Super Friends Comic Was in Main Continuity?

Just in case you aren’t familiar, Super Friends was a DC cartoon loosely based on the Justice League produced by Hana-Barbera from 1973-74 and then again from 1977-1986 DC Comics published a comic book tie-in series for Super Friends from 1976-1981. Now, currently, Super Friends is somewhat canon as it was added to the official DC Multiverse as Earth-1956 in Dark Crisis: Big Bang #1. However, it was always my assumption that the Super Friends comic from the 1970’s and 80’s was not set in the main comic book continuity.

This assumption was based on two things. First, the cartoon tie-in comic series’ that I grew up with as a kid, namely Batman Adventures and Superman Adventures, were set outside of main continuity. Also, the character Fire (formerly known as Green Fury) first appeared in Super Friends #25, but most fan wikis set her in-continuity first appearance as DC Comics Presents #46. That suggests that her appearances in the Super Friends comic were not considered canon. Therefore, I just passively assumed the Super Friends comic was set outside the main continuity of Pre-Crisis’ Earth-One. However, I’ve recently discovered evidence that has made me think that the Super Friends comic was always set in main continuity.

I started picking up Super Friends back issues from my local LCS’ and discovered some surprising references to Earth-One continuity that I didn’t expect. The first instance of this came from this panel from Super Friends #4:

Robin SF 4

What stopped me in my tracks was Robin’s mention of Hudson University. This is because I knew that, in main continuity, Robin was attending Hudson University during his appearances in the Batman Family comic from around the same time period. From Batman Family #9:

Hudson University Campus

That one reference made me think it was possible that the Super Friends book was canon, but it was hardly definitive. Maybe they were just trying to give more depth to the Super Friends world by mentioning things from main continuity? However, I kept running into surprising Earth-One references within my Super Friends back issues. The Wonder Twins back-up story (sadly, this back-up story is not digitized, though the main story is) from Super Friends #14 included obscure, Silver Age Superman villain Grax who originally appeared in Action Comics #342.

Grax AC 342

Also, Overlord, the main villain of Super Friends #43, made this reference at the end of the main story:

The DNA Project he’s referring to can only be “The Project” or what is currently known as Project Cadmus which first appeared in Jack Kirby’s Jimmy Olsen series at the outset of his Fourth World Saga. Kirby’s “The Project” did clone superheroes like The Guardian and even had samples of Superman’s DNA. The specific main continuity references in Super Friends started racking up.

However, I would consider the “smoking gun” for this theory to be this panel I found in Super Friends #14:

SF 14

There are two things to note from this panel. First, there’s the reference to Batman’s Bronze Age girlfriend Silver St. Cloud. Second, and most significantly, is the editors note suggesting Bruce Wayne is leaving this fancy meal with his wealthy friends to tackle an adventure as Batman in Detective Comics #476. That issue is significant because Detective Comics #476 contains the classic story featuring The Joker’s smiling fish.

I revisited Detective #476 to see if it lined up with the events of Super Friends #14 leading up to this editor’s note. To start, in the above panel, Crystal Marr mentioned that Silver St. Cloud had just turned Bruce down. When we catch up with Silver in Detective #476, she’s purposely spending time away from Bruce after realizing that he is Batman:

Silver Needs Time to Think

Next, as mentioned, the editors note suggests Bruce leaves the meal to take on The Joker in the smiling fish case. Bruce even excuses himself by claiming he has “a previous engagement.” This tracks with Detective #476 as we learn that The Joker tipped off Batman and the Gotham PD before each of his murders:

It is also conceivable that Bruce left that panel in Super Friends #14 and walked right into the pages of Detective #476 as we first see him as Batman in that issue attempting (and failing) to thwart a Joker attack:

Essentially, what I discovered is that you can stop reading Super Friends #14 at that editor’s note, read Detective Comics #476, and then finish Batman’s adventure with the Super Friends in issue #14 and it does work as one, continuous story.

Now, I wouldn’t be bold enough to call any of that definitive proof. However, I would like to submit to you all that it’s plausible that the Super Friends comic was meant to be set in the main, DC, Earth-One continuity. What do you think? Do you have any evidence for or against this? Please let me know!

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Okay. It is not, as there is no main continuity. The historical picture books are full of “inconsistencies” for that reason.

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Okay, Bruce. How did it actually go down?

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Inter dimensional travel. My Super Friends counterpart did double duty when I got injured tripping on the guano. The editors said we should not put that in the historical picture books.

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We all slip in a little guano sometimes.

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both the cartoon and the super friends comic were elseworlds but some characters did end up in the main continuity such as the global guardians who started out in super friends. Hall Of Justice was not used in main continuity till after coie.

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Okay, but do you have evidence of this? Gonna tell ya, this might be tough since Elseworlds wasn’t a concept until 1989.

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before elseworlds, the term used was imaginary stories.

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Yup, I saw the wikipedia article, too. That’s still not evidence.

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During the bronze age, the way to tell if something is not in continuity is if other stories do not reference them. Dc did some tv comics during the bronze age including welcome back kotter and isis. Isis was not referenced except in 1 shazam story so Isis is more debatable. For super friends, other comics like justice league never mentioned Hall Of Justice, Wendy, Marvin, Wonder Dog, Zan, Jayna, Gleek, altho can find references to them after coie. Super Friends also pretty much ignored what is happening in the justice league title.

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Okay… better. But how do you explain the Detective Comics reference?

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As with everything, you can always find a few exceptions here and there. On the whole, other titles pretty much ignored what was happening in the super friends title (and vice versa). The main use of the super friends title was the use of the global guardians later on. Global Guardians were used in DC Comics Presents and also made small appearances in COIE. They did not bother to include wendy, marvin, wonder dog, zan, jayna, gleek in coie. When I did my bronze age collection, I did try to buy all of the super friends titles altho they were hard to find and never was able to complete my bronze age super friends collection and I did not miss those issues since they were pretty much ignored in main continuity anyway. For main continuity, the only important issues were the 3 issues of super friends that introduced the global guardians who later on were incorporated into main continuity.

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Good argument, but hardly definitive. I could say that the appearance of the Global Guardians in DC Comics Presents is actually evidence that Super Friends was meant to be canon. Also, the Wonder Twins did make their way into undisputed canon. I think your assertion is just as much a theory as mine.

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During the bronze age, in justice league stories, there were many stories where they could have used Hall Of Justice if it actually existed on earth 1. Satellite was destroyed during the martian invasion. Detroit Justice League moved from bunker to the old mountain cave headquarters. Hall Of Justice could have been very useful during COIE.

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Again, not definitive, Justice League Detroit didn’t happen until three years after the Super Friends comic ended.

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In comics, what is in continuity is mainly decided by whether other writers agree or not. Bob Haney concentrated on stories rather than on continuity so he had earth 1 wildcat in brave and the bold, but this was pretty much ignored in other titles. I actually agree with the Bob Haney continuity philosophy of using whatever characters you like for your story and do not worry if these characters do not exist in the default earth, too old and or are dead in current continuity. All that it takes for super friends to be in continuity is a reference to Hall Of Justice in a bronze age justice league issue. Some bronze age readers I am sure had Hall Of Justice on bronze age earth 1 in their own headcanon but this headcanon has 0 impact on any bronze age justice league story so it is not really an important question or debate for most fans of the bronze age justice league title. Both welcome back kotter and Hall Of Justice were not part of bronze age continuity. E Nelson Bridwell was 1 of those in charge of bronze age superman continuity and if E Nelson Bridwell used some super friends superman fact in a superman title or action comics title, that would probably make that superman fact part of bronze age superman continuity.

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Again, you have no definitive proof here. This is all speculation that has 0 impact on continuity. What you actually have us just vibes that since Super Friends was based off a TV series it “couldn’t” be canon. That’s all this is. Just vibes.

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Comics continuity are just vibes since there is usually no official book saying what is and what is not in continuity.

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Ahhh thanks for that I’m gonna frame this answer.

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I say sure your guess is as good as mine

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