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Cover of Aquaman #1
Aquaman #1 (1962)

Title: The Invasion of the Fire-Trolls
Cover Title: The Invasion of the Fire-Trolls
Cover Date: February 1962
Indica Date: Jan-Feb 1962 (published Bi-Monthly)

Writer: Bob Haney
Artist: Nick Cardy
Lettering: Nick Cardy
Editor: Murray Boltinoff
Cover: Nick Cardy

Cover Price: $0.12
Page Count:


Chapter 1: The Invasion of the Fire-Trolls

After strange things start happening to Aquaman and Aqualad in their lair, they discover the water sprite Quisp, who has come to ask for their help. Water Sprites live in a "secret sea beneath the bed of your oceans", but their domain is now under attack by Fire-Trolls, the ogres that live within a volcano. Worse, the fissure that had allowed them escape also extended into the domain of Aquaman. So they threatened both worlds.

Aquaman tries various tactics to stop the trolls, which indeed attack his oceans. They attack an island where a U.S. missile base is being built, but even the might of U.S. bombs can't stop them. Figuring that because the trolls are used to intense heat, intense cold might stop them, Aquaman goes to a mainland lab to get a chemical that freezes things.

Chapter 2: One Hour to Doom

Unfortunately, the chemical doesn't do more than annoy the troll. And as it slaps at its hand to get rid of the stuff, the chemical is splashed onto Aquaman and Aqualad, who are frozen in place. Quisp realizes his friends are in danger and sends a beam of power at them, which somehow shrinks them.

Now tiny, they need to get to water, but are too far away. They have various battles with land creatures, and try to find water in a jeep's radiator, but begin to lose hope...

Chapter 3: The Sinister Secret of the Fire Trolls

Aquaman and Aqualad manage to trick a pelican into dropping water on them. Then they continue their trek to the sea, and notice that they are growing bigger with each step. The shrinking effect was only temporary.

Once back in the sea, they meet up with Quisp, who tells them that the trolls took all the base's missiles. Quisp overheard them planning to gather more explosives so they can break open other volcanoes and become the masters of Earth.

When Aquaman and Aqualad accuse Quisp of shrinking them as a prank, Quisp claims that he only sent a repelling ray at them, to push them out of reach of the Troll. Aquaman gets a great idea from that, and sends Quisp to taunt the Trolls back to the island. Once there, he douses them with enough of the freeze solution that Quisp can use his repelling ray to shrink them. Then the three take the trolls back to the fissure and work to repair the damage and seal the fissure for good.


The cover is a classic Silver Age cover, with Aquaman and Aqualad swimming through the flames of the trolls, while Aquaman urges his friend on. I liked it enough to make it my February 1998 Cover of the Month.

The cover claims that this issue is "A thrilling 3-part novel..." and the story inside is devided into three parts with a splash page for each chapter. This was a standard format for comics around this time. The cover also says "Now in a magazine of his own!"

This is the first appearance of Quisp, but certainly not the last. Quisp would show up a lot in Aquaman's first solo series, but never after. In later issues he is described as an other-dimensional imp, though in this story he's from a sea underneath the sea.

The Trolls turned out to be more intelligent than they looked. For the first two parts of the story you think they are lumbering giants, randomly destroying things. Then Quisp hears them planning to take over the Earth. Not so random, after all. What I want to know: how did they know to go to the island to find missiles?

The middle chapter is very different from the other two. It focuses on Aquaman and Aqualad's efforts to get to the ocean when they are three inches tall, and the enemies they faces include a scorpion and a lizard.

In addition to the standard ads, this issue had a couple of short comic stories, including a half page "Shorty" strip, Peter Porkchops in "The Secret of the Happy Pig!", and "Homer goes Skin-Diving". There was also a one page text piece titled "Wonders of the Water World" that had lots of interesting fish facts.


Rating: 7

Good start to the Silver Age Aquaman series.

Review Date: 31 January 1998, By Laura Gjovaag