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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Adventure Comics #185 - Feb. 1953

Comics Weekend "The Five Lives of the Sea King!" by George Kashdan(?) and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

Superboy meets...The Explorers Who Had No Peripheral Vision!

An off-beat adventure for the Sea King this time around...
Aquaman continually points out different swimmers, claiming they are really the Sea King. Each of the swimmers seem to be the real deal, performing acts only Aquaman could possibly muster (the bad guys not realizing that it's Aquaman himself who is getting his finny friends to help fake all these tricks):
...and with that, so ends another adventure with Aquaman!

This issue's story is forced and silly--not that much more than usual, but it tips a little further into inconsequential territory. Yet another pile of stolen loot is at stake--ho hum.

What makes it unusual is that, except for the opening splash panel, Aquaman does not appear in costume at all! With all the bare-chested men around, that made this installment of Adventure Comics something really special for girl readers, as well as closeted gay men of the 1950s.


Anthony said...

Fortunately, female readers, plus (now openly) gay men, still like the Sea King! :-) (Do recall AfterElton, the site dedicated to covering LGBT folk in media, occasionally mentioning Aquaman, particularly when "Smallville" was on...)

Re: Superboy: The plot: Superboy tries to save Prof. Lang's reputation after he claims to have seen a roc, a dragon, and a griffin on an expedition. Maybe he should see an optician about that peripheral vision thing, instead...

Russell said...

I love that Aquaman owns a suit and buys his newspapers on the corner, probably from Newsie Christian Bale.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Yep, no other possible way that could pick out which one of the guys is Aquaman. No other way at all. It's not like anyone's ever seen his face or anything. Maybe when he's in his "civvies" he uses Wildroot Cream-Oil and that's what throws everyone off.

Unknown said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

This story is proof that we should've had an Aquaman TV show in the fifties with George Reeves' younger scuba-diving cousin as Aquaman. Maybe they had it on Earth 2.

It's very interesting how well this tale plays out despite the the absence of the superhero suit. I might not have noticed if Rob hadn't pointed it out. Is this proof that Aquaman was so well defined as a character that he didn't need to depend on his suit as a crutch?

Lastly, I can really see the influence of Mort Weisinger here. Wonder if he heavily re-wrote this one?

James Chatterton