Friday, September 18, 2015


What's a criminal coin? Like, an evil penny? A murderous nickel? A dime on the sex offender registry?

He's a super-villain who's obsessed with money but, then again, aren't they all? Hell, aren't we all? I know I am. PS please click one of those ads on the side, thanks, it's the only way to live my dream of being buried under a landslide of nickels.

Greenback is one of those delightful few and very special villains, a baddie created specifically for the original comic book run of the Super Friends. Debuting in Super Friends vol.1 No.5 (June 1977, "Telethon Treachery"), he's jut as enthusiastically weird and dumb as all the others, which makes him a delight to read, even though he's literally terrible at being a crook on every level.

He's not wrong.
Greenback chooses to begin his crime spree during a telethon even hosted by the Super Friends and their teenage sidekicks Wendy and Marvin, both of whom I believe ended up as characters in Sin City eventually. His plan involves two components, both of which hinge on the superheroes hanging around the TV studio making oblique references to other superheroes (Harvey's old Black Cat, Siegel and Shuster's Funnyman and even Iron Man, among others, get either a shout-out or a brief appearance).

For the first part, while the superheroes are busy answering phones, Greenback figures they'll be too busy to fight crime. That's a damn good point, and at this stage of the plan he could probably go rob a bunch of banks and get away with it scot-free. HOWEVER, no, his plan is nowhere that simple.

Because the second part of his plan is to kidnap all the richest donors who call into the telethon. He can do this because the Super Friends are very wisely giving out the home addresses of their biggest contributors right over the air. Maybe they can share some millionaire's dick-pics and nude cameraphone snaps, too.

Mind you, it's not like Greenback needs to hear the addresses of rich people read out to him to know where they live, that's pretty much public record. In fact, he seems to KNOW where the biggest donors already live, and he's only waiting for their names to be mentioned on the air. Also, for some reason, he can't bother his ass to go to New York. Every time someone donates from New York, he lets loose a string of Super Friends-friendly profanity ("Rats!" for instance) and moans about not wanting to go all the way to New York. A bridge and tunnel crook, apparently.

When he finally abducts his first wealthy guy, it's Bruce Wayne, so that's bad luck for Greenback. Also, Bruce Wayne is like the most famous rich person in the world, so did Greenback only just now learn of his existence?

I have to assume that bullets would still be cheaper.

One by one the Super Friends pursue the abducted Batman, eventually leaving only Wonder Woman and Superman on the phones. What sort of crank calls do you think they were getting? I worked an on-air phone bank for a PBS station during a pledge drive one year, and the woman next to me left angrily right on camera because guys kept calling up and asking her to show them her tits. I can only imagine Wonder Woman was getting ten times that, and Superman maybe getting a couple requests to see his Kryptonian dick.

Eventually, Greenback has to tackle the Super Friends head-on, armed only with a dollar-sign-shaped gun which uses compressed air to fire coins at a deadly velocity, just like the one Richie Rich used to end his own life.

It's a less-than-fatal weapon, but it allows him sufficient time to escape, carrying a huge bag of money that I actually don't know where he picked it up. Maybe he brought it with him. Whatever the case, apparently the apotheosis of his entire plan was to run down a country road dressed like a rich frog. Unsurprisingly, he got caught. I assume he intends to come back, but fluctuations in the Asian markets have badly devalued his ammunition.


James W. Fry 3.0 said...

I enjoyed the living hell out of DC's SUPER FRIENDS comic. The old-school art stylings of Ramona Fradon were a perfect fit for Nelson Bridwell's stories, which were whimsical and kid-friendly without being moronic. Well, not MORE moronic than most other comics of the era. The Tony Stark gag in this issue made me laugh out loud at the thought of heroes from The Big Two all hanging out off panel. What the hell, I was young. Ish. In a subsequent issue, Bridwell forever endeared himself to me by writing an encounter between two underworld types with Big Secrets---said "criminals" being Matches Malone and Eel O'Brian! Great stuff, I tells ya.

Calamity Jon said...

Oh yeah, absolutely. There is no doubt in my mind that when Bridwell was given the assignment, he saw it as an unparalleled opportunity to go ape with a Justice League book of his own. Fradon's art is terrific, the Global Guardians were some genuinely interesting additions to the DCU, and even simplified for younger readers the stories were solid superhero adventure of a Golden Age vein.

I've just wrapped up a read-through of every issue of the original Justice League of America, and I can honestly say that there are more good-to-excellent issues of Super Friends than there are of the mainstream JLA book from the same era...

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