The super-elastic Mr. Fantastic, the force field-wielding Invisible Girl, the orange rock-covered Thing and the data-crammed robot Herbie make up a team of superheroes dedicated to thwarting would-be world-dominating villains.
Just Imagine! The greatest heroes of our time, banded together to stamp out the forces of evil wherever and whenever they might appear! Based on DC Comics' long-running Justice League Of America series, the show featured the Justice League (Superman, Batman & Robin, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman together with 'apprentice' super-heroes Marvin, Wendy, and Wonder Dog. Other DC luminaries such as the Flash and the Atom made periodic cameos. Written by
Greg Sheets <[email protected]>
DC launched a Super Friends treasury sized edition to tie into the cartoon, which included a section, drawn by designer Alex Toth, which explained the animation process for the show. A regular comic series followed, which explained that Wendy was the niece of Batman, though how that was possible was never explained. Wendy and Marvin were later replaced by the Wonder Twins, after their debut in the All-New Superfriends Hour. See more »
Ah, the Super Friends. Anyone who grew up in the 70's and calls themselves a comic book fan has a special place in their heart for this show; the first cartoon to depict the Justice League of America (well, apart from the Filmation cartoons, but they didn't have the big guns of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in the JLA cartoons). Some hated it because it was watered down, with no memorable villains. Other enjoyed its charm and goofy fun. Some of us were glad to see any show with superheroes.
Now, in the 70's, the networks didn't allow much in the ways of violence in cartoons (except for Bugs and company), so we didn't get any slobberknockers with the bad guys. Still, there were memorable conflicts, with some creativity involved. Yeah, most of the "villains" were misguided and not evil, but there was fun to be had.
Some of my personal favorites were the GEEC episode, where a computer controls all of man's machines, only to go haywire when a mouse gets inside it; The planet-splitting episode, where Superman's origin is retold; the Gulliver episode, where everyone is reduced to the size of a doll; and the episode with the Flash.
The series went out of its way to present environmental issues, moral dilemmas, and other thought-provoking conflicts. It had far greater educational value than the "commercial" cartoons of the 80's and was far more entertaining than most. Yes, Wendy and Marvin were annoying at times, but they did have some value. I'll take them over the Wonder Twins any day. Besides, Marvin made it into Alex Ross' Kingdom Come.
If you wanted action in the 70's, you had to find Jonny Quest reruns or catch Speed Racer in syndication. The Super Friends would suffice until something better came along. It took two more series, but arrive it did; and, it still carried the name, Super Friends.
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