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Cover of Aquaman #16
Aquaman #16 (1962)

Title: The Duel of the Sea Queens
Cover Title: The Duel of the Sea Queens!
Cover Date: August 1964
Indica Date: Jul-Aug 1964 (published Bi-Monthly)

Writer: Bob Haney
Artist: Nick Cardy
Lettering: Nick Cardy
Editor: George Kashdan
Cover: Nick Cardy

Cover Price: $0.12
Page Count:


Chapter 1: The Duel of the Sea Queens!

Aquaman is late for a date with Mera and Aqualad, when they see him swimming past. He orders them to stay away from him. They follow anyway, and an alien girl rises from the ocean and also warns them away.

Mera is heartbroken, but Aqualad assures her that something is wrong. So she uses her powers to create a hard-water lasso to force Aquaman back to talk with her. But the alien girl uses her own powers to force it back at the pair. Angry, Mera creates a hard-water tunnel right to Aquaman. The alien girl lifts it out of the water.

Mera is determined to make Aquaman explain why he dumped her for an alien. She follows them, intending to sneak up and use her powers before the alien can use her own. They watch in astonishment as Aquaman turns into an alien before their eyes...

Chapter 2: Aquaman's Last Battle

Mera traps the alien, Sirene, and demands that she turn Aquaman back. Sirene explains that the other alien isn't really Aquaman, he's her brother Rovere, who is a shape-changer who is running from an alien gang he quit. He locked up Aquaman and took his form to hide from the gang members. Mera goes to free Aquaman, while Aqualad stays with the aliens.

But the gang has caught up with the aliens, and they capture Aqualad. They are about to kill him for not telling where Sirene and Rovere are, when Aquaman and Mera attack. They almost get away, but are all captured. The gang thinks Mera is Sirene, due to her powers.

But two large crab-like creatures come out of the water and attack the gang and their ship, freeing Aquaman and company. Then the creatures grab the trio and swim back into the water.

Chapter 3: Marooned in Space

The two creatures turn out to be Rovere and Sirene. Sirene is enamoured of Aquaman, and flirts with him while Mera seethes. As they argue, Rovere returns to the gang to turn himself in. Aquaman and Aqualad, with help from Mera and Sirene, enter the ship before it leaves.

This wasn't their best idea, as they are ejected from the ship in glass bubbles, to float until they die. Aquaman finds controls that allow him to control the bubbles, and they trick their way back into the ship and take over.

Sirene gives Aquaman a good-bye kiss.


Great cover, with Aquaman transforming into an alien, while Mera watches in sad desperation, and Aqualad in shock. The central figure of the alien woman is drawn like a mermaid from the old tales, sitting on the rock attracting sailors. In the background, Mera is drawn a bit like a mermaid too: all she needs is a halo of spray and she'd look like the little mermaid at her best.

Mera is showing increased possessiveness of Aquaman in this tale. This is helped along by little matchmaker Aqualad, who urges her to go after him. You gotta wonder why Aqualad is invited along on all these dates... what is Aquaman afraid of?

Aquaman leaves his capsule, in deep space, to enter the ship. For that matter, the alien checking on the controls outside also leaves the ship with no protection. Methinks the science portion of this tale is exceptionally weak.

Shorts and notable ads in this issue: a Lucky Charms ad with a half-page cartoon, a half-page cartoon of science facts, a half-page cartoon called "Cap's Hobby Center", a one-page cheerios ad starring Rocky and Bullwinkle, a one-page text piece about "The Gassy Seas", and a back cover ad for a Superman hobby kit.

There is a circulation statement in this issue, the editor is again listed as George Kashdan. It also lists circulation numbers for the first time in a small table. The first column is the average over the preceding twelve months, the second is the exact numbers for the issue nearest their filing date (October 1st, 1963). The total number of copies printed: aver=345,000 and exact=350,000. The total subcribers for both columns was 250, and through dealers: aver=230,000 and exact=250,000. Free copies sent out for both columns was 370, which made the total number of copies distributed: aver=230,620 and exact=250,620. Compare these numbers to today's sales numbers for a bit of a shock.


Rating: 7

Mostly strong story, let down by a very weak third chapter.

Review Date: 11 July 1998, By Laura Gjovaag