Max finally gets back to reading and writing about The Aquaman Archives Vol. 1 in the first of a series of entries taking detailed marathon look at Aquaman’s silly Silver Age stories in the volume. This entry, Max continues his look at the original Aquagirl and finds out just exactly what her deal was…
Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of DC & other comics! Join Max each week every Friday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to email@example.com or feel free to comment in the comments section below. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.
Although I’ve had a lot going on today, I’ve managed to fit reading and writing in it looks like! Maureen and I took a shopping excursion an hour away, and since I don’t get car sick from reading, I let Mo drive and took the time to read up on some of The Aquaman Archives Volume 1—after all, it’s been about a month since I started this book!
I started by re-reading and finishing the story about Aquagirl, which I started over a week ago. The story, which deals with a young girl named Lisa Morel just randomly getting Aquaman’s power set which she discovers after she dives into the sea to save him without diving gear because Aquaman is caught by a giant clam (how embarrassing!). I had been wondering how this story would turn out. As it happens, Aquaman tests Lisa’s powers to see what she can do. After she stays underwater an hour without drowning, then swims as fast as Aquaman back to her parents’ house and up a waterfall(!), she then uses aquatic telepathy to talk some seals into bouncing back a fallen round gold trophy that had been knocked off her father’s balcony.
As recounted last time I talked about this story, Aquaman tells the Morels he got his powers because his mother was Atlantian. The Morels are all confused, claiming that they’re not Atlantian—so how could Lisa get those powers? Aquaman promises to read Lisa his mother’s diary so she can learn about Atlantis.
The next time Aquaman sees Lisa, she is decked out in an orange, green and yellow suit with scales and fins just like Aquaman and claims that she’ll follow him on his patrols as Aquagirl. Aquaman doesn’t like this idea and discourages her. She comes along on patrol anyway, where she does a couple things that Aquaman acts like are rookie mistakes and feels he must rub her face in. Of course, one of these “mistakes” is Aquagirl thinking a boat birthday party where musicians failed to show up isn’t an emergency and she wants to resume patrol. Aquaman stops her dead in her tracks and gets his always nearby friend and pet octopus, Topo to play “Happy Birthday to You” on several instruments simultaneously. Goofy or no, I was starting to dig Aquagirl and was wondering why her character never made it to the modern age despite suspecting full well that her only appearance was this story.
The next adventure the two take reveals all. Aquagirl starts to drown while collecting rare shells for her father. Aquaman saves her (natch) and then in the Silver Age’s occasional Deus Ex Machina method of storytelling has Aquaman explain out of the blue that this is what he had been suspecting. He had read in his mother’s diary that there were some Atlantians who did not fully adapt to breathing water after it sunk and its glass barrier broke (because Atlantis having a glass barrier around it before and after it sunk is of course protected the Atlantians and gave them the chance to evolve into breathing water). These children were sent away in glass “lifeboats” to the surface while ships passed by, so surface dwellers could adopt them. These children all had purple eyes—just like Lisa Morel does! So a la deduction out of the blue, Aquaman has it figured out that while Lisa had a temporary manifestation of powers, they are now gone because she is one of these poorly adapted Atlantians.
In even more Deus Ex Machina Silver Age storytelling, Professor Morel tells Aquaman he lied before and he actually found Lisa in one of those glass lifeboats and adopted her, thus knowing (or at least suspecting) a source for Lisa’s powers all along—whereas before he acted dumbfounded. Again with these stories: these comics were definitely made with kids in mind. Yes, so were all comics back then, but hey…these especially. And what messages to tell kids: adults are big fat liars! Seriously, this tale cracked me up. I did really like the art in this one, as Aquagirl looks like the girl next door but also exotic when underwater. Also the scenes of Atlantis, though fleeting, are also nice. I’m increasingly becoming a Fradon fan.
After the week plus long wait to find out about Aquagirl, I made it through many more short stories on the way up, reminding me how simple it is to get through a book if you just take the time to sit down and read it. Well, duh, but I’ve been über busy. I know Tony at Super-Fly doesn’t get to read anywhere near as much as he’d like—even though he’s surrounded by all kinds of comics at the store—simply because he doesn’t have time. Between juggling work and family times, I’m starting to relate a bit. Comics comics everywhere and not a panel to read…
…To be continued!
NOTES FROM NOW (10/10/12): Today’s entry is coming a little later in the day due to circumstances beyond my control, but better late than never! This is a super long entry too, so I’m breaking it up a bit. Stay tuned for more Aquaman Archives examinations and thoughts next time on the Read My Library blog here at superflycomics.com!