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Sunday, July 08, 2012

Adventure Comics #189 - June 1953

Comics Weekend "The Nautical Treasure Hunt!" by George Kashdan(?) and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

But Superboy, sure not all of her costume is made of lead! Just saying...

Behold, one of the greatest Aquaman splash pages, ever:

Aquaman tries to reason with the would-be treasure hunters: he tells them they can't possibly bring up the treasure themselves, and he's too busy turning away interested women to rescue all of them, one by one. So he makes them an offer: to bring the booty up himself, and then everyone on land will get an equal share. Everyone agrees to this, with the owner of the diamonds even offering a special bonus. Hurray for Aquaman!

Unfortunately, when Aquaman finds the chest, he sees it's empty! He heads to the surface to tell everyone the bad news, but they instantly assume the Sea King is pulling a fast one. Aquaman heads back down to check again:
What a plan--and it would have worked, too, if not for that meddling Aquaman!

This month's story is fine--not bad, but nothing special. But what really sells it is Ramona Fradon's work. I know I wax her car every week here, but she really did an exceptional job this time around. That first image of Aquaman astride the giant sailfish (thanks, Barry) is just so beautiful, so iconic, that I can't help but think it helped cement the Sea King in kids' memories for years to come.


Anthony said...

Another story where someone calls Aquaman "fish-man". Guess that was the go-to insult for the time, a la how everyone in "Star Trek" (no matter what planet they're from) apparently read "the Wizard of Oz" (per Data always being called "Tin Man" as an insult)...

Re: Superboy: The plot: a magic belt Prof. Lang brings back from Easter Island gives you-know-who superpowers, which she uses to become a lead-masked heroine/gives Superboy competition. Obviously she doesn't realize there's room for only one non-one-shot superhero during Earth-1's Superboy-era history... or *two*, counting Aquaboy. :-)

Richard said...

"one of the greatest Aquaman splash pages, ever" -- agreed!

So, um, if the authorities can contact Aquaman...why wouldn't the insurance company simply have them ask him to retrieve the diamonds in the first place, rather than encouraging amateur treasure hunters to risk their lives doing so?

Unknown said...

On the splash page, Aquaman is actually astride a saifish, not a swordfish.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Earth-2 Aquaman was kind of the Barnaby Jones of the sea, tackling insurance fraud.

I really liked this one! Nice, compact story that mostly made sense, featured a variety of "action" moments, and was buoyed by great illustration.

rob! said...

Anthony--The other go-to insult of the time was "Commie."

RAB--But it's less fun that way, and back then insurance companies were like Sterling Cooper. At least how my Dad tells it.

Duly corrected Barry, thanks!

"Buoyed"--I see what you did there, JBS.

Joe Slab said...

*Ramona Fradon will be appearing this week at San Diego Comic Con!

Russell said...

Ramona Fradon is scheduled to appear at this year's NY Comic Con! I can't wait!!! ;-)

Anthony said...

@rob!: As a general insult, true, though I was thinking specific to Aquaman. (Doubt anyone would ever call *him* a "commie"!) :-)

Unknown said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World out there on the Earth-2 oceans. This story would work great in an update with the "outrageous" B & B version of the sea king.

Yep, that pose in the splash page could have been the iconic Aquaman image. Shame DC didn't pick up on it back then. Maybe the shrine can make some use out of it?

James Chatterton