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Sunday, September 28, 2014

World's Finest Comics #139 - Feb. 1964

Comics Weekend "The Doom Hunters" by Jack Miller and Ramona Fradon.

It's the last Adventure Sunday!

It's our final Adventure Sunday story, let's hope it's a good one...
Using a handy metal pipe, Aquaman lures the magnetic mines away from the trapped scuba diver. He then throws it, and the mines chase it like a pack of dogs and a stick, where they explode harmlessly. Back on the surface, this second "daredevil" realizes the error of his ways. But the work for Aquaman and Aqualad isn't done!
...and so ends another adventure for Aquaman and Aqualad!

Overall, "The Doom Hunters" is pretty good, not the best of the World's Finest bunch, but also not the worst. And while I have no proof of this, I think someone helped Ramona Fradon out on the inks--there's certain places (the splash page, and panel 3, page 6 specifically) that feature shading atypical of Fradon's crisp, clean style. That aside, this is last solo Aquaman story the legendary artist would draw, and she wouldn't tackle the character at all again until the mid-1970s, when she took over the art duties on Super Friends.

The Sea King, never a huge seller (at least compared to Superman and Batman), nevertheless benefited from a series of amazing artists delineating his adventures--from John Daly to Fradon to Nick Cardy and then Jim Aparo, Aquaman benefited from an artistic streak of unbelievable quality and consistency.

And so, this is indeed the very last Adventure Sunday. After this, Aquaman kept going in his solo title, as well as regularly appearing in Justice League of America. He wouldn't be relegated to a back-up slot again until 1974, when he returned to Adventure Comics, this time drawn by newcomer Mike Grell. He would soon take over the book as its lead star, but back-up work in Action Comics and World's Finest (again) still lay ahead.

When I started the Adventure Sunday segment back in 2009, part of it was to inform myself about these old stories as much as anyone who might be reading. I had only ever seen a small handful of the Golden Age/Silver Age Stories (due to the fact so few of them had ever been reprinted), so these weekly visits to Aquaman's past were just as revelatory for me as it was for anyone else. I don't know if I had ever planned to finish the whole run, but after a while it only made sense to keep going, and complete the job. I was heartened by the consistent support of you Aqua-Fans who kept checking in every Sunday, and letting me know what you thought of these stories.

So what's next? Well, next Sunday we're going to run a sort of "summing up" post, featuring a few words from some of the more Adventure Sunday-devoted Aqua-Fans and highlighting some of my favorite moments from the Golden Age/Silver Age Aquaman. And then, after that...well, that would be telling! You'll just have to see.

Semper Aqua!


Anthony said...

And so ends Adventure Sunday... I'll miss this series of posts. Also the other features/characters: Black Jack... Superboy... Green Arrow... Johnny Quick...

Lots of use of the term "Sea Sleuths" in this story, a phrase that didn't catch on beyond here, I suppose.

And for the final time, what's going on elsewhere on Earth-1...

Re: the World's Finest: Superman disguises himself as Batman for a case, but gets a blast of dynamite thrown by a gang. He now has to pose as Batman's "ghost", while Batman disguises himself as Superman to track down the gang along with Robin.

Batman himself would see a major change a short time after this issue, with the "New Look" coming along.

Unknown said...

For the (sob) last time...

Viva Adventure Sunday!

Congratulations on seeing a long run through, Rob. You're a closer. You get coffee.

Ah, the term Sea Sleuth brings back warm memories. Fradon goes out in style here. She really made Aquaman her own. Cardy and Aparo were always my favorites growing up. I liked Fradon's work, but never put her in the same class. These Adventure posts have made me reassess that She (along with Daly, whom I'd never even heard of before) stands with the best of them.

Viva Fradon and Daly!

James Chatterton

Joseph Brian Scott said...

It's too bad this back-up feature didn't last a little longer; Fradon probably would have had an opportunity to draw Mera, who had debuted just a short time before in Aquaman #11, cover dated Aug.-Sep. '63.

So long, Adventure Sunday!
And tanks for all the fish.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Man, I'm going to miss Adventure Sundays. I was completely clueless about the Golden Age Aquaman stories until you started this feature, Rob. I'd only read the first appearance. I was more up on the Silver Age adventures, but still there were many I'd never seen.

I think I'll miss seeing Fradon's art, most of all.

Time to dig out some Super Friends comics!