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Sunday, July 07, 2013

Adventure Comics #242 - Nov. 1957

Comics Weekend "The Amazing Feats of Aqua-Melvin" by Bob Haney(?) and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

In this month's Superboy segment: Young Kal and The Kid From Krypton fight for twenty pages, leaving untold destruction and casualties in their wake. Just kidding, who would ever believe that would happen in a Superman story?

Anyway, if you thought The Sea Clown was weird, wait until you meet...Aqua-Melvin?!?
Using the squid's ink, Aqua-Melvin "paints" a crude portrait of the Governor on the side of an iceberg. The Governor is not amused, so it's up to Aquaman to distract his unwanted sidekick while he and some sea sponges scrub the ink off.

Just then, Aqua-Melvin sees a cruise ship full of young models, and makes a bee-line for it, looking to amuse them with his antics:
...and so ends another adventure with Aquaman!

Aquaman is just being polite in the final panel there, of course he had zero interest in seeing Melvin again, and he didn't; sparing both the Sea King and readers from having to put up with him ever again.

Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics does not list an author for this story, but I'd bet (nearly) anything that it's the work of Young Bob Haney. Not only is this story just plain weird (Melvin acts almost like an idiot savant), but the whole "Melvin" thing--a slang term for someone uncool--just reeks (in a good way!) of Haney's work. Sure, the plot is standard issue (once again Aquaman is pulling a fast one to draw out yet another group of crooks), but Haney couldn't help but put some of himself in every story, and this feels like what's going on here.

On the art front, it looks as though Ramona Fradon was experimenting a bit here; there's more fine shading and line work than usual, along with some interesting shadows (like in the penultimate panel on page six). Maybe that was how she kept herself entertained while she drew a clown with a mollusk on his head.


Unknown said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

I, er...there seems to be lot of "er" in this issue. I think it became standard issue in the Weisinger dialogue department.

I'm actually surprised that Aqua-Melvin didn't show up in Haney's Super Sons series. Maybe it was cancelled just in time. Being that it's Earth-2, was he one of Ma Hunkle's nephews?

James Chatterton

Anthony said...

Melvin's an actual name... unfortunately for the kids whose parents named them that.

Still, weird story.... the opening has a clown lying unconscious/looking like he might be dead for no clear reason? How "cheerful." And since when does Aquaman's blood give someone his powers?!

Yes, nice artwork. Though I notice in the very last panel, Arthur's glove is blue...

Re: Superboy:
Of course such a fight would never happen! Just as I'm sure it'd be thwarted by a "twist" ending! Heh, heh, "twist"... see what I did there, heh...erm... (stammers, then beats his head against Aquaman's trident)

Opinions on certain cinematic efforts aside, this issue's Superboy story sees a Kryptonian teenager sent from Krypton by his father to Earth in the future, in order to try to find an element that'd save Krypton from exploding. He befriends Superboy (and becomes known as the "Krypton Kid"), but they fail to find the element. The Kid returns to Krypton in the past (after ditching Superboy to keep Kal from sacrificing himself instead).

Earth 2 Chris said...

Looks like Fradon was influenced by Wally Wood a bit in that shadowy panel! Great stuff.


Joseph Brian Scott said...

That mollusk/eel hat was a surprisingly weird image for a 1957 comicbook. And yeah, it had an interesting textural look in the 4th panel of the 2nd page.