Wendy and Marvin

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Wendy Harris and Marvin White are two teen-aged sidekicks of the Super Friends. Along with Marvin's pet dog Wonderdog, they first appeared in the 1973 Super Friends cartoon. Because of the success of the Super Friends cartoon, a Super Friends comic book was also created, in which Wendy and Marvin made their first comics appearance.

The duo has been re-introduced in the Teen Titans comic book as the caretakers of Titans Tower.

Contents

Character biographies

Super Friends

Wendy Harris and Marvin White are two sidekicks who were created in an era in which many cartoons featured main characters with sidekicks who were supposed to serve two purposes: comic relief and viewer identification.

In the cartoon, the reason for Wendy and Marvin hanging around with the Super Friends was never really explained. In the comics, some additional information was given. Wendy is the niece of Harvey Harris, a detective who once trained Batman when he was still a teenager. It was postulated in an editorial column (Superfriends #1) that she may have been the Earth-One version of Wendi Harris Tyler, wife of the first Hourman. Marvin (who was given the last name of White in the comics) was the son of Diana Prince, the nurse whose name Wonder Woman took when she came to Man's World, and her husband Dan White. Thus, Marvin had a sort of familial connection to the Super Friends. The Super Friends were designed to help teach young crimefighters how to be superheroes. While Wendy never wore any special costume, Marvin was always dressed with a cape and a big letter "M" on his chest.

E. Nelson Bridwell, the writer on Super Friends, shed some light on the characters' origins in Super Friends #1 (Nov. 1976): "Wendy Harris, I decided, was the young lady's full name. She is a niece, not of the Batman, but of a detective named Harvey Harris. This man gave young Bruce Wayne his first crack at real detecting when Bruce was in his teens. Years later, when Harris dies, he left a sealed letter to be delivered to Bruce, revealing that he had indeed known who he was — for Harris was certainly one of the all-time greats in the field.

"Marvin, I decided, is Marvin White — no relation to Perry White. His father is Daniel White, inventor, and his mother is the former Diana Prince."

Neither Marvin nor Wendy had any special abilities. However, once on the cartoon, Marvin was shown "practicing" flying, though not very well. In fact, on the cartoon, although very nice and very bright, Marvin was shown to be somewhat bumbling, often needing to learn the day's moral, such as looking up "photosynthesis" for himself rather than having Robin tell him. In the comics, however, Marvin and Wendy's cleverness and resourcefulness made them invaluable to the other Super Friends. The one notable resource Marvin provided to the Super Friends was his pet dog, Wonderdog (or just "Wonder" for short) who was preternaturally intelligent, though bumbling as well, much like Scooby-Doo.

Wendy and Marvin meet the Wonder Twins in the Super Friends comic book.
Wendy and Marvin meet the Wonder Twins in the Super Friends comic book.

After two seasons of the Super Friends cartoon, it was cancelled, though re-runs were shown through 1976. When the show returned as The All-New Super Friends Hour in 1977, Wendy and Marvin had been replaced by two other teenagers, Zan and Jayna, the Wonder Twins, along with their pet, the alien monkey Gleek. Marvin and Wendy never appeared again on TV, and they were likewise replaced by the Wonder Twins in the Super Friends comic after "graduating" from the Super Friends as full-fledged superheroes. (Super Friends #6)

According to the comic book, Marvin went on to study at Ivy University, the university where fellow superhero the Atom worked as a professor. Wendy moved to Paradise Island to attend an Amazon university and continue her training. Wendy and Marvin appeared again in a later issue of the Super Friends comic to aid the Wonder Twins, posing as Zan's and Jayna's human diguises, "John" and "Joanna", to fool a criminal who had deduced the Wonder Twins' and Batman's secret identities.

In Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #186, an unnamed character identical to Wendy appears on Paradise Island as a tutor to Lyta (daughter of Circe).

Teen Titans

In 2006, in Teen Titans #34, a new version of the Wendy and Marvin characters appeared. The pair work as "caretakers" of Titans Tower one year after the events of the Infinite Crisis crossover. The pair seem to be technical geniuses; Wendy mentions in their initial appearance that she and Marvin graduated from MIT on their sixteenth birthday, and in Teen Titans #40, Ravager refers to them as "tenth-level geniuses" (compare to DC characters Brainiac and Brainiac 5, both purported to be twelfth-level intellects). It was established that Marvin is the older twin, by approximately five minutes. This Marvin continues the tradition of his previous incarnations by wearing a shirt with a stylized "M" on the front, but without the attached cape of his animated counterpart. The twins' last name has yet to be mentioned.

Cyborg has been damaged and inactive since his return from space, but Wendy and Marvin have repaired him and given him new capabilities.

In Teen Titans #62 Wendy and Marvin meet a stray dog that Miss Martian names Wonderdog. In reality, Wonderdog is some sort of demonic monster in the service of a new villian called King Lycus, who appeared at the end of the issue after the beast killed Marvin and severely mauled Wendy. As seen in Teen Titans #63, she survived the attack, but is apparently in a coma.

Other versions

An animated-style image of Marvin appears next to Lobo on the facade of the Planet Krypton restaurant in the alternate worlds story Kingdom Come #1, directly contrasting Marvin's more innocent era with Lobo's darker and bloodier one. In Kingdom Come #2, an older and out-of-shape Marvin, clad in a leather jacket and other Lobo-like accoutrements, is drinking an "HB" brand of beer in a bar when Superman enters to recruit heroes for his new cause. Although one of the few people in the bar who actually knows Superman, Marvin, perhaps disgusted over his one-time idol's decade-long absence (while Marvin himself has clearly remained active, whether effectively or not, in the interim), rejects him by saying "Whatever you're sellin'..." before getting punched in the face by Atom Smasher.

Justice League Unlimited

While neither Wendy or Marvin appeared in Justice League Unlimited, Wonderdog made a cameo appearance in the episode "Ultimatium" as the "beast that threw itself against the bars", according to series writer/producer Dwayne McDuffie.

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