Things were weird for everyone in the Silver Age, but they were all the weirder for Aquaman. Living under the ocean, surrounded by sea life, and in an era when accurate science was even less of a priority for comic book storytelling, basically anything could happen to Aquaman as long as it involved water.
This gallery showcases some of his strangest moments from the Silver Age, featuring material from Adventure Comics and Aquaman's solo title.
Last week, I wrote about "Manhunt on Land," an Aquaman story where he drove around in a pickup truck full of fish to track down a sea crook who had taken to land for the express purpose of avoiding being dragged back to jail by Aquaman. That in and of itself is a solid premise, but what really makes it interesting is that it was a strange little rarity of the Silver Age: It was actually a crossover with a Green Arrow story in the same issue.
Sadly, the second half doesn't have the immediate hook of a pickup truck that's also an aquarium, but it's definitely a story worth talking about --- not just because of the unusual crossover element, but because it has one of the most shocking endings I've ever read. And for the Silver Age, that's saying something.
Getting super-powers can be a tricky bit of business. Sure, you could always wait for a magic space ring to just literally fall out of the sky, and if you're confident in your ability to be a protagonist and not just a background character, I suppose you could always try to fall into a nuclear reactor and hope you get a new costume out of the deal, or train yourself to be a world-class karate detective, but if you can't afford a rocket car to go with it, you might just end up wasting your time.
Or you could just wait for "Wizard" Holton, Criminal Scientist, to show up and offer you a big Box of Super-Powers that you can wear on your back. All things considered, that's probably the best way to go.
Jeff Lemire is a writer who can balance working on sensitive and thought provoking creator owned work such as Trillium and Descender with working on some of the biggest franchises in mainstream superhero comics. While at Marvel Comics he currently writes Extraordinary X-Men and Moon Knight, he had a lengthy stint at DC Comics recently, and Comixology has assembled those runs into a neat little sale.
It might be easier to visualize those stiff poses and flat coloring that make up the art, but it's that sweet, sweet dialogue that really serves as the hallmark of the Silver Age. It's all bold proclamations about whatever's happening right this very second --- often with sentences that would take way longer to say out loud than the event they're meant to be describing --- capped off by as many exclamation points as you can get away with in a single word balloon. But for all of its memorable quirks the dialogue of the era makes for some pretty fun reading.
Like, for instance, in 1959's "The Colossal Super-Dog," in which every single line in the story is the best line in the story.
If you're anything like me you're probably a little mystified by the current state of the Superman books. As fun as those stories might be, trying to figure out how the younger Superman of the New 52 era has been replaced by his older counterpart from the previous version of DC Universe --- you know, the one who had a mullet, was made of blue electricity for a year, and once got beat to death by a bone monster --- is pretty confusing even for someone like me, let alone the more casual fans who might be drawn in by the idea of Superman punching out Rorschach or whatever else is coming down the pipe.
But that said, and comics being comics, it's not exactly something without precedent. Back in the '60s, there was a story where an older Superman showed up to meet his younger counterpart, and then immediately tried to murder him with trickery and poison. And I think it's safe to say that he didn't really think that one through too well.
I've been writing about weird old comics on the Internet for over ten years now, and in most cases, those stories stick out because they're built around a weird premise, or because some kind of big, strange event happens in the middle of it that comes out of nowhere. But today, I read "The Super-Pranks of Krypto," and that story's a little different.
I mean, yes, as the title indicates, it's a comic about a dog from space pulling pranks on his owner, who is also from space, but really, by the standards of the Silver Age, that's not all that strange. No, this one's weird because every single choice in every single panel that was made by the creators is the weirdest, most inexplicable choice that they could've possibly made.
Today on his website, artist Michael Cho posted his painted cover for the upcoming hardcover collection of early "Superboy" stories, and it is pretty great:
I've been looking forward to the collection -- the few Superboy stories I've read from the '40s somehow manage to exceed the Golden Age craziness of their grown-up counterparts -- but seeing Cho's beautiful cover makes me even more excited...
* Casanova refugees
^ The evil dead
£ Brazilian artists
§ Spanish artists
ß Spanish-speaking characters
^ ADVENTURE COMICS #5
I hope some of the people who bought last month's issue on the strength of the plastic trinket that came with it actually read it -- in #4, the Superboy-Prime story that concludes this issue grabbed the metafictional insanity from the final sequence of "Legion of Three Worlds" and ran with it about as far as it can go. The sharpest mo...
Nah, it's not really Robert Pattinson a.k.a. Edward Cullen, but artist Francis Manapul could be channeling a little "Twilight" fever into Connor Kent's supporting character classmate from Wednesday's upcoming "Adventure Comics" #3...
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