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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Leaf Candy Comic - 1980


Early readers of the Shrine may remember that I already covered this mini-comic not too long after we opened our (metaphorical) doors, but I'm posting about it again for several good reasons:

1)I didn't have the book outside it's little baggy of candy goodness that it came sold in, so I had never actually read it
2)I think my writing skills have sharpened since I first posted about it, and I'm always up for the chance to rewrite something

...but most importantly,

3)This copy was provided to me by our pal and AquaScribe
Paul Kupperberg, who wrote the book in question! Paul didn't even remember what these Secret Origin mini-comics were for, and I was able to clue him in as to where these books eventually surfaced.

Anyway, this is, as advertised, The Secret Origin of Aquaman, with art by Don Heck and Vince Colletta.

The basic elements of Aquaman's origin--the lonely lighthouse keeper, the mysterious girl lost at sea, a gifted child born of two worlds--are so strong that this origin always works well, even in this very abbreviated form. Paul even manages to work in Aquaman talking to his "finny friends" (sorry, Paul--I had to mention that!). It's a dang shame that DC saw fit to completely re-work his origin, losing a lot of the Classic Myth elements in the process. Ah well, whatever--this will always be Aquaman's origin to me.

I was never a big fan of Don Heck's work when I was a kid, but over time I've grown to appreciate it more, for its grace and clear storytelling. Paul, a big fan of Don's, had some fun experiences working with him:

Don was a very good artist. If you can locate any of his 1950s work--lots in the Atlas western, war and, I assume, other genre titles--you won't believe how good it was. Of course, I *loved* his 1960s Iron Man and Avengers work: after Daredevil (maybe nowhere near the top of the iconic importance scale, but by far the best creatively realized early Marvel Age origin/#1) my favorite Marvel origin story is Iron Man's by Heck. Don was an intuitive, natural storyteller and he sounded exactly the way I always thought Ben Grimm would've before he became the thing...and, like Grimm, had the bluster and dat Noo Yawk ac'ent, hey, whaddaYOUSElookingnat?!?, but was a sweetheart of a guy.

He once cursed me out--in a good-natured, over the top way--using every 4-letters-and-abovewords after picking up a Weird War story script that I'd written: the half-page splash called for Alexander the Great at the head of his army as it crosses the Alps, elephants and all... 'You *** writers sittin' on yer fat **** asses and it takes ya 10 seconds t'type 'Alexander the Great at the head of his ***** army as it crosses the ***** Alps, ***** elephants and all,' and then us *** artists gotta figure out how to ***** draw it, ya ****!'

And all I could do was stand there, laughing hysterically and when I told him how cool it'd been to have been cursed out by one of my favorite artists, he blushed and started stammering. (In the end, he solved the Alexander splash panel problem the same way he always did, simply, eloquently, and just right to get the job done.)"

So, with a Dick Giordano cover, Paul Kupperberg script, and Don Heck pencils, Aquaman was pretty well served in this comic. Thanks again, Paul!

One last thing--you can see there's an ad for a Super Heroes Collector Album on the back cover. Anybody ever had one of those? It's a good bet Aquaman's on there somewhere! I'd be willing to mail my $1.50 to Northbrook, Illinois tomorrow, but something tells me the offer isn't valid anymore.


Anonymous said...

The main reasons I love this site is because you show me stuff I never knew existed, then turn around and remind me of stuff I had as a kid or STILL have! You always manage to make me smile. And YES, I did order one of those Collector Albums. It was a thicker paper (like comic book backboards type) fold-out sheet that could store the ten or so mini-comics available. The art on the front and back was by Rich Buckler and Dick Giordano (best guess). Aquaman, was, in fact, on it, along with the JLAers and Supergirl (who was not in any of the comics, surprisingly).
I'll see if I can find it, although thinking about it now, I'm not sure where it could be...!

Anonymous said...

Cool update! Paul Kupperberg is a vastly underrated comic creator himself. Seems like an all-around nice guy to boot!

I have the JLA mini-comic like this. Aquaman is in it, of course!


Anonymous said...

Why, thank you, Chris. I've always thought I was kind'a underrated, too!

Seriously, the kind words are appreciated.


Anonymous said...


Again, good stuff!

And yup, Heck was one of those solid Journyman artists who never got the big name.

Like Russell, I had the Album, with the complete set of lil' books.

(Sorry, guys - sold it not long after I hit NYC! Along with some 12'' foreign Joes, & Mego Alter Egos, &...)


Anonymous said...

Heck art was always made better by Vinnie the Great's inks. You always give Colletta a hard time-why is that? I know that it used to be all trendy to knock him (just like it was the in-thing to knock Jack Kirby at one time) but that is so over, you know? Really, what's up with the Vin-hate?

rob! said...


well, i don't think i'm being trendy or whatnot saying i'm not a fan of Mr. Colletta's inks. i just don't like them, and as a kid i would groan if i saw his name on the credits.

that said, i have learned to not be such an a-hole when critiquing someone's work, since most people are just trying to do their best work in the time they have.

to that end, i've gone and deleted any snide comments i've made about Mr. Colletta's, or anyone else's, work.

criticism is fine, by my standards--cheap shots are not, and i'm kinda ashamed to see some of the stuff i've written. thankfully, blogs allows me to repair some of the damage.

thanks for bringing this to my attention.