Sunday, August 19, 2012

Aquaman and his Pile of Topos vs. the Aqualad Lobster Monster

"Aquaman and his Pile of Topos vs. the Aqualad Lobster Monster" from Aquaman vol.1 #9 (DC, 1963) by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy

I'm a card-carrying member of Friends Of AquaMan (F.O.A.M.), so obviously, I have a great love of this character. You know, they say Wonder Woman is hard to write for, but Aquaman's publishing history also marks him as a difficulty for writers, it seems. They never seem to know just what they should focus on. Atlantean politics? Atlantean magic? Superhuman Coast Guard? Environmentalism? Does he work outside the ocean? How silly or reasonable is his talking to fish?

For me, it's really not that complicated, and the original series (and Adventure Comics strips) got it just right. Superman can have Metropolis, Batman Gotham, but Aquaman has to cover 70% of the planet! Seems to me there's plenty to do and there should have been a lot more supervillains to come out of that environment. For this splash, I had a hard time deciding on an artist. Nick Cardy (who eventually won because TOPO TO THE MAX), Ramon Fradon, Jim Mooney, or Jim Aparo? There have been some amazing artists on Aquaman, Aqualad, and friends. I discovered the era mostly through Showcase Presents, I don't deny it, and they're one of the few SCP series I read all the way through. Simply charming in a way Aquaman had a lot of trouble recapturing in his later incarnations.

Volume 1 was Aquaman at his most popular, lasting 56 issues from 1962 to 1971 (expanding on the Adventure Comics strip that started in '59), and picked up the numbering again in 1977 for 7 more bimonthly issues. We would wait until 1986 for vol.2, the 4-issue mini-series with beautiful art by Craig Hamilton and the introduction of the short-lived blue camo-suit, which was followed up by a Special in '88. In '89, Legend of Aquaman Special retold his origin with art by Curt Swan, but still no ongoing series on the horizon. Instead, the Legend team (Fleming, Giffen and Swan) would get to do a 5-issue mini, in part about Mera going insane after the death of her son. Tomorrow, Aquaman goes ongoing again with Volume 4!


  1. Some of my favorite stories were from the the mid late 40s until the cancellation range. Great Neal Adams covers, titles like "The Creature That Devoured Detroit."

    Each writer talks about the oceans. They forget about the Great Lakes or even Loch Ness. There's where his rogue's gallery would be based. A bad guy in Chicago? Go for it! You live close to a lake, correct?

  2. It must be a pain to go through the St.Lawrence to get there, but JLA transporters, right?