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Friday, February 16, 2007

Aquaman (Vol.1) #56 - 1971

sgIt's Comic Friday again! Today we look at the final (for a few years, at least) issue of the original Aquaman series. The story is the mis-leadingly titled "The Creature That Devoured Detroit" by the unparalleled team of writer Steve Skeates, artist Jim Aparo, and editor Dick Giordano ("SAG").

Behind a cover that looks, to me, like a combination of Nick Cardy and Neal Adams (the Aquaman is obviously Cardy, but the creature looks really Adams-ish to me) is a story that combines modern satire, a government conspiracy plot, the introduction of, and, five pages later, the death of, a new superhero named The Crusader. Writer Steve Skeates was breaking all sorts of comic book traditions with his run of Aquaman stories, and this issue is no exception.

The most infamous element of this issue is how abruptly the story ends--Aquaman hits a button, and that's it:
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The story was actually meant to be continued, and was, by Skeates himself--across the street in Marvel's Sub-Mariner book (issue #72--jeez, even Namor lasted longer in his solo book than Aquaman!). Arthur himself even makes an appearance in that issue, if unofficially:
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Now that's breaking the rules of comics.

For some reason, the book ends with a two-page solo Aquagirl feature, and thus ended Aquaman's first solo title. *sniff* I guess the most bitter irony was on the "Direct Currents" page at the end of the book, we have the periodically-required Statement of Ownership and Circulation that comics used to have to have years ago. Total number of copies of Aquaman printed? 301,500. Total sold? 159,599--a bit more than 50% of the press run, which wasn't good enough for DC to continue publishing it. Now, of course, numbers like that would make it one of biggest selling comics on the market...

*sigh*

(thanks to Dial B For Blog for the Aquaman and Sub-Mariner panel scans. I have both books, but why scan when you can right-click?)

3 comments:

farsider said...

rob!

I worked in Detroit for two years(2001-2003), as a wastewater engineer, at the Detroit sewage treatment plant. I stuck a color copy of that cover on the wall in my cubicle. My assignment at the plant was to improve the sludge handling system. I thought it was quite apropos, but no one seemed to get the joke.

BTW, Skeates must not have been too familiar with Detroit. It's really not even close to Lake Erie.

vincent p bartilucci said...

Here;s an interesting link to the wonderful Comics Should be Good site that makes mention of another permutation of this story in the pages of Eerie magazine.


http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2005/09/15/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-16/

Rick Phillips said...

I never knew that Aquamans last issue was an unofficial crossover with Sub-Mariner. Thanks for the info. Have you seen that a few days ago DC released in their black and white books Showcase present Auqaman Vol. 1? Just an FYI.