Fire & Water #181 – Aquaman by Mike Grell

Rob is joined by special guests Darrin and Ruth Sutherland (WARLORD WORLDS) to discuss the Aquaman back-up strips from ADVENTURE COMICS #435-437 by Steve Skeates, Paul Levitz, and then-newcomer Mike Grell!

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Opening theme, "That Time is Now," by Michael Kohler. Closing music by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge of The Bad Mamma Jammas!

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16 responses to “Fire & Water #181 – Aquaman by Mike Grell

  1. I first read these three stories a couple years ago in the AQUAMAN: DEATH OF A PRINCE trade paperback. I remember thinking Mike Grell’s Aquaman was pretty solid and I would have no problem reading an entire book of this style. Then, of course, I turned the page and Jim Aparo smacked me in the face. It’s unfortunate when you give a really strong showing and you’re still regarded as a distant afterthought if you’re remembered at all.

    Anyhoo… This was another terrific episode, Rob. It’s always delightful to hear the Sutherlands show up on any podcast (never forgetting, of course, that their appearance on Secret Origins Podcast was the best). I hope you have them on future episodes, and please continue to chronicle more of Aquaman’s back catalogue. These are some of the most fun episodes!

    1. Ah, you’re so kind Ryan to give us a compliment about our Secret Origins appearance. It was such an honor being part of that excellent show. The coordination involved in that show really illustrates your project management skills … but even more it illustrates how well you are liked, because everyone wanted to be a part of something that special.

  2. Ryan above basically beat me to it, but I have to correct your statement at the top of the show that these stories have never been reprinted anywhere; they do indeed appear in the Death of a Prince tpb – the book opens with them, in fact. And in that book, the coloring of Mera’s outfit is also corrected to the proper and usual green. I just checked out the magenta variant in your gallery and kind of agree that it does not look that bad…
    Anyway, I enjoyed your episode, and I have to say thanks for getting me to finally pull out my Aquaman tpb and finally at least start reading – it’s been sitting on my shelf untouched for a good 2 years now.

    1. Yeah, I also noticed on the image gallery Rob posted that Mera’s costume was colored magenta and I went straight to the trade to confirm that it was corrected/re-colored there.

    2. Yes, Ruth, Rob, and I talked about the color changes as well since Ruth and I have the issues from Comixology, which also includes the color correction of Mera’s costume. I’m glad to hear the issues are included in that trade. I will have to pick it up.

  3. Oh, yeah, and I just remembered another thing: I remember that panel of Aquaman swimming through the undersea in the last story (it’s kind of a long, narrow panel) being included in the (in)famous DC Super Dictionary from the late ’70s. That was always my favorite image in that dictionary, and it’s interesting to know that Grell drew it.

  4. Great episode! Always a pleasure to hear the Sutherlands. While Grell’s work at this point may have had some anatomical wonkiness, it made up for it with a lyrical quality that is just a pleasure to look at. Having spent many hours over at The Legion of Super Bloggers HQ, I can see Grell transition from this to the one we know and admire. I really dig his Black Manta! Oh, and I don’t mind Mera having different color versions of her outfit. Why not?

    Grell’s Adams influence is really apparent here, and in fact I think he swiped the image of Aquaman holding that scientist with his fist back from an early Adams Batman drawing…maybe from a B&B? I can see it in my mind’s eye. He was young, we’ll forgive him!

    That does indeed look like Grell’s work on that SSoV image.


    1. Thank you for the kind comments Chris! Since we are fans of both Aquaman and Mike Grell, we were thrilled that Rob invited us onto the show to cover these issues. It meant lots to us. Plus, just being part of the show that got us into podcasting is a real treat.

    1. Thanks as always for the kind words Paul! So, now that you hear our voices in your head whenever you read The Warlord, is the same thing going to happen when you next read Aquaman … hahaha 🙂

  5. I love these Aquaman addendums, and it’s always a treat to have the Dibnys of Podcasting, the Nick and Nora of Fandom, Ruth and Darrin… just hearing them makes me feel sophisticated. And you’re not chopped liver, Rob.

    It’s funny, as soon as you mentioned magenta Mera I could see her in my mind’s eye, I like it – did that colour scheme appear anywhere else, Super Friends, maybe?

    I really like this early work by Mike Grell, it reminds me of Don Newton as well as Neal Adams. And I agree. The SSoV is Grell, that Ollie is very him plus, zip-a-tone on the Shining Knight and Syl’s leg-span.

  6. I am new to the F&W network and have been trying them all. Really enjoying them and this was a particularly good episode. As I was listening I thought I vaugely recalled the stories but I know that I don’t have those issues. Then I noticed in the comments about the stories being reprinted in the Death of a Prince TPB which a read a year or two ago. Great stories and I appreciate you covering them. I listened to this one looking forward to it since I am a Mike Greco fan. I now am looking forward to downloading and subscribing to the warlords podcast! Thanks!!

  7. Great show – I had never read these stories before and it is nice to see Bronze Age Aquaman; although his lack of a rogues gallery does impact ion him here. 3 Black Manta appearances! Way too much!

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