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Sunday, November 08, 2009

More Fun Comics #82 - Aug. 1942

Comics Weekend "King of the Convict Island!" by Mort Weisinger and Louis Cazeneuve.

More fun with More Fun!
On a remote island in the Pacific, a group of convicts, sentenced to years of hard labor, watch World War II play out just across the horizon.

With the Allied fleet retreating, the convicts realize they have been essentially "stranded" on the island. One of the guards tries to break up the conversation, threatening to put a few bullets into the prisoners unless they get back to work!

Another one of the prisoners, a hulking brute named Yascom(?), takes this opportunity to get the drop on the guard, hitting him in the head with a sledgehammer! Ouch!

He inspires the other prisoners to revolt, and the quickly overtake the guards. Yascom declares himself King of the Island:
Aquaman saves the life of the one prisoner--named Adams--unwilling to go along with Yascom's plan, first from being shot, then from a hungry shark:
Aquaman finds out the man he just saved was willing to repent for his crimes (embezzling) and refuses to follow the word of a killer like Yascom.

Back at the island, tensions are brewing between Yascom and his ruling class, and those who just stood by and watched, who are put to work. An argument breaks out, and one of Yascom's men references the dead Adams.

Except at that moment, Adams pops his head out of a nearby bush, scaring the bejesus out of him! He shoots at Adams, but when the others can find no trace of him, they think it was all in their fellow convict's head.

Yascom is sure Adams is dead, so Aquaman and Adams devise a plan to make Yascom think the island is haunted: first he has a finny friend steal Yascom's homemade crown right off his head, then they make a pseudo, stuffed Yascom, making him the laughing stock of the others.

A rebellion against Yascom starts to brew, so he decides to administer some whippings to the rebels. Aquaman feels compelled to step in directly:
Adams shows himself to be alive, and leads a small group against Yascom. Meanwhile, Aquaman is trussed up in the broiling tropical sun, trying desperately to find a way free:
As Aquaman frees himself underwater, an all-out riot has broken out between Yascom's men and Adam's men. Yascom grabs Adams, raises him over his head, and is about to throw him into the ocean where a school of sharks are circling.

But...Aquaman is there!:
I say it almost every week, but I love Aquaman's tough guy attitude here: "Pretty grim, I call it, but no more than he deserved!"

This is probably my least favorite of the More Fun stories so far. Aquaman taking all that time and effort just to make Yascom think the island is haunted is kind of odd and misplaced. I guess his normal M.O.--jumping fist-first into the group of bad guys and punching his way out--wasn't going to fill ten pages, so Mort Weisinger had to find another way. That said, its not a bad story, and once again Aquaman is brave and resourceful.

This issue is the debut of artist Louis Cazeneuve on the Aquaman strip. He would actually have a (much) longer run on Aquaman than Paul Norris, but he seems to have been generally forgotten when the lists of major Aquaman artists are compiled.

Personally, I find his work here not as sharp Norris's, in that its sloppier and a little more cartoony, and generally looks similar to other Golden Age comic book art styles of the time, while Norris's work was quite distinctive. But I do enjoy his inking style, which is more fluid and pleasing to the eye.

Before we sign off for today--always, always, remember this:
...damn straight!

1 comment:

David J. Cutler said...

If I ever get to do a run on Aquaman, the first thing I'mma do is bring back the King of Convict Island.