Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Curious Death of Aquaman?!?

It's House Of Secrets #131 (1975), and an unnamed killer keeps having the same dream:

Wait...Arthur Curry?!?

Seriously? Arthur Curry?

Oh, well, it was just a dream...


This is a DC book, for heaven's sake!! You'd think that someone, at least an editor, would notice that they're using the secret identity of one of their heroes--a Justice League member, no less!--for a murder victim. They wouldn't let a "Clark Kent" or "Bruce Wayne" slip through as a gratuitous murder victim, even in a throw-away horror comic 4-pager, right?

Still, it is surely just an innocent coincidence, right? Aquaman's secret identity wasn't (and isn't) one of those everyone-knows-it kind of cultural touchstones. Certainly the writer of this tale hadn't known, and just pulled a name out of thin air, right?


Steve Skeates, if you didn't know, wrote 17 issues of Aquaman in the late 60s and early 70s--almost 3 years worth of stories--a period many would consider one of the character's creative high points. It's simply not credible to suggest that the man who wrote Aquaman for so long had forgotten his secret identity a mere four years later.

It should be noted that, given the nature of horror anthologies, this story could have been written practically any time, and pulled out of an inventory drawer years later.

Still, it defies belief to suggest that at any time, Steve Skeates wouldn't know who Arthur Curry was.

Perhaps Skeates still harbored some bad blood over the cancellation of the Aquaman book back in 1971. And maybe this story--getting revenge on the man who "killed Arthur Curry"--is a little bit of payback to whatever bigwig killed the book he was working on.

Or maybe he just really liked using the name...

UPDATE: Rob! at The Aquaman Shrine goes a little more in depth on this story, including a quote from Steve Skeates confirming that, yeah, he was sort of using the story to do a dig at DC and Carmine Infantino for cancelling Aquaman:

"...guess I was still smarting about the Aquaman book being cancelled, especially since having learned that sales of that book were up, yet Carmine decided to do in the book anyway thanks to various disagreements he had had with Dick G."

1 comment:

Britt Reid said...

Skeates wrote the final issue of Aquaman's Silver/Bronze Age run, and included a reference to it in the final issue of Sub-Mariner's Silver/Bronze Age run (which he also scripted).