Ah, Superfriends! I used to watch this show every day after school, and adored it. It was my introduction to the DC universe and most notably Green Lantern. I loved him on the show and I was finally inspired to start getting the comics to learn more about him. The show was just awesome!
As a kid. Yeah, as an adult I can see how goofy the show could be. It was clearly modeled after the silver age of comics, espcially the awful first season which I hated even as a kid. I did like the Zan and Jayna era, and of course Challenge of the Superfriends which was freaking awesome! Ever member of the JLA, and a few they made up, againts the Legion of Doom! Hell yes!
True it doesn’t compare to modern stuff like JLA or Batman The Animated Series, but it has a special place in nostalgia never the less. As I said, this was my introduction to the DC universe and I plan on talking a lot about this series this year. One thing I wanted to discuss today was the little things that teh show just got….wrong. I mean I know about liberties and stuff, but there were some things which were just inaccurate on this show which annoys me now that I know what the characters are really like in the comics.
Here are five examples:
Ah we all know the imp from the 5th dimension who popped up to aggravate Superman. His name was pronounced Miks-ill-plik. I thought that was correct for year, heck even Big Bang Theory recently used that pronunciation! Alas this was incorrect, the correct way to pronounce the name is Mix-yez-pit-leck (at least according to John Byrne). Ok to be fair, there seems to be no consents on just how to pronounce this name.
#4.Superman never punches???
There is a reason for this though it’s a stupid one in my opinion. I grew up thinking that Superman’s super breath was a really cool power. Why? Because in the Superfriends cartoon rather than throw a punch, he would use his super breath to blow bad guys away. You may now the reason for this, the stupid guidelines of children’s programs at the time. The same guidelines that caused He-Man to just stand there rather than beat the crap out of Skeleton. He-Man could only punch walls it seemed. I am pretty sure it is better today, lord knows he threw punches in Man of Steel. That was actually going to far the other way….but I am getting off subject. Yes Superfriends, Superman can throw punches.
Yeah this is kind of cheating since this isn’t getting characters or facts wrong from the comics, but I think even accidentallyÂ screwing up the colors in Batman’s costume qualifies as getting a characterization wrong. This would be easier to show in a video then describe in a blog. And there are great videos on YouTube of this very thing. But man were the creators drunk when they did these shows? I can’t tell you how many times silly flubs happened like Batman’s emblem switching colors, Superman’s “S” colors changing, the wrong character voice talking, or Superman’s cape being the wrong color. A lot of times there will be a scene where one character is missing from the main group, and yet he appears in a group shot somehow! The pic above takes place right after we establish Green Lantern has been kidnapped. And who is that we see standing with the group? Yeah I realize they may have been under pressure and all, but how do you make mistakes like that?
#2.Superfriends vs. Justice League of America
This may be a strange one, but it annoys me nevertheless. Of course in the comics the team is the JLA. In the Superfriends comic it’s explained that Superfrieds is the name used when the heroes are training Wendy and Marvin (later Zan and Jayna of course). And the satellite featured in the comics is there, the Hall of Justice is just a training facility of sorts. This sort of spills into the cartoon, but it’s very inconsistent. For instance they hardly ever use the name Justice League of America, and yet they refer to their JLA signal devices. In the comics their satellite headquarters was a large and impressive satellite. In the cartoon it looks more like a traditional NASA satellite (when we see it). And other other heroes are rarely seen (especially in the earlier versions). It’s just to bad that they stuck with the Superfriends name rather than making it a straightforward JLA cartoon. This would start to get fixed in the final incarnation and of course the JLA cartoon. and I love the line in the JLA pilot when after Superman says they should form a team Flash asks “like a bunch of Superfriends?” Superman laughs it off, saying “I was thinking more of a Justice League”. To bad that was after my time I think I would have enjoyed that show.
Oh you knew he would be here. Everyone makes fun of how lame Aquaman was on this show. Truth is, he was never a favorite character of mine. Not because I thought he was lame, exactly. I just wasn’t a fan. Most people complain that Aquaman was useless, and note that he doesn’t really have any powers. Sure he summons fish every so often but he was also very strong and his connections to Atlantis and being King of the Seven Seas are hardly ever mentioned. But for me the big problem with Aquaman was that he was just boring. He was voiced by William Callaway who has done tons of voice over work in cartoons, though he seems to be credited as additional voices more than anything, but for whatever reason this character never stood out as impressive. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were very voiced very well and became memorable. Aquaman was just kind of, there.Â Let me put it this way, when I read a comic book the voices I hear still come from Superfriends. Except for Aquaman, because his voice and character was so bland it’s hard to remember him. So yeah he sucked in this show because for whatever the reason, the writing or the voice acting, he was just boring.
But despite that I still love this show as a kid and plan to talk about it a lot more. Especially since it had several incarnations over the years, but we will get into that next time my friends.