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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

View-Master Booklet - 1978


As promised, here's the fun little booklet that came with yesterday's "Gift-Pak."

It comes with the origins of all of our heroes, which are surprisingly complete considering they didn't have a lot of space. While the art is clearly traced over other work, I can't really place any of it(other than the cover, which was originally by Dick Giordano).

Looking at this, it reminds me of the folly of DC letting the origins of a lot of their characters be completely "re-invented" over the years. Aquaman's origin is classic, mythic, and timeless. It reads like a fairy tale and as a kid you totally get it; hearing now that he's the son of Neptune and he thought his Mom was a dolphin and he had this other son who died or whatever just muddies everything up, methinks.


Anonymous said...

I see a definite Jose Delbo-like influence....

Anonymous said...

The Batman at least is traced from a Ramona Fradon Batman from Super Friends. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Robin and WW were too.

Totally agree on the origin thing. Things like Orin, Neptune, etc. are just tacked on flotsam like Joe Chill being hired to kill the Waynes, and Thomas Wayne being Batman first, and Bruce being Robin first, etc. The kind of stuff Crisis was supposed to wipe out!


Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree with you on the whole origin thing! I always like the whole 'split between the surface and the ocean' thing, which flows naturally from his shared heritage.

Anonymous said...

Re: Origin.

A) The original origin story is the most-- well, original. As you likely know though, this ain't it. I like the 40's take of his being a human transformed through training and science by his father. Since Aquaman is so often played as Namor Lite, removing any magic, Atlantean heritage, and familial strife allows Arthur to stand more on his own.

B) I was first exposed to the Silver Age origin through a synopsis on the carry case for Super Powers action figures. He's a baby. He goes underwater and stays for a while. His parents shrug. He uses his powers for good. Worst. Origin. Ever. Adding in the mixed Atlantean heritage and other aspects mentioned in my first point meerly highlight Aquaman being a Sub-Mariner knock-off.

C) My favorite origin was Giffen & Flemings from "Legend of Aquaman." Yes, the "Tarzan of the Porpoise" riff is a bit problematic, but Burroughs certainly proved it was a viable modern myth. The pathos of Mercy Reef turns the orphaned DC heroes motif on its head, and I always loved that his costume was in fact prison issue, but he continued to wear it as king. It add a subversive element to the character, without altering his demeanor. It sounds like your trouble is more with Peter David's additions to the story, with all the Chronicles of Atlantis baggage. I liked some of that as well, but David so mishandled Arthur as a character and concept that I can understand their all being tainted by association.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, Rob. The Silver Age origin was woderfully primal ... and full of un-tapped potential (will I ever shut up about poor Tom Curry?)

And, as I understand it, Atlantis was actually a feature of Aquaman's origin before ever being mentioned by name in any Sub-Mariner story. Not that the parallels aren't there but I think if Arthur's early years had been explored more fully, DC could have further differentiated him from Namor.
Ah, what could have been ... I take it everyone has heard the sad news ...

rob! said...

>>Ah, what could have been ... I take it everyone has heard the sad news ...<<

is ASOA cancelled?

Anonymous said...

Check out this link for DC's solicitations for October (about 1/3 of the way down):


On a happier note TV Shows on DVD has a larger image of that Filmation Aquaman DVD cover art. God, I love those seahorses, those black boots on Artie, and, of course, Tusky (says the grown man whose e-mail address is VBTusky@aol.com!)

rob! said...

ah, crap. ASOA is indeed cancelled with #57.

well, time to get to work on my long-gestating Aquaman proposal!

Anonymous said...

I think Rich Johnson pegged #57 as endgame a few months into Tad Williams' run, so I've had time to accept the matter. The online reviews I've read were unkind, but I was really enjoying the kookiness of the book from #50. I still don't care for A.J., though. I expect he'll be written out/killed off no later than whatever Countdown is counting down to, so hopefully a whole Arthur/Orin will come out of that.

Just to clarify, I meant Atlantean lineage earlier, not an absence of connection entirely. Timely/Marvel certainly doesn't have a copyright on the lost continent, but all that business with undersea variations of medievel British monarchy leaves me weary.

I prefer the simple story of a man and his seahorse righting wrongs along the final earthly frontier. And his walrus. And I guess a boy companion. And their girlfriends. And an octopus boy. And a bunch of black dudes with laser firing buckets on their heads. And a bunch of people from part of San Diego who happen to breathe underwater. Okay, maybe I just prefer a whole different set of complication, is what I'm saying.