23 Comments

  1. It’s Aquaman, as originally depicted in the 1940s-1960s. He’s had a couple of major image revampings since then.

  2. But does he famously have a charger (maybe the equine kind)? Or is known for his command of electricity? (How does that work underwater?) Why isn’t it some Lightning Bolt Hero making this offer?

  3. @ LF – In parallel to the Aquaman rendition, I think this Batman was modeled on the pastel version from the 60’s TV show, not the jet black costumes in the current movies. Yes, there are errors, but the overall effect is acceptably close.

  4. Batman and Aquaman are eating in the Dining Hall of Justice because they are both founding members of the Justice League of America.

  5. I was going to say that it looked like Batman to me. Missing a bit of yellow highlight here and there but about right.

  6. I would guess the J in “Justice” is backwards because otherwise Aquaman’s head would obscure that it was a J. I’m also guessing that moving Aquaman’s head back would have interfered with Mr. Hilburn meeting a deadline.

  7. I suspect the cartoonist really just wanted to do a “Dining Hall of Justice” gag but realized (correctly– a rare achievement) that would be more effective as a back-ground gag than as a front and center gag. And so struggled to come up with a front and center gag.

    In a way this reminds me of the Far Side dog sports caster at the dog swim event. The front and center gag was the announcer saying “It’s no surprise his choice of stroke will be the dog paddle” but it was pretty clear the impetus was to depict a dog “toweling off” by shaking its fur.

    This strip is not the worst front and center gag but it’s not a knee-slapper. It’s a little surprising the people here who seem to have complete missed it and yet somehow didn’t think it was essential to the joke. However the “Dining Hall of Justice” and very natural and funny.

  8. So in looking up the strip (panel?) that woozy mentioned, I got sucked into reading a bunch of Far Sides, and it was weird: was it really the first and only of this style? The imitators are so pervasive, tenacious, and legion that I now recognize the progenitor as merely another in the crowd of panel cartoons with an odd name and bizarre humans and weird animals. What’s particularly odd is that, unlike the usual slew, this one is persistently good (especially when doing an internet search, where naturally only the better ones get preserved). I am having a really hard time conjuring up the time back when this was the only such strip…

  9. larK: I think you could argue that Kliban was at least an influence on The Far Side. He had cartoons with titles like “Chapter 3: Nobody Says Anything To Anybody.”

  10. Shrug – Aquaman looked like that up until the late 80s, when he got a blue costume, which he eventually traded in for the shirtless/bearded pirate look…then he went back to his original look, save for his right hand being made of water. Then back to his original look, completely (save some minor detailing differences). Then to original+beard, which is where he’s settled in the comics.

    But this is almost certainly not based on the comics versions, at all, but the Superfriends versions.

  11. @Kamino Neko — Thanks for the survey of Aquaman’s makeovers. I used to follow both DC and (especially) Marvel rather intently, but tapered off in the 80s. I still pick up a lot of collections when I find them cheap at library sales and thrift stores and such, but since datewise those are all over the place, I don’t have a good grasp of what happened when to whom anymore. (Especially since not only characters, but entirely dimensions and realities, keep getting killed off, resurrected, re-killed, merged, etc.)

  12. Mark: why, yes, you’re right — there is nothing original under the sun; and what a nicer forum we have here than the Straight Dope one I came across researching this topic…

  13. Oh, I forgot one major version of Aquaman…after the water hand, in the mid-2000s, the Aquaman name was being used by a different character (his…cousin, IIRC), who wore an armoured variant (it was underwater high fantasy), and was being mentored by a squid-faced wizard type…who was eventually revealed as the original Aquaman, who had been transformed…he regained his fleshy hand when he recovered from that.

  14. Mitch4: You’re right. If anyone invented the art of preparing illustrations for a book that does not exist, it was Edward Gorey.

    “A Future Unremembered Poet of the Seventeenth Century accepts a Christmas Cookie from the Great Veiled Bear.”

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