Aquaman #56, April 1971

The King of the Seven Seas’ first series comes to an end with this stunning Nick Cardy cover. As a character Aquaman had been in print continuously since the early-1940s (one of the few super-heroes to survive the Golden Age), usually as a back-up feature, but came into his own with this run. Cardy  pencilled the first 38-issues and was succeeded by Jim Aparo. For some reason these comics aren’t very popular and can be picked up pretty cheaply — which means a lot of people are missing out on a lot of fine work.

The cover here uses diagonals to draw the eye to the menace of the creature, and the lettering acts as a counterpoint, almost forcing the viewer to turn the page and start reading the story.

By this issue Steve Skeates was the regular scripter, and he used the title to look at environmental concerns of the day. Concerns, actually, that are still very much current in these times of dire warnings about global warming and melting polar ice caps. It was a book ahead of its time.

Image ©2010 DC Comics