Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lo! There Shall Come Endings! Aquaman and Sub-Mariner (Sorta) Crossover

Both DC and Marvel's underwater heroes hit some pretty high highs and the lowest of the lows during the Groovy Age. The lowest lows being--what else?--their mags' cancellations. Aquaman ended with issue #56 (December 1970). It's recently been discovered that DC's King of the Seven Seas' mag was selling extremely well, thanks to the stupendous S.A.G. team (that's writer Steve Skeates, artist Jim Aparo, and editor Dick Giordano for the uninitiated among ya). It's still a mystery as to why then-publisher Carmine Infantino pulled the plug on Aquaman, but pull it he did. Knowing it was the final ish, Sir Steve pulled out all the stops. He introduced--then promptly killed--a new hero, Crusader, played with the narrative flow/structure (inspired by the then-popular Underground Comics), and ended the mag--literally--with a bang. It was an inspired story complemented by Aparo's equally inspired art. Comicdom had to be scratching its collective head when Aquaman #57 didn't show up the next month (and wouldn't for nearly seven years). Pay especially close attention to the last page as you boggle your mind with..."The Creature That Devoured Detroit!"


What would have happened if Aquaman #57 had appeared in early 1971? Funny you should ask... About three and a half years after Aquaman's final issue, Mr. Skeates was given the task of closing out Prince Namor, the Savage Sub-Mariner's mag. Skeates wasn't Subby's regular writer--in fact, I don't think he'd ever written an issue of Sub-Mariner. For whatever reason editor Roy Thomas called upon the amazing Sir Steve to write Sub-Mariner #72 (June 1974), t'was a pure stroke of genius. The irony of writing the final issues of the two major comicbook Kings of Atlantis wasn't lost on Skeates. He decided to revamp what would have been the basic plot of Aquaman #57 to make the final issue of Sub-Mariner a sequel to the final issue of Aquaman--and in spite of a major colorist's gaff (or was it editorial cold feet?), it worked! Check out "From the Void It Came..." with it's sweet Dan Adkins/Vinnie Colletta art and you'll be amazed when you hit page three, Groove-ophiles!


Be back tomorrow for the New Year's Day blow-out, Groove-ophiles!

8 comments:

  1. I bought the Aquaman mag a few years ago, having heard how great it was. To be honest, my first impression was disappointment. The satire was clunkingly obvious, the truncated storylines ( esp. the Crusader's )were annoying, and the monster from the cover art never appeared. In Aquaman's words I "Don't understand much of this!"

    Still, lovely Aparo art!!

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  2. Hey Groovy One!
    First they abruptly cancelled a great selling Aqua-Man title. That I was buying then one of my favorite titles as well. The Savage Sub-Mariner! GGrrr!!

    WOW! I never noticed this tie in pretty sneaky & cool!I did notice as a kid the new writer for Sub-Mariner #72 though. Something fishy is up with DC cancelling Aqua-Man like that. Hey how come I smell fish? They should have called in Batman to investigate! Sounds like something Black Manta was behind! Thanks for this great info!

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  3. Don't misunderstand because I'm a fan of Vince Colletta's art. But, IMHO, if Vince had inked everything like he did Submariner 72 using much more ink than we're accustomed to seeing from him, he'd be Top 3 on everyone's favorite inkers list. Great find, Groove.

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  4. Just wanted to wish you a very Happy New Year, Groove! Your great blog was one of the bright spots in 2009; here's to even more in 2010!

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  5. I seem to recall a Professor Savin appearing in a Skeates-scripted Plop! story...wonder what is what about the name that had him use it twice?


    cheers
    B Smith

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  6. I love me some Skeates, Cerebus660, but to each his own. We can, at least, dig the Aparo wonderment together!

    Glad somebody came here not knowing about the crossover angle, Mike! I wanted to surprise somebody!

    I totally agree, Ed Ooo--when Vinnie was good, he was GOOD.

    Happy 2010 to you John! I'll try to keep things shiny for ya!

    Steve loved to sneak names, characters, lines, and even plots back into new stories, B. Smith. He gets kicks out of it. He's such a ka-razee guy!

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  7. One of the reasons I really enjoy your site. I'm pretty knowledgeable on comics. But I always learn something new coming here! I'm still waiting to hopefully be on Who wants to be a Millionaire. When they ask the Million $ question. What superhero is related to the Lone Ranger?

    Dan Reid, the Lone ranger is a Great, Great, Great Grand Uncle of Britt Reid The Green Hornet! Ok Regis, you can stop holding your chest now. So where's my check?!! SHOW ME THE MONEY!!More wothless trivia I hope to put to good use one day.

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  8. "Warren Savin" was Steve Skeates' nom de plume, or actually even more than that, he was kind of his alter ego.

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