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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Adventure Comics #278 - Nov. 1960

Comics Weekend An adventure with Aquaman and Aqualad!

I haven't covered hardly any of Aquaman's Silver Age adventures on the back of DC's war-horse Adventure Comics title, but that's not because I don't enjoy reading them.

On the contrary, Aquaman's bright and cheery escapades in the back of Adventure are a real joy to read, and any story drawn by Ramona Fradon is worth a look.

The problem is one of basic economics--finding these issues of Adventure in their original form is an expensive proposition, even if the books are in barely-together shape.

But a few weeks ago I was killing some time on South Street in Center City Philadelphia and I made my way over to Atomic Comics, a nice-sized shop that's been there for years. And they were having a sale on back issues! So I took the chance to pick up two vintage issues of Adventure, which we'll talk about this weekend.

This issue's story is "Aqualad Goes To School!" by Robert Bernstein and Ramona Fradon:


The school's principal tells Aquaman that Aqualad's general knowledge must be tested before he can be assigned a class. They meet his teacher, a beautiful young woman named Miss Pine.

In the next few days, Aqualad astounds his fellow students with his extensive knowledge of the oceans. He also picks up new information, and Miss Pine concludes he is ready for "the big test" tomorrow.

But on the day of the test, Aqualad helps some people when their sailboat overturns and gets hit hard on the head in the process:

Aquaman determines that he needs to help Aqualad pass the test, since he knew all the answers yesterday, and will know them once the concussion wears off. Using his mental powers, Aquaman gives Aqualad visual cues that helps Aqualad's memory trigger the correct answers.

They discuss history, geography, music, even fine art:

...a Mona Lisa made entirely of fish. 'Nuff said.

The last question on the test deals with science, but Aquaman is there to help out Garth one last time:

There is a whole lot of crazy crammed into just seven pages--a Mona Lisa made of fish, a group of fish collectively winking, not to mention the fact that, well, Aquaman helps Aqualad cheat on a test!

Sure, its because of the inflexible jerkface principal, who won't give Aqualad an extra day, but still--Aquaman is helping his young protege cheat on a test, even though Garth himself doesn't realize it.

One more thing: my admiration for the art of Ramona Fradon knows no bounds, but sometimes she even outdoes herself. On the second page, we see a full on shot of the principal:
...I love how cartoony yet officious Principal Tracy looks here--he almost doesn't seem like the same species as the rest of the characters in the story. Its like a character from a Mad magazine parachuted into this Aquaman comic book.

In other Aquaman-related comic news, this cute conversation (courtesy writer Jimmy Palmiotti) takes place in Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom #4, out this week. Supergirl will do anything not talk about her personal life with Superman while they're both stuck on a far away planet.

I have to say, I've always wondered just what does Aquaman eat; I'm glad to see some members of the DCU have wondered the same thing.


Plaidstallions said...

I always thought he was a Vegan.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that in an issue of Aquaman vol 4 he and J'onn talk about what Aquaman likes to eat...and I *think* Arthur has a hot dog or something from a sidewalk vendor. Anybody else remember what scene I'm talking about?

rob! said...


good memory! i even covered the book (though i didn't get into the eating thing) here

...Aquaman does eat a hot dog, which, in retrospect, i don't think he'd do.

maybe a veggie dog, but not a beef one.

Saranga said...

In one of the Aquaman issues when he's got a hook for a hand he spears some prawns(shrimp?) and asks who wants lunch. I cannot remember the exact issue but I'm pretty sure it's a double spread, and Mera, Tempest and maybe the fat old guy who was his advisor are swimming with him (memory failing, I can't remember his name). And Arthur's grinning. And i think it's at the start of the story.

Michael Jones said...

I hate to burst the teacher's bubble, but...
1425–75; late Middle English newis, pl. of newe new thing, novelty (see new ); on the model of Middle French noveles (pl. of novele), or Middle Latin nova (pl. of novum); see novel
N-orth/E-ast/W-est/S-outh is merely a pneumonic device for remembering the points of the compass.
Regardless, that IS a great story with magnificent artwork.