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Sunday, July 25, 2010

World's Finest #6 - Summer 1942

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Comics Weekend "The Zoo of the Deep" by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris.

Wow, this was a real surprise!

Our newest F.O.A.M. member, Will Simmons, wrote me the other day and introduced himself as a lifelong Aquaman fan, and included these curious scans: a Golden Age Aquaman story that I had not only never seen before, but had never even heard of!

Apparently Aquaman had a one-off appearance in World's Finest Comics #6, which appeared in between More Fun Comics #80 and 81, meaning it was within the first year of Aquaman's debut. Done by the Sea King's original creative team, Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris, reading this story for the first time felt like I was discovering sunken treasure!

So while we're still a few months away from the return of the Shrine's weekly recaps of the Golden Age Aquaman's adventures, I was too excited over this not to share it immediately:
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Aboard the poacher's boat, we see the man approached by an old associate of his named Rogan, who is wanted by the police and claims that his old partner Peers stole all his equipment and idea to create this quasi-underwater zoo.

Peers denies this, but Rogan insists on being cut in on the action. Just then some cops coming a-knocking, and Peers hides Rogan in his diving bell, which is then lowered into the water.

The cops, finding nothing, leave, and Peers then tells his erstwhile partner that he plans to leave Rogan down in the bell, long after his oxygen has been used up. That double-crossing rat!

Hours pass, and Rogan begins to get weak. Aquaman spies the bell, and assuming Peers is inside, forces his way in:
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The bathysphere is pulled up, and when Peers and his crew see its full of seawater, they assume Rogan opened the hatch and drowned himself.

They then see the body and, of course assuming its Rogan, drag it inside with plans to turn it over to the police for the reward. When Aquaman hears Peers' plan to continue robbing the seas after making good with the long arm of the law, he reveals his true identity.

As Aquaman charges Peers, he hits a switch, opening a trap door which dumps the Sea King into a tank below:

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...and so ends another adventure for Aquaman!


Man, I can't express what a treat it was to read this story. Sure, its nothing too terribly different from all the other Aquaman stories from this era, but I'm just so charmed at the idea there was still story out there from Aquaman's first year that I had never heard of.

In addition, this is a very fun tale--the Golden Age Aquaman, as usual, is full of piss and vinegar, happily cracking jokes while punching out various bad guys' lights, or zapping them with electric eels. And at the end, he gets to release all his finny friends from captivity. What's not to love?

Thanks again to Will Simmons for this wonderful treat, and welcome him to F.O.A.M.!

4 comments:

Aaron said...

Amazing primordial stuff. That splash panel is a beauty.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Are those the scans I sent you? What did you use to make them look so great? Awesome.

rob! said...

Will--Yep, they're yours. I took them into Photoshop and cleaned them up a bit so they'd be crisper. Thanks again!

Wings said...

Cool find! Thanks for sharing it with all of us!