Thursday, May 03, 2007

Groovy Chick Month 3: Tula

Today's groovy chick was not merely groovy but pro-actively groovy: Aqualad's first girlfriend, Tula, the Aquachick.

As the go-go checked cover of her first comic put it,
"Meet Aqua-Girl! She's wild, wet, and whacky!"

Gosh, that sounds naughty. Particularly the "whack-y" part, which conjures visions of that popular fetish, underwater spanking. Tula: Strap of Atlantis!

Somehow, the whole idea really puts Aqualad in context, doesn't it?

"But, Tula! I'm too afraid to frug! What if I fail?"

"Shut up, you big-headed purple-eyed freak, and do as Tula says!"


"Yes, Tula!"

Tula was a groovy go-go girl; people used to throng to watch her dance with walruses at a frugtastic piscoteque. In fact, she actually worked as a go-go dancer at a submarine dancehall, and, even more astonishing, got Aqualad a job there as a dancer, too. Aqualad can dance? It's a disturbing thought... .

Oh, and please don't just take my word for it: H at Comic Treadmill has the Tula-scoop.
Tad Williams; are there are underwater dance clubs in Sub Diego, not just for the locals, but for wealthy scuba-diving airbreathers to boogie in? Don't you think there would be? Don't you think there should be...?
Before Tula made the scene, Aqualad was just a pessimistic clumsy big-headed purple-eyed freak-boy. Almost over night, Tula's vivacious presence turned him into an incompetent needy big-headed purple-eyed freak-man.

Tula wasn't just a bubbly showgirl. She had spunk, she had backbone, she had gumption. Once, when Aquaman went off searching for Mera's lost comb (again) and Aqualad was off seeking acceptance from and utility with the Teen Titans (still), a dictator took over the throne of Atlantis (again). Who led a rebellion and ousted the tyrant while the hapless Aquajocks were out hunting snipes? Tula, that's who.

Though she was rather rough and tumble, Tula was royalty, at least by adoption. Abandoned as a baby (probably by Atlantean squares unable to withstand even her infant grooviness), she was adopted by one of the royal families of Atlantis and became a Princess of Poseidonis.

How groovy is the idea of an ass-kicking go-go girl princess who walks around with straps, whacking people for being bad (or not bad

very groovy.
I think WW, who is extremely competitive, probably had Tula bumped off. When Chemo failed to finish the job, she probably snuck into the undersea hospital with a big "air-breather" bubble helmet on, and, when no one was looking, snapped Tula's neck. Then, when Dr. Ronal came back to check on the patient, Diana was all "Oh, Doctor, head spasms from the chemical reactions must have broken her neck! I've seen it before, when I was a war nurse, fighting Dr. Poison."
You know how Wonder Woman can be.

Another groovy thing about Aquachick;
girl had some curves. Except under some later artists, Tula always had a full-ish figure (for comics, at least). She was no stick-with-balloon-breasts, like so many other female characters.

Tula (a.k.a., Aquagirl, a.k.a. Aquachick) is one of those characters I had never encountered pre-Crisis. I first saw her in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths, doing what supporting characters do: dying.

Her death was decidedly
non-groovy: she was killed by Chemo, who poisoned the waters around her. This was on Earth-4, of all places.

I mean,
really; was Earth-4 worth sacrificing someone as groovy as Aquachick? I think not.

It is in her honor that I store Chemo with my Aquaman-related Heroclix.

And carry a strap.


Eric said...

Earth-4 is totally worth saving. Now more than ever!

Thank you, selfless Tula! Perhaps one day, a metamorphized alien trapped in a caterpillar's body will eat the moment that you were...nevermind, I'm still not sure how that works.

H said...

I never expected the grooviest super-chick of them all to appear this early in the month. Tula Lives!

Nor did I expect to ever have a longing to read a Tula/Melba Manton team-up tale. Now I do. And I want Tula to have wear one of Melba's outfits in the process.

Bless you Absorbascon.

Scipio said...

Have you read 52, H?

Maybe Tula's not dead any more...

Wouldn't THAT be an interesting turn of events for Aqualad?

tadwilliams said...

I think Nick Cardy may have been thinking very hard about Yvonne Craig (TV's Batgirl) when he designed Tula. She has the pixie face and Ms. Craig's curviness, all right. You're a bad boy, Nick! You get the strap! (Because Tula is PLEASED.)

I'd love to resurrect Aquachick. I'll bet she dances a super-mean Swim. And, of course, she probably IS alive out there somewhere in the multiversal array.

So many groovy folk to bring back...

Scipio said...


That would give the Tempest story the kick in the pants it so direly needs.

H said...

Count me on the bandwagon of people who'd be happy campers to see Tula return.

I haven't read the final 3 issues of 52 yet Scipio. I'm trying to free time to get to the shop tomorrow and pick up the last two issues.

K26dp said...

Somehow, someway... if Tad brings back Aquachick, Nick Cardy should pencil that issue.

The Fortress Keeper said...

Yeah, Aquachick!

I loved DC's silver age teen heroines. Wonder Girl was similarly groovy until Marv Wolfman decided to give her "depth."

Now that I think about it, he offed Aquagirl too.


Jon said...

I laughed way, way harder at "piscoteque" than I probably should have. There's a word that has seen exactly all the mileage it ever will, right there.

Scipio said...

"he offed Aquagirl too.'

Of course he did. Bob Haney was the Groovitor; Marv Wolfman is the Anti-Groovitor.


Thank you, Jon. I knew that, even if only one person got that, it would be worth it.

Scipio said...

"I think Nick Cardy may have been thinking very hard about Yvonne Craig (TV's Batgirl) when he designed Tula."

Ah, Cardy gets a pass on this one, Tad.

Tula debuted in June 1967; Yvonne Craig didn't air as Batgirl until September 1967.

MaGnUs said...

Scipio said: "Maybe Tula's not dead any more...

So the purple-eyed freak is chatting up some surfer girl and, all of sudden, there's Tula, not dead any longer and... WHACK!

Jon Hex said...

In the grand scheme of things, killing Tula seemed kind of pointless, but not in a sublime, choked to death by a robotic hand kind of way, just something to do. Her suit was cool because it's just like she fought evil in her party clothes.

New Earth is all about brining DC back to brighter days, at least, that was what I was told. So bring back that shining light of the murky depths.

Richard said...

What happened to the more recent incarnation of Aquagirl? Was she killed in order to prove the seriousness of a line-wide crossover too?