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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Adventure Comics #215 - Aug. 1955

Comics Weekend "The Super-Aquarium" by Jack Miller(?) and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

Check it out! A teenaged Reed Richards makes an appearance in the Superboy strip this month!

As for Aquaman, he gets involved in some shenanigans that Mr. Fantastic himself might be familiar with:

Aquaman thinks of a way out of this jam: he asks his captors about their desire to find the most amazing creature on Earth. They agree, concluding that he is surely that creature. But Aquaman says that there's a being even more remarkable, and he can prove it!

Using their ship's viewfinder, Aquaman shows them a number of truly amazing sea creatures, like the Bahamian Scallop and the Giant Bat Fish, but they won't do:
...and with that, so ends another adventure for Aquaman!

This story leads me to think that the Aquaman strip during this time was not written by a single (anonymous) author. Why? Because just three months ago, the strip's writer was still indulging in the whole "Maybe it was all a dream" fake-out, lest Aquaman's adventures seem too outlandish. Yet this story could not be more sci-fi, with aliens and spaceships and not a sharp blow to the head in sight!

Another interesting detail is that this story seems to suggest that Aquaman does not exist in the larger DCU. I mean, I'm as big an Aquaman fan as it gets, but the aliens immediately consider the Sea King Earth's most amazing denizen, not Superman or Wonder Woman? I mean, those are pretty good choices too!

Hmm...as I sit here and write this, a possible prequel to this story pops into my head. Maybe Zan and Janya there did try and kidnap the Man of Steel and the Amazing Amazon, but were defeated by both, so they moved down their list, to Aquaman. They didn't want to pretend that he was their third choice, so they never let on that, if this didn't work out, they'd be forced to try and nab Rex The Wonder Dog.

Post Script: Go back and check the splash page; some intrepid comics reader (whose comic this was scanned from) felt that the story's title wasn't sufficient, so he/she (oh, come on, it was a he) felt the need to add "From Space" to it. In one fell swoop, this comic went from Mint to Very Good.


Anthony said...

OK, I have a fair list of things about this one...let's see:

- Yeah, I saw the "From Space" written in. Weird thing to write, Anonymous 50s Kid...

- Aquaman seems surprised at the aliens speaking telepathically... and the comic still seems to assume some sort of "Doctor Doolittle"-like vague means of Arthur communicating with sea creatures. Transitional times, I suppose...

- Nice art effect for the first few pages on Aquaman.

- A 20 year trip to *Pluto*?! Are the aliens stuck with the equivalent of a bicycle or something?

- Superman or Wonder Woman might've given said "it takes us 20 years to get to the edge of the solar system" aliens a lift to Pluto to speed things up, I suppose.

- (Obligatory "Pluto isn't a planet anymore joke here")

ALIENS: We know, it's not a planet anymore... we've got a lot of problems. I mean, you saw our ship... bad enough it's slow, but it sucks fusion crystals like water! Have you seen fusion crystal prices lately? And our next plan was to go into the Earth-1 universe to try to kidnap a so-called "Rex the Wonder Dog" we'd heard about. (Sighs) No wonder we never appeared again...


Re: Superboy: Superboy starts a hobby of collecting extraterrestrial minerals, but two guys whose lives he saved give him kryptonite by mistake.

Anonymous said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

This story seemed like it would have been right at home in Strange Adventures or Mystery in Space, on account of that whole "FROM SPACE" thing. I liked it. Gave me that warm nostalgic 50's DC sci-fi feeling.

Lucky thing Aquaman only had hicks from that back-water planet Pluto to deal with. I imagine the sophisticates from Mars or Venus would've seen right through his ruse.

James Chatterton

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Anyone else notice how big the panels were in this story? They were really big. Bigger than usual. Usually, Fradon did a number of smaller panels on each page; these were big.

And she certainly had a way with kooky little aliens with saucepans on their heads; similar dudes would rear their pointy ears during the "World's Finest" days.

I don't know what's so strange about the "From Space" enhancement; I did the same thing to every single story in every issue of "Young Love" and "Young Romance" I bought.

Anonymous said...

Young Love From Space? That describes every relationship I had before I was married.

James Chatterton