from the Real World
Many times the Superfriends franchise may be vague on a certain subject, and thus certain information is left to interpretation. For example, characters such as Phantom Stranger, Wilfred Pennyworth and even the Marvel Comics character Anthony Stark were referenced in the Superfriends comics. Although they were never shown, they were referenced, and because of that, they should have their own page, as this wiki is a Superfriends reference work. However, much of the information coming from those pages will be conjecture, because there's little data to go on, not even images.
So often times we will take images from non-Earth-1A sources, such as Earth-One. This, whenever possible, is the model we should use when editing this wiki. The Super Friends franchise was loosely based upon Earth-One, so when we have little data available for certain characters that are well-known in the comics, we should use the Earth-One information, not the New Earth information; and obviously there are exceptions to this, since certain products had characters that were never even shown to exist on Earth-One, such as John Henry Irons, Bane and Doomsday.
Still, for the most part, we should use Earth-One as our source for "conjectural information," as it is likely the most accurate. Also, conjecture goes farther than just guess work based upon the Earth-One continuity.
For example, much of the articles for the timeline are pure conjecture as well. In this case we create conjectural history. For example, this wiki has Harry Houdini's death listed as taking place in the year 1926. This was never revealed in the show however, or any other canonical source to this editor's knowledge. Still, it is listed here since that's when he died in real-life. But keep in mind, that doesn't mean that it's canon. After all, the episode with Blackbeard the pirate took place in the year 1667, but in the real world Blackbeard wasn't even born until about thirteen years after that, yet in that episode he is portrayed all grown up thirteen years before he was actually born in real life.
Another confusing problem with the timeline, is Wonder Woman's origin story. The episode Secret Origins of the Superfriends seemed to indicate she was born in 1941, at least that's what the narrator said. However in the episode, the reason we see her origin is because the Legion of Doom travelled back through time to stop her from leaving Paradise Island. It seems a little silly to assume that the Legion spent years watching her grow up before they finally had Cheetah replace her, so that seems to indicate that it was her leaving Paradise Island that actually happened in 1941. In fact, that lines up with the comics more, which had Steve Trevor crashland his airplane on the island which introduced Wonder Woman to "man's world," and World War II.
A war is actually mentioned in the episode, but if that was supposed to be years after 1941 then it couldn't have been World War II, but even if it was the Vietnam War, it doesn't seem likely that the Amazons would have participated in something like that. Once again, using this logic, we arrive at 1941 as the date she actually left Paradise Island.
Still, we are left with the problem that it was firmly stated by the narrator to be 1941 when we see her molded from clay, and because of that, we are forced to accept that it must have been 1941 when she was "born," even if that is not exactly what the writer meant to suggest. Because of this, the page for 1941 states that she was molded from clay that year.
Another bit of conjecture based upon the timeline is the character of Jimmy Olsen, who is shown to be a teenager in the Filmation series as well as in the Ruby-Spears series that came out twenty years later. Obviously in real life such a thing would be impossible, and we can only guess as to why that may have been. There are several possibilities. The first is that maybe both shows don't take place in the same universe. Another is that the Jimmy Olsen shown in the Filmation cartoon was actually James Jacob Olsen, whereas the Jimmy Olsen shown in the Ruby-Spears cartoon was his son; James Bartholomew Olsen. Since both of them were named James it's reasonable to assume they'd both have the same nickname: Jimmy. But this is just conjecture as well, based upon the name of his father in the comics. And in the comics, his father wasn't a photo-journalist like him, so this is a bit of a stretch.
The article for Mr. Olsen leaves it open to the reader's interpretation as to how he could have been a teenager twenty years after he already was one. We make no attempt to correct it, as it may have also been a mistake on the writer's part. Another possibility is hypertime, which has an effect on the timeline.
The Super Powers comics also appear to have some timeline errors as well. For example, in volume three, Samurai's origin is shown, which is clearly in the 1980s, even though he was already a superhero and member of the Superfriends in the 1970s. We could say that hypertime had something to do with this, or we could also say that one version of the story was told by someone like the Legion of Super-Heroes, who only knew of the event through information they had read, which may not have been reliable. Indeed, the "unreliable narrator" is a likely excuse in many instances. For example, in the opening theme of the Ruby-Spears' Superman cartoon we see that the Kents discover the Kryptonian Rocket in a car. This not only contradicts the Super Friends series, but also it contradicts its' own series, which shown the Kent's red pickup truck as the vehicle they discovered the child in.
That instance as well could be chalked up to an unreliable narrator. Who knows, maybe it was Yerba telling the people of the legends of the superheroes of old. Who knows how many details a man two-thousand years after the fact could have gotten wrong. For all we know Samurai wasn't even in the Super Friends in the '70s, but that's just how he told the story. Or it could be the other way around. Difficult to say, still it doesn't make either story non-canon. It just means that one is true and the other isn't. (although we don't known which one is or isn't)
Tom Scioli's Super Powers comics are presumably set in the '70s (although the '80s is possible), and yet we see the origin of the Wonder Twins, and the origin story is completely contradictory to the story presented in the Super Friends comics. Zan and Jayna's mother for example, is called Rayna, even though in the Super Friends comics she was called Rua. Once again, you could say it was another universe, or you could blame it on an unreliable narrator like the leader of the Barlocks or someone who wouldn't know any better, or you could just say the whole thing was a dream. Whatever the case may be, it's still probably canon, it's just not necessarily true.
One more thing, the concept of the "unreliable narrator" isn't something that just was contrived by the editors of this wiki to explain the contradictions between the Super Friends cartoon, comics, Super Powers comics etc. In fact, the concept of an unreliable narrator has been used in the Super Friends cartoon before. For example, in the episode The Planet-Splitter, Marvin White relates the story of the Destruction of Krypton as well as the Origin of Superman. According to his account, the Kryptonian Rocket was white in color, not red, as it was shown to be in Secret Origins of the Superfriends and The Krypton Syndrome. Due to the fact that this story was his account of those events, one can assume that in this case, Marvin himself was the "unreliable narrator," as his story contradicts what we see later on in the series. In fact even the Ruby-Spears stuff shown in Superman's Family Album could be from an unreliable source, as it is just from the memory of the Kent Family years after the fact. That would explain a number of things, like why we never see him as Superboy during those scenes. Although that's still not to say that it would have been impossible to fit Superboy in there somewhere.
- Click here to see a list of pages that either have mainly conjectural articles in them, or are entirely conjectural.
- This image was taken from an episode of The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985).