Friday, July 31, 2015

Custom AquaGirl Figure

I am really digging this custom AquaGirl action figure, done in the Bruce Timm/JLU style. It's made by GeekVarietyDotCom, and you can see more of their work on DeviantArt!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Atlanteans Fantasy Football

Newest F.O.A.M. member JB Burton sent in these pics of an actual fantasy (weird, putting those two words together) football team called the Atlanteans, decked out in Aquaman's colors! I don't know anything about real football, let alone the fantasy version, so I assume this is a team someone could use if they wanted? All I do know know is, they have a heated rivalry with with Milwaukee Mantas.

This is probably the only football player who would like getting doused with a bucket of cold water after the game.

Thanks JB, and welcome to F.O.A.M.!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sideshow Toys Aquaman Statue

As the little card at the bottom indicates, this is the prototype for Sideshow Toys' Premium Format Aquaman Figure that was on display at the 2015 SDCC. 

We covered it over on the Shrine's Twitter feed at the time, but I'm lazy so we're just getting to it now. Thanks to newest Michael Williamson for reminding me and for sending this pic!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Fire and Water Podcast, Episode 134

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 134 - Aquaman #42/Fury of Firestorm (Classic) #22

This week Shag and I take a look at AQUAMAN #42 by Cullen Bunn, Trevor McCarthy, and Guy Major, followed by "The Secret Origin of Firestorm" from THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #22 (April 1984) by Gerry and Carla Conway, Pat Broderick, Sal Trapani, Carl Gafford, and John Costanza. Plus your Listener Feedback!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

This episode brought to you by InStockTrades -

Opening theme, "That Time is Now," by Michael Kohler. Closing music by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge of The Bad Mamma Jammas!

Thanks for listening! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Aquaman (Vol.8) #42

Comics Wednesday "The Other Atlantis" by Cullen Bunn, Trevor McCarthy, Jesus Marino, Walden Wong, and Guy Major.

This opens with Aquaman recalling how a friend of his tried to get him into playing Magic: The Gathering in high school. In other news, I am old:

This second issue contains the back-and-forth-in-time format that the previous one did. After fighting more of these Atlantean interdimensional beasties, we are back with Aquaman Classic and Mera, where Arthur tries to convince his wife that she can rule Atlantis in his absence. He is only marginally successful.

Arthur promises his wife he will be back "before you know it", but as these issues show us, that clearly didn't work out. Back in the present, Aquaman is showing the small sect of people he saved their new home. He is praised for this by them, but Aquaman is dissatisfied. He grimly says that he's going to have to destroy this other world, and its people.

After another flashback, we see bits of these Atlantean "invaders" popping up all over the world, in the most unusual of places, potentially destroying whatever life is already there. Aquaman tries to anticipate these attacks and deal with them, but he's outnumbered.

While dealing with one location, he is attacked by a small band of Atlanteans, sent by Mera. One young Lad looks an awful lot like a certain kid sidekick from continuities long gone(?). Aquaman manages to fend off most of them, except for the aforementioned young man:

Suddenly the ground begins to shake, with giant stone spires shooting out of it. This causes Aquaman and--let's just say it, Tempest--to stop their battle long enough to see what's happening. And it ain't good:

...To be continued!

I found reading this issue to be a very bipolar experience. As I said with issue #41, I love Trevor McCarthy's work--I find it idiosyncratic but also very dynamic and unlike most Aquaman artists that have come before. The flashbacks with Aquaman Classic are wonderfully exciting, and this weird giant monster on the last page has a Ray Harryhausen/Mike Mignola/Paul Pope mashup look that I really like.

Unfortunately, parts of the issue seem not to be drawn by McCarthy, or at least less so than the rest. To my eyes those pages are very off-putting in their stylistic inconsistency, almost cartoony. And just at the point where DC is trying to sell this "bold new direction" of Aquaman, the last thing they need is not have McCarthy handling the whole book. I know too well how tough deadlines can be, but I would have rather seen Aquaman come back a month later after Convergence than deal so soon with fill-ins. In the days when comics were a quarter, fans had to expect "M. Hands" sometimes showing up on the art credits. But now that comics are $4 a pop, creators are not so easily substituted. If you're selling me on the new Aquaman by Cullen Bunn and Trevor McCarthy, then by Neptune's Beard I want Cullen Bunn and Trevor McCarthy.

On the writing side, at some points it seems like Aquaman is either lying to Mera or willfully stupid. She is completely correct about running Atlantis--some members of the upper guard tried to assassinate her just a couple of issues ago--and for Aquaman to dismiss her fears so off-handedly does not paint him in the best light. Also, and I know that I harp on this every few years, so for those of you who have been reading the Shrine for years, you must be sick of this--but, why oh why does every Aquaman writer feel the need to drag Arthur back to the Atlantean throne, only to (inevitably) have him have to take off on a mission, causing the whole "My citizens are mad at me for being a half-time king" again and again and again? Steve Skeates was using this plot seven Presidential administrations ago! For some reason, Aquaman writers just don't want to keep him being a superhero--even Geoff Johns, who has done so much for the character(s), spent months and months giving Aquaman all the trappings of a classic superhero, to which comic fans---many more than expected--responded enthusiastically, only to have him back in Atlantis by the time he left the book. Somebody bring in The Spectre and have him step on these water-breathing crybabies and be done with it already!

Despite that long rant, I am still enjoying this new iteration of Aquaman. I continue to have faith that this dark path will end up being worth it, and my enthusiasm for McCarthy's work has not dimmed. But as I said last month, I am wondering, was this trip really necessary?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Aquaman #63 by Fred Hembeck

Check out this beautiful recreation of Jim Aparo's cover to Aquaman #63 by the one and only Fred Hembeck! This was submitted by our newest F.O.A.M. member, Jim Bal, who commissioned it from Fred because it was the first Aquaman comic Jim ever read. Other than it being the final issue of the series (*sniff*), not a bad place to start!

Thanks Jim, and welcome to F.O.A.M.!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Justice League Coloring Set Ilke Hincer sent me a link to a Hake's auction for an item I had never seen or heard of before--a 1960s Justice League of America Coloring Set!

Hot on the heels of the Filmation cartoons, there was a brief explosion of JLA-related merchandise, with the Martian Manhunter even getting in on the action, as you can see above. Most of them featured painted portraits of our heroes, which give these items a distinct, almost Norman Rockwell-esque look.

Almost all the images you were meant to color are taken from DC comics at the time, and the group shot is the only one with Aquaman. Still, an amazing item, and I love that eight + years into the Shrine there are still new pieces of Aqua-merch to find. Thanks Ilke!

Post Script: They are putting one of these out in tandem with Batman v Superman, but all the colored pencils are brown. Thank you, I'm outta here!

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Fire and Water Podcast, Episode 133

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 133 - Batman v Superman Trailer

Shag is off this week, so I and returning guest star Michael Bailey (VIEWS FROM THE LONGBOX) share our thoughts on the new BATMAN V SUPERMAN trailer, which debuted at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con! Feel the rage!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

This episode brought to you by InStockTrades -

Opening theme, "That Time is Now," by Michael Kohler. Closing music by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge of The Bad Mamma Jammas!

Thanks for listening! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Solicit: Aquaman #45

Check out this gentle, spacey cover to Aquaman #45, by Alec Morgan. Beautiful!

Aquaman #45 goes on sale October 28, 2015.

Justice League of America #2


Comics Friday "Power and Glory Part Two" by Bryan Hitch, Daniel Henriques, Andrew Currie, and Alex Sinclair.

The God of Rao supposedly shows up on Earth. Superman buys into it immediately, Batman is of course skeptical. Down in Atlantis, a Prophet of Rao has arrived, but Aquaman is equally skeptical, if not downright mocking:


I thought the last issue of JLA was pretty formula in terms of how Aquaman was written, but I liked this segment much more. The Sea King just isn't buying what this supposed prophet is selling, but secure enough that he doesn't feel threatened or even try to talk the guy out of preaching to the citizens of Atlantis. I've always thought that was the hallmark of someone truly secure in their beliefs, that they didn't so much oppose what others think, rather they just don't care one way or the other. Still a bit frustrated that Aquaman is only getting two pages per issue, but we're still very early in the series' run. Two pages of Classic Aquaman is better than none!

All this flippancy however will probably end up biting Aquaman in the rear, because the issue ends with Wonder Woman waking up to an Olympus that is nothing but floating debris, which I bet is what is in store for Atlantis. (Of course, that would be okay in my book, I want Aquaman to back to Amnesty Bay ASAP and forget all those whiny Atlanteans).

To be continued!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Aquaman in 2018

Via their convention showreel at this year's SDCC, Warner Bros. confirmed that the title of 2018's Aquaman will be just that: Aquaman. Not Aquaman: Age of Vulko, or Aquaman: The Wet World, just Aquaman. No additional marketing needed.

Here is Jason Momoa, walking the floor of the con in full costume!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Batman v Superman Trailer

Warner Bros. debuted the second and full trailer for Batman v Superman at the 2015 SDCC, giving us a better concept of the story not to mention our first real shots of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in action. Still no Aquaman, but I guess they are saving the best for last!

It's clear now that all the destruction wreaked at the end of Man of Steel will be addressed in this film, head on. That element of the previous film definitely left a bad taste in my mouth and I think it's a gutsy move for the filmmakers to have purposely laid that groundwork and willingly absorbing a couple of years(!) of fanboy brickbats.

I still have a lot of misgivings about the overall "dark" approach WB is taking with the DC films. But as I have said before, if this Dawn of Justice ends with the nascent Justice League being formed, having taken us down this dark path but ending up in the light, then I think there's a chance this could end up being a very powerful film, achieving an emotional resonance that the Marvel films have (IMO) only been able to pull off sparingly. I haven't seen a lot from Zack Snyder that makes me think he can do it, but I am remaining cautiously optimistic. Plus, you know, live action Aquaman!

What did everyone else think?

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Fire and Water Podcast, Episode 132

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 132 - Geek Talk

This week Shag and I discuss a whole bunch of exciting topics, like Gerry Conway's return to Firestorm, Jeff Parker's debut on JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED, the CW's LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, and more!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

This episode brought to you by InStockTrades -

Opening theme, "That Time is Now," by Michael Kohler. Closing music by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge of The Bad Mamma Jammas!

Thanks for listening! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Breaking News: Aquaman OGN

sgDC Comics confirmed at SDCC today that Francis Manapul will be writing and drawing an Aquaman: Earth-One original graphic novel!

To keep up to date with the newest Aqua-News, be sure to follow The Aquaman Shrine on Twitter!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Justice League United #11

Comics Friday "The Island of No Return" by Jeff Parker, Travel Foreman, and Jeromy Cox.

As a comic, Justice League United was completely off my radar..that is, until DC announced that former Aqua-Scribe Jeff Parker was taking over the book. Not only that, but Mr. Parker would be bringing Mera into the series! That's surely worth giving it a try...

The book opens with the Dirty Dozen-esque team consisting of Mera, Swamp Thing, The Demon, Equinox, and Poison Ivy going after an unknown foe. Who brought these disparate people together? Adam Strange, of all people, who we learn is "trapped" in non-corporeal form inside the formerly-benign Zeta Beam. Inside the beam with him are a race of malevolent beings known as The Breakers, who threaten to all reality.

We then flashback to how we got here: Animal Man has been charged with getting Mera to join up, but all she wants is to find her King, Aquaman:

Star Girl does the same for Swamp Thing, Alanna Strange for Posion Ivy, and Equinox for The Demon. Once the team is assembled, they all meet on a Coast Guard ship in the middle of Lake Erie. Mera is dubious about being part of a team that features a villain, however:

The ship is then attacked by red, globule-type creatures who are part of The Breakers. Using her hard water powers, Mera almost single-handedly fights them off, proving that Adam Strange knew what he was doing in terms of picking JLAers.

Remnants of the creatures head for land, and the JLU gives chase. Mera freezes the water so they can skate across it, bringing us back to where the book started. The team then encounters a giant pyramid made of the red goo, which spews some liquid on them, and then instantly disappearing. This transports them all into another dimension, followed by the ground opening up and swallowing Swamp Thing, who cannot communicate with The Green:

...To be continued!

Jeff Parker's expert handling of Mera continues here--even among this interesting set of characters (I've always loved Adam Strange), she dominates the proceedings. Parker gives her a couple of great moments where she shows just how powerful she is, and even though I (of course) love her alongside Aquaman, it's great to see her shine as a solo act.

There's a couple of great laugh lines here too (during a sequence guest starring Batgirl), and while the bad guy isn't all that distinctive, overall I enjoyed this first issue with this team quite a bit. This is an interesting mix of characters, and the artwork by Travel Foreman is suitably exciting and quirky in equal measure. I wouldn't mind seeing writers ditch the whole "Gotham City. Now." approach (combined with constant flashbacks and flashforwards) to scene setting--it's used in so many superhero comics today that I long for a good old "Meanwhile..."

It's mentioned repeatedly that this team of heroes is only temporary, designed just for this mission. And while having a rotating group of heroes will no doubt afford Parker more flexibility in the types of stories he can tell, I'm betting most Aqua-Fans agree with me that I hope Mera sticks around after The Breakers have been sent packing.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Aquaman: Sub Diego

At long last Aquaman: Sub Diego collects the acclaimed "American Tidal" arc from the Sea King's 2003 series and is on shelves today! With gorgeous artwork by Patrick Gleason and Will Pfeifer scripting a complex, original tale that shows the sheer power and heroism of Aquaman (long before the New 52 came to be), Sub Diego collects Aquaman #15-22 and is a Shrine recommendation for old and new readers alike. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Heroes Con 2015

Event: Heroes Convention (
Location: Charlotte, NC
Dates: June 19-21, 2015
Venue: Charlotte Convention Center
Guests: Dozens of comic industry illustrators and writers
Size: Approximately 35,000 attendees

Overview: Heroes Con in Charlotte is one of our favorite comic conventions.  It has been around for more than 30 years and has maintained its focus on comic industry guests and discussion panels.

The event takes place in the large convention center in beautiful downtown Charlotte and fills the cavernous rooms on the bottom floor with comic guests, vendors, and a large artist alley.  Panel discussion rooms are held throughout the building, and because of the large number of attendees, several fast food restaurants are onsite including Einstein Brothers, Bojangles, and Starbucks so that fans never need to leave the building during the weekend.

Certainly the big draw for the convention this year was the appearance of Stan Lee.  Nearly one entire wall of the 200,000 square foot hall was set aside for the zigzagging line for autographs and photographs with Stan the Man. Coca-Cola was even on hand providing free soda to help the wait be less grueling. However, in the end that caused a bigger dilemma when having to go to the restroom and then dealing with skeptical line monitors who wanted to send you to the end of the line rather than letting you get back in line where you were. Once finally through the ordeal of the line, Stan Lee proved to be a polite gentlemen with a wink and a smile and everyone left the line smiling themselves before immediately getting in another line to have their freshly signed comics certified and sealed away.

On our list of people to meet was writer Cullen Bunn. Unfortunately, the convention was held the weekend before the release of his first issue of Aquaman. We had hoped to take along issue #41 for his signature. Instead, we substituted a printed copy of the cover from the recent preview. At his booth, Cullen was joined by Brian Hurtt and the two were surrounded by copies of The Sixth Gun, their acclaimed western adventure series. As soon as we said we were Aquaman fans, and handed him the picture to sign, a broad smile spread across his face and he immediately began apologizing for what was going to happen to Arthur and Mera next and begging us to please be patient and give him a few issues to see what he was doing.

We proceeded to have a delightful conversation with Cullen and left definitely looking forward to seeing what was ahead for our heroic couple. Plus, we picked up a copy of volume one of The Sixth Gun signed by both Cullen and Brian.

We were pleased to meet Andy Runton again. He is the creator, writer, and artist behind the family-friendly series Owly ( We met him a few years ago at DragonCon and it was great to have an opportunity to pick up copies of his latest books for our niece… and ourselves of course! We highly recommend this wonderful series for anyone buying books for children. Reading his books evoke the same whimsy and charm as Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wind in the Willows.

We had hoped to see Pat Broderick of The Fury of Firestorm fame, and while he was supposed to be on hand, we sadly missed seeing him somehow.

We were pleased to see that Aquaman was well represented by several vendors. Jay Brant of had a display of stylized prints featuring the individual members of the Justice League and we were pleased to see Aquaman on display with the other members. Jay was pleased we purchased the Aquaman print and commented himself that he thinks Aquaman doesn’t get the respect he deserves and said that he loves the look of "classic" Aquaman.

PopCycled Baubles had a Perler bead figure of Aquaman prominently displayed on their table.  They shared that at their last convention, AwesomeCon, there was an amazing Aquamancosplay complete with a golden trident. Baby Rabiez (@baby_rabiez) had a string-art Aquaman key chain on display at their booth and were delighted when we said it was the one we wanted.  They were keen fans and while packing up the purchase they delightfully explained this classic look is what Aquaman is supposed to look like.

We stopped by the table of Sajad Shah (@Sajad_Shah) when we noticed a beautiful print of the Justice League that featured Aquaman prominently placed in the group.  When we told the artist that was what drew our attention, he then produced an equally great print of Aquaman himself as well as an original drawing of Aquaman. All were stunning.

As with most conventions this size, the cosplay was top notch and we were pleasantly surprised that several obscure characters were better represented than usual. Doctor FateStar SapphireRavenBooster Gold, and Captain Boomerang were there along with the more traditional Batman and Wonder Woman costumes. There was also a unique Superman cosplay specifically representing the George Reeves version of the character and an interesting Captain America/Spiderman fusion combination costume.

Sadly we never saw any Aquaman or Mera cosplay, but there was a stunning Black Manta with glowing eyes representing the series. We did see two fans wearing Aquaman shirts. One was very familiar with the Shrine and follows it regularly while the other hadn't heard of the Shrine but said he would be checking it out since Aquaman is his favorite character.

In closing, Heroes Con is a consistently fun convention with great guests each year and we highly recommend that anyone in the area give it a try in the future!

Monday, July 06, 2015

The Fire and Water Podcast, Episode 131

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 131 - Aquaman #41/Fury of Firestorm (Classic) #21

The review shows are back! This week Shag and I take a look at AQUAMAN #41 by Cullen Bunn, Trevor McCarthy, and Guy Major, the first issue by the new creative team. Next up, Killer Frost continues her reign of terror in THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #21 (March 1984) by Gerry Conway, Rafael Kayanan, Rodin Rodriguez, Carl Gafford, and John Costanza.

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

This episode brought to you by InStockTrades -

Opening theme, "That Time is Now," by Michael Kohler. Closing music by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge of The Bad Mamma Jammas!

Thanks for listening! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Aquaman (Vol.8) #41

Comics Wednesday "Terra Incognita" by Cullen Bunn, Trevor McCarthy, and Guy Major.

In St. Louis, a castle surrounded by tendrils of black goo suddenly rises up behind the famous Arch, and starts grabbing people and dragging them inside the castle stone walls. Luckily Aquaman is there to stop it...wait, is this Aquaman?!?

After freeing the innocent civilians, Aquaman stands outside the darkened door, beckoning for those inside to come out. Suddenly he is face-to-face(to-face) with a small army of nasty looking creatures. As the Sea King prepares for battle, we flash back to an indeterminate time ago, when the Aquaman we're more familiar with is racing through the ocean with Mera and members of his Atlantean guard. We see that he discovered a similar structure on the ocean floor, and that it also attacked our heroes!

Flashing back to the present, Aquaman takes on the rampaging beasts, ending the fight with a heretofore unknown power: by slamming his trident on the ground, blocks of ice shoot up out of the floor, killing all but one of the monsters: 

Back in Atlantis, in the past, news of similar attacks across the seven seas are coming in. It appears the beings living in these structures are beings from another civilization. Mera calls it an invasion, but Vulko--dragged out his cell, Hannibal Lechter-style--says he's been studying what's been happening, and this is less an invasion than an extermination.

Back in St. Louis, Aquaman is greeted as a hero by the locals, but the good cheer is interrupted by some Atlantean warships, who are here to arrest their former king. Before that can happen, Aquaman shows off another new power: teleportation!

Another flashback shows us Aquaman proposing to Mera, which she accepts. We flash forward once more, and we learn that it's been three months since the Sea King last saw Atlantis, or Amnesty Bay. Having teleported to the Amazon, Aquaman is greeted by some of the very people who he promised he would destroy to save Atlantis:

...To be continued!

And so here we are, with a semi-new Aquaman in unfamiliar surroundings. Generally avoiding whatever spoilers were out there, I didn't know that this version of Aquaman is, in fact, the same one we've been following post-New 52. That was a huge relief, because for a while there I really thought DC and writer Cullen Bunn was scrapping all the good will built up with the Sea King over the last three years, and I hated the idea of all that ground being lost. But, no, while this may be a very different Aquaman than we saw in #40, it is in fact the same guy. And while I'm not thrilled he's on the outs with Mera, I feel safe in assuming this is a storyline that will eventually reunite the two.

Many months ago on The Fire and Water Podcast, I surmised that Warner Bros. would not have spent all this time restoring Aquaman to his classic orange-and-green look only to get rid of all that for the movie version to be seen in Batman v Superman. Of course, I was proved wrong once the first photo of Jason Momoa in costume was leaked--they couldn't be more different. Now, however, I see I was sorta right, but backwards--the movie version of Aquaman isn't following the comic book's lead, it's more like the other way around.

Speaking of how things look, I really did enjoy Trevor McCarthy's art and Guy Major's colors. There's a completely worked out visual style here, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. While I am still am dubious about whether this drastic reinvention was really necessary, I have no such qualms about the art. The addition of McCarthy to the ranks of Aquaman artists makes it three winners in a row since Aquaman #1--Reis/Prado, then Pelletier/Parsons, now McCarthy. I look forward to more of these Aquaman adventures if they're gonna look like this!

Overall, I thought this was a solid start to this new "era" of Aquaman, but it remains to seen whether it will be worth taking such a drastic turn, considering how popular the previous iteration was. In several interviews, writer Bunn has asked Aquaman fans to "give him a couple of issues." Fair enough.

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