Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. This week, I'm turning to the best DC comic of the SIlver Age, Metamorpho, created by Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon.
All right, look. I have made my share of jokes about Aquaman over the years. Heck, if you really want to get down to it, I've made several people's share of jokes about Aquaman, to the point where I may have been personally responsible for the Great Aquaman Joke Shortage of '14. But honestly --- I mean honestly --- they're just sitting right there and you can't really blame me for going after the low-hanging fruit every once in a while.
Which brings us to Adventure Comics #262 and "One Hour To Doom," a classic of the Silver Age where Aquaman, King of the Seven Seas, founding member of the Justice League of America, and one of DC's most inexplicably enduring characters, attempts to apprehend a seafaring criminal only to find himself stopped at every turn by the fact that sometimes, he is not actually standing in the water.
Things are messed up right now, so let’s talk about comfort comics. Comics as escapism. There are a lot of current and recent comics that could work for this — All-Star Superman, Lumberjanes, and Squirrel Girl come to mind — but I want to go back a little farther.
Because here’s the cool thing about comics: They all used to be for kids. Which means that a lot of the classic comics, the influential ones that made the medium what it is, are also escapist fun. So when you want to read something that’s going to let you forget your problems and get lost in fantasy, you can also read something that will help you become well versed in comics canon. This is literally how I became who I am today.
When Aquaman debuted on this day in 1941 in More Fun Comics #73, in a story by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris, he was not the first aquatic superhero—Marvel's Namor the Sub-Mariner had him beat by about two years—but thanks to nearly seventy-five years of more or less continual publication, a choice spot as a founder of the Justice League, and starring roles on Super Friends and The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, he is surely the best-known underwater adventurer in comics. This fame, however, has proven to be a double-edged sword (trident? harpoon?) for the king of the seven seas.
Aquaman ran as a feature first in More Fun Comics, then Adventure Comics and World's Finest Comics before finally landing his own title in 1962. Not many superheroes survived the post-Wertham interregnum between the Golden and Silver Ages—Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman being notable exceptions—but Aquaman (and his long-time co-feature Green Arrow) survived the superhero drought unscathed, perhaps because he was a pet creation of editor Mort Weisinger, or perhaps because he kept his head down as a modest supporting feature in a string of anthology titles who didn't even appear on a cover until nineteen years after his first appearance (not even in his own title, but in the first appearance of the Justice League in Brave and the Bold).
On June 30th, 1940, a new feature named Brenda Starr: Reporter debuted in the Chicago Tribune's Sunday Comic Book Magazine. The deck was stacked against the strip and creator Dale Messick from the beginning, yet the strip would go on to run for more than seventy years.
Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at Aquaman.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
Ramona Fradon is one of the great living legends of comics, a creator with an instantly recognizable style who has worked on some of DC Comics' best-loved series -- and co-created a few classic characters along the way. Her crisp, lyrical line has elevated every book she's touched over her six-and-a-half decades in the business, and her work continues to influence and inspire creators to this day.
Fradon graduated from Parsons School Of Design in 1950, and began working at DC almost immediately, pencilling the Shining Knight backup story in Adventure Comics #165 – and when that feature was replaced by Aquaman two issues later, Fradon found her first signature character.
Each week, ComicsAlliance’s Chris Sims and Matt Wilson host the War Rocket Ajax podcast, their online audio venue for interviews with comics creators, reviews of the books of the week, and whatever else they want to talk about.
This week, you folks are lucky enough to get a full episode a day early! Click on the player above to hear Chris and Matt talk about their experience at this weekend's Heroes Con in Charlotte, North Carolina. They'll talk about all the stuff they bought, how this year's con compared to previous years, a bit about how Special Edition NYC may change the con landscape, rap videos, and much more!
Ever since that massively eyebrowed miser Simon Stagg showed up on the first episode of Cartoon Network's Beware the Batman, I've been waiting for the show to follow up and introduce Stagg's ever-present nemesis/potential son-in-law, Metamorpho, The Element Man! Now, it seems the wait is over: In this week's episode, Batman goes toe-to-toe with the one and only Rex Mason!
Check out a clip (and learn a little history about the fabulous E-Man) below!