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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Adventure Comics #219 - Dec. 1955

Comics Weekend "The Greatest Show on Water" by Jack Miller(?) and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

Introducing--and probably saying goodbye to--Chandu the X-Ray Gorilla!

This month, Aquaman gets a bank loan, files the necessary paperwork, and acquires the zoning permits to open...The Greatest Show on Water!
Aquaman and his fish-powered attractions are a big hit...until one hard-to-satisfy kid asks about a rollercoaster, an idea even the mighty Sea King finds difficult to replicate.

He then remembers a sunken schooner a few miles away, and has some whale pals bring it to the surface. Creating tracks with seaweed and coasters from giant shells, Aquaman delivers the most imaginative rollercoaster of all time :
...and with that, so ends another adventure for Aquaman!

It was nice to give all the inept, fedora-ed crooks a rest for the month, and have a more gentile adventure. Heck, this could have run in an issue of Boy's Life, it's so upbeat and squeaky clean.

I know I say this every single week practically, but man did Ramona Fradon do a tremendous job on this particular installment. She crams a lot of action into just give and a half pages, and many of the shots are imaginative and quite attractive (I'm thinking specifically of the silhouette shot on page two and the kid riding the blowfish balloons on page three).

Sure, there's not a lot of conflict here, but who cares? This story is a pure pleasure to look at, from beginning to end!



Anthony said...

Nice artwork of Aquaman in action on the last few pages...

More sea eagles! And yep, yellow gloves again...

Re: Superboy: the plot sees some gorilla drink powdered kryptonite and gain super-vision powers, which a gangster puts to use for crimes. Wonder why he didn't melt his chains on that cover with his heat vision---er, "the heat of his x-ray vision" (as it was called in the 50s; heat vision didn't become a separate power until the early 60s).

Russell said...

Yep, Ramona Fradon's art was awesome. This wouldn't fly in today's market, though....the insurance premiums would put the poor ole guy out of business within one season!

By the way, Chandu showed up several years later in THE DEFENDERS as one of the Head-Men.

rob! said...

THE HEAD-MEN!! There's a name out of my past! Those characters were pure nightmare fuel.

Anonymous said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

The splash page is pure 50's magic. What kid wouldn't want to ride around on a turtle or a walrus? Sign me up!

I wonder if those sea eagles ever decided to drop the "sea" part of their name in order to get a day off. Aquaman sure kept them busy.

Now I know why every story is serialized to death these days. The insurance hassles alone would take four issues to sort out.

Re Superboy: Wasn't that the plot of every other episode of Smallville?

James Chatterton

Joseph Brian Scott said...

With that name, I think Chandu needed a turban to really put him over and ensure return appearances. Comics used to be wild about turbans, though I guess by the mid-50s the romance with that particular style of millinery had run its course.