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Aquaman-Cosplay (2014)

Aquaman (formerly also known in German-speaking countries as Wassermann (BSV Verlag) and Seekönig (Aller-Verlag)) is a superhero of the comic book series of the same name from the US comic book publisher DC Comics. The rights to the character are held by DC owner WarnerMedia.

The character of Aquaman was created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger. Paul wrote the stories about Aquaman and Mort drew them. Aquaman made his first appearance in 1941 in US-MoreFun Comics #73.

December 2018 saw the release of Aquaman, the first standalone feature film based around the character of Aquaman.


Over the course of its 70-year history, the character has been reworked several times. This affects both Aquaman’s visual appearance and his backstory. Originally, Aquaman was depicted with short blonde hair, orange tight shirt, and green tight pants. Throughout his history, he was briefly given a blue camouflage suit, and in the early 90s, he became a ruder, long-haired, bearded man with a bare muscular torso and a hook hand. This is also how he was portrayed in the animated series The League of the Just. The hook hand was later replaced with a technological hand that Aquaman could control telepathically. In the later comic book series Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, Aquaman returned to his classic look, with short blond hair, orange tight shirt, and green tight pants.

Although not popularized until the Silver Age, Aquaman is a Golden Age character. Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, with his first appearance in issue #73 of More Fun Comics in 1941, he was fighting German submarines and warships at the time of World War II.[1] Aquaman made his last appearance in More Fun Comics in issue #107 in 1946, and from then on his stories appeared in Adventure Comics.[2] He didn’t disappear into obscurity after the war, but his backstory was fleshed out in more detail beginning in 1959. As Arthur Curry, his real name, he is the son of Tom Curry, an ocean explorer who stumbled upon Atlantis, and Atlanna, a resident of that fabled underwater city. As a result, he developed the ability to breathe underwater, and to communicate with sea creatures. Added to this were superhuman strength, resilience, and speed. The backstory was later modified, where, for example, Aquaman’s father was a lighthouse keeper, and his mother was an outcast from Atlantis. In the course of the multiverse of the 1960s, this was explained by various “Aquamen”, an interpretation which, however, did not become established in the long run.

From 1962, Aquaman received his first series, which ran until 1971, and continued from 1977. From the 1970s onwards, Aquaman increasingly evolved into a character perceived as ridiculous and weak. Reasons for this include newly attributed weaknesses, such as that he had to come into contact with water every hour or he would die. Most notably, however, in his portrayal in the animated series Super Friends, which aired beginning in 1973, which portrayed him as a rather useless character outside of water, who also “talked” to fish and was thus perceived as a “joke” compared to other members of the Justice League.[3] Aquaman was never to be rid of this image, as is evident in meme culture to this day,[4][5][6] as well as in various pop culture references, such as in The Big Bang Theory (episode: The Awkward Kiss (2010)), Robot Chicken, Family Guy, or the parody The Deep in The Boys (2019).

Aquaman-Cosplay (2019)

Beginning in 1985, DC launched the Crisis of Infinite Earths storyline series, which was intended to overhaul the comic book universe from the ground up. Aquaman, recreated from 1986 by Neal Pozner, complete in blue costume, was active in several miniseries but failed to catch on. Far more influential was Aquaman, reinterpreted by Peter David in 1990, who broke with the previous character and was given his own series starting in 1991. While little was changed in the backstory, Aquaman was now a grim and bearded man, with a full beard, long hair and a bare torso. Instead of a hand, bitten off by piranhas, he carried an imposing hook, and in some cases a harpoon. With his series, Time and Tide, Peter David, who oversaw the series for four years, was able to increase Aquaman’s popularity, even at a time when slick superheroes were increasingly seen as boring.[7] This Aquaman was seen as grim and gritty, fighting in crossovers with the likes of Lobo, who destroyed his top, and who easily defeated Marvel hero Namor/Sub-Mariner in the DC vs. Marvel series. DC was committed to creating an Aquaman that no more jokes would be made about.[8] The series ran for 75 issues, with subsequent writers like Erik Larsen and Dan Jurgens failing to follow up on Peter David. Rick Veitch began a new series in 2002, which ended after 57 issues in 2007.

Immediately following, Aquaman was no longer given its own series. In 2011, DC relaunched all of their comic series as part of the New 52, including Aquaman. He got his classic look again, with short blond hair, orange, tight shirt and green, tight-fitting pants, but was again much grimmer and depicted as a disillusioned hero. Even in the first issues by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, these refer to prejudice and jokes about the hero: When Aquaman visits a seafood restaurant, he is ridiculed by other patrons, his ordering a fish dish outraging them. He can’t eat fish, after all, fish are his friends and he talks to them. Irritated, Aquaman replies that he doesn’t talk to fish. They lack the brain capacity and intelligence for conversation. He controls them telepathically and gives them orders.

In 2016, DC launched the Rebirth series, which also saw Aquaman become increasingly political in his opposition to ocean pollution, including by the United States. Writer Dan Abnett brought Aquaman’s role as a diplomat more to the forefront in the process. Aquaman, a feature film released in December 2018 as part of the DC Extended Universe, put the hero at the center of a film adaptation for the first time. The portrayal by Jason Momoa was clearly based on Peter David’s comic book interpretation.[9]

In other media

  • Aquaman also appears in the episode “Aquaman” of the series Smallville, in which he saves Lois Lane from drowning at the beginning of the episode. Later in the episode, with Clark’s help, he sabotages a project of Lex Luthor‘s that kills (albeit as an unintended side effect) sea creatures within a few miles. Aquaman wears his signature clothing color combination of orange shirt and green pants in the sequel. He is played by Alan Ritchson.
At the end of the episode, as in the Smallville episode in which the Red Flash has a guest role, there is a reference to the Justice League, whose founding members include Aquaman, Green Arrow, and the Red Flash. Arthur says to Clark at the end of the episode, “Maybe we should start a lifeguard station or something.”
  • After Aquaman’s appearance in Smallville, a pilot for an Aquaman television series was produced to run on The CW. However, the pilot never aired, but was later only made available for download on various websites, including AOL and iTunes.
  • Aquaman occasionally appears in the animated series The League of the Just, which is an animated adaptation of the Justice League, of which Aquaman is a founding member. He is also a recurring character in the series Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
  • In 1967, the U.S. television network CBS had an animated series called Aquaman – Ruler of the Seven Seas, which dealt with the DC Comics character and his companion Aqualad.
  • The second season of the television series Entourage will feature a fictional feature film directed by James Cameron, with the series’ main character Vincent Chase taking on the role of Aquaman.
  • In the television series Family Guy, Aquaman appears in several episodes.
  • Aquaman appears as Sea Man (with the running gag Semen) in the animated series South Park in the episodes The League of Super Best Friends, 200 and 201.
  • In the television series The Big Bang Theory, Raj appears in the episode The Embarrassing Kiss (originally titled The Justice League Recombination) of season 4 wearing an Aquaman costume, with this costume still including a pink seahorse. Throughout the episode, he laments having to play Aquaman, as he hates the character, and expresses that he would much rather have dressed up as Wonder Woman.
  • In the English television series Young Justice, he appears as the instructor of Aqualad.
  • In SpongeBob, the character is parodied as the “Mermaid Man”. This one, however, is of retirement age and housed in a nursing home. His outfit, as well as numerous flashbacks, hint at his past as an Aquaman-style superhero.
  • In Batman v Superman, Aquaman is seen in the ocean being filmed by a surveillance camera of Lex Luthor. This is a brief guest appearance as one of the meta-beings (e.g. The Flash, Wonder Woman) that will be seen in the following DC Extended Universe films. Aquaman is portrayed here by Jason Momoa.
  • In 2017’s Justice League, Aquaman makes his first big screen appearance, joining Superman, Batman, the Flash, and Wonder Woman. Again, the actor is Jason Momoa.
  • December 2018 saw the release of Aquaman, the first standalone feature film based around the character of Aquaman.

Web links

Individual references

  1. Comixene; Issue 129, Winter 2018: The Hero Who No Longer Wanted to Be a Joke, Peter Osteried, p. 39.
  2. Comixene; Issue 129, Winter 2018: The Hero Who No Longer Wanted to Be a Joke, Peter Osteried, p. 39.
  3. Comixene; Issue 129, Winter 2018: The Hero Who No Longer Wanted to Be a Joke, Peter Osteried, p. 40.
  4. (English).
  5. (English).
  6. (English).
  7. Comixene; Issue 129, Winter 2018: The Hero Who No Longer Wanted to Be a Joke, Peter Osteried, p. 40.
  8. Comixene; Issue 129, Winter 2018: The Hero Who No Longer Wanted to Be a Joke, Peter Osteried, p. 41.
  9. Comixene; Issue 129, Winter 2018: The Hero Who No Longer Wanted to Be a Joke, Peter Osteried, p. 41.