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Sunday, May 04, 2014

Adventure Comics #282 - March 1961

Comics Weekend "One Hour To Doom!" by Robert Bernstein(?), Ramona Fradon, and Charles Paris.

It's Adventure Sunday!

An Aquaman adventure unlike any other in Adventure...
Aqualad finds some scuba gear, which leads Aquaman to believe that Row got away by slipping away under the water. Indeed, we see the crook wash up on the beach, and our heroes follow him into a series of mountains--risking that they'll go over their limit of being without water for more than an hour!

Aquaman regards this as a test of his young charge's ingenuity, saying this whole adventure will be a test of how well he can find water in unlikely places. Aqualad cheerfully agrees, but after an hour passes:
...and so ends another adventure for Aquaman and Aqualad!

What an adventure! This was Aquaman's longest story to date in this series; at this point the editors had decided to alternate issues of Adventure between Aquaman and Congorilla, offering a longer story each time. Clearly they were trying to see who would "fly" as a solo star--it didn't take long for Aquaman to prove his mettle as a headliner; Congorilla, not so much.

This issue is also significant because it features an inker for Ramona Fradon for the first time; it's safe to assume that she needed the help because of this story's extra length. Charles Paris proved a perfect fit; in fact, I don't think I'd even be able to know Fradon didn't ink her own work until I saw the credit on Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics.

If that wasn't enough, this issue also marks Ramona Fradon's final Aquaman story; she would move on to other projects (both in and out of comics) and wouldn't handle Aquaman again until the late 1970s when she took over Super Friends. Her run on Aquaman in Adventure remains of the character's high-water marks, both for it's sheer length (over 100 issues!) and it's consistent high quality. She gave Aquaman a visual sophistication that I think helped keep him, er, afloat during the lean years for superheroes in comics.

After this adventure, Aquaman and the JLA would help Adam Strange defeat Kanjar Ro in Mystery In Space #75, elect the League's first new member in Justice League of America #4, fight The Creature King of the Sea in Showcase #32, all before returning to Adventure Comics #284, his final appearance!


Anthony said...

A "long" story indeed... and yeah, Aquaman was obviously worth more than Congorilla (a Golden Age holdover/changed up from being merely "Congo Bill"). :-)

I noticed the airliner's a propeller-driven aircraft. I suppose such were still often in use in 1961, but would figure they'd be switching to jet aircraft by this point...

Re: Superboy: Superboy meets Star Boy (in his first appearance) who'd come to the present to pursue crooks from his era. Lana Lang also meets Star Boy and hatches a scheme to try to make Superboy jealous, but fails.

Joseph Brian Scott said...

I WONDERED if there had been an inker for Fradon; the art here and in the Aquaman stories in WORLD'S FINEST around this time have a slightly crisper, more angular look. I really like it; I think it compliments Fradon's wonderful work nicely.

Unknown said...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

And Viva Ramona Fradon! Amazing to think that Aquaman went from Fradon to Cardy to Aparo. What other DC hero had that kind of consistently high artistic level from the 50's to the 70's?

James Chatterton

Earth 2 Chris said...

Paris is good match for Fradon, having inked Dick Sprang's Batman and World Finest work for years.

I hate to see Fradon go. I really enjoyed looking at her lovely panels every week. The lady knows how to draw comics!