DigestCast #10 – Super Friends

DigestCast is back, and Rob has brought along Super Friend Shawn M. Myers to take a look at BEST OF DC BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #3: SUPER FRIENDS!

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11 responses to “DigestCast #10 – Super Friends

  1. Great show. Didn’t know about this digest!

    Love that painted cover. I bet Superman does great voices for the characters he reads stories like this.

    The first story is bananas. So many throw away villains! I do wonder whose boot is sticking out of the D in Super Friends. Unless we have a Saw moment, it is someone unseen.

    I’m definitely a Marvin/Wendy person over Wonder Twins.

    I have to admit, I have a grudging sort of respect for the Super Friends comics. I never bought them on my own because they seemed like ‘kid comics’ even when I was a kid. I was reading Lee/Romita reprints in Marvel Tales and Dick Dillin era JLA. Why would I ever choose Spidey Super Stories or Super Friends over those. In fact, the only time I got Super Friends comics were when well-meaning relatives would bring some for me. Of course, they knew I loved the cartoon. But you took what you could get on the small screen.
    Still, despite suppressing on eye roll at the Super Friend comic gift, I usually enjoyed them for the simple stories they were.

  2. Hey Rob,

    I have been listening to your digest show from the beginning and you are really hitting my fandom in the heart. I remember getting these digests whenever they showed up at the “U-Totem” convenience store down the street. I really hope you cover the Batman digest that preceded the Super Friends digest as it contains some really great stories across Batman’s history.
    Anyway, I have to admit, I must have read all of the digests I was able to find back then over and over so much that I know them by heart and yet still pull them out from time to time.

    The Super Friends digest was so interesting as it was really weird to see Wendy, Marvin and the Wonder Dog along with the Wonder-Twins in comics at all. For whatever reason, the Super Friends comics themselves never wound up int he Magazine rack where my comics showed up each week. Then there were those stories added in that were not Super Friends stories at all.
    Now, Regarding the Cosmic Hitman, he for whatever reason made me think of the Hanna-Barbera character Frankenstein Jr. It may just be the color scheme of his head though.
    The moment where Wonder Woman tells Wendy and Marvin about her mother’s vision of them has stuck with me in a weird way all these years as that visual of her seeing Wendy and Marvin always pops in my head when I hear or read that someone is going to do something great as a result of some prophecy or the like.
    In Riddles and Rockets, I always got a little ticked off when the guy got away from Superman. I just thought Superman could do better than that. I loved seeing Aquaman show up though as he was always my favorite Super Friend. I even had the Mego figure back then.
    I really latched on to the Teen Titans Story then as I had never seen their original series before this, and of course the New Teen Titans series was just coming out then. I loved Robin telling LeBlanc off as he kicked his butt. Star Fire intrigued me as he did not seem like a bad guy. It is a shame that Marv Wolfman, who co-wrote the story with Len Wein would take the name away from him for Koriandr, turning him in the (Yawn) “Red Star”.
    I have to say that “Man, thy name is Brother” bored me to tears. After my initial reading, I always skipped that story.
    And finally, I absolutely loved “The Monster Menace”. I loved the idea of this other group of Super-Heroes that looked like monsters. I really wished back then that they would put out a comic of them.

    I love when your shows take me back to that younger age. It just feels like. . . home.

    Thanks again,
    Brian Hughes,
    Co-host of the 3rd Degree Byrne podcast at twotruefreaks.com

  3. I own this digest thanks to its generous host, because I missed it as a kid. It does indeed have a wonderful cover. I think Joe Orlando did the painting part of it. Seems like I read that somewhere.

    Cindy and I covered the “Monster” story on our Super Mates HoF series a few years back, and that’s my favorite of this bunch too. I love the idea of a Mummy with stretchy, Plastic Man-like bandages too! I’m also a fan of Bill Draut’s Teen Titans work. I can definitely see the Toth connection there. For a “B” level book that was sort of in its own corner of the DCU at the time, TT had some GREAT art, from Cardy, Irv Novick, Draut and even Gil Kane with Wally Wood! The Showcase Presents volumes really point towards how lovely this art really is.

    Great show! Sean is a great guest. I barely missed that other guy. I bet he’s crying in his popcorn! 😉


  4. Hello Rob, what an outstanding episode! Although when it comes to specially formatted comics, treasuries have a slight edge on digests for me…probably due to the grandeur of such a large comic. However, because digests were easier to find at the grocery store or the drug store, I was able to buy many more of them and they hold a very special place in my heart. I loved the idea of DC highlighting the year’s best stories, especially if I had missed them in the regular comics. The collective enthusiasm of you and Shawn have for this issue, and the Super Friends in general, positively poured out of the podcast. I remember having this issue as a kid, but it apparently did not survive the decades. Based on your reviews I have ordered this digest online already to relive it all again! I am sorry Shag played hooky on you, but Shawn did an outstanding job! Thanks so much for the consistently high quality content you all provide!


  5. I really enjoyed your coverage of this digest. The cover itself is a thing of beauty. I also appreciate the “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” theme that runs through all of these stories. That’s a message that never grows old.

    Man! If I’d only known there was a Super Friends comic book back when I was a kid, then I would have started collecting comics much sooner than I did. As it is, I’m glad that podcasts like this exist to feed my inner-child.

  6. Oh, yeah! Great show – and what a great substitute for Shagg (don’t tell him I said so, but if he finds himself unable to continue co-hosting, Shawn would make a fine replacement…)

    I had this digest back in the day, and really enjoyed it – at that point I had begun picking up the regular Super Friends monthly comic, but I had missed about the first dozen issues, so it was nice getting a few of the earlier adventures.
    And I really loved the three stories in this one, esp. the first and last ones (I really can’t decide which I liked better, in fact). I knew the villains in the World Beater story were throw-away characters, but back then I thought a few of them, like Thunderhead, Ultra-Light, Bombshell and Apparition, seemed like they could have been pretty cool.
    As for the two extra stories, while the JLA one made more sense, because the Super Friends were kind of like a sub-unit of the JLA, I still liked the Teen Titans story far more. Like Brian (Hughes) above, whenever I re-read the book, I pretty much skipped the JLA story. The Teen Titans story made such an impression on me, in fact, that I remember thinking, “hey, there’s already a hero called Starfire” when the New Teen Titans were launched featuring a new (and admittedly more pleasing to the eye) character with the same name.

  7. ‘Tomahawk (verb): To entice children into buying a book with the promise of one thing, then given them another.’

    Oh dear, I’d have been peeved to have bought this as a kid only to find it had a super-worthy JLA story and a Teen Titans story with a grumpy Russian in it. Oh well, at least the Super Friends tales themselves are good and oh yes indeed, what a cover! I like images of heroes reading, with Shazam! #4 being another fave – and an infinity cover and photo cover to boot.

    I did enjoy the SF comics… still never seen the telly show.

    As for whether ENB was a nice man, in the mid-Seventies, when I was about 12, I wrote to DC asking for the solution to ‘The Bizarro Invasion of Earth/ The Great DC Contest’ from Superman #169… in May 1964, a month before I was born! The challenge was to find the letters D and C in the story – somehow the great Jerry Siegel had penned a whole script with them appearing only once. I was convinced they were actually hidden in a literal puff of smoke, but Nelson very sweetly put me right. And the notepaper was wonderful, a tower of heroes on one side, with the then-new DC bullet showing only on the reverse. Thank you, Mr Bridwell!

    Anyway, fab show, we’ll done to you both!

  8. Another fine enjoyable podcast. (Despite, or because of Shag’s absence?) Like Anj, I gave the SuperFriends comic a big miss in my buying days. I was not then aware of how carefully ENB was integrating the stories into the wider DC tapestry. It seems to me that “fandom” makes fun of Roy Thomas for making connections between disparate characters and stories, while it praises writes like Grant Morrison for similar things. E> Nelson Bridwell had been doing it quietly all along.
    Regarding the story choices, I imagine that the catalog was pretty thin. When the decision was made to publish a Super Friends digest, the comic would been around for only about two years. I cannot argue the wisdom of a Super Friends digest, as it was a visible property from another medium, and the digests would appeal to many non-regular comics buyers. (Comics publishers used to actively try to get more people to buy their comics. You young folk may not believe this.) I expect when it came to choosing stories, there must have been only a handful of viable ones. Would they have reprinted stuff from the current year? Unlikely. So, that decreases the options. Then it was looking for some done-in-one wonders (!) that fit the theme of “Super Hero team and friendship.”
    The Brotherhood of Evil doesn’t count.

  9. I got this digest off the spinner rack back in the day. I think it was the first time I ever bought a reprint collection and found that I had one of the original issues. Super Friends 4 was one of the first comics I ever bought. SF 4 is my favorite story in the Digest, not just because of the nostalgia. I love the Riddler giving clues to someone else’s crime…but then having to commit a crime that matches the clues. That is just a brilliant story idea. At the time, I was hugely in love with the Batman TV show (still am) and Frank Gorshin’s Riddler was one of my favorites, so my first Riddler comic has to rank high. The SF/Monster story from #10 was a neat little twist, and I did enjoy it, too.

    I later got SF 3 in one of those “Old Comics Collections” in the Christmas catalog. I’m surprised you liked it BECAUSE Wendy and Marvin saved the day. That is exactly why I didn’t like it.

    I recently re-read the Teen Titans story in the DC Universe by Len Wein. I didn’t really notice any similarities to Alex Toth in Bill Draut’s artwork. I wonder if Draut was a one of those artist who altered his style depending on what he was drawing. He did the cover to Batman 213 and it looks very “golden age.”

    The JLA story may have been done in conjunction with the UN. I looked in the JLA omnibus and the original cover has a UN logo. I have to admit I hated the story. It featured my two least favorite Leaguers and was far too “after school special.” As much as I can’t stand Snapper Carr, I dislike Green Arrow even more. This was my first exposure to the clean-shaven Arrow with this Arrow-Cave and Arrow-Car. Nah, he’s not ripping off Batman at all. At the time, Flash was probably my third-favorite JLA member, but he couldn’t save this story. He’s probably slipped a few spots now that Wonder Woman and Zatanna would be in my top 5. To paraphrase the title of this story, “Puberty, Thy Name is Heartless Witch.”

    1. Whoops….I forgot the clean shaven Green Arrow was in the Justice League treasury. THAT would have been my intro to him….I guess I was so underwhelmed by him that I forgot!

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