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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Guest Post by Adam Bezecny

sgWelcome to another Aquaman Shrine guest post!

One of the regular visitors to the Aquaman Shrine Facebook Page is Adam Bezecny
, who one day asked if I was interested in an article he wanted to write, as he was reading a couple of the Showcase TPBs. I said sure, and here's what Adam wrote:

Behold Mighty Dagon!
A Story of One of Aquaman's "Old Foes"

By Adam Mudman Bezecny

One snag that I'm sure plenty of Aquaman writers have run into is coming up with suitable villains for the King of the Seven Seas. I mean, ultimately, it all eventually comes down to Black Manta and the Ocean Master, with the Fisherman sometimes mixed in; but most people who aren't fortunate enough to be Aqua-Fans who tend to make fun of the aquatic hero don't think of him as one to have a full Rogues Gallery; and let’s be honest, before Manta and Ocean Master showed up, he was sort of in a pickle in Justice League comics where they fought alliances of their arch-foes. Sure, it's easy to make a team consisting of Lex Luthor, the Joker, and Mirror Master, but who’s going to fight Aquaman? Either he wasn't in the story...or they decided just to insert one of his "old foes" who had never shown up before.

The two best examples are probably Sea Thief and Cutlass Charlie, from Justice League of America #14 and #61, respectively. Cutlass Charlie is a particular favorite of mine, so I was delighted when I learned that he popped up again recently in Cry for Justice #5. But whatever. Cutlass Charlie, sadly enough, isn't the feature of this piece, and neither in Sea Thief, who, if I remember correctly, showed up for about five panels and disappeared forever. He was pretty much a guy in a brown scuba suit with a dollar sign on the side of his head. No, I'm here to take a look at…Dagon.
That's Dagon himself, right there. And technically, that's only his costume; the real Dagon never shows up, but his costume is animated by the magic of the Demons Three, who are trying to escape using magic stored in the costumes of both the Justice Leaguers and their old foes.

Dagon first appeared in Justice League of America #35; but, like Sea Thief and Cutlass Charlie, he never popped up again. Still, then, why am I wasting my time coming up with this piece about him? Well, there are a couple of reasons...

The first is just his name. Dagon, as some will know, is the name of a Sumerian god, but in particular, it's the name of a Lovecraftian deity, from H.P. Lovecraft's short story, "Dagon" (1917). Although not a part of his Cthulhu Mythos tales, "Dagon" is suitably Lovecraftian, featuring an alien monstrosity that can make people go insane if they see it. Of course, Aquaman has had some kind of misadventure with Cthulhu at some point:
But I digress. To finish off my first point, Gardner Fox was a definite Lovecraft fan; his early Doctor Fate stories from the '40s are a testament to that. I suspect that Dagon was probably a Lovecraft homage, which I found to be pretty awesome.

My second point concerns Dagon's powers. Take a look:

Dagon claims to be the "master of the waters"--which is pretty reminiscent of Mera. To me, that's pretty interesting. As this picture points out, Dagon is just a normal guy in a suit:
It never says the origin of his powers. Therefore, I think it’s thoroughly possible that he came from the same "Dimension Aqua" that the Sea King's own wife came from; but that appears to be another story for another day.

Another story that would never come. Sadly, the mysterious Dagon never showed up in comics again, much to my disappointment.

Great piece, Adam, thanks so much and welcome to F.O.A.M.!


David J. Cutler said...

Huh--he's got a lot of potential actually, now that I think of it. Hopefully Johns or somebody is reading this.

Bribaby said...

I've always thought "Dagon" held a lot of mysteriously interesting, unexplored potential, too. So thanks for exploring it. He would've been cooler if that wasn't a costume, though. (Of course it wouldn't have suited the story, then, either.)

Russell said...

I was in the exact same place as a kid when I bought the JLA issue of Amazing World of DC Comics and found out about Dagon, Cutlass Charlie, and Sea Thief. I always wished that Bob Haney or Steve Skeates would use them...maybe some day...!

Wings1295 said...

Do we ever see what he looks like sans costume? Is he just sentient water, and he needs the costume to look humanoid-like?

Interesting stuff, and a cool guest post!

Joe Slab said...

Nice! I love these obscure bits of Aqua-lore.

Diabolu Frank said...

I love characters that appear for a millisecond and have more intrigue surrounding them than established types. Then again, Darth Maul was a cooler image than he was a character, so perhaps it's best to allude to Dagon...