With Aquaman garnering quite a bit of buzz with the release of his first solo movie, I thought it would be a good idea to take a brief dive through his history. And I’ll be honest with you before we get too far into this article, Aquaman hasn’t been one of the characters I’ve read a whole lot of. I apologize if there are any inaccuracies here, and if there are, please let me know in the comments.
I will say, though, reading up on the history of the character for this piece has been quite entertaining, and it certainly piqued my interest in regards to reading some more Aquaman books in the future. Hopefully, this quick article does the same for some of you.
Aquaman’s first appearance was in More Fun Comics number 73 in November of 1941. It was written by Mort Weisinger and the art was done by Paul Norris. With powers that include enhanced strength, speed, and agility, Aquaman is also able to tap into and ethically control aquatic life. He is half human—from his father—and half Atlantean— from his mother.
Unfortunately for the character, early on with the help of the Super Friends cartoon and other media, Aquaman hasn’t always been shown in the best of light; with more of a campy, wholesome take applied to the character. This made it quite easy for Aquaman to become the butt of many jokes in pop culture over the years. Which is something that had persisted up until the last decade or so when the comics had taken on more serious subject matter and switched the attitude of the character to reflect the tone of these newly retooled story arcs.
In modern times there has been a great deal of effort put into making Aquaman into more of a serious character by portraying his struggle of keeping the peace between Atlantis and the surface world. As king of Atlantis, his people often disagree with his affection for the surface world. Conversely, the surface world often sees him as part of the problem when dealing with the ocean.
Aquaman has also gone through many different looks since the days of him swimming through the ocean with a clean shaven face and wearing his trademarked orange shirt and green pants. There have been many times the artists have given him the long hair and beard look, which is hugely popular now with Jason Momoa portraying the character in the movie. Though, I think my favorite iteration of Aquaman might be the shirtless pirate look he rocked for a bit, just for the fact that during that time he also had a hook hand. Yes, I said that right. He had a hook for a hand at one point.
Even though I may not have read a lot Aquaman’s title, I still know the character has had some pretty good creators work on his books. From the likes of Peter Davis, up until Geoff Johns and Dan Abnett in the most recent years—and I’m sure I’m missing quite a few other awesome creators who have worked on Aquaman over the years. If any of you would like to recommend some story arcs, I’d love to check them out.
As of the writing of this article, I have not yet had the opportunity to see the Aquaman movie. I have heard some pretty good things and I’m looking forward to watching it. I think it’s safe to say that this is probably the highest popularity for Aquaman since the character was created. Definitely in recent years, for sure. Let’s just see if this can finally stop a lot of those talking to fish jokes that have been holding this character down for so many years. At the very least, Aquaman has finally broken into mainstream pop culture for the right reasons. And I think that’s all any of his fans ever wanted to see.
If you enjoyed this, check out some of our other quick history pieces.