Big Daddy

It made sense that Lieutenant Commander Bill Martin (code name: Tiger Shark) of the Secret Underwater Intelligence Service would one day find himself face to face with a giant sea monster.

The stories of marine monsters, including prehistoric reptiles, tentacled beasts and sea serpents were stamped indelibly into every seafarer’s subconscious. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea wasn’t just a fanciful science fiction novel to career aquanauts like Martin. There was truth in Jules Verne’s undersea adventure story.

The U.S. Navy, however, wasn’t having any of it. It’s policy on such matters remained consistent: Kraken, karathen, lusca, whatever—behemoths from the bottom of the ocean did not exist. They were simply mythological creatures born in the days when men thought the earth was flat and sea monsters devoured ships.

Tigershark: Operation Sea Monster begins when a confluence of events explodes southwest of Guam in the Philippine Sea: a distressed bathyscaphe, an active underwater volcano, a nosey Russian submarine and outrageous allegations of a giant sea serpent dubbed Big Daddy by first responders. It was time for LCDR Bill Martin to transform into his superhero alter ego: Tiger Shark!

The sinking sealab, the pesky Russian sub and the erupting volcano were all serious situations the U.S. Navy was equipped to handle. No problem there. Sea monsters, on the other hand, were something altogether different. Unique in marine biology, Big Daddy was some kind of hybrid between a mutant sea snake and a giant squid, and it was big enough to crush a submarine like a can of beer. It’s single eye was “uncaringly neutral,” said an early report. “Cruel with no intent of cruelty.”

After a couple of close encounters that established a bond between man and monster, Tiger Shark jumped into his hi-tech stingray submersible and chased the mega mutant back to it’s lair at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

“Stay down there, Big Daddy.” said Tiger Shark to his estimable adversary. “Stay down there and keep out of trouble. The world is not ready for you. Stay down and nurse your wounds and get well and, maybe in another thousand years, pay another visit to the surface and see if men have changed. You, or your spawn, or your spawn’s spawn; wait a millennium before you come again.” Case closed (for now).

[Tigershark #3: Operation Sea Monster / By Manning Lee Stokes writing as Ken Stanton / First Printing: January 1974 / ISBN: 9780532125433]