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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Adventure Comics #254 - Nov. 1958

Comics Weekend "The Menace of the Electric Man" by Jack Miller and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

Strap in and get ready for one of the most exciting Aquaman adventures in a long time!
Aquaman approaches the boat, and sees the startling sight of Roy Pinto, immersed in a haze of electricity. The Sea King leaps onto the boat, only to get zapped by Pinto, allowing the crook to get away!
...and so ends another adventure with Aquaman!

I really loved this month's story, even if the ending is unfortunately truncated (damn Tootsie Rolls and their Big Money). We've finally got a bad guy with a gen-u-ine super power, and he is powerfully brought to life by Ramona Fradon, who makes the Electric Man looks truly fearsome.
Now, normally, this is where I would state for the umpteenth time that the villain of the month never appeared again, but in this case that's not true! Roy Pinto aka The Electric Man did in fact return, in the pages of Justice League of America #5! Sadly, that was Roy's second and final appearance, making his career as an Aquaman villain very short, but still second only to Black Jack in terms of number of appearances.
Some of you might remember, I made a case for all of these late-1950s Aquaman stories still being considered the Golden Age Aquaman back during our look at Adventure Comics #229, which was the first appearance of Topo. I have to admit, Roy's appearance in JLA #5 damages my case, because of course the JLA featured the Earth-1/Silver Age Aquaman, and there the Sea King refers to him as "My old nemesis", indicating that they've tangled before--which presumably is this story. So I must be honest and say that the line of demarcation--which I thought was so clear--is a little fuzzier when you look at all the evidence.


Anthony said...

Yeah, that's why I go with #229 for Earth-1, since it covers Topo *and* Electric Man, as well as gives Earth-1 Arthur some number of pre-JLA early career adventures to tell Mera about. But since the *Silver Age* isn't completely the same as Earth-1 (the former is marked by changes in writing style/tone/elements.; the latter, a continuity construct), I'd say the Silver Age's starting point (not Earth-1's) is still Adventure #260.

Anyway, wonder why Electric Man (with some slight changes) couldn't have stuck around as a villain, given the dangers of electricity mixed with water. Fradon made him look impressive enough here...

Re: Superboy: After Clark is struck by a starter's bullet (which bounces off of him), Superboy pretends Krypto has hypnotized him into giving his powers temporarily to Clark and several others.

The story's title is based on the then-recent 1957 movie "I Was a Teenage Werewolf," starring Michael Landon.

Tusks the walrus said...

Is it just me? Or does the kid with super boy's x-ray vision on the cover seem to be melting the tube with x-ray vision?

Russell said...

"I was a teen-aged Superboy"....as opposed to what?!?

Yes, Tusks, that kid is melting the tube with x-ray vision. Go with it. It's the Fifties.

Nice to see that Gardner Fox went through Aquaman stories to try to find some early foe rather than just create new ones from whole cloth. Too bad "Blackjack" didn't appear instead of "Cutlass Charlie" or "Sea Thief." :-(

Anthony said...

As opposed to "young Superman" or "Clark before he became Superman" or other modern day semantics-twisting?

During the 50s, Superboy/man would melt things with the "heat of his x-ray vision". Heat vision became a separate power in the early 60s.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Neat story, but I'm still wondering the same thing I was wondering the first time I ever read it: How did Topo and pals get the liqid rubber off of their bodies?

"I was a teen-aged Superboy": His dog hypmotized him?