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Sunday, December 08, 2013

Adventure Comics #264 - Sept. 1959

Comics Weekend "Aquaman And His Sea Police" by Robert Bernstein and Ramona Fradon.

It's Adventure Sunday!

Respect Aquaman's Authoritah!
The jerkwad finds his boat on the back of a whale, stranded, while Aquaman writes him a ticket. Petty crimes are up all over town, including some of local citizens having their pockets picked. Aquaman's octopus pal helps solve the crime, by checking the pockets of everyone in the area simultaneously. He finds the missing wallet, leading to the crook's apprehension.

Later, Aquaman spies a family out on a boating trip, carelessly littering into the water (must be the Draper Family). As he dodges their garbage, he decides to "teach them a lesson":
...and so ends another adventure for Aquaman!

New Venice being a mostly-underwater city due to a disaster reminds me of Sub Diego, an all-to-brief era of Aquaman in the early 2000s. It's a fun idea, a perfect setting for the Sea King of course. Writer Bob Rozakis actually brought New Venice back, over twenty years later, in the pages of World's Finest Comics, one of the rare instances of something or someone from this period being used again.

Couple other things worth mentioning: this story is an extra page long--always a welcome devleopment--giving Ramona Fradon's art a little more space to breathe. Over on the letters page, there's not one, not two, but three missives about the Aquaman strip:
Finally, as the first editorial response mentions, in between this and the next issue of Adventure Comics, Aquaman actually made a guest appearance, his first ever mixing with other characters from the DCU! He guested in Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #12, which the Shrine covered back in 2011. Head over to that post for the recap, and then be back here next Sunday for Adventure Comics #265!


Richard said...

I remember the return appearance of New Venice in WF but had never read its debut story, so this post is especially welcome.

Bad show on Mort Weisinger for his answer to John Beach! It's always annoying to see an editor condescend to a paying customer with a lecture on how make believe works. Just a few years later when Nelson Bridwell was writing the letters pages, we'd have seen something much more appropriate -- explaining that there were two different races of Atlantides, those with legs and those without. Just seems like a better business practice not to insult your readers, you know?

Earth 2 Chris said...

^Tell that to the DCNU. :-)

But yes, I agree. If Mort was indeed the person answering these letters, it falls in line with his known abrasive personality.

Besides, he killed his own argument by plugging Aquaman appearing in the Superman titles in the response above this one. Clearly, these characters exist in the same world now, so why not just admit they were caught with their pants (or fins) down.


Anthony said...

Weisinger's abrasive nature aside, that probably was the attitude toward most superhero comics until this point---Aquaman's "just a cartoon" like Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck, and since it's "just a cartoon," things like continuity, etc. weren't deemed important (beyond the bare minimal setting consistency, as Weisinger notes), and only some "nerdy loser" would care about such things that, say, book readers would take for granted. A similar attitude IMO still exists today for a lot of TV sitcoms (see: "The Simpsons")... but then I guess TV's nicknamed "the Idiot Box" for a reason. ;-)

But yes, as soon as we saw that Aquaman existed alongside Superman, it becomes a valid question, and moreso once the two were together in the JLA. Fortunately, think the early Silver Age is also the point that things started to shift from the "just a cartoon" attitude to treating their stories a tad more seriously, as we started to see more and more crossovers between characters, reprints of older stories, references to other characters' books, and slightly longer storylines ("book-length novels!," two-parters, etc.). Marvel's rise in the early 60s probably also made the idea of continuity more important.

Interesting we got a suggestion for an Aquacave in the letters page as well...

Re: Superboy: an alien youth who doesn't want to pursue his father's meteor-watching career comes to Earth, where he distorts Superboy's powers in hopes of forcing him to exchange bodies via a mind-transfer ray.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, New Venice. I've always loved that setting. It seemed like a charming, neat idea. Why not have an American Venice? Just a New Orleans style coastal town built partially below sea level and criss-crossed with canals could also be fun. A city like New Venice is just a perfect home base for Aquaman that wouldn't tie him to Atlantis, would pull him out of the water, but still be a unique place with close ties to his element.

Anthony said...

Think I recall seeing New Venice appear in a non-DCU story, either "Adventures in the DC Universe" or one of the Justice League: The Animated Series comics; Arthur (in his 80s-roadie-with-a-hook-for-a-hand look) is accepting an award from the New Venice denizens for his heroism.

David J. Cutler said...

Comics Alliance recently had an article comparing Marvel and DC historically, and briefly mentioned the letters pages--classic example of the DC approach right here. Funny in its abrasiveness but hardly fostered a sense of community.

And on the continuity side of things: what a bizarre distinction that the kind of sore Ma and Pa Kent own is more important to keep consistent than whether Aquaman was born like a mammal or hatched out of a fish egg. The mention of Mars is odd, too. They had a Manhunter from Mars who'd been running as a backup in Detective for some time. You'd really think once they had a Martian superhero, the kind of aliens living on Mars would become something they'd want to keep a pin on.

Unknown said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

"Are you serious? We publish fiction".... That's the best laugh I've had in awhile. I think DC should reprint it once a year. I can just imagine Mort heading up the DC panel at conventions. Just one question, Mort: How in the heck is Green Arrow going to get all the way to Mars? Is the DCU Mars closer to earth than our Mars? Are you going to rehire Jack Kirby to draw some inter-dimensional portals?

James Chatterton