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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #12 - Oct. 1959

Comics Weekend "The Mermaid From Metropolis!" by Robert Bernstein and Kurt Schaffenberger.
With Aquaman's big issue of Justice League still a week away, I thought the Shrine would go back to the Guest Appearance well and dig out yet another Lois Lane story that features the Sea King. Unlike last week's issue, this one gives Aquaman a lot more screen time:
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I think Aquaman needs to consult different doctor when visiting Honolulu. I'm just saying.

Anyway, Aquaman helps Lois learn to live life until the sea, having some of his finny friends find undersea jewels and give them to her as gifts, setting up an underwater "apartment", and teaching her that the fish of the sea can provide for them in nearly every way.

One day, Lois watches Aquaman rescue a wrecked ocean liner, and Lois "Love The One You're With" Lane starts to think that while "Of course, Aquaman isn't Superman!" maybe she can be happy with her new life.

But all it takes is Superman flying overhead for her to realize that its he she truly loves. Despite this, when Supes sees Lois floating around the ocean, she hides her transformation from him, claiming she's on vacation. Supes buys this, and takes off.

Aquaman saw all this, and Lois pleads with him to help her forget about The Man of Steel:


All's well that ends well! The ever-lovin' end!

This story, like last week's, was written by former Aquaman scribe Robert Bernstein, who seemed to take a perverse delight in coming up with some insane, deus ex machina conclusion on the last page. Who knew that Superman was an M.D.? And why didn't he ever use those skills to help other people? And how the hell did Dr. Hanson ever get to keep his medical license?

As you can see, this Aquaman is rocking yellow gloves, usually an indication this is the Golden Age Aquaman. But what most of us generally consider the Silver Age version debuted in Adventure Comics #260 a few months earlier, making this Aquaman the one we all know and love. Seeing their tentative relationship here, it puts last week's "Let's all kiss Lois" story into a different context, don't you think?

As a kid, I wasn't into Kurt Schaffenberger's work that much; now I love it--its so completely realized, cartoony yet detailed. He didn't get to draw Aquaman solo stories too much, so the couple of pages we get here are a real treat.

Aqua-History Footnote: This story represents Aquaman's first-ever appearance with any other member of the DCU! Before this, his appearances in More Fun Comics and Adventure Comics (with a one-off in World's Finest Comics) were solo affairs, and he never interacted with any other DC character. As well all know, not too long after this guest shot he was brought into the DCU big time, but it's here, in Lois Lane of all things, that the Sea King was officially made part of the nascent "DCU."


IADW said...

This was a great weekend read! I miss those kind of covers and concepts. The octopus waving good-bye at the end kinda reminds me of MacGyver endings, were a everyone smiled just before the credits rolled.

Thanks for the share!

Joseph Brian Scott said...

I really liked Schaffenberger's mermaids, too. It was always a treat to have him draw Lori Lemaris, and his version was 2nd only to Wayne Boring's in my esteem. Swan's Lori seemed kinda dowdy to me.

Aquaman showed up surprisingly often in these Silver Age Superman Fam stories; someone out there, either the fans or the creative people, really liked him. It's kind of hard to imagine now, since he spent so many years as more-or-less of a pop-culture punchline, but Aquaman was something of a DC superstar in the 50s and 60s; his book sold really well, I believe, and there was a reason he was picked to share a tv cartoon show with Superman, and not Flash or Green Lantern, right?

Anthony said...

Weisinger (for whom "Adventure Comics" would've fallen under his domain) might be one reason Aquaman became so tied to Superman in the Silver Age, though yes, Weisinger/the writers must've liked Arthur a lot, too---he certainly showed up more often than fellow "Adventure" star Green Arrow.

Superman also got closely tied to Atlantis itself in the Silver Age, including his former girlfriend Lori Lemaris the mermaid (who debuted earlier in the year this story was published). And of course, slightly-post-Silver Age, Superboy became tied to Aquaman's younger self, too, with Arthur getting the honor of being Earth-One's sole other superpowered hero in Superboy's era, predating everyone else in the JLA!

Re: Yellow gloves: guess the Earth-1 version wore yellow gloves too off and on early in his adult career (or Schaffenberger liked yellow more than green). (Earth-2 Arthur: Hmph... he off-and-on wears *my* trademark look *and* gets Lois? I didn't even get invited to my Lois and Clark's wedding!)

wich2 said...

Schaff was great - from Cap to Supes to ACG Horror.

And his Lois is a BABE!


Laurie S. Sutton said...

I remember reading this story as a kid! Mermaid Lois was an image that really appealed to me and it has stuck in my memory all these years.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Was this the first meeting of Aquaman and Superman? If so, that's fairly significant.

I always liked Schaff's work, except his Batman. He always looked too lumpy. But loved everything else!