More Fun Comics 77

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More Fun Comics #77
Aquaman Splash Page from More Fun #77 by Paul Norris
Title: Aquaman: Freedom of the Seas!
Cover Date: Mar 1942
Anthology: Six Stories (Green Arrow Cover), fourth story
Other Stories: "Green Arrow: Doom Over Gayland"; "Doctor Fate"; "Radio Squad: The Blackout Burglary"; "Johnny Quick: The Wizard of Weapons"; "Spectre: Death Rules the Elements"
Artist: Paul Norris
Editor: Whitney Ellsworth (credited); Mort Weisinger (actual)
Ship Date: 27 Jan 1942
Cover Price: $0.10
Page Count: 8
Character Appearances: Aquaman, Black Jack

Synopsis | Summary | Comments | Links


After rescuing a man thrown overboard a gambling ship, Aquaman goes undercover to learn the secret of the ship.


While gambling on the ship Fortuna (just outside the twelve-mile limit), Dawn Burton, daughter of a senator, is kidnapped by the "Rajah of Joon" (owner of the ship). When the Rajah tosses her unnamed boyfriend overboard, Aquaman gets involved by first saving the youth, then posing as a wealthy fool to learn the secret of the ship. In the meantime, the Rajah attempts to blackmail the senator.

Undercover, Aquaman learns that the gambling ship is full of cheats, and starts busting it up, when suddenly he comes face-to-face with the Rajah... better known as Black Jack, modern pirate. Aquaman is shocked enough that one of Black Jack's henchmen knocks him out. Black Jack has Aquaman put in the furnace room, and Aquaman starts a fire to free himself.

Aquaman rescues Dawn from the fire, but they are forced into the water as the ship sinks. They spot a life-raft, but it is occupied by Black Jack, who tries to kill Dawn. Aquaman stops him, and takes them to the police.


Back to non-story splash pages, as Aquaman is approaching the Rajah's lifeboat from behind as the Rajah is about to kill Dawn, and the Fortuna is blowing up in the background.

Does Black Jack have nine lives, or what? We last saw him when he was exiled from Pearl Island. He somehow managed to pretend to be a Rajah and afford a gambling ship. That's one skilled pirate. With a name like Black Jack, it was only a matter of time before he got into gambling.

Aquaman shows some characteristics of the Silver Age Aquaman in this story. He talks directly to a sawfish, who does his bidding. Being in the furnace room weakens him severely, and water refreshes him. This is also the first story in which he wears something other than his usual orange and green: he's dressed in a tux to go gambling (and uses jewels from the sea-bottom to wager with).

Plot inconsistency: How did Dawn know that water would revive Aquaman? In the situation given, Dawn could either throw water on Aquaman, or water on the fire... most people would probably have tried to put out the fire. Is Aquaman so well-known already that she just knew what he was asking?

Black Jack is a meanie. He kidnaps Dawn to blackmail the senator (who heads the waterways committee), he gets smart and throws Aquaman in the furnace room instead of overboard (as one of his henchmen suggests), he knocks out a henchman on the burning ship to get a liferaft, and he tries to kill Dawn as she's begging for help. One nasty dude.

The last panel has a box that declares "Trespassers, Beware! Aquaman, Lord of Ocean's Depths, Lets no unworthy being invade his domains - But a challenge of his right to rule is made be a strange new enemy in the next issue of More Fun Comics"

This story's title was taken from the opening text box.

Other notables about this issue: Superman's Secret Message (Code Venus No 2) AQW CTE CU KORQTVCPV VQ AQWT EQWPVTA CU KV KU VQ AQW! (this has a typo), a really neat ad for Canada Dry Ginger Ale that has a recipe for a "Honolulu" (just mix 1/4 cup grape juice with 1/4 cup pineapple juice and add 1/2 cup of tangy, tingly doubly bubbly Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Then... picture waving palms as this South Seas treat trickles down your throat), an ad for the Superman cartoon, an ad for World's Finest #5 (that says it's on sale Feb 13th), a two page Clancy the Cop cartoon, and a short text story called "Revenge".