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Old January 18th, 2010   Neo God is offline   #1
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Default Aquaman - What do we gotta do?

Let's face it - While Aquaman is one of the major pillars of the DCU, alongside the Trinity, Green Lantern, and Flash, he's had the most trouble with getting that level of success. He has had six different series and several different directions, but none have stuck.

But regardless of all this, Aquaman is a popular character in general. He has appeared on various cartoons (notably Superfriends) and Superman TAS, JLU, and even live action in Smallville. The TV series pilot was very good...but too bad CW is run by hacks.

And I don't buy that Super friends ruined his popularity. Not any more so than it ruined the other DC heroes, like Batman. SF gave him some massive exposure after all.

So what do we need to do to get Aquaman sucessful again? Because he is clearly capable of doing so.

My suggestions:

- More land. Atlantis- awesome! But give us more stories of Aquaman on land. I think there is a lot of potential in how Aquaman could make a difference socially on the surface. Thor doesn't spend 100% of his time in Asgard, for instance.

My favorite version of Aquaman is the Golden Age version - since he was found travelling all around the world, and Atlantis was just his Fortress of Solitude.

- Find a middle ground between the happy friend of the fish, and the angry, badass pirate-like man. I haven't finished by collection of PAD's Aquaman, but he started as the angry bearded man with the hook, an interpretation I find interesting (and it was used in JLU) but it should be balanced. He should also be more lighthearted and cool overall.

- We need a clear definition of Aquaman's role in the DCU, why he's important, and his motivations and purpose as a character. This is pretty easy as long as you have a decent writer, but this is something that hasn't been emphasized since PAD's run.

And that's all I have to say. I was going to say that I'm skeptical on the idea of a protagonist who is already king - since king = baggage, but I'm sure that's just a challenge for the writer to pull it off - not that it can't be done.

I think Arthur Joseph Curry had potential as Orin's successor, but killing Orin to establish him closed off fans from giving him a chance. I liked that he was a Golden Age Aquaman without the baggage. I think if they kept Orin and had him be Atlantis's king, while AJC rides out and rocks, that would have worked.

While he's subject to parody, I don't think he has to be stuck as a joke.

Also, Geoff Johns made Mera extremely cool and pretty popular. She's the Little Mermaid, with a touch attitude. So there's definitely a lot to work with in Aquaman's mythos.

I've never really understood those who say they don't know what to do with Aquaman. It's not just that he can breathe underwater, there's a whole mythos to the character, and powers that may not have been adequately showcased before.

You can draw a line of comparison between Aquaman and the lead character in the Dune books: both royalty of a sort, both commanding vast creatures that live beneath the surface, and both living in an environment hostile to normal humans (with the reverse approach, extremely dry instead of extremely wet). If you look at what they've been able to do with the Dune books, you know there has to be more you can do with Aquaman. It just takes the right approach.
ddf
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JMS would be my no. 1 choice to relaunch Aquaman. I'd like to see him do something like Thor with him.

Anyone's thoughts?
Last edited by Neo God; January 18th, 2010 at 01:34 AM.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   jafabian is offline   #2
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Peter David was awesome during his run but I doubt he'd return and I think DC wants a more traditional Arthur Curry. Mark Waid immediately comes to mind on those lines of thinking. I question what Grant Morrison could do with the chracacter if he has to stay within those parameters. I actually think he'd be great in that respect.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   RetroWarbird is offline   #3
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Right, I've given this A LOT of thought. So let me try to cover this.

- More land. Atlantis- awesome! But give us more stories of Aquaman on land. I think there is a lot of potential in how Aquaman could make a difference socially on the surface. Thor doesn't spend 100% of his time in Asgard, for instance.
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Not necessarily "More Land", but he was raised on the surface (coastal or not) by a father who's from the surface. He should look at the ocean, and Atlantean craziness, like we do ... with an outsider's POV. Like an explorer.

My favorite version of Aquaman is the Golden Age version - since he was found travelling all around the world, and Atlantis was just his Fortress of Solitude.
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The pirate smasher! My personal thoughts here are that Aquaman still should be. Look, he tried being a king, tried being a family man. He failed - because he couldn't stop being an ass-kicker. That right there is the kind of backstory you'd find in a Western, so might as well make Aquaman into a pirate fighting bounty hunter. He catches a pirate like Manta? He hands them over to the Navy. He catches an Atlantean villain? He hands them over to the Atlanteans.

- Find a middle ground between the happy friend of the fish, and the angry, badass pirate-like man. I haven't finished by collection of PAD's Aquaman, but he started as the angry bearded man with the hook, an interpretation I find interesting (and it was used in JLU) but it should be balanced. He should also be more lighthearted and cool overall.
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Screw fish. It's nice that Aquaman can use them for distractions and everything, it really is ... but fish aren't very smart. Marine Mammals on the other hand ... well, you can't imagine they're very happy with how humans treat them. And Aquaman knows it. Think the crappy TV show Whale Wars. Now think ... whalers are attempting to slaughter whales, and Aquaman shows up with a pod of Killer Whales - the peak predator of the entire planet (exempting humans). That's not to say Aquaman should be full-on eco-terrorist like Namor. Aquaman was raised on land, and knows most people mean well. He'd just sink their whaling ships, he wouldn't kill anybody.

- We need a clear definition of Aquaman's role in the DCU, why he's important, and his motivations and purpose as a character. This is pretty easy as long as you have a decent writer, but this is something that hasn't been emphasized since PAD's run.
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Bounty hunting pirate smasher. And explorer of the ocean depths. It's like the Cousteau Society, old-school nautical adventure. Meets Western.

And that's all I have to say. I was going to say that I'm skeptical on the idea of a protagonist who is already king - since king = baggage, but I'm sure that's just a challenge for the writer to pull it off - not that it can't be done.
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He hasn't actually been the King of Atlantis in YEARS.

Also, Geoff Johns made Mera extremely cool and pretty popular. She's the Little Mermaid, with a touch attitude. So there's definitely a lot to work with in Aquaman's mythos.
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Actually, she's a Nymph. And next month's Blackest Night: Wonder Woman featuring an Amazon vs. a Nymph could've had way more innuendo thrown in.

JMS would be my no. 1 choice to relaunch Aquaman. I'd like to see him do something like Thor with him.

Anyone's thoughts?
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AGREED. Can not frigging wait to read his Arthur/Etrigan story and see how it goes, and see how Jesus Saiz' art looks. My second choice would be Tomasi, who, along with Johns, actually DOES seem like he'll be playing with Mera in Brightest Day.

My biggest point, I think ... is that Aquaman needs to stand alone. His supporting cast should be like ... HIM. And a few contacts. A Navy captain. An ally in Atlantis. And sure, his ex-wife. But ultimately, it's just him, wandering the world getting into mischief. He shouldn't be tied down to any one place, although definitely fate should keep sending Atlantean bull crap his way in the way of villains, sea monsters, and Poseidon ever attempting to screw him.

Hell, even Poseidon's wife Amphitrite once totally screwed with Arthur and Mera.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   thunderdude is offline   #4
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JMS might be good on Aquaman. Although your take does sound similar to the Kevin Sorbo Hercules show.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   impulse1999 is offline   #5
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I still believe Aquaman will join Mera as one of the core characters in BRIGHTEST DAY! I think Pete and Geoff will have absolute control of him for a year, and he won't appear elsewhere in that time. I think we'll see a re-establish Atlantis, post-destruction I see it as a home for EVERY underwater race from David's run and others.

I would use Mera, Tempest, Deep Blue, Aquagirl and Atlan as the supporting cast.

 
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Old January 18th, 2010   Scott Mateo is offline   #6
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I think Shaun McLaughlin had the right idea with his short-lived series. He had Arthur as an ambassador to the U.N. representing Atlantis, so right there we had him on land. Also, there were plenty of underwater stories that didn't involve Atlantis that worked really well. Two that come to mind are the Thanatos and the NVKDemon stories. He also subtly acknowledged what was going on in other titles (like the search for the Atom in SUICIDE SQUAD, reforming the (European) League with Hal, taking Garth back to his people after nearly dying in NEW TITANS, and saying goodbye to J'onn before heleft Earth at the end of JLI: Breakdowns). He also revealed that one of the Atlantean advisors would have been the Scarecrow in disguise had he been allowed to continue with the series. His run wasn't canceled due to poor sales, but rather that DC thought they could capitalize better on the Sea King if they allowed PAD to do his thing.

Well, he did. I'm ready to see Arthur return to a more traditional setting. Not the happy guy from Superfriends, but not the Dark Knight-esque version who hates surface dwellers either. I actually kind of liked the Sub Diego Aquaman.

What's Shaun done since writing AQUAMAN? He worked in production for the Justice League cartoons and other (DC) animation projects. According to his Facebook he's starting to script again and pitch stories. I'd like to see him come back to AQUAMAN and be able to have a chance to tell his stories, or see stories told in a similar vein.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   virtuadept is offline   #7
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Is there a definitive Aquaman trade out that one should read if they are interested in getting the scoop on him?
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   MWG is offline   #8
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I'd like to see Joseph still around even if Orin is brought back. He needs to have some place in the franchise even if he isn't the main focus (kinda like how Kyle isn't the star of the GL stuff anymore but still has some spotlight).

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Old January 18th, 2010   chrisbenes is offline   #9
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Bring back Pfeiffer or Arcudi....I'd rater Pfeiffer but Arcudi's run was good also.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   RetroWarbird is offline   #10
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I still believe Aquaman will join Mera as one of the core characters in BRIGHTEST DAY! I think Pete and Geoff will have absolute control of him for a year, and he won't appear elsewhere in that time. I think we'll see a re-establish Atlantis, post-destruction I see it as a home for EVERY underwater race from David's run and others.

I would use Mera, Tempest, Deep Blue, Aquagirl and Atlan as the supporting cast.

ddf
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They've hinted at that, and it's served that role before. After Tritonis was destroyed for whatever reason, for most of the later Volume 5, the various other mutants and lost tribes all lived in the main underwater city for a while, although it's hard to say whether they all attempted to go settle new places or not. But the Tempest issue of Titans certainly seems to give the vibe that all the refugees from The Spectre have made their way back and are rebuilding, two-legs, tails, mutant fish-people and otherwise.

I love all the characters, but I'd only use Mera as supporting cast to start. I'd wait on the others until Aquaman was back on track, and a killer "global threat" brought the band back together.

Is there a definitive Aquaman trade out that one should read if they are interested in getting the scoop on him?
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While I'm one to recommend any of the classic collections, the best start for "current Aquaman" (at least, before he died) are Aquaman: Waterbearer and Sub Diego. However, I don't think the six-part Sub Diego is collected ... still, the back-issues shouldn't be that hard to find. Aquaman # 15-20. They'll say Will Pfeifer and Patrick Gleason on the cover.

I'd like to see Joseph still around even if Orin is brought back. He needs to have some place in the franchise even if he isn't the main focus (kinda like how Kyle isn't the star of the GL stuff anymore but still has some spotlight).

+-MWG-+
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I'd totally like to see that subverted - Arthur Junior's death was less black and white than it seemed back in the 70's. Then in the early 90's P.A.D. run, Aquaman visited a sort of a Davy Jones' Locker type purgatory where Atlanteans dumped their dead, and Thanatos was holding Mera and a little kid called AJ hostage there. THEN later as P.A.D. handed off his run to the next writers, that AJ came back, dressed like Aquaman, looking like Aquaman, and probably 20 years old, having lived in some all-water dimension and fighting a guerrilla campaign with Mera.

THEN, now, years later, we get this Arthur Joseph, which is an awful lot like AJ, who is some out-of-the-blue amnesiac clone of Aquaman? I'd rather see Joseph be an amnesiac, rapidly-aged Junior. Of course, such is the fate of rapidly aged characters who everybody believes died years ago anyway, he'd probably wind up sacrificing himself to bring the REAL Aquaman back.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   Neo God is offline   #11
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THEN, now, years later, we get this Arthur Joseph, which is an awful lot like AJ, who is some out-of-the-blue amnesiac clone of Aquaman? I'd rather see Joseph be an amnesiac, rapidly-aged Junior. Of course, such is the fate of rapidly aged characters who everybody believes died years ago anyway, he'd probably wind up sacrificing himself to bring the REAL Aquaman back.
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Hmm..I actually thought about this. What if Arthur Joseph Curry had been revealed to be the revived and hidden-away son of Mera and Orin? I don't like rapid aging, but I think if they bring back Orin, and but AJ in the same age group as say Connor Hawke, then he could have room.

Ideally, I would love for Aquaman to be revived at the end of Blackest Night (or during Brightest Day) and then Brightest Day gives focus to Orin, like how 52 gave Booster Gold exposure. Then in 2011, Geoff and/or JMS could relaunch an Aquaman ongoing. I think it's a given at this point that AC will be back in BN or BD. I just hope DC knows what to do with him.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   Werehunter is offline   #12
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For me keep him off the throne. While the idea that he's king of Atlantis is interesting on paper, it also greatly limits his stories. The stories often end up being him dealing with politics or him having been over thrown and in exile. I would keep Tempest on the throne and make Aquaman the champion/ambassador of Atlantis. This will allow the writers more freedom with the character but keep the link to the throne, via Tempest, if they wish to tell some political stories.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   jafabian is offline   #13
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I think if he's going to be in the League it doesn't make sense for him to be on the throne. Same with Garth if he's going to be active in Titans. Either than or really pump up the role of the Prime Minsiter in the series. Establish it so the role of the royal family in Atlantis is similar to that of...say...England today.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   Werehunter is offline   #14
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Though some Titan fans might disagree, I feel that Garth is more closely link to Aquaman then the Titans. Sure he might be one of the founders but most modern Titan stories don't really include him. As such I would rather put him on Atlantis' throne and have him make scattered appearances in the Titans, only when needed, then to have him as a full member of the Titans.

Though I do agree with you that it doesn't make sense to have someone being a king of a nation and a full time member of a superhero team. I don't like it with Aquaman and I don't like it with Namor or Black Panther over at Marvel. The duties of a king would be far too great to allow regular membership on any team.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   jafabian is offline   #15
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Though some Titan fans might disagree, I feel that Garth is more closely link to Aquaman then the Titans. Sure he might be one of the founders but most modern Titan stories don't really include him. As such I would rather put him on Atlantis' throne and have him make scattered appearances in the Titans, only when needed, then to have him as a full member of the Titans.

Though I do agree with you that it doesn't make sense to have someone being a king of a nation and a full time member of a superhero team. I don't like it with Aquaman and I don't like it with Namor or Black Panther over at Marvel. The duties of a king would be far too great to allow regular membership on any team.
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Same with Namor which is why John Byrne removed him from it when he wrote the character.

I think there needs to be a clear definition for both Aquaman and Tempest as to who they are and what they do. And having both rule Atlantis, IMO, makes things problematic if they're going to be super-heroes. IMO, they should be champions of Atlantis rather than rulers.
 
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Old January 18th, 2010   Neo God is offline   #16
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For me keep him off the throne. While the idea that he's king of Atlantis is interesting on paper, it also greatly limits his stories. The stories often end up being him dealing with politics or him having been over thrown and in exile. I would keep Tempest on the throne and make Aquaman the champion/ambassador of Atlantis. This will allow the writers more freedom with the character but keep the link to the throne, via Tempest, if they wish to tell some political stories.
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I think if he's going to be in the League it doesn't make sense for him to be on the throne. Same with Garth if he's going to be active in Titans. Either than or really pump up the role of the Prime Minsiter in the series. Establish it so the role of the royal family in Atlantis is similar to that of...say...England today.
ddf
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I kind of agree with both these points. Someone on a different forum argued though that it's still possible to tell such stories. Like Black Panther is a king of a nation and he holds successful.

I think Kurt Busiek's Sword of Atlantis: Once and Future King would have been better if Orin was the King of Atlantis and Arthur J. Curry was Aquaman the hero. I know others wouldn't like it, but I think that would have had good stories.

But I don't think Tempest should be holding down the throne. He's better as a hero as well, especially in the Titans, or another superhero team.

I agree that they should make Atlantis a costitutional monarchy. Make a new cool Atlantis character who's Aquaman's equivalent of Commissioner Gordon, Guardian, etc. who could be Prime Minister and help Orin run the affairs while he is gone.
 
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