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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Superhero > Action > The Adventures Of Aquaman – The Complete Collection (1966/Filmation/Warner/DC Comics/DVD-Video/1966)

The Adventures Of Aquaman – The Complete Collection (1966/Warner/DC Comics/DVD-Video)


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: C+     Episodes: B-



After huge success with the animated Superman (reviewed elsewhere on this site) launching their company, Filmation decided to take on other DC Comics heroes and the choice of Aquaman was a fateful one.  At the time, he was one of their lesser-known characters, but his comics were not bad and his participation in the Justice League Of America series gave it a certain chemistry and believability that made that comic a classic.  The Adventures Of Aquaman – The Complete Collection arrives on DVD and includes all the animated short adventures that put the ocean crusader on the map.


Entertaining and charming as ever down to the theme song and “serious” voice-overs by the great Ted Knight, the show had the guts to include darker villains like Black Manta and regular characters like Mera and Aqualad.  Even when they added Tusky The Walrus as an animal mascot, he never became annoying, obnoxious, over-sentimentalized or childish.  It is just the tip of how the writers respected the audience of all ages and the first-class treatment Filmation was doing their best to give the whole DC Universe they licensed.


Since the stories are short, they never have time to wear thin, so even when the ideas are not always the most intriguing, they still work because there is enough action fit into the segments that they never become boring.  Yes, the animation is simple as all TV production animation had limited budgets, but the art and use of color made up for that and audiences were more than happy to accept a simple art approach that looked like the actual comics come to life.  Now that too many comics have gutted color and have often lost their intelligence, heart, soul and charm, the shows take on a whole new value showing the character in peak classical form.


The 1.33 X 1 image varies little throughout the 36 adventures and Filmation had these processed in Technicolor, which often shows.  That vibrant color sold these, helping them to become the huge hit they were and still are.  Unfortunately, the Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono can be restrictive, compressed, even warped at times and sound more aged than it has in TV broadcasts.  However, the picture helps offset that problem.  The only extra is the featurette Aquaman: The Sovereign Of The Seas, which covers the long history of the character in great detail from his early start as a semi-developed character, to the most underrated of all the known major DC heroes.


At the time, Ideal issued a female action figure series called Super Queens that included Mera and is one of the most valuable DC tie-in figures on the market, if you can find her.  Some memorabilia of the time also included Aquaman, but this show in reruns combined with Aquaman on Superfriends gave the hero a permanent place in the Superhero culture, along with propelling sales of the Mego Toys action figures (including Aqualad in 1976) as some of the most sought-after on the market.  See these shows and you’ll start to understand why.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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