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Sunday, September 08, 2013

Adventure Comics #251 - Aug. 1958

Comics Weekend "A World Without Water" by Joe Millard and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

This month, the Aquaman strip jumps into the sci-fi genre with both feet:
Aquaman is shown around this strange new world: cities have been erected where the Atlantic Ocean once was! In fact, there is no water in the world of the future at all. The little that is left is kept in a museum, a relic of days gone by.

Zed-3 explains that a thousand years ago, a giant nova exploded near Earth, causing almost all the water on earth to evaporate. Much of civilization moved underground, including some of Aquaman's finny friends:
...and so ends another adventure with Aquaman!

So did Aquaman really go into the future and visit a nightmarish (if visually resplendent) world? Hard to say, but it's good to know that, either way, Aquaman will still have his finny friends.

As you might have noticed, this story is a page longer than the typical Aquaman installment. Lost in the mists of time is whether the story was deemed too big to cram into six pages, or that it was always designed to be longer. Related to that, this story is written by Joe Millard, a name wholly unfamiliar to me. According to Mike's Amazing World, Millard has credits stretching back to the 1940s, and this story was potentially his only Aquaman credit, and one of his last credits period.

I say potentially, because there are a number of these Aquaman installments that don't have a verified, credited writer, so it's possible that Millard wrote some others before this and we just don't know. The whole "it was all a dream" final panel makes it similar to other Aquaman stories, but the fact that this adventure is so steeped in sci-fi suggests (to me, at least) that this was Millard's first turn at writing the Sea King.

And before signing off, how can I not mention the art? Ramona Fradon's work here contains more visual invention than any three of your average Hollywood blockbusters--almost as if she had gotten bored of drawing crooks, fish, and cargo ships, so when she got the chance to draw a whole new future world, she just let it rip!

Thankfully, a world without water is truly a sci-fi concept, something only to be found in a silly 1950s comic book. *Whew*!

1 comment:

Anthony said...

Do wonder why the extra page, as well. The Superboy and Green Arrow stories stayed the same length as last month (per comics.org). This issue does mark the second issue of Jack Kirby on Green Arrow (starting with last month's #250).

Recall a Superman story in the early 60s used a similar looking "land whale" (IIRC the story where Supes winds up a million years in the future, where the oceans have dried up).

Given time-travel isn't common, that scientist sure reacted blithely to a costumed man appearing out of nowhere...

Aquaman's telepathy is explicitly labeled as such here ("mental commands"), but still get refered to as "strange" or "weird" "silent orders."

Re: Superboy: Superboy flashes back to his first encounter with kryptonite, and how one of his earliest robots ultimately saved him.