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Sunday, April 04, 2010

More Fun Comics #103 - May 1945

Comics Weekend "The Professor Goes To School!" by Joe Samachson(?) and Louis Cazeneuve.

More fun with More Fun!

Ha! Green Arrow and Speedy are having a good laugh now, but its Dover and Clover who will get the last laugh, as they watch the Battling Bowmen, bags packed, head off for Adventure Comics. Maybe I'm getting too involved in this.

Anyway, this issue's Aquaman adventure has one amazing splash page:
Let's face it, there's no story that can possibly follow through on the promise of the splash page, but let's give it a chance anyway.

Aquaman is on land to help sell war bonds(!). He has some time to kill, so he attends a lecture by someone making an extraordinary claim:
Aquaman rescues Professor Kenyon, but the ship that Aquaman brought him to is in grave danger of being toppled by the raging storm. Aquaman heads below, and has a finny friend (a Narwhal) ram his horn into the ocean floor, causing a geyser of oil to shoot from it.

The oil, being lighter than water, rises to the top:
Putting aside the dubious ecological results of such a ploy, Professor Kenyon and Aquaman run into another problem: a crook named Hurricane Hinks, who considers the nearby ship "competition."

Competition for what, exactly? Well, as it turns out, there's a fortune in pearls on the ocean floor, and Hinks doesn't want anyone muscling in on what he considers his territory!

Various natives dive for the pearls, and then offer them for sale to Hinks who only offers pennies for them. When some of the natives object, some of Hinks' goons punch them out and throw them overboard!

Hinks and his men then get in a rowboat and head for the other ship. They cut the air hose to Professor Kenyon's Bathysphere, and come aboard. They knock out the crew, and take over the ship.

Meanwhile, Aquaman rescues the Professor:
...and so ends another adventure for the Aquatic Ace!

For some reason, this issue's Aquaman story is ten pages long instead of the usual eight. I wish, with the extra two pages, writer Joe Samachson had given us a glimpse of Aquaman at the war bond rally--the Golden Age Aquaman never crossed over with any other DC superhero (not until the 1950s, at least), so that might have been a great moment to snow Aquaman mingling with his fellow heroes for a good cause.

Artist Louis Cazeneuve tended to give his crooks the same face--Hurricane Hinks here has the same plug-ugly kisser that many of Aquaman's previous foes had. Part of me thinks that was because they were all the same guy, operating under different aliases.

But that's not to say I don't really like his work--it tended to vary from issue to issue, but he does a great job here. The splash page has a H.G. Peter-look to it, and that top panel on page five--the wide shot of the ship as the oil rises to the surface--is particularly nice.


Richard said...

The funny thing is…this is one of the most positive depictions of a scientist I've ever seen in a comic book! Think about it: the guy is understandably upset at a stranger contradicting him in the middle of a lecture, worries that his theory might be disproved, and he responds not by threatening the stranger or impugning his character, but sets out to gather data in support of his theory. He turns out to be clever, resourceful, and helps the hero in a fight. And at the end, when he's presented with new data, he throws out the bad theory and teaches the readers a lesson in how the scientific method is supposed to work. Even the marine biology is real!

But it's not so much of a surprise when you consider who wrote it. Samachson had a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale, was a professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, ran a laboratory in metabolic research at a VA Hospital, translated scientific papers from Russian, wrote his own scientific papers, also wrote books about theatre, ballet, music, and archaeology…and then wrote SF and comics in his spare time! (Apparently he did the latter just for love of the medium, because it would have paid terribly compared to his other work.)

Josh Hill said...

wow, the coloring really pops on this one. seems to me that the previous Golden Age Aquaman stories weren't always this vibrant on the visuals. I like it, though.

Happy Easter to you, Rob, and to all my fellow FOAMers and Aqua-friends!

IADW said...

Each week I get a kick out of the one-liners Aquaman uses when he's fighting. He neever seams to deck someone, without letting go some zinger that would even make Arnie jealous!

Great stuff, and happy Easter to you too Josh and F.O.A.M!