Real Name: Alethea
Identity/Class: Mermaid (1950s era)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Unidentified sailor
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: An underwater city
First Appearance: Tales to Astonish I#4/4 (July, 1959)
Powers/Abilities: Alethea was an aquatic humanoid, possessing a fish-like tail instead of legs, and a human torso. She was able to breathe both water and air, but it is unrevealed if she possessed any other abilities (see comments).
Height: 5' 7" (by
Weight: 130 lbs. (by approximation)
(Tales to Astonish I#4/4 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Alethea and her fellow mer-people is unrevealed, but they dwelt in an underwater city, somewhere near the Caribbean Sea.
(Tales to Astonish I#4/4) - One day, Alethea swam to the ocean's surface and frolicked in the waves, where she was sighted by a lone sailor. The sailor navigated his boat over to her, and Alethea introduced herself to him--as the two talked, they developed feelings of love for each other. But when the sun began to set, Alethea insisted that she had to return home, then swam away.
The next morning, the infatuated sailor--not wanting to spend the rest of his life alone--returned to the same area and circled his boat for hours, hoping for Alethea to return. Suddenly, the mermaid's graceful form appeared on the water's surface, for she had also been hoping to see the sailor again.
The sailor professed his love to Alethea, and when he learned that she felt the same for him, he told her that they'd never again have to be apart. But the mermaid sadly pointed out that they lived in different worlds--he, on the world's surface, and she, beneath the waves. The sailor told Alethea that he'd follow her into the sea if he had to, but she pleaded with him not to do so, because he would drown.
Realizing that they could never be together, the heart-broken Alethea dove back below the waters and swam away, for she feared the sailor's love for her would mean his death; but regardless, the anguished sailor tore off his shirt and dove in after her.
The sailor swam deeper and deeper into the sea to follow Alethea--he found that he could still breathe, because water was now even more natural to him than the air above it, for he had become a merman! (see comments)
As Alethea and her transformed lover swam to their underwater city, the former-sailor realized that he had come home... (see comments)
Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Carl Burgos.
This 4-page story--I Love a
Mermaid!--was told from the sailor's narrative perspective;
although he never specifically stated that he transformed into a merman,
I'm just assuming he did--his legs were never depicted, but you'd think
that if he always
had that fish-tail, he would have been noticed while he was on the
So how did he transform into a merman? Based on the narration in the last caption, I'd speculate that the mer-people of that underwater city unknowingly had the ability to become regular humans when they were out of the water, and thus their tails transformed into legs. I'd further speculate that the sailor's parents were once residents of the city, and after discovering this ability, they emigrated to the surface-world before the sailor was born; but they died before they could reveal the truth of his undersea heritage to him, which would explain why the sailor was drawn to the sea. And assuming all this is true, then perhaps Alethea also had that same transformation ability.
Profile by Ron Fredricks.
Alethea has no known connections to:
The unidentified sailor has no known connections to:
The underwater city has no known connections to:
A lonely bachelor, his past was unrevealed (see
comments). For years, something inexplicably seemed to draw him
to the sea, and he spent every moment he could sailing in his small boat,
compelled to search for something...
but he knew not for what.
Apparently located in a large underwater cavern in the
Caribbean Sea, it was populated by an unspecified number of mermaids
(including Alethea) and mermen--after the unidentified sailor followed
Alethea into the ocean, its population increased by one.
images: (without ads)
Tales to Astonish I#4/4, p2, pan1 (Main Image - Alethea)
Tales to Astonish I#4/4, p2, pan4 (Headshot - Alethea; unidentified sailor (background))
Tales to Astonish I#4/4, p2, pan3 (Alethea introduces herself to unidentified sailor)
Tales to Astonish I#4/4, p4, pan5 (Alethea underwater, being pursued by unidentified sailor)
Tales to Astonish I#4/4, p1, pan3 (unidentified sailor first sees Alethea)
Tales to Astonish I#4/4, p4, pan2 (aboard his boat, unidentified sailor speaks with Alethea)
Tales to Astonish I#4/4, p4, pan4 (after professing his love for her, unidentified sailor tells Alethea that he'll follow her into the sea)
Tales to Astonish I#4/4, p4, pan6 (unidentified sailor (now a merman) swims with Alethea to underwater city)
Tales to Astonish I#4/4 (July, 1959) - Stan Lee (plot/editor), Carl Burgos (pencils and inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Artie Simek (letters)
First Posted: 03/29/2021
Last updated: 03/29/2021
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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