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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Adventure Comics #135 - Dec. 1948

Comics Weekend "The Ship That Dared Not Land!" by Otto Binder and John Daly.

It's Adventure Sunday!

That elephant does not look right.

Okay, anyway, in this week's installment, Aquaman encounters something no one, not even the Monarch of the Seas, could be prepared for:
Aquaman attacks the giant amoeba (excuse me, the Malignant Amoeba) with his finny friends, but they are simply absorbed by the giant creature. So score one for the Malignant Amobea.

Aquaman, not the fastest learner, tries attacking it with a whale, sure that "There is nothing in the sea that can stand up to a whale!" But within seconds, the Sea King is 0-2.

Aquaman then turns to the Navy, and the captain of a nearby ship offers the use of its overwhelming fire power. Truly an amazing display of high-tech weaponry, but:
...and so ends another adventure with Aquaman!

One of the weirdest Aquaman adventures yet, this is one of the earliest examples of writer Otto Binder's willingness to include sci-fi-esque concepts into the strip. Before this, writers tended to go out of their way to make sure every threat, no matter how fantastical, was really just a put-on.

But in this story, Aquaman takes on a giant amoeba, somehow created by Gorton's Fishermen, and the thing looks and acts like a monster that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby might have cooked up. The times, as a young man would say later, were a-changin'.

I mentioned last week that the story from Adventure Comics #134 was only six pages. As you can see, this story is only six pages as well (which has to be partly why it wraps up so abruptly). A quick look-see revealed that every Aquaman story, starting with Adventure #134, was only six pages, down from the standard seven. No wonder kids turned to juvenile delinquency around this time.


Aaron said...

"Goading the hideous monster into chase, Aquaman leads the way to -- Bikini!" Seldom before or since have these words been uttered. Though I now plan to say them to a random stranger at my earliest convenience.

Dr. Blaine's like a rabbi, a sailor and a fireman all in one. He can walk into a bar all by himself and it's enough for a joke! Ahoy-o!

Great Golden Age stuff.

Anthony said...

Interesting, another mention of Bikini Island (again as "place atomic weapons are tested" vs. "name of a swimsuit").

50s horror films like "The Blob" came to my mind upon seeing this creature...

Re: Superboy: Yep, that elephant doesn't look too good. Wonder if his cousin, King Babar knows about this? :-)

Superboy story's plot: Superboy tries to expose the identity of a new, mysterious masked student at town-yet-to-be-named-Smallville High School.

Anonymous said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

The malignant Amoeba was a great harbinger of the 50's atomic monster boom. And, it made for a great twist, since the previous 7 years of continuity had inured us to the possibility of anything with a science fiction orientation. I'm glad that Binder utilized his SF background to give Aquaman a threat that was worthy of his talents (take that, Black Jack).

Now, as far as Binder's background in science fact: I knew Aquaman could swim fast, but come on.

James Chatterton

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Looks like a giant blancmange; the fishermen should have tried spoons.

nf said...

I wish there was an easy way to read these old stories. I know that the financial incentive isn't there for DC, but I'd love to see a lot of these 1940s stories of Aquaman and others. I love the Chronicles volumes they've released for Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, but I wish they'd do more.