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Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Fun Comics #83 - Sept. 1942

Comics Weekend "Thomas Jefferson's Treasure!" by Mort Weisinger and Louis Cazeneuve.

More fun with More Fun!

Before we get to the inside story, check out the delightfully fun cover by George Papp--Green Arrow and Speedy, underwater! This may seem like an incongruous setting for the Emerald Archer, but what was DC to do? Its not like they had an underwater superhero in this very comic that would be more appropriate...
Ah, Blackjack is back! I'm sure he's up to no good!

We see Blackjack and his diminutive pal at the home of a Mr. Carson. Carson's snooty butler (is there any other kind?) won't let Blackjack into seeing him, but Blackjack asks the butler to show Carson Blackjack is carrying.

The butler does so, and Carson, after taking one look, sees its a rare coin from 1804 and says to let Blackjack in.

Blackjack and Carson meet, and we see where the coin is from: in 1804, Thomas Jefferson sent almost all that year's silver dollars to Napoleon (in return for a little thing called Louisiana)--except for one trunk full, that was lost when the ship carrying it sunk.

Blackjack claims to have found the treasure, of which coin is a small sample. If Carson would be willing to front an expedition, Blackjack promises, they'd all be rich (little does Carson know Blackjack plans a double cross once the treasure is found).

Carson goes along with this(!), which in turn worries his girlfriend Vera. Vera's friend Jo says that the seas are protected "A guardian...Aquaman!"

Vera wants to contact Aquaman and tell him to look out for Carson, so Jo's boyfriend, who's a Navy officer (are you following all this?), says they have a traditional way of getting a hold of Aquaman: the proverbial message in a bottle!:
One of Aquaman's legion of finny friends, apparently on 24-hr mail duty, finds the bottle and handily (clawily?) delivers it to him:
I love Aquaman's disguise. Kind of a cross between the Captain of Captain N' Tenille and Stripesy.

Anyway, Carson's butler doesn't trust this Blackjack fella, so he enlists Aquaman (saying "You look honest, young man!") to stow away on Carson's ship to look out for his boss. Aquaman, recognizing Blackjack, agrees.

Unfortunately, Blackjack's henchman sees this, and dumps a whole dumpster full of coal on their heads, so they both fall into the water!

As Carson's ship heads out, Aquaman has to stay behind and help save Carson's butler
...considering the number of brutal beatdowns Blackjack has suffered at the hands of Aquaman, the Sea King's threat in the last panel promises some real head-cracking!

Carson and Blackjack find the ruins of the sunken ship, and Carson investigates personally in a diving bell. Aquaman, having caught up, sees the trunk being lifted up. He opens it, dumps out the money, and says (to himself, I guess) he has "another plan."

Up on deck, we see that Blackjack's doublecross goes into effect--once they get the trunk, they grab an axe and cut the chain to the diving bell, letting Carson sink. They open the treasure chest, but instead of silver coins, inside is...Aquaman!:
Aquaman's finny friends help him out of the trunk by snapping the chains, and then Aquaman rescues Carson, who is understandably panicking inside the sunken diving bell.

He also has a moment to stuff some of the treasure into a nearby shell, and he, Carson, and the shell make it to the surface, where they see a Naval vessel nearby:
Now, you have to admit, of all the dumb things Blackjack has done, this has got to be one of--if not the--dumbest.

I know he's a bad guy which means he's greedy, but I'd say his henchman has more than earned his keep--the guy, on his own initiative, almost got rid of Aquaman and Carson's butler in one fell swoop! Sure, it didn't work, but Blackjack's just being excessively, self-destructively greedy here. (Later, Blackjack got a job working at AIG)

Almost every single one of these More Fun stories has one panel that, by itself, completely delights me with its goofy, simple charm. This issue is no exception:
I know I said last week that I generally don't like Louis Cazeneuve's art as much as Paul Norris', but its the tiny addition of the bottle in the crab's hand that, to me, is pure genius: Aquaman is sitting around in his underwater HQ, boozing with his finny friends. Does it get any better than this?


Wings1295 said...

Fun stuff. Life was simpler then, or at least it seems so.


Russell said...

The note came in the bottle, Rob.

Although your comment reminds me of the great Smothers Brothers' song, "Crabs Walk Sideways, and Lobsters Walk Straight."

rob! said...


Life does seem simpler back then, but there WERE Nazis, so...


You're right, of course, I'm just choosing to look at it a different way. :)