More Fun Comics 78
|More Fun Comics 77 | More Fun Comics | Series | Stories | More Fun Comics 79|
|More Fun Comics #78|
Aquaman Splash Page from More Fun #78 by Paul Norris
|Title:||Aquaman: The Sargasso Sea!|
|Cover Date:||Apr 1942|
|Anthology:||Six Stories (Green Arrow Cover), fourth story|
|Other Stories:||"Green Arrow: The Black Raider"; "Doctor Fate: The Wax Museum Killers"; "Radio Squad: The Case of the Phantom Fugitive"; "Johnny Quick: Death's Dividends"; "Spectre: The Magic Crimes"|
|Editor:||Whitney Ellsworth (credited); Mort Weisinger (actual)|
|Ship Date:||24 Feb 1942|
Aquaman finds a message in a bottle warning sailors away from the Sargasso Sea, so naturally he goes there to find out what is happening.
Traveling out of the regular shipping lanes, Aquaman finds a bottle with a message warning all sailors away from the Sargasso Sea. Aquaman takes it as an invitation, and heads for the South Atlantic. When he gets near, he sees a ship headed into the thick seaweed, and tries to warn them, but the crew is frozen. After being attacked by two masked men and gassed, Aquaman falls overboard and into the depths. The pressure snaps him out of it, and he trails the ship into the seaweed.
In the middle of the Sargasso is an island of seaweed ruled by a pirate king, Master Sargasso. Aquaman recruits a pirate helper and uses the deep-sea pressure to wake up the gassed prisoners. The prisoners revolt against the pirates. The pirates try to send a burning ship filled with explosives among their former prisoners, but Aquaman sends it back to the pirates, who are killed when it explodes.
The splash page has Aquaman, carrying a sea-shell shield, fighting against the masked henchmen of Master Sargasso. The bad guys are wearing red scuba gear that covers their faces, red briefs, green shoes, and little else. They are carrying swords, and a few of them also have guns.
We never learn who sent the warning message in the bottle. That's the only flaw in this story, I think.
Master Sargasso is so upset that Aquaman was gassed and fell overboard that he gases the henchman who did it, and throws him into the water. That guy becomes Aquaman's helper once Aquaman saves him. The former henchman explains the gas to Aquaman, and the way they get onto ships to gas the crews. He also lists Master Sargasso's crimes: piracy, mutiny, and murder. Sargasso looks too old to be such a criminal, but maybe he's been hanging about the Sea for too long.
At the end of the story, Aquaman is offered command of the fleet of freed ships. He declines (with a speech) and swims off into the open waves.
Master Sargasso is apparently the strange new enemy mentioned in the last issue of More Fun Comics. This story's next issue box says "Black Jack Next!!", but Black Jack does not show up again until More Fun #80.
There was an article in the November 1998 Smithsonian about the Sargasso Sea that explains a few things that are left unsaid in this story. For the most part, though, all you need to know is that the Sargasso Sea is a place where the ocean currents seem to stop and the seaweed grows thick.
This story's title was taken from the opening text box.
Other notables about this issue: Superman's Secret Message (Code Saturn No 5) IJKJSI DTZW HTZSYWD GD GZDNSL IJKJSXJ XYFRUX!, a short text story "Strange Acquaintance" by Norman Goss, a half-page Shorty cartoon, a half-page Private Pete cartoon, a one page Clancy the Cop cartoon and a one-page Chief Hot Foot cartoon all by Henry Boltinoff, a cookie recipe made with Baby Ruth candy bars.