Monday, July 26, 2010

1960's Aquaman had some of the best writers ever.

Gonna start out by saying that I'm going to be testing out the new "Zemanta Assistant" that Blogger is offering in this post. See how I like it. I'm curious about how not having to look for images and things on my own. So lets give it a test run while i do a bit of nerding, shall we?

As a young kid, I had two fictional crushes that I have never been able to get over. One is Lt. Surge from Pokemon, and the other is Aquaman. Judging by my track record on this blog, the obvious choice to blog about would be Lt. Surge, but instead I'm going to talk a bit about Aquaman.

Back to traditional look. Art by Alan Davis.Image via Wikipedia

I watched Cartoon Network pretty consistently as a kid, and back in the old days, they aired a hell of a lot of super friends. And, for some reason I took a quick liking to Aquaman. But those who know me always know I'm a big fan of the underdogs. Sure he didn't seem really powerful, but doing a lot with a little appeals to me way more than doing a little with a lot. So, Aquaman doing the impossible while primarily telling fish what to do seemed pretty cool to me. Not to mention I'm a shore girl, born and bred. So It just kind of clicked.

Well, recently I came into owning the first volume of "DC Showcase Presents: Aquaman". 49 comics. Mid-1959 to the end of 1962. I'm currently about 1/3 of the way in, at a comic from March 1960. I think Suri tried to warn me, but god damn silver-age writing... That is some seriously, seriously crazy shit. From the looks of things, logic was at an all time low in 1960.

Let's check out my top 5 moments from what I've read so far. Again, I apologize for the crappy quality of these images. My only camera is my cell phone and this book doesn't fit on my scanner properly.

5) Giant Ball of Kryptonite
This thing was in two issues, and at the end of each Aquaman just shoves it deeper and deeper into the ocean. Because god forbid Superman should ever want to have a nice beach day, right? It's one of those things where I just wonder why in the hell he didn't have a whale or a hammerhead destroy it. Unless he's saving it in case Supes tries to make fun of his fish powers again.

4) Cheating On Tests Is A-Okay!
So Aqualad wants to go to school. That's a good lesson for kids, right? Sure it is. So Aqualad spends about two weeks in class, getting used to school, and then they test him to see what grade he should be in since he's had no formal education before. But on the way to his test, Aqualad gets hit in the head with a boat and catches some mild amnesia. Somehow he's not late to the test and is still forced to take it.

So, Aquaman, deciding to try and help, has all of his fish do things that will alert Aqualad to the answers to his test. Because that's not cheating at all. Of course it isn't. If you forget the answers, getting them from somewhere is not cheating in the slightest. Why didn't you ever come help me pass my Physics tests this way, Aquaman?

3) What Else Could Possibly Try To Kill Us?
Four kids steal a boat, not having any idea how to use it. Aquaman's called to bring them back so the owners of the boat can punish them. Aquaman decides that getting beaten up by angry fishermen isn't enough to scare them away from doing something like this again, even though that would be enough to terrify most grown men. so he decides to pull a bunch of dangerous pranks on the kids instead.

The really tragic part of all this is that Aquaman was totally right. While after the first prank or two, two of the kids have probably pissed themselves, the other two keep believing that sooner or later the ocean will stop trying to kill them. Much like Aquaman, I kept going "Seriously, guys?! The giant sea serpents weren't enough to scare you off the water?"

2) Lois Lane: The Worst At Ideas
So Lois got in some kind of accident and some doctors made her into a mermaid to save her. What, medical science? You know you can't do that. Especially not in the 1960's. Lois tries to live happily with Aquaman and somehow gains telepathic control of fish like he has, even though it makes no sense. But she can't forget about good ol' Supes. Eventually, Aquaman gets hurt protecting her from something, and Lois has to get Superman's attention to come help them out.

Of all the things she could have done to get Superman's attention... Using electric eels to spell out an S.O.S., have a bunch of whales or dolphins start flailing around, hell she could have just yelled at him. With his super hearing he'd have noticed. But no. Of all these things, she chooses instead to set off a volcano. thank god she didn't accidentally get anyone killed. Good job, Lois.

1) Superman Becomes Every Single Kind Of Doctor
So, as mentioned in #2, Lois got stuck as a mermaid. But apparently Aquaman isn't good enough for her even though he saved her ass (He did way better later when he picked up Mera.) so she wants to go back to being human. Well this is a complicated medical procedure and if they mess it up, she's totally screwed. But never fear! Super man just read every medical textbook there is. So he is awarded every single doctorate, and can perform the operation!

....Seriously, what?

Great stuff. I wish I had whatever the 1960's DC writers were on. I've read some 2003 Aquaman, and I need to go back and look at some of the stuff from the 90's during the period in which Aquaman was a total goddamn badass. I know he made a few Justice League appearances back then. And of course there is the current "Batman: The Brave And The Bold" version of Aquaman, who's made everyone else think Aquaman's as cool as I've always believed he was.

So there's plenty of Aquaman left for me to cover in the future. You can definitely expect another post on him eventually.

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