For All Mankind #20

Rob and Super Friend Martin Gray review "Revenge of the Leafy Monsters" by Denny O'Neil, Kurt Schaffenberger, and Bob Smith, from SUPER FRIENDS #20! Plus Listener Feedback!

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Opening and closing themes by Hanna Barbera.

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13 responses to “For All Mankind #20

  1. Denny O’Neil’s legendary contempt for Aquaman showed in that dejected panel you mentioned. I believe in your old JLA Satellite blog, there was a mention that Denny pretty much exiled the King of the Seas from his JLA run in the 60s until the 80s (except for that weird Neverwas tale). When he indicated that Aquaman was hard to write for, other writers’ stories of him just proves that there are no bad characters just bad writing of them.

  2. I’m sure it’s been brought up before but why aren’t Zan and Jan sidekicks for Aquaman? Zan constantly powers him up while Jan gets to show off alien sea creatures.
    Love the show and thanks for the great trade suggestions.

  3. O.k. I don’t love how Aquaman is treated in this issue, but the panel of him sitting on the rock and lamenting the sudden loss of his mighty strength is adorable.

    And “Revenge of the Leafy Monsters” is such an awesome title – it’s worthy of an entire story arc in Swamp Thing…

    1. I’m right there with you Edo. I don’t like seeing Aquaman beat himself up over his failure, but there’s just something about that panel of him sitting on the rock that I love.

  4. Another great episode. Always great to hear Martin, such a wise guest.

    No Aquaman on the cover? This time he got Schaff-ted.

    I would give this crazy story a pass Rob. It makes as much sense as any of the cartoon stories. Merlin walking through the forest? Sure. Ray that puts Cheetah heads and Bizarro heads on people? Sure.

    Anyways, odd little story but lessons learned. And Zan in the ice mirror is classic!

  5. Great show with special guest Martin! Very entertaining and fun! This must have been a difficult conversation to schedule, though, what with the different parallel time zones, Planet Greenwich Mean Time Meets Planet Eastern Standard. What a Crisis! Who wore the yellow gloves?

    This is my least favorite issue of SUPER FRIENDS. I don’t think I knew that Sergius was really Denny ONeil at this time….I think ENB “outed” him in the letters’ page a few issues later, IIRC? Anyway, I eventually learned who he was and that’s when I realized, “Well of course Aquaman gets nothing to do in this story, Denny HATES Aquaman!” I have since learned that this is not actually true, but you couldn’t tell that to teen-age me. And, full disclosure, Denny also wrote what is probably my MOST favorite issue of SUPER FRIENDS. So to answer Rob’s hypothetical question, yes, he does get better. This one, though, for all the reasons Rob pointed out, just doesn’t work.

    I always loved Kurt Schaffenberger’s art. To this day I remember the first issue of SHAZAM I happened across, it had a fantastic Marvel Family story in it with art by Kurt. Loved his stuff from that day on.

  6. Hello Super Fans!

    Many thanks to Rob & Martin for their work on this podcast.

    Count me in as one of the people who were not impressed with this issue. It was just too……weird for me, which I guess is an odd comment to make when discussing a comic book with super heroes. It’s not like they are grounded in reality.

    Regarding the camera stopping Superman, at that time, one of Superman’s weaknesses was magic, so having the camera shoot magic energy at him was enough to stop him. I’m not sure if this weakness exists in current continuity.

    Like Rob, I was annoyed at the way Aquaman was portrayed AGAIN on his own solo mission. In past issues, Aquaman mentioned that living under water built up his muscles making him stronger, now he’s not stronger than an average man. Regarding the cover and what the Wonder Twins say, in a future letter column that has feedback for issue #20, someone wrote in to say “Aquaman and Robin may not be our favorites, but they do help!”

    As for Zan giving the director a raspberry from the mirror, Zan & Jayna are still teens in the book, so it could fit into his personality to do that.

    Regarding the letter about the “diversity heroes” and Black Vulcan / Black Lightning, this has been discussed online, specifically by Tony Isabella, the creator of Black Lightning.

    According to Tony, Hanna-Barbera wanted to use Black Lightning for Super Friends. What should’ve happened was that HB would’ve paid DC Comics, who would then give a cut to Tony Isabella as the creator/owner of the character. However, DC didn’t want to do that. They wanted HB to pay them, and then on top of that, pay extra to Tony Isabella. Tony says specifically in his interview that his cut should’ve come from DC Comics’ take.

    HB didn’t want to pay extra, so they created Black Vulcan, and DC Comics let them get away with it.

    Tony went on to say that in his last issue of Black Lightning, he took a slap at Hanna-Barbera. A story was done called “The Other Black Lightning”, where a villainess hired a guy to have him be passed as the real Black Lightning. Her name was Barbara Hanna.

    You can find these comments (under two minutes long) on YouTube.

  7. Great discussion gents! I haven’t read this issue, but just based on the synopsis, I couldn’t help but think about the curmudgeonly C.C. Beck and the vitriol he spewed over Denny’s scripts for the revived Shazam title. As much as I love Denny and his work, I don’t think his heart was ever into “whimsical” tales. It’s hard to imagine now, but comic book writers of the past were essentially “jobbers”. They wrote whatever kind of story the company needed writing. If Denny had a contract with so many pages he was asked to write per month, if there wasn’t a Batman assignment or what have you, he may pick up a Super Friends, or a war tale, etc. Most of these writers were able to shift from genre to genre, but I don’t think Denny ever quite felt comfortable in the “kiddie” space…and it shows. At least he didn’t drop the Wonder Twins in a disintegration pit (see the final fate of the Super Sons!).

    If you feel bad about not caring for Denny’s script for this issue, go pick up the current Green Arrow 80th Anniversary special, and the wonderful tribute story “Tap, Tap, Tap”, written by Denny’s son Larry O’Neil, and drawn by Jorge Fornes. A beautiful tribute to one of comics’ greatest creators.

    I miss Ramona’s art, but I will never complain about getting to see more Schaff. I have to look this issue up on the DC app to check out his “drowned” Batman with even soggier ears than usual!


  8. Great episode as usual! Martin – great to hear you as always. I love Denny O’Neil but this story might have been written when he was on a “trip” if you know what I mean. Most of the action is fine but I had to agree with you Rob that the complete randomness of Merlin made no sense. It should have been an easy fix – maybe they were filming the movie in England and they dug up Merlin by accident.

    With regard to Kurt S art – I always felt that his art was a bit boring but as I have gotten older I can completely respect his storytelling ability and consistency. I prefer Ramona F on Super Friends but Kurt can certainly keep them on model.

    Finally even when I was a kid I was never a big fan of “inanimate objects come to life” covers and stories. Felt a bit like a cheat to me. But that’s my hang up.

  9. Hello Martin and welcome to the podcast.
    You did a great job!

    I love the Super Friends comic so much, and I can definitely enjoy lighthearted whimsy.
    I can also enjoy stories that don’t really make a lot of sense.
    But this issue is my least favorite Super Friends comic. It just doesn’t come together to tell a great tale.

    I am very glad that I come to the comments page of each episode and especially so for THIS issue –

    CellarDweller – THANK YOU for posting the info about Black Lightning/Vulcan and for the link to the interview. It is MUCH appreciated.
    Chris – thanks for the info about Denny O’Neil – it DOES add a bit of understanding to the situation.
    LOL, but it doesn’t make me like the story any bit more.

    1. Thanks to you and everyone for the kind words, Shawn, and yes, so much knowledge in the group!

      This might wind up my least favourite SF issue were I a list-maker, as so many of my comic pals are, but I’ve never been much of a ranker. I just had fun!

  10. And then Merlin just happens to walk by, because it’s Tuesday. Now, this is why I love comics!

    In regards to my unexpected familiarity with Super Friends #19, there are two places where I regularly encountered comic books before I started buying them myself: 1) our local barber shop, and 2) the cabin in Michigan, where we would vacation each summer. I remember both places carrying Marvel comics, but, perhaps, there were some DC comics in the mix.

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