] type='image/vnd.microsoft.icon'/>

Friday, January 12, 2007

Aquaman (Vol.1) #63 - September 1978

sgWelcome to a new feature here at the Shrine--Comic Friday!

Fridays are traditionally the day I go get my comics, so when I came up with the idea of including some of the actual Aquaman comics in my collection, I thought Friday would be the best day to do it.

And I'll be honest--this is also partly a necessary move. When I first started this site, I was going to post something on it twice or three times a week. But this has been much so fun, and the response and attention to the Shrine so much bigger and positive than I ever imagined, that I quickly decided to update every day.

Problem with that is, with the amount of merch I currently have (I'd say somewhere between 200-250 pieces),
even with the acquisition of new items, I'll burn through all of it in less than a year. Merciful Minnows! So I thought why not throw in a genuine Aquaman comic once in a while, since they're all part of the Shrine.

So I thought we'd start with one of my favorites--Aquaman, Volume 1, #63, written by Paul Kupperberg, art by the late great Don Newton, inks by Dave Hunt, and cover by the late and even-more-great Jim Aparo. The story "My Brother's Keeper" is the culmination of the last couple of issues' storyline, where Arthur and Mera confront Ocean Master. Aqualad, who had been on his own adventure for a while, returns in this issue to help his former partner defeat him.

This issue was one of the casulties of the infamous "DC Implosion", where DC cancelled a few dozen titles overnight. Indeed, at the end of the story (which ends on a downer note, a reminder of the death of Arthur jr.), there's a box at the bottom of the page that says Next Issue On Sale During the First Week of July. Since this was before almost all of the comic shops and comic-news outlets, most readers found out a title was cancelled when it stopped showing up at the local newsstand. Just think of all those poor Aquaman readers (all fourteen of them), waiting in vain for an Aquaman #64 that would never come...

Aquaman's first run was cancelled with #56 back in 1971. When they brought the title back in 1977, they kept the original numbering and picked up at #57, only to end with this issue. Aquaman floated (sorry) around for a while, and when he re-emerged with his own title again in 90s, it was with a new #1. Since then there's been no less than three "new" Aquaman books, all starting over with #1. Since DC seems to have a lot of trouble knowing what to do with Aquaman, his book never lasts long. This character, who has been in some form or another of continuous publication since 1941, still has yet to hit #100 of his own title, a big moment in any superhero's life. Sheesh!

I think if somehow Aquaman had survived the Implosion, his book would've kept going into the 80s when comic sales started to pick up a little with the new comic stores popping up. Sure, it would've been cancelled at some point (only Superman and Batman have avoided the scorched-earth, must-have-a-new-#1 mentality that took over comics many years ago), but at least Aquaman the character could have had one decent, long-running title under his yellow belt, like his fellow DC superheroes.


Anonymous said...

Ahh, Aquaman...I believe he was the first regular title character that I wrote for DC--for all of 2 or 3 issues before it was cancelled (and he became a regular feature in the $1 ADVENTURE COMICS). But I've always had a warm spot in my heart for the character and, even though this is stuff I wrote pretty early in my career, I think it holds up fairly well. PLUS, I got to work with Don Newton--who remains one of my favorite artists from that period--and, later, Don Heck, whose work I've admired since the early days of IRON MAN at Marvel.

Anyway, glad to see that at least one of the 14 readers from them days remembers the work fondly. Thanks!

Paul Kupperberg

rob! said...

WOW!! i can't believe someone who actually wrote Aquaman--and GOOD Aquaman--has come to the shrine.

Paul, thanks so much for writing. i didn't stress it enough on the post, but i really enjoyed these issues of Aquaman (the second run, #s 57-63, specifically) and so you are in a rarified group of people who (IMHO) wrote Aquaman well!

Thanks for noticing the site!

Anonymous said...

Man, you sound so enthusiastic, I've gotta go back and re-read that stuff!

BTW, I collect Wonder Woman merchandise (a habit picked up during my 5 year tenure as the book's editor) and it's amusing to me how many of the WW versions of the Aquaman merchandise you write about I own, including the Brazilian figures, the drinking glasses, and even the patch you write about in your latest post. (My favorite for share goofiness is the WW SUPER FRIENDS CAR AIR FRESHENER with the Murphy Anderson WW on it; I have NO idea what an Amazon air freshener should smell like--although the mind boggles--because it's (a) at least 20 years old and (b) I haven't taken it out of the package.

Anyway, keep on blogging. Maybe one day someone'll do Arthur right again!


rob! said...


i would love to interview you for the blog! if you're interested, please email me how i could contact you at namtab29@comcast.net!

do it for us 14 Aquaman fans!