Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Memories of Mera: Paul Kupperberg

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What made Mera such a big deal in the 1960s? When she first showed up in Aquaman #11 (September 1963), she was just another pretty but damp damsel in distress for Aquaman to rescue. Over the next year, she seemed there just to fill the role of a sort of underwater Lois Lane; girlfriend, abductee, troublemaker, prankster. It was, in short, the typical role of "girls" 1960s superhero comics.

Until "The Wife of Aquaman" in Aquaman #18 (November-December 1964).
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Not a hoax. Not a dream. Not an imaginary story. A comic book character, one with a long history and his own title, a founding member of the Justice League of America yet, actually got married, for "real" in the pages of his own comic book. These days, when stunts like marriages and births and deaths are as common as pointless six-issue story arcs, that doesn't sound like such a big deal. But in 1964, it was unprecedented. The most famous superhero wedding of the 1960s, that of the FF's Reed Richards and Sue Storm, didn't take place until the following year (in Fantastic Four Annual #3). And, just around the time Reed and Sue were tying the knot, Aquaman and Mera were starting what is likely comics' first mainstream superhero family in Aquaman #23 (September-October 1965), "The Birth of Aquababy!"...from pregnancy to childbirth in one tidy little 24-page story.
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(Of course, while Aquababy may have been conceived and birthed in a single issue, he never did manage to grow much older. He was still a baby when I came along to kill him off in the Mera back-up feature I wrote for Aquaman #58 - 60 (November 1977 - March 1978); in real time, he would have been approaching Bar Mitzvah age by then.)

So take that Marvel Comics, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Reed Richards, and Sue Storm!

DC Comics, Jack Miller, Nick Cardy, Arthur Curry, and Mera (did I mention that Nick’s Mera was also way hotter than Jack’s Sue Storm?) beat you to it! Isn't it about time those guys got the recognition they deserve?


--Paul Kupperberg

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4 comments:

Caffeinated Joe said...

This is just great, a perfect piece for the Month of Mera!

Orin's dad said...

That is awesome! I always enjoy reading Paul Kupperbergs's thoughts on Aquaman, and now on Mera as well. Thanks rob! and Paul!

Shawn said...

Did Aquababy ever have a REAL name?

- Shawn
kryptonkylie

r duncan said...

According to Adventure No. 452, his real name was Arthur Curry, Jr., and he was 5-years-old (or possibly 4) when he died. [The cover showed his tombstone with his real name and the dates 1973 to 1978 below the name.]