All hail DC's King of the Seas!

This will be a thread to discuss any and all things Aquaman.  The character has come up in a few different threads here in the last little while, so I decided to start one for general discussions on him.

Before I go any further, I want to recommend an excellent thread started by Jeff of Earth-J, where he is having a discussion of "The Search for Mera" storyline, from 1968-69's Aquaman # 40-48.

Also, if you're so inclined, check out a thread started by yours truly where we discuss DC's Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age Omnibus collections.  Recently, I made a post for upcoming 2018 releases, leading Philip Portelli to ask "Any guesses why no Aquaman, Atom or Hawkman volumes?", and a new line of discussion around those three characters sprung up; you can find that on page 24 of the discussion below.

I'm already a fan of Aquaman, and this piqued my interest in him a bit more.  So I did a little digging, learned a few things that surprised me, and so, this thread.

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Interestingly, none of the Seven Soldiers has superpowers,  although Shining Knight has magic armor, a magic sword, and a flying horse.  Maybe “no superpowers” was a consideration that kept Aquaman and Johnny Quick off the team.

Yes, good point, also quite possible.

Dave Palmer said:

Interestingly, none of the Seven Soldiers has superpowers,  although Shining Knight has magic armor, a magic sword, and a flying horse.  Maybe “no superpowers” was a consideration that kept Aquaman and Johnny Quick off the team.

Do you know what the reasoning was for separating the Green Arrow stories into Earth-1 and Earth-2 between those consecutive Adventure Comics issues?

I was going to post this to the "what Comics Have You Read Today?" discussion, but seein's how John started this discussion, I'll post it here instead. Sometimes three-day weekends put my reading too far ahead of my posting, so I'll choose something I don't have a lot to say about or for whatever reason don't plan to do an issue-by-issue analysis. this tpb collects '70s stories from Adventure Comics #435-437, #441-455, and Aquaman #57-63. The first three are short six- or seven-pagers by Steve Skeates and Mike Grell. then Paul Levitz and Jim Aparo take over. I read this tpb once before, when it first came out a couple f years ago, but the stoies didn't stick with me for some reason. It's almost as if I'm reading them for the first time. I'm about half-way through. If you like good, solid 1970s fare (and Aquaman, of course), I can recommend this collection.

I think I can guess. World's Finest #94 is dated June 1958. Jack Kirby took over the Green Arrow strip in Adventure with issue #250, which is dated July 1958. Several issues later Kirby would give Oliver Queen his new Silver Age (Earth-One) origin, so one must consider all of Kirby's Green Arrow stories to be about the Earth-One Green Arrow. Which puts a thumb-tack in "July 1958" as when the Earth-One Green Arrow began -- ending the Earth-Two version a month before, in June 1958 -- when World's Finest #94 came out. 


Richard Willis said:

Do you know what the reasoning was for separating the Green Arrow stories into Earth-1 and Earth-2 between those consecutive Adventure Comics issues?

Funny thing about 1958 being a cut-off point for the Earth-Two Green Arrow is that the issue that confirmed his existence in the first place was Justice League of America #100 which stated that he and the other Seven Soldiers vanished into the past in 1948!

I bought most of Aquaman's 1970s Adventure run when they came out and I agree that they're great comics. They started two years after the Super Friends cartoon started but two years before they returned with new episodes. Still, that had to boost Aquaman's profile! 

I always read that Kirby did his best to take Green Arrow to the next level of getting his own book but Weisinger didn't like his approach and took him off the feature.

Luke Blanchard said:

Kirby didn't always write his stories in that period. The GCD credits the script of the GA origin story to Ed Herron. DC was a full script company, but Kirby may have taken part in the plotting conference, and made changes as he was doing the story.

There was another Aquaman story during the period covered by the trade in DC Special Series #1, by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin and Jack Abel. It opens with Aquaman setting off for home after his defeat of Black Manta to tell Mera Aquababy has died. He runs into a supervillain who wants to recreate the Persian Empire and is stranded in a desert.

The 1970s Aquaman died in the DC Implosion. Adventure Comics was converted into a multi-feature giant, and the feature continued there. Don Newton continued at the artist. Don Heck drew a couple of instalments. The feature was dropped when the title went down in size, but was added to the line-up again in #475. When "Dial H for Hero" started it was moved to the back pages of Action Comics.

It should be noted that when Aquaman returned to Adventure Comics with #475-478 (S-D'80), he was the "star" of the book.

Also when he went to Action Comics, he was part of the rotating back-up features with his fellow "A"-Listers, the Atom and Air Wave!

I briefly had Aquaman #59 as a kid. I liked it OK, but the bit that really stuck with me was the water construct battle and its outcome in the back-up story.

No Aquaman discussion would be complete without a link to the song Arthur Curry by Ookla the Mok.

I disliked the Adventure run because I was irritated that they killed off Aquababy. For two reasons:

I was getting pretty tired of death in comics at that point. It was before the revolving door, so people tended to stay dead (or stay dead longer). And I was old enough to realize that killing off characters (usually for shock value) had the unintended consequence of reducing the feature -- fewer springboards for stories, fewer supporting characters -- a lessening in general. Possibly this was when I was getting disgusted with Amazing Spider-Man killing off the bulk of its supporting cast, or maybe it was just a culmination. Anyway, a strip with Aquababy is more interesting than one without, because it distinguishes Aquaman from most of his super-brethren and provides more story potential. 

Secondly, I was tired (as I mentioned on this thread or another) of writers constantly falling back on the Mera-is-mad-at-Aquaman trope. A happily married couple in comics bordered on unique; a superhero whose spouse wants to kill him is really something of a cliche. It may be genuine anger, it may be hypnotism, it may be psychosis, it may be Malice, but it happens so much it's not even interesting. For one thing, we know it's not permanent (except maybe for Jean Loring). For another, a couple together offers better (and less shopworn) story potential.

Also, there may have been a drop of misogyny in Mera's constant reduction to irrationally angry spouse. I much prefer today's Aquaman for its use of Mera as a powerful character in her own right with agency of her own, who chooses to be with Arthur because, duh, she loves him. How refreshing.

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