Although I didn't plan it, it's appropriate that this expanded version of Aquaman's 1975 return to the lead spot in Adventure Comics coincides with this week's U.S. release of the new Aquaman movie.
This issue's letters column addresses The Spectre's abrupt departure from Adventure, though the substitution of Aquaman for The Spectre had been mentioned in the previous issue. I was sorry to see The Spectre go, but I was also an Aquaman fan, so I was okay with it. Better yet, the move freed Spectre artist Jim Aparo to return to drawing Aquaman; the King of the Sea had been Aparo's first regular DC Comics assignment in 1968, and that 1968-1971 run was (and remains) one of my all-time favorites.
Unfortunately, this wasn't quite an Aquaman creative team reunion. Writer Steve Skeates, who had been at the typewriter for all of Aparo's Aquaman stories, and who had returned as scripter for the three Adventure Comics Aquaman try-out appearances illustrated by Mike Grell, was not on board for the new series. His replacement, future DC Comics President Paul Levitz, was capable, and I said as much in a letter of comment printed in a subsequent issue. But it woulda been nice to get the old gang back together.
For our selection of reprints to accompany the real-world Adventure Comics # 441 Aquaman and Seven Soldiers Of Victory tales (the latter featuring The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy this time out), we've dug out a pair of Golden Age exploits starring The Justice Society Of America (from All-Star Comics # 51, the only Golden Age All-Star I've ever owned, albeit in a coverless copy) and The Phantom Lady, and Silver Age adventures of The Peacemaker and Hawkman and Hawkgirl.
Aquaman in "The Pirate Who Plundered Atlantis," Adventure Comics # 441 (September-October 1975)
Hawkman and Hawkgirl in "Valley Of Vanishing Men" The Brave And The Bold # 35 (April-May 1961)
The Justice Society Of America in "Invaders From The World Below!," All-Star Comics # 51 (February-March 1950)
The Peacemaker in "The Killer On The Reef!," The Peacemaker # 1 (March 1967)
Phantom Lady in "Adventure Of The Jade Maiden," Phantom Lady # 23 (April 1949)
Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy in "Dead End Animals," Adventure Comics # 441 (September-October 1975)
Everything is copyright DC Comics Inc. The Peacemaker and Phantom Lady stories are now public domain, but the rest can only be depicted here in representative sample pages; I share the whole book with my subscribers. More Adventure to come soon.
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