Name just a few super-heroes that you know and one character may pop up in that list.
He has never got the popularity of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman or Spider-man, but he is a hero that many of us grew up to. Either in comic books or on Saturday morning cartoons, Aquaman was a part of that trivia of our youth.
Aquaman is a superhero in DC Comics that was created by Paul Norris ( and Mort Weisinger,) for More Fun Comics # 73 (Nov. 1941). Initially a backup feature for the main attraction of Superboy, Aquaman was later featured in his own title multiple times. Nearly two decades later, during the superhero-revival period known as the Silver Age of Comic Books, he was a founding member of the Justice League of America. Aquaman is king of Atlantis and has the power to communicate with sea creatures.
Aquaman has also appeared in animated and live-action television programs. Most will remember him from the Super Friends or the long running Aquaman cartoon show in the 60’s.
The man who help create Aquaman, Paul Norris, has taken his Final Taxi at the age of 93.
Born on April 26, 1914 in Greenville, Ohio, Norris studied at Midland Lutheran College and at the Dayton Art Institute before being hired for the Dayton Daily News as an illustrator and cartoonist. In 1939, he headed to New York to seek a better job. By 1940, he was drawing comics for Prize Publications, where he created such “star strips” as Yank and Doodle, Power Nelson and Futureman.
Norris was at DC Comics in 1941. There, he and editor-writer Weisinger created Aquaman.
His first credit with DC is a revamp of the Sandman. Sandman has always been my favorite super hero. The simple green three-piece suit with purple cape and a gas mask was something I could see someone wearing instead of the tights and cape. Norris thought otherwise and followed what was popular for the time giving Sandman yellow and purple tights and a boy sidekick. It worked for the time period but I was glad he turned back to the gas masked hero many years later.
During WW II Norris illustrated propaganda leaflets to be dropped from aircraft over Okinawa, urging Japanese soldiers to surrender. After the war he worked with the King Features Syndicate as a “troubleshooter” with such adventure strips as Flash Gordon and Secret Agent X-9.
I the 1950s, Norris drew issues of Dell Comics’ Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and Jungle Jim, the latter of which he had previously drawn as a newspaper comic strip. The following decade, he drew stories of jungle adventurer Tarzan and science-fiction hero Magnus, Robot Fighter in comic books for Gold Key Comics. He also drew one of my favorite DC speedsters Johnny Quick.
Later he drew comics for Marvel of Hanna-Barbera characters including Yogi Bear, Scooby Doo, and Dyno-mutt.
Noted as one of the last of the great creators of Golden Age DC superheroes, Aquaman stories still get a “Created by Paul Norris” credit on them.
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