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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Adventure Comics #133 - Oct. 1948

Comics Weekend "The Great White Whale!" by Otto Binder and John Daly.

It's Adventure Sunday!

Before we get to the Aquaman story, what exactly is going on with this cover? Is it meant to be literal? If so, someone has built a huge report card, and that woman is standing on a ladder approximately half a mile in the sky. Imagine what the warning label on that top rung says.

If its not meant to be literal, then why all the background detail? When Jerry Robinson did all those cool, poster-ish covers for Detective Comics, he'd mostly leave out any "realistic" details so you knew this wasn't meant to be seen as a literal representation of the story. In any case, it makes me head hurt.

Okay, anyway, this week Aquaman takes own his own personal Captain Ahab:
Aquaman is tied to the mast, and Mohab steers his ship directly into a nearby storm. Meanwhile, some of Mohab's crew are preparing to mutiny!

They make their move, but Mohab and his mate are ready for them, fighting them off. At that same point, the ships lists, breaking the mast, freeing Aquaman!
...and so ends another adventure with Aquaman!

Whew, what a grim tale! In the beginning, I was a bit taken aback Aquaman would allow a whale to be sacrificed just to mollify Captain Mohab (clever!), but then I figured the Sea King was just biding some time, maybe in the hopes Mohab would just calm the hell down.

The ending feels straight out an EC comic, except for the absence of a panel directly showing the harpoon going in. I can only assume the whale dragged Mohab's body behind it, where it was slowly feasted upon by sharks. And Aquaman had a good laugh.


Anthony said...

Yeesh... guess the introduction of the Comic Code must've affected even the Sea King, judging from this story's grim ending. Though wonder if the stories had mellowed out from this by the mid-50s anyway...

(Also: another giant, white-colored animal indirectly leads to some villain's death? Wonder if the giant Galapagos Island rabbit needs a roommate on Earth-C... :-p )

Re: the cover: According to comics.org, the cover's supposedly taken from the Superboy story's splash page, which might explain the cover not a literal version of what's going on in the story. (The story: a truant officer, facing a transfer, insists that Superboy attend classes.) On an odder note, it looks like Superboy's catching a Red Kryptonite meteor there (yeah, I know it's not---kryptonite of any type period won't be introduced to Superman's comics until 1949, a year after this story...)!

Richard said...

That art job is really something! Look at his panel compositions, full of energy and action. I'm not too familiar with Daly's work but I'll have to remedy that.

Anonymous said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

I wonder if Mohab was Black Jack's manic-depressive cousin. Probably just embarrassed him at family reunions. They seem to share a similarly insane amount of single-minded determination.

Very interesting to see how Otto Binder's style affected the Sea King's adventures.

James Chatterton

Andrew Hsieh said...

"You'll rot in the bilges before I take it!" ahahaha. Writing as usual :)

Aquaman also showed up in today's Monty! Nothing super hilarious, though I do enjoy that he's wearing a mask for some reason. http://www.gocomics.com/monty/2011/07/31/

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Good, compelling story; but then the source material has a lot going for it. I was worried for a minute or two, but Aquaman didn't let me down, coming through for the whale at the end there.

"How manage me?" should have become Aquaman's "Great Scott!" or "Holy moly!"

Yeah, that cover's like a weird dream; and I have to beg to differ: while impressive, catching a flaming meteor doesn't at all demonstrate a mastery of the subject of astronomy. Though he should have received an A+ for "Gymnasium."