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Terry Hooper-Scharf

Monday 13 February 2023

Hexagon Comics: The Lords of the Depths #2: Commander Neptune


Art by Onofrio Bramante, Barbato; cover by Alfredo Macall.
7x10 squarebound trade paperback, 
98 p. 
ISBN-13: 978-1-64932-185-5. 
US $12.95

Underwater heroes and amphibian characters from Jules Verne’s famous rogue submariner, Captain Nemo and his myriad imitators, to Marvel’s Sub-Mariner and DC’s Aquaman (1941), have always proved popular with comic book aficionados.
Hexagon Comics introduced their own “Lords of the Depths” in six series, which we have sampled here in three issues. This is the second.

In this volume, meet:

Commander Neptune (1965), drawn by Onofrio Bramante, the leader of ABYSS, a special underwater commando of the International Oceanic Force, who leads the powerful, sophisticated submarine, the Arethuse.

The Patrol of the Depths (1975), an organization founded by Professor Jean Monnier, comprised of spelunkers and geologists Terry Bronx and Sandy Crown; Native American Seminole Poldus, and African American Tobie Drugg. 

Macall's covers just make you want to buy to look inside!

UFO! is drawn in a rather simplistic style but one thing it screams out loud is "1960s"! It reminded me of Magazine Enterprises comics and some of the strips they put out; quite a fun story with Cookie (a ship's cook no less) at the centre of the action  and who might just regret coming across diminutive evil genius Grotewull!

The Patrol of the Depths had a definitive Cave Carson and Challengers of the Unknown feel to it and was a bit of fun and action leading up to the (I hope) soon to be seen War Beneath the Earth.

There were scenarios very familiar to those from Gerald Swan's The Foy Fish and other adventure strips in the latter strip and I think it goes to show that certain themes and story concepts are not just confined to the United States or the UK. For kids at the time these comics must have been the spark for many imaginative adventures of their own and I wonder how many wanted to draw comics based on these?

Again, new material to English readers and I really hope comickers out there give this, and the other Hexagon books, a try.

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