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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Know Your Villains: The Electric Man

The first installment of Know Your Aquaman Villains focuses on a little known foe called The Electric Man, who (in the Shrine's opinion) straddles a peculiar divide in Aquaman history!

The Electric Man first appeared in Adventure Comics #254, in a story by Jack Miller and Ramona Fradon:
The Electric Man started out as Roy Pinto, a common crook who at the moment was posing as a sea life seller, providing rare fish to aquariums. Roy learns that, after years of handling electric eels, he not only is immune to electricity's power over him, but has command over it!

As most Aquaman villains do, they immediately turn to robbing cargo ships:
To this point, the Golden Age Aquaman (more on that in a second) had mostly dealt with ordinary crooks, so squaring off against one with actual super powers takes him by painful surprise:

As you might expect, Aquaman finally out-thinks his opponent, using his finny friends to defeat him:
Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the Golden Age Aquaman's villains, 99% of them never had a return appearance: usually they showed up to menace Aquaman for six pages, never to be seen again. But the Electric Man did make a return appearance, three years later over in Justice League of America #5, by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, and Bernard Sachs:
In this story, six of the individual JLA member's villains--D-listers like Getaway Mastermind, Professor Menace, King Clock, The Electric Man, and Captain Cold (who is a bon-fide rock star compared to the others) do a gang escape from prison, and the Leaguers split up to bring them to justice:
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This issue's story takes a hard turn when it's revealed that the bad guy behind this whole plot is Dr. Destiny, Green Lantern is a fake, and gravity goes wild! Of course, the JLA defeats DD and order is restored. Sadly, The Electric Man's appearance in this story is brief, his exit unheralded. He was never seen again.

The reason I launched this segment with this character is because A)He was only the second Golden Age Aquaman villain to make a return appearance and B)He made his debut during what the Shrine considers the Golden Age run of Aquaman stories, yet he made his second appearance in Justice League of America, which is clearly Silver Age. So, if you want to take that to it's logical extreme, that means there wasn't just one Electric Man, but two!

Considering how thin Aquaman's Rogues Gallery is (something Geoff Johns has been trying to change), I honestly think The Electric Man is due for for comeback. Being able to fry someone with electricity is a kick-ass power, and can be compellingly rendered in comic book form (as Ramona Fradon so ably demonstrated above). Now that Jeff Parker is taking the reins of Aquaman, I hope he considers dipping into Aquaman history and giving ol' Roy Pinto another shot at comic book stardom!


The Electric Man Appearances:
Adventure Comics #254
Justice League of America #5

Bonus: Today is Ramona Fradon's birthday! Everyone wish this comic book legend a happy birthday!


Diabolu Frank said...

Monty Moran is the Getaway Mastermind (or actually, the Getaway King in his debut/only other appearance.) Not that I don't appreciate your listing him twice, and helping me with color reference before I had scans in the early days of building the Vile Menagerie.

r duncan said...

There was a one-shot "Electic Eel" villain a few years ago. Maybe by Ostrander. It would have been nice if there was a connection.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Happy B-day, Ms. Fradon!

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Great idea for a reoccurring feature! I look forward to more!


Russell said...

In JLA 35 Wonder Woman faces The Mask, who was a Golden Age Wonder Woman foe. So....maybe there *were* two Electric Men.