Tuesday, December 23, 2014

For your Christmas: Aquaman

I'll have you know, I am not an Aquaman fan. 

The only Aquaman comic books that I ever read were the 12 cent ones from the Silver Age during Summers in Texas during the 70s. Later I'd watch Super Friends on German TV. Aquaman rode a whale and had fish telepathy, though I knew whales were not fish. The show was meant for kids after all. He wasn't boring though, Black Manta rocked as well. I saw him again in the early Aughts, he was like a gay pirate with a hook hand (...a beard, and a kid...), and trying to invoke some sort of LotR vibe ranting and raving about Atlantis over and over again. Now in the Jump (the teens of the big 2-1), writers at both DC and WB movie makers seem a little at a loss as how to make him interesting. I suspect they're trying to get him to be the Scorpion King. 

What's Aquaman got already?

Aquaman is a good place to start some science exposition, not just social science, in the middle of comic books. I suppose one of the reasons the king of Atlantis doesn't get much readership is because the folks that spend a lot of time around or in water don't have much time to read comic books. Couldn't one or a couple all these college educated comic writers read a SCUBA magazine or weather alarmist's blog for a week or two. Arthur Curry can be a PHD Marine Biologist, a former Navy Seal that worked as an underwater welder for B.P., before he matures/reawakens into Orin Atlan-Son. Want to talk about, say, Global Warming or just basic facts about drinkable water, got a better platform? Aquatic industries can be explored and kids a little younger than those still awake for National Geographic specials can get a little two panel primer.

Let's not forget the Atlanteans. According to Plato, they predate Hellenic cultures by a couple millennia. These old souls can be said to pre-date the Amazons.These beings don't have to be demigods like Princess Dianna, but have a rich history and mystical ties to the most obscure Greek myths, as well as other early civilizations. 

New Twists.

Looking at Dwayne McDuffy's story for the animated JLA series "backward homage" to Marvel's Defenders, even the most casual fan could be pulled in using unique memes for our times. This tale wove Solomon Grundy, Dr. Fate, and the gay pirate Aquaman into a mishmash re-telling of the first time Dr. Strange, the Submariner, and the Hulk saved the world against not-so-disguised Lovecraftian creatures. Tell me a decent comic scripter couldn't take Aesop's Fables to get Aquaman and the Black Manta punching it out in LA's harbor while Zantana and Constantine battle were-sharks prowling the city as a straight up tribute to SNL's "Land Shark" skits.

One should not stop there. Atlantis and Atlanteans do not have to be crafted from the same yarn as Superman's City in a Bottle. Mix in some New Age axioms and go trippy. They could be more akin to a few hundred humans reincarnated from ancient times. These amphibious folks wouldn't have any idea that they were so until they were "awakened."Would Aquaman's telepathy vary from aquatic species to species? Just think about the possibilities. Take bit from a novel from Brin's Uplift series and work in some aquatic mammal characters, with an evil military for a high tech plot. How many earth-like worlds would have hydro-dwelling sentient species, that the 17 (or was it 2,134) Green Lanterns from Earth these days can use a bit of help with?

Shilling science, again.

Back on the science horse again, it was a given when I was growing up that 8th grade Science textbooks could solve any problem ever encountered. Maybe that was naive, but my math skills as a "C" student in 10th grade are light-years ahead of most of the kids I meet these days. Outside of End-of-the-Multiverse 52 plots every year, these days, the "science" characters at DC haven't had any sort of context for their unique scientific characters to talk to one another. 

While Aquaman isn't the only, nor maybe the best, he'd be a great place to start. Sure there's Firestorm, the Flash, the Atom, and maybe, Captain Atom, but the hydrosphere is a lot easier to get into on the page with say the Metal Men. There'd be a nice time travel take with Aquaman dealing with the Atomic Knights and their buddy Hercules (see the science and mythic work together there?). 

Why would I care?

I see what they, the movie makers, are doing here. I remember one day posting a picture from the 60s where a bunch of water-skiers were dressed up as members of the Justice League of America. I posted, "Zach Snyder needed a way to work Aquaman into the Batman V. Superman film." This is indeed coming to fruition. Perhaps this could be a starting point.


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