Sunday, March 27, 2016

Profile: Aquaman


First appearance: More Fun Comics #73, 1941

History: coming 2 years after Sub-Mariner's debut in early Marvel books, Aquaman was easily the second most famous seabound superhero, although it was in the Silver Age when Arthur Curry really became significant with the first solo series that ran during 1962-71. It was in this series where Mera was introduced and they married for many years. His creators were Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: in the 2nd issue of the mid-90s series written by Peter David (from September 1994), Arthur lost his left hand after a verminous villain named Charybdis - who paralyzed his ability to communicate with sea life - forced it into a piranha-infested pool, where it was promptly turned into mincemeat. He later replaced it with a short harpoon-style blade, not unlike what Captain Hook's got in Peter Pan.

What's wrong with how this was done? Coming at a time when Kevin Dooley - who turned out to be one of DC's worst editors in the 90s - was at work, this was a pretty gratuitous attempt to make the Sea King more "badass". His personality was soon rendered more aggressive and unhinged, and it's apparent Dooley and company were going out of their way to make Aquaman not all that different from other superheroes at the time, who just had to have "drive" so people could supposedly identify with them.

Even today, with overrated writers like Geoff Johns in charge, this hasn't changed so much. Aquaman may have regained his left hand since, but the grisly tone Dooley started (and Johns amplified) still prevails.