Saturday, November 17, 2012


The Secret Origin of Aquaman is one of eight booklets packaged with
undoubtedly delicious candy and sold by the Leaf Candy Company as
“Comicbook Candy.” The 16-page booklets consists of  a cover, 14
pages of story and a back cover advertisement for a DC Super Heroes
Collector Album.  The miniature comics are 4-1/4" tall and 2-3/4"
wide.  Check out yesterday’s blog for a photo of the display box
from which this 1981 product was sold.  The Grand Comics Database
has indexed these booklets.  Because of that, we know a lot about
these booklets.  

The cover of The Secret Origin of Aquaman depicts a scene not found
inside the booklet.  Dick Giordano confirmed that he was the inker
of this cover and suspects he penciled it from a layout by Carmine
Infantino.  Paul Kupperberg wrote the condensed origin story.  It
was penciled by Don Heck and inked by Vince Colletta.

I like my super-hero origins quick and to the point.  This version
of Aquaman’s origin fits that well.  Aquaman visits the lighthouse
where he was born.  Through him, we learn ex-sailor Tom Curry was
the master of the lighthouse and that Curry took the job because he
could not bear to be parted “from the sea he so loved.”

Curry rescues a mysterious blonde woman adrift on the sea during a
storm.  Though Atlanna reveals nothing of her past, Curry falls in
love with her.  They marry and have a son, a most remarkable child
who swims “like a champion” before he can walk.  After a harrowing
incident in which the lighthouse keeper believes young Arthur has
drowned, he learns his son can breathe underwater and command the
denizens of the sea. 

On her death bed, Atlanna tells her husband and son that she is an
outcast from the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, banished from her
home because of her interest in the surface world.  She says Arthur
has “inherited the Atlantean powers of the world’s oceans” and that
he will someday be “the King of the Seven Seas.” 

Years later, after his father dies, Arthur takes to the oceans as
Aquaman and fulfills his mother’s prediction.  He takes his leave
of his birthplace, but promises to return there soon to again honor
his parents. 

Kupperberg fits a good chunk of story into slightly over two dozen
panels.  The small size of the pages limits Heck’s visuals, though
not as much as do the unimpressive Colletta inks.  Heck’s individual
style, which I always liked, is lost in the inking. 

Lettering is by Ben Oda.  The identity of the colorist is unknown
at this time.  The GCD opines Joe Orlando was the editor of these
booklets.  If anyone can name the colorist and confirm Orlando as
the editor, please do so.

When I asked my Facebook friends and the members of various comics
mailing lists about these booklets, there was great interest about
them.  So I’m going to spend most of the next few days discussing
them.  Come back tomorrow for the secret origin of Batman.

© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. I remember those! I had that very story when I was a kid!

  2. Oh, I hope you have the Justice League one on tap... I read that one until it fell apart. I'm especially fond of the random Hawkman appearance on the page where the Leaguers take down the robot... and then he disappears completely.