AQUAMAN #22 August 1965
Nick Cardy original artist
When it came to DC Comics resident Coral Reef Crusader, I always seemed to have a blind spot. Aquaman just didn't float my boat, dig?? Stop the presses--here's a guy who swims and talks to fishes--and for THIS he gets to be a member of the Justice League?? Was Roy Raymond unavailable or something? But the Waterlogged Wonder DID have two things going for him--artist Nick Cardy, and wife-to-be Mera (and if you think I'm gonna say she had two things going for HER, well, I'm going to try hard to resist the urge, if that's all right with you!!..)
I admit to being blinded to Mr. Cardy's considerable artistic charms during the early days of the Aqua series. It would take his later work on TEEN TITANS, and most especially BAT LASH, to open my eyes fully to the extent of his tremendous talents. I blame my lapse in taste on the insipidness of the scripts given him by editor George Kashden's hardly-award-winning stable of writers. Additionally, the submerged milieu hardly brought out the best in Cardy. For example, this very issue features page after page of swirly lines--thick and thin-- acting as the sole background elements the characters exist in as their environment. Factor in lots of pale blue and green for the color template to denote the undersea setting, and, issue after issue, you've got one blah looking book, people.

However, I still bought it. Why? Well, the reason I would've given you back in 1965 was probably because the Sea King was indeed a member of the JLA, and for that reason, if for no other, deserving of my respect. But I was fooling myself. There were OTHER considerable charms involved. Mera's, to be precise. It had to be, if only subliminally. Because, honestly, I don't ever recall finding her particularly attractive--unlike Jim Mooney's Supergirl or Dan DeCarlo's Betty Cooper--but c'mon, who am I kidding?? Just look at that majestic flowing red mane, those prominent sparkling eyelashes, that slinky form-fitting outfit, those, those--- um, well, I think you get the idea, heh... What she was doing with Aquaman, I couldn't tell ya, but as comics characters go, she was one heckuva cutie!

And on this delightful little cover, she was TWO heckuva cuties!! Ah, me oh my, the Doublemint twins never seemed half as enticing!! And dig that crazy title: "Trap of the Sinister Sea Nymphs"!! It was all very innocent back in 1965, but the mind boggles at what an updated Vertigo take on that very concept would look like today!?! Yipes!! Now, THAT'D be an Aquaman episode you couldn't keep me from reading!!!...