missed.

    Loved hearing about how you both felt about the senior heroes and Robin with the twins, as I felt the opposite. I saw the adult heroes giving out “tough love” to Zan and Jayna, while Robin was the jerk, with his babysitting comment. Despite this, he did earn the title of “Best Friend” for coming up with the possible crimes of Toyman, and his eventual capture of him, with an assist from the twins.

    Minor quip on my part, Chris L. mentioned Zan & Jayna’s “Village of the Damned wigs” (that was funny!) but there are no wigs, Zan dyes his hair, and Jayna uses her powers to turn into a blonde. Not the best disguise, but they put more effort into it than Superman. He only puts on glasses.

    As a character, the Seraph always intrigued me, and it was always interesting to see how comic writers would work his religious artifacts into super powers. Given the limited amount of space they had, the stories were well done, and I always felt he deserved more of a spotlight.

    See ya next month!


    1. Aww, thanks so much Chuck. It’s great chatting with Rob in person and I always enjoy our recordings, because he’s got such an amazingly relaxed “loosey goosey” approach to his shows. I tend to overanalyse (you may have noticed!), so I hope that contrast makes for a decent listening experience!
      Thanks for the tip about the Twins’ non-wigs! I wonder how Zan gets the hair dye out so fast? Perhaps it’s a water-based thing that he can suck back in through his follicles? I demand my No Prize!
      I remember hearing that the British writers that came over to DC in the 1980s considered the 8 page short backup story to be pure luxury, as many of them had cut their teeth writing for 2000AD, where a 4 page story was typical. Eight whole pages was positively ‘War And Peace’! The Serpah stories (so far) have done so much with their allotted page count; with the right creative team, I think a 12 issue Black Label maxi-series could have real potential.

  5. I LOVED superboy when I was a kid! (Daring new superboy with the dial h for hero backups but even as a kid “Wait lex luthor superboy went to a small town high school and Luthor could’nt figure out clark was Superboy? that CANT WORK

  6. ON a more related to the actual comic that backup would have FREAKED yOUNG Catholic me out (not as much as GHOST rider but still a GOD (“REAL” god powered superhero who’s power was based on “OBJECTs”? No,no that’s god as Magic which would be theologically trobling. Yet both Superman and Green Lantern were fine. My family is werid

  7. Rob! I love your idea of covering the free preview inserts in 80s DC books. If you do this, I HAVE to talk to you about the Flash Force 2000 insert. I may be the only person in the world who is a fan of that forgotten toy line. I even collected all of the hard to find mini-comics that came with the toys.

  8. I remembered this issue as soon as you started in on it. Great guest, Dr. Chris, you made me laugh quite a few times, thanks! “Guest-writer” Bob Rozakis was a huge fan of Robin, which is probably why the Teen Wonder kinda got the bulk of the spotlight this issue. (The first story Bob ever sold was one starring Robin, and then he was the character’s writer for several years in Detective Comics and then in Batman Family.)
    I hate to break this to you, Rob, but I’m afraid you’ve been looking at the Super Friends series from a parallel universe if you think Ramona drew the remaining covers. In *our* universe, the remaining covers are all by the great Kurt Schaffenberger.
    And I HAD those The Story of Superman books by Ramona Fradon & Dave Hunt. I’m happy that Chris & Cindy got themselves a copy! I got mine in 1983, when a good friend of mine found them at the local bookstore and gave them to me. I then saw them in the children’s section of bookstores like Waldenbooks for several years after that. So they WERE around….

  9. Great discussion. Rob, your dream of compiling a list of rock bands made up by middle-aged comic writers has been realized (sort of): Check out Rocklopedia Fakebandica (, an extensive Wiki of made-up rock bands from various media. No, Jack in the Box isn’t there, but it’s a Wiki, so anyone can add to it—perhaps this is your moment to shine.

    I definitely owned that Story of Superman box set; looking at those images brought back long-hidden memories. For some reason, I seem to recall it was some kind of mail-order-only item, but perhaps it was just that my parents ordered it for delivery from some pre-World Wide Web source (we’re talking late ’70s/early ’80s, of course).

  10. I’m coming back to make a longer comment. So I don’t forget, I just came over from the gallery page to say two things:
    1. Ramona could’ve been a regular Superman artist. She makes the whole cast look great!
    2. Bob Oksner’s art on the Seraph story rocks. It looked like a classy illustrated book. Love the USA shields on the visiting kids’ tee shirts.

  11. Great episode and great host .
    Toy man is different the version from the super friends cartoon that’s for sure .
    But did we end up in Bizarro world teachers are supposed to help their students not insult them and Gee Wonder Woman what’s wrong with her you have to trust in your own power and not some else .
    Weird . Great back up story .
    Also I’ve gotta ask the Flash Gordon pin ball have you beat your high score yet .

  12. Hmmm… I suppose Toyman was allowed to have that cannon because it wasn’t a concealed weapon. Just a theory.
    I’d have been very confused by The Toyman’s look if I’d read this comic back when it came out. The Toyman is dressed as he looked in DC comics sure enough. I was more familiar with his Jester style costume that he appeared in as a member of The Legion of Doom in Challenge of the Super Friends. Further evidence that this comic was meant to take place in DC Comic’s continuity and not the cartoon universe.
    Can’t think of any other DC Universe rock bands off the top of my head. Unless, PT Zarnum & The Trouble Alerts count. They performed The Ballad of Zan and Jayna.
    Great episode Rob and Across the Pond Chris. Very entertaining with some great observations

    1. Actually Matt, the ‘other’ Toyman did appear in regular DC continuity, debuting in Action Comics #432 in 1974… total loser.

  13. Great episode. Always great to hear the good Doctor!

    The discussion on feedback is so interesting, especially hearing Chris L. talk about how we are ‘taught’ now how to give feedback. Allow me to become an old man shaking my fist at the clouds. It is okay to get negative feedback when it is deserved. Zan and Jayna needed to hear that the overlooked a key detail and let the real villain escape. Now the Friends do seem to pile on here. But the lesson is there. Because the next time they might let the real Joker escape and hundreds of people could die. Positive feedback also needs to be given when things are done right. I suppose here, the twins deserve both good and bad feedback. They did stop the fake-outs.

    The Seraph story is wild, especially since it is pure Oksner! My guess is the Old Testament is filled with holy relics that could become a sort of Holy Utility Belt (hearing Burt Ward yell it in my head!). But at some point you might cross over into ‘is this blasphemous?’ or ‘is this going to upset people of faith’?

    But for me the big thing this episode was hearing about these Superman books! ME WANT!!!

    Sad there are only a few more episodes of this show left! I have loved it!

    1. Hi Anj – thanks for your kind comments.
      There are definitely trainees who need to hear negative feedback, but there are ways of delivering that information so that it lands effectively. Reflective learners will spot their mistake and come up with ways to improve on their performance by themselves. However there are some who do need to hear that news from others when they don’t identify significant problems or performance issues spontaneously.

      For my money, the Wonder Twins are better mentees in this story than Bats & Wonder Woman are mentors. The twins do go some way to recognising their error and suggest a mitigation strategy. Batman and Wonder Woman are – IMHO – very fast and overly harsh in their criticism, and that does little to encourage future reflection and improvement.

      But this is a 40 year old kids comic, so perhaps doesn’t bear this level of scrutiny vis-a-vis adult learning theory!

      (PS I *love* your idea of a Holy Utility Belt! )

  14. I love the Seraph character and am glad this podcast has gotten to his back-up stories. Not speaking (or writing) the proper name of G-d is a tradition that goes way back to ancient times, so it is consistent with the Seraph’s character for him not to do so in prayer.

    1. Hi Tom – what an excellent point, and something that I had forgotten in my preparation for this podcast. I had assumed that it would be for the more modern reason of avoiding causing somebody somewhere offence, but it may be stemming from a far older custom. Thank you!

  15. Welcome to the podcast Dr. Chris, I recognize you from our appearance on the M*A*S*HCast table read so I knew this would be a good episode! And I was right!

    Regarding the look of the villain in the Seraph story – I can’t help but think Oksner used Leonard Frey as the character of Harold from the original version of The Boys In The Band as a model for him!

    I’m eagerly awaiting Rob’s new show – “The Peerless Previews Podcast: A Look at DC Comics’ Free 16 Page Inserts”,
    Back Issue magazine (issue #130 – September 2021) has a 16 page article (how appropriate!) all about these great stories.
    There were 14 in all, so that will make for a great follow-up when THIS show ends in a few months.
    Now with THAT thought, I’m going to go cry!

  16. I still can’t get my mind around the fact that this Toyman and the one from the Challenge of the Super Friends are supposed to be the same person. Didn’t the cartoon version appear in something drawn by Alex Ross? I’m thinking it was Kingdom Come because it had that brief cameo by Marvin, but I could me mistaken.

    1. They are not the same person. The Toyman from Challenge was named Jack Nimball (presumably his middle initial was B) in the comics. Nimball was killed by the Winslow Schott Toyman featured in this SF story (and may had been the example Wonder Woman was thinking of when she mentioned that this Toyman had killed before…).

      1. Oops, you’ve answered my question before I asked it, below! That’ll teach me to read the comments before commenting.

  17. Great show Rob and Dr. Lewis. Having an English accent on the show always classes up the joint. Also, always great hearing a new installment of For All Merchkind from the Fire and Water historian Chris Franklin. Those little books look so cool!

    Love the cover design. I’m always a sucker for face-off covers. And how wonderful that DC honored the legendary Ramona Fradon on her farewell issue by saddling her with Vince Colletta. Colletta’s eraser really outdid itself on backgrounds this issue. Vince not only mailed it in, he sent it pony express!

    I know I usually go out of my way to dump on Captain & Tennille, but let me give them some credit for a very cool no-look fist bump so Jayna could change into an eagle and catch fake Toyman. A simple, but very well drawn panel by Ramona.

    Another Superman/Aquaman team up! In my head cannon, these two are the stealth mean girls of the Super Friends. The security gig at the concert has got to annoy them. “The most powerful man in the galaxy and the king of 3/4 of the planet, and here we are dressed as rent-a-cops to keep an eye on three hippie assholes wearing boxes. Jesus, my octopus is a better musician. You know, I should totally bring a tidal wave down on this whole concert. Probably be the first time this week any of these granolas had a bath. Sigh… I wonder if my weed guy’s here.”

    I loved the discussion about middle aged comic writers coming up with band names. Jack-In-The-Box is right in that wheelhouse. The opening act was probably “Hip Cats” or the “Nifty Sweaters.”

    But I have to say, hands down, the best moment of the issue was the line “Helmut the Lizard… with a gun?” When your puppet’s name sounds like he could be a nazi war criminal, you’re asking for trouble! And then Helmut jumps off the table, pulls his piece and starts firing on Wonder Woman, only for her to EXPLAIN to the puppet that if he WASN’T a puppet, he’d know better than to shoot at her. Wonder Woman talking shit to a gun-toting puppet. Just a mind-bending scene. I love it! More murder puppets!

    1. Thanks for the kind words Brett.
      I tried not to be too critical of Colletta’s backgrounds on the show, but on a lot of pages there’s only about one panel with an actual filled-in background; the rest are just single colour washes. I know it’s only a book for the youngest of comic readers, but that feels like a real shame.
      I would definitely read a book featuring Helmut the lizard (former Nazi war criminal) as a nemesis.

  18. Super Friends

    With every new episode I get a little more melancholy, as we approach the end. Chin up, eh? Still a few more to enjoy, including this one. Good to hear Chris on the show.

    Ramona’s cover would be perfect without the Seraph triangle at the bottom. As it is, it’s ‘merely’ brilliant

    I remember this issue, and not just for the Seraph story – I liked the Toyman, he adds a bit of colour. But what’s that reference to him having killed previously? I thought he kept his hands pretty bloodless pre-Crisis, never killing until poor Adam Grant was murdered in a fit of Grim & Gritty.

    The Silver Age Shark is not a Z-list villain. Tut. He was pretty much the first Green Lantern villain I met, in the early Silver Age issues, and he was VERY scary. I mean, A Shark Who Walks Like a Man!

    The Seraph strip was again a winner, and not just because it has Biblical rather than Editor’s Notes. It’s brilliant to have a non-US-centric story (see also Jack O’Lantern), and to see Bob Oksner’s occasionally cheesecake style applied to a chap. It’s a shame The Seraph’s look was changed in the final issue of Justice League Quarterly. Do. Not. Look.

    Am I the only person who actually likes Jack O’Lantern’s stories in this book, what is wrong with a bit of the Oirish whimsy? And his helmet is a turnip, how awesome is that?

      1. Hurrah! The only time I don’t like the original Jack O’Lantern is when a dopey writer >cough Kevin Dooley cough< heavily implies he supports terrorists. This is why Jack should stick to Finian’s Rainbow stuff.

        1. OH man poor Kevin Dooley WAY back I was one of the “I HATE KYLE bring back hal!! guys I FOUGHT with the passion of a jobless 22 year old. WE had some flame wars!
          Then I worked in Manga for 23 years Found KD on fb and apologized unreservedly

    1. Thanks Martin.
      I have a nostalgic fondness for The Shark – he had a distinctly creepy – almost alien – vibe. The next issue of “Green Lantern” (No. 176) has GL in a psychological battle for his survival (along with the survival of all the Shark’s previous victims) within the mind of The Shark… very metaphysical!

      I don’t know what happened to The Shark post-Crisis; in the 1990s and 2000s, it was King Shark who was DC’s pre-eminent piscine bad guy… but I don’t think the two characters were equivalent.

      The Shark does have a weird, silver-agey look, which might make me think he’s lower down the pecking order of bad guys, but I’d happily see him back – any idea why he isn’t one of Aquaman’s roster of recurring villains, Rob?

      I really only knew of both Seraph and Jack O Lantern from JLQ. And then Jack (… or at least *a* Jack O Lantern) got leading man status in the Primal Force book. Is his helmet a turnip, or his lantern? Is he mostly powered by root vegetables?

  19. Sad to see the end of the Ramona Fradon era! But wow! The books that Chris found are awesome! I have never seen this before, so awesome find, Chris! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Another fun episode everyone!

    I’m just hear to ask, if Aquaman with green gloves is from Earth-1, and Aquaman with yellow gloves MIGHT (not trying to start a fight!) be from Earth-2, what Earth is this Aquaman with brown gloves on the cover from?!?! Or did he just come from an afternoon of playing in the sand?

    Keep up the great work!

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