Aquaman and Green Arrow stuck around as back-up features in DC comics despite their lack of breakout popularity.
Writer Robert Bernstein transformed the Aquaman series with continuity, Atlantis origin, and Aqualad.
Before that point, though, Bernstein wrote a bizarre story with Aquaman’s pet dragon/cat Myron ends tragically but could lead to interesting future concepts.

I Love Ya But You’re Strange is a feature that spotlights strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Today, we look at the time that Batman traveled to the future and met Gotham City’s Police Chief of the future…the Joker?!?!

I have spoken before about the oddity that was Aquaman and Green Arrow in the Golden Age and Silver Age. You see, when the Golden Age was at its heyday, DC’s comic book anthologies were PACKED with superhero features coming out every month. Back in the day, most comic books were anthologies, even the ones that were just about a single superhero (like Superman or Batman) were still anthlologies, they were simply anthologies where every story in the anthology was about a single superhero. Obviously, though, over time, as superheroes became less and less popular (outside of DC’s “Big Four” of Superman, Batman, Superboy, and Wonder Woman), superheroes continued losing their features left and right.

The weird thing, though, was that Aquaman and Green Arrow just…DIDN’T. They maintained their place as back-ups in Adventure Comics (where they traveled to in the late 1940s after losing their original series, More Fun Comics, which became a humor comic) throughout the late 1940s and all through the 1950s. And it wasn’t like they were big time characters. Aquaman literally did not appear on the cover of an American comic book until he appeared as a member of the Justice League in the Justice League’s first appearance in 1959! However, despite that, Aquaman just kept keeping on keeping on. For the most part, Aquaman stories were just sort of devoid of continuity, and it seemed like there wasn’t even a consistent writer on the book. That changed, though, in the late 1950s, when Robert Bernstein took over the series, and really began to transform the feature.


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Who was the influential Aquaman writer, Robert Bernstein?

Robert Bernstein (1919-1988) was a longtime comic book writer who did a lot of work for Marvel in the 1950s before the company drastically cut its output, at which point Bernstein, who was already doing work for DC, moved over to DC more or less full-time, writing a number of notable Superman stories, Superboy stories and, of course, taking over the Aquaman feature with artist Ramona Fradon (he later returned to Marvel to do some trippy superhero work in the early 1960s).

Bernstein introduced Aquaman’s classic Atlantis origin. He introduced Aqualad. He (paired with the brilliant artist, Fradon), delivered much more continuity in the series, as Aquaman now had an Atlantis to be tied to, and he now had a sidekick. However, before Bernstein took over the regular writing duties, he wrote an extremely bizarre Aquaman story in 1957’s Adventure Comics #244, introducing Myron, Aquaman’s pet…dragon cat?!


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Who was Myron, Aquaman’s frozen pet…dragon cat?!

The story opens with Aquaman patrolling the Arctic, as it had been an uncommonly warm summer, and so Aquaman was afraid that some icebergs might have broken off, and floated into shipping lanes, so he headed off to see if there were any problems. Instead, however, he discover some sort of prehistoric dragon/cay hybrid that had been frozen in a huge glacier for many, many years, and now the heat was letting it out (see, global warming, look at the problems that you cause!)…

Aquaman quickly sort of adopts the dragon/cat and names him Myron. Anyone know what Aquaman is referencing here? IS it a topical reference, or is it just a very odd choice for a name by Bernstein?

Myron is VERY friendly, and obviously takes to Aquaman right away, but the problem is that he keeps mimicking the other animal life that Aquaman interacts with, and since he doesn’t realize the effect of his gigantic size, Myron’s attempts to help cause more problems than they solve.

We see this repeatedly, as Myron keeps trying to copy what other, smaller, animals, do, and the result is chaos and destruction…

Here’s the thing, though. I totally agree that Myron’s presence was a problem, but I don’t think Aquaman really gave the giant dragon/cat enough time to adjust to its new commands. I know the stakes are high, but it is clear that Myron is not doing any of these out of malice or spite. He just legitimately believes that he was helping Aquaman out, and he is bonded to Aquaman, so he wants to make Aquaman pleased.

Aquaman, rather than just continue to work on the problem (it’s sort of like, “But I tried nothing, and nothing worked!”), decides that he just has to trick Myron into being placed BACK into suspended animation to be brought back in the distant future where, I guess, I dunno, dragon cats are totally normal or something?

It really is a surprisingly tragic ending to what is generally a pretty funny story. How haunting is his happy face as he runs under the waterfall to play, and is instead frozen solid? I guess his physiology allows him to survive the process, but it is still sad to see. Didn’t Aquaman JUST notice that the creature copies other animals, so why not just USE that to control Myron better, since you can control all of the sea life out there? You messed up, Aquaman! Don’t go under any waterfalls, Aqualad, who knows when Aquaman might get tired of having a sidekick, and choose to get rid of you by “helping” you get frozen alive for centuries.

It would be interesting to see the return of Myron in the comics. Perhaps Global Warming has melted his home AGAIN? Would he hold a grudge against Aquaman? Some interesting concepts could be explored there.

Thanks to longtime reader, Amy R., for the suggestion! If anyone else has a suggestion for a future I Love Ya But You’re Strange, please drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

“}]] In their latest spotlight on awesomely bizarre comics, CSBG sees the hilarious (and yet still tragic) tale of Myron, Aquaman’s pet…dragon cat?!  Read More