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"Wonder Twin powers... activate!"
The Wonder Twins

Twins before Symbol Added (Super Friends 14)

The Wonder Twins Uniform before they had the emblem gifted to them by Superman.
Image from Super Friends # 14 (November, 1978).

The Wonder Twins' are Zan and Jayna, alien siblings from the planet Exxor with shapeshifting ability, but they can only activate them when they touch hands. Zan has the ability to morph into any form of water, while Jayna can transform into any animal. They are both members of the Junior SuperFriends.

Background Information[]

Continuity from SuperFriends Comic Book
The twins were born mutants on the planet Exxor to Fonab and Rua. Each of them gifted with a specified aspect of shape-shifting. This trait had been virtually bred out Exxorian biology. Meaning, very few Exxorians had the gift any more. It was something consigned to the past. So they were unique. Another aspect that contributed to their gifting, was that it took physical contact to bring about the change.[1]

While still infants, a great plague swept across Exxor killing hundreds, including their parents. The orphans Zan and Jayna were taken to a special center, but the administrators knew that no surviving Exxorian family would adopt mutant children. Instead, they released the twins to the care of a man named Dentwil who owned a Trans-World Carnival. According to Exxorian law, the twins were his legal property and could not leave his care until they were twenty years old. Dentwil placed the children on display and amused customers with Jayna's ability to transform into Exxorian animals, and Zan's power to turn into waterspouts. Their schooling was done by Illik, one of the carnival workers. He became like a surrogate-father to them, even getting them a pet monkey named Gleek, who also performed in the circus.[2]

Zan and Jayna wanted more. As they grew into adolescence, they grew disenfranchised over the fact that they received nothing monetary from Dentwil aside from food and shelter. When they approached Dentwil, he reminded them that he owned them till they were 20 years old and that he would do no such thing. Finally, the twins had enough and they used their shape-changing powers to cause fear in the circus' patrons and to coerce Dentwil into relinquishing his hold over them. In fear of being mauled, he told them to go, so they took one of his personal space cruiser before he could change his mind and headed back to Exxor to plan their next move. They landed in the uninhabited Fejanian Wilderness. While there, they came across an old house. In this house was Grax who was planning to take revenge on his old enemy, Superman and destroy the planet he now calls home -- Earth.[3]

They immediately head out towards Earth to warn her people of their impending doom. Not long after they arrive, they are met by Marvin and Wendy in a field outside of Gotham (the Junior SuperFriends were at the Hall of Justice by themselves when they were notified by the Trouble Alert of the approaching spaceship). They were able to communicate with each other using the intergalactic space language, Interlac. Because of their bravery, the Wonder Twins were able to save Earth.[4]

After engaging in several adventures with the Wonder Twins, Wonder Woman gives Jayna one of Wendy’s bracelets that will enable Jayna to contact her and the remainder of the 'core-five': Batman, Robin, Superman and Aquaman. Then together with the rest of the SuperFriends, they arrange for the twins to live with an old scientist friend of Bruce Wayne's named Professor Nichols to help them adjust to their new life on earth. He accepts, and he becomes their mentor. He provides them with a cover identity as foreign exchange students to account for their lack of knowledge of Earth's customs. Supposedly hailing from Eksjö, Sweden, Zan took the name John 'Johann' Fleming, while Jayna adopted the identity of Joanna 'Johanna' Fleming. Furthering their disguises, Zan began wearing a blonde-colored wig to cover his pointed ears, while Jayna merely used her super-powers to alter her physical shape. With their new Earth identities firmly in place, Zan and Jayna began a new life for themselves at Gotham City High School, but they were always available to aid the SuperFriends in times of need. There uniforms are given a 'hero' upgrade. Superman provided them with ‘new’ emblems on their uniforms which have the first letter of their names in the English. He did this because the twins liked the look of ‘S’ symbol on Superman uniform.[5] During this time, the SuperFriends also assist in training them at the Hall of Justice.[6]

It wouldn’t be long before Illik, the Laughmaker finds the twins on Earth. He arrives on Earth with the Exxorian High Counselor Ulpar. He warns them of two Exxorian shape-shifters, Yeltu and Fegla. They were originally part of the Tracer Department of the Exor Police who were sent to find the twins. Once they found them, they became intrigued by the costumed heroes they saw and took the identities of Wonder Woman and Superman. The SuperFriends decide to go to Exor to help defeat these criminals. After a long battle, they defeat the criminal shape-shifters. The High Counselor then delivers a message to Zan and Jayna. He tells them that the Grand Rulers have declared them free of their obligations to Dentwil and they may return to Earth if they choose. Illik chimes in too. He tells them that even though Gleek belongs to the Trans-World Circus, he would be better off with them.[7]


The Wonder Twins and Their Mascot


Wonder Twins early concept art

Early artwork by the late Alex Toth depicting a very different looking Wonder Twins and Gleek. Notice that the letter "D" and "M" are on Zan and Gleek's costumes, rather than "Z" and "G." This is because while they were under development, they were originally going to be called Dick, Jane, and Mighty Monkey.

  • According to Darrell McNeil (assistant animator for the Super Friends from 1976-83), "They were created by Norman Maurer, series developer then story editor of All-New Super Friends Show ... as all-new, super-powered “junior Super Friends” to replace the non-powered Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog of the first series ... They were originally called Dick, Jane, and Mighty Monkey, which evolved into (Tar)Zan, Jane(a), and Squeeks, then finally Zan, Jayna, and Gleek."[8]
    • McNeil goes on to say that, "Originally Zan (Dick) had “Plastic Man” powers and Jayna (Jane) could transform into anything, not just animals, but they were scaled back to their present powers as it made the other Super Friends (even Supes) seem almost superfluous. This decision was made before the decisions to re-expand the show and bring in the guest heroes."[9]
  • Some people believe that the Wonder Twins are responsible for originating the ultra-hip "fist bump" maneuver with their "wonder Twin powers, activate!" transformation maneuver.
  • The Wonder Twins made their first appearance in SuperFriends, #7. Although they were created for the series, their first appearance was in the comic book.
  • In the episode "Universe of Evil", the Wonder Twins' counterparts (from the Super Enemies) appear on screen but don't have any dialogue (they are only seen in shadow, in the darkened Hall of Evil). Evil Gleek does, however, have a starring role in the episode.

See Also[]

External Links[]


  1. As shown in SuperFriends, #14 (November, 1978).
  2. As shown in SuperFriends, #14 (November, 1978).
  3. As shown in SuperFriends, #14 (November, 1978).
  4. As shown in the comic book issues SuperFriends, #7 (October 1, 1977); SuperFriends, #8 (November 1, 1977) and SuperFriends, #9 (December, 1977).
  5. As shown in the comic book issue SuperFriends, #10 (March 1, 1978) and SuperFriends, #29 (February 1, 1980).
  6. As shown in various issues of the Super Friends comics as well as the series.
  7. As shown in the comic book issue SuperFriends, #21 (June, 1979).
  8. This quote is from an interview by Marc Tyler Nobleman with assistant animator, Darrell McNeil. The blog article is entitled, Super ‘70s and ‘80s: “Super Friends” — Darrell McNeil, animator. This blog article is from a larger series entitled, “Super Friends” — Introduction.
  9. This quote is from an interview by Marc Tyler Nobleman with assistant animator, Darrell McNeil. The blog article is entitled, Super ‘70s and ‘80s: “Super Friends” — Darrell McNeil, animator. This blog article is from a larger series entitled, “Super Friends” — Introduction.