Saturday mornings were the absolute best when I was a kid. I couldn’t get enough of my favorite heroes. Tarzan had a great show, and don’t even get me started on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Loved, loved, loved them. But what really started it for me was Super Friends. So what about Super Friends comics?
On the one hand, the show was a cheese-fest. I can still remember a supervillain picking up and dropping a fuel tanker truck in one episode while Superman explained to his young audience, “I’ve got to keep that tanker truck loaded with fuel from hitting the ground or the explosion will be catastrophic!” Six-year-old me is screaming at the TV, “Superman, we know what happens if the truck hits the ground, just save it!” Ah, good stuff.
On the other hand, the show also exposed me to some great characters. Aquaman was one of my favorites, as was Black Vulcan, Apache Chief, and of course Batman and Wonder Woman. But the ones that really got my attention were the big baddies like Black Manta and Lex Luthor. My favorite of all was Darkseid. I just watched the Snyder Cut, and given how dark and ominous Darkseid is (see what I did there?) it’s almost hard to imagine he was paraded in front of impressionable young minds on Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice…
So what about the comics? Super Friends ran for 47 issues from November 1976 till August 1981. When you think about it, it’s a full-circle thing as the DC comic heroes and villains were translated into a cartoon television show and then back into comics.
Despite my fond memories, there are only a handful of issues in the run that are collectible. Though I would make the case that the entire run is very collectible if you put it all together. First up is Super Friends #1 with a great Vince Colletta and Ernie Chan cover. It features the primary team (with Aquaman hidden in the back) and some great classic villains. Penguin, Cheetah, and Poison Ivy, as well as superhero newcomers, Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog all appear. GoCollect has an FMV of $400 in 9.8, but I’ve seen copies offered for less.
The Wonder Twins!
The next issue on our list is Super Friends #7, the first appearance of Zan, Jayna, and Gleek the Space-Monkey. These guys are otherwise known as the Wonder Twins. Apparently, Wendy and Marvin didn’t cut it in SuperHero school. This awesome Ramona Fradon cover has the Wonder Twins pushing Wendy and Marvin out of the way with the rest of the team coming in after them (ahem, Aquaman is again stuck in the back). With a GoCollect FMV of $1000 in 9.8, this is by far the most expensive issue in the run, though prices drop fast with lower grades. I’m looking to upgrade my 9.0 copy at some point.
Super Friends #14 features the origin of the Wonder Twins. I like origin issues, and when they come after the first appearance, they can be super affordable. This one is no exception. Though you will almost certainly need to find a raw copy, as there are only five or so in the CGC census.
If you are inclined to speculate, Super Friends #12 and #13 are the first cameo and full appearances of Doctor Mist. He is a member of the Global Guardians and has entered DC continuity and even appeared in the Constantine TV show. Sales data is scant, to say the least, but if you can find high-grade raw copies, they might be worth holding on to. Good luck out there!
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Great article. I really feel like the generation of kids that were born in the late 70’s, early 80’s are neither Generation X, nor Millennials, it should be coined, “Saturday Morning Cartoon Generation,” or maybe Gen SMC.
Thanks, appreciate that. And great idea Jason, behold, Generation: SMC!
Saturday mornings were indeed a bliss, the younger generations with their multitude of tv channels and streaming platforms will never understand it
Totally agree. You really had to map out what you were going to watch. And in my house, we had a TV time limit too. I think it was an hour and half. That slips by quickly.
All hail, Generation SMC. We whom had little but had more…..
Been trying to find a raw nm+ Superfriends 1 and the Treasury edition for 20 years. One of my all time personal grails. No success from comic shops. Closest i got was recently 2019 with a SF1 vfn/nm for $20. Didnt buy but if still there may go back.
Yeah, those are tough books. I have a raw Super Friends #1, but not NM+. The Treasuries can be a difficult find in high grade. I have a Star Wars Treasury that I read so many times it is just shredded. Good luck on your hunt!
Love the article. There are just things from that time that are so unique. You know you both grew up in the late 70s if someone says, ‘WonderTwin powers activate’. Then you can argue over trying to remember what forms they could turn into. And then there was School House Rock….
You are spot on and thank you for the kind words! Loved School House Rock!