Nostalgic Reviews: “Aquaman Goes to College” (Adventure Comics #120) (1947)

We bet that you didn’t know that, did you? Aquaman has been to college. In 1947, writer Joe Samachson and artist Louis Cazenueve had the nautical superhero attend university to expand his knowledge of deep-sea animals/creatures. That is an admirable reason for Aquaman to go to school as he hasn’t seen every sea creature that there is. With extra analysis, people who study fish are called “ichthyologists.” It is a branch of the field of zoology.

In the story, Aquaman tells his finny friends that he’s going up to land to study fish after interacting with one that had poisonous spines. The fish with spines made Aquaman sick for a few days, so Aquaman wants to investigate fish that he hasn’t interacted with yet. Aquaman attends Weston College that has the top ICHTHYOLOGIST in the country. You will have that big word memorized by the end of the day. Professor Hatcher, the top ichthyologist, is in charge of the financials of the university. Aquaman overhears Hatcher talking to Mr. Reed, who donates his own money to keep the university open. Mr. Reed tells Hatcher that if the university doesn’t field a winning sports team, he will stop funding the university. Aquaman tells Reed that they will win an upcoming swim meet. Reed says he’ll give the university a million dollars if they win. Aquaman starts dominating the meet, while Mr. Reed is on the ocean with his boat sinking. A finny friend finds its way to Aquaman to relay to him that Mr. Reed may die. Aquaman swims his way to the ocean where he saves Reed with his finny friends and earns the million-dollar donation that Weston needs to keep operating.

The story is brief, but captures the lightheartedness of past Aquaman tales. Samachson crafts an intelligent script with the limited page length that he has. The transition of Aquaman’s academic career to saving Mr. Reed/Weston in the script is well-paced. Aquaman going to college could’ve been inspirational for readers back in the 1940s. Cazanueve is brilliant with his art and the colors make it pop. Some objects are colored oddly in the story, such as Mr. Reed’s ship being purple. The colors of when Aquaman is underneath the ocean has this beautiful, space vibe.

Overall rating: 3.5/5. It’s not a memorable story. It is a pleasing, short story that will make you smile.

By Jordan Lash

My name is Jordan Lash. I write about gaming and comics.

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