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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Adventure Comics #261 - June 1959

Comics Weekend "Aquaman Duels The Animal-Master!" by Robert Bernstein(?) and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

The Silver Age Aquaman's career is almost stopped in its tracks:
Gustave washes ashore a small island, and a few days later discovers a leopard caught in a trap. He frees the animal, which makes it regard Gustave with loyalty, which gives our revenge-minded man an idea: he will become a master of animals!

Years pass, and Gustave sends a bunch of distress messages in bottles, dropping them into the sea hoping to lure Aquaman. A bunch of the Sea King's finny friends find the bottles, and bring them to Aquaman, who does exactly what Gustave hoped:
...and so ends another adventure for Aquaman!

This may be the Silver Age Aquaman (officially), but of course this reads just like the Golden Age version: still with the yellow gloves, the Sea King is still getting Bat Signal-style messages in bottles, and the villain he faces is a one-off, never to be seen again. On the latter point, that really is too bad, since a master of animals is a natural Aquaman foe, and in the last panel he vows to come back and get revenge! Aquaman II: The Wrath of Gustav, anyone?

One nice change post: new Aquaman origin is, the stories are now a page longer! Ramona Fradon gets a little room to stretch, and as usual delivers the goods. Notice Aquaman never actually punches an animal; he's such a sweet guy, even in the face of danger.


Unknown said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

Gustave sure took a risk by spending years on his revenge scheme. Didn't he know that there would be a Golden/Silver age switch in 1959? He could've been left without an opponent to fight.

Water Buffalo!?! Does this mean Aquaman can command water moccasans too?

James Chatterton

Anthony said...

Yeah, stories at the time seemed to assume real time passing for the characters; the emphasis on compressed/sliding timelines didn't really start until the early 70s for DC.

Another vaguely defined animal Aquaman has control over!

Re: Superboy: A teenaged Lois Lane attends summer camp near Smallville, hoping to meet Superboy, which she does, as well as Lana Lang. While at camp, Lois helps thwart Lana's attempts to uncover Superboy's secret identity.

Earth 2 Chris said...

So I WAS right about the water buffalo? WOW.

Just WOW.


Russell said...

What a great story. Too bad E. Nelson Bridwell didn't use this guy when he created the Animal Master (or whoever he was) in the pages of SUPER FRIENDS.

I guess Aquaman can talk to all animals, as he has been shown talking to fish, mammals, birds, reptiles, crustaceans, and various other genuses that all come under the vague heading "aquatic animals."

Russell said...

I just typed in the wrong verification text but my message posted anyway.

By the way, I am not a robot. No man escapes the Manhunters ....er....error....error.. disregard....reprogramming.

Have a great day, everybody!

rob! said...

Nice to have you back JC!

Yes, apparently Aquaman has control over anything with the word "Water" in the name. This needs to be explored more in the New 52.

Y'know Russell, I never have seen you and The Privateer at the same time. Just saying.

Andy Luckett said...

I agree; the Animal Master would make a great foe to modernize for Aquaman. His cruel use of fear to make land animals do his bidding would contrast nicely with Aquaman's humane and respectful treatment of sea creatures.

Also, I need a water buffalo to bring me things from over yonder. Then I'll be living a life of pure velvet.