Sunday, March 04, 2012

Adventure Comics #171 - Dec. 1951

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Comics Weekend "Mystery of the Disappearing Mermaids!" by Jack Miller and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

As Superboy needlessly gives some bad guys information about himself, Aquaman faces one of his most unusual adventures--not of content, but of form:
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...and with that, so ends another adventure with Aquaman!


Yep, that's the whole story! For some reason, this month's Aquaman installment was four pages long (not even that, really), which is why the traditional 2/3rds splash page was squeezed down a little--obviously Ramona Fradon realized she needed every bit of space she could get. She does a great job, as usual, bringing Jack Miller's fun-if-nothing-special little tale to life. I get the feeling that after Bull Tate was defeated by Aquaman, he went and found work over in Dick Tracy.

But it wasn't just Aquaman who suffered from lack of elbow room in this issue--almost all the regular features (Superboy, Green Arrow, Johnny Quick) all got their usual page counts trimmed back a page or two. Not having the complete comic at my disposal, I can't say why everyone got a haircut this time around. Maybe more of "Cap's Hobby Hints"?

On a separate note, I just love the name "S. Harcourt Peppard." With a name like that, you have to be the kind of guy who sits on advisory boards, don't you think?

5 comments:

Joseph Brian Scott said...

And with 5 jobs, he's apparently depriving other hard-working Smallvillians of gainful employment.

I was disappointed with the lack of actual mermaids in the Aquaman story.

Boy, the early '50s was a wild, wacky time, wasn't it? with Superboy, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Johnny Quick, the Shining Knight, Jerry the Jitterbug, et al, all sharing a book! It's like they didn't even know if they were on Earth 1 or Earth 2! Who could tell? The war was over, prosperity was booming, the scotch was flowing freely; romance was in the air and on the comics pages, civil rights was something people didn't know from...and you could still relax with an illustrated story in which people get stabbed in the eye. Ah, nostalgia.

Anthony said...

Yeah, I'm surprised at how short this story was, too! No indication from a brief web search why the reduced page counts, given all the usual characters of this point were present. Maybe some expanded ad or filler material? Something for Christmas (being the December issue)? My only guess (from my search): the page count for "Adventure" was reduced an issue or two earlier (per the general decline in page counts in comics of the 50s), so maybe they figured something had to get shortened (though the permanent solution of ditching Golden Age holdout Johnny Quick came a few years later...).

Re: Earth-1/-2: Since there's no neat "dividing line" for some characters (Earth-1 or -2 being an early 60s innovation and all), there's Earth-1 *and* Earth-2 stories contained in some comics of the early-to-mid 50s, including some "Superman" and "Batman" comics, plus "Adventure" (Superboy being Earth-1-only character helped make it easier for Supes' case, while Aquaman's adventures in this period's entirely deemed as Earth-2; the earliest Earth-1-only Aquaman story IMO might be Topo's first appearance in the mid-50s).

Re: Superboy: this month's story: Superboy offers to grand five wishes to Smallville residents to show how damaging getting what one wishes for can be; gangsters take advantage by making him dig up a Kryptonite meteor. (This is the first time kryptonite appears in a Superboy story, which might explain the weird purple coloring on the cover...)

Anonymous said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

All of this Earth 1-2 talk has me wondering: wouldn't the JSA or the 7 Soldiers have been so much cooler with the Earth 2 Aquaman as a member? With the trend back then to send each member out for separate chapters, he would have fit right in. And he had to have been more useful than the Crimson Avenger or the golden age Atom.

Once again, we see what a great pal Aquaman was back then. Makes me feel honored to be a friend of Aquaman (on the shrine, at least).

James Chatterton

rob! said...

JBS--Yeah, no mermaids! I want my dime back!

Anthony--Yes, the solution was staring them right in the face: get rid of Johnny Quick. *Yawn* :)

James--You and I are brothers from another mother. I've ALWAYS felt that Aquaman would have made a great member of the Seven Soldiers; he seemed to fit in more with the likes of Green Arrow and Shining Knight rather than Superman or Batman. Its kind of retroactively perplexing to me that he was so cut off from the rest of the nascent DCU.

wich2 said...

Yeah - "purple" K?