Friday, September 04, 2015

Aquaman Art Gallery: Tony Harris

This amazing Aqua-Sketch by Tony Harris is just one of (literally) dozens of sketches from the collection of Kevin Elman, who has been filling books of Aquaman art for years. Seriously, I could open a branch Shrine of just Kevin's collection! Beautiful piece!

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Ballad of the Yellow Glove: All-Star Squadron #15

Aquaman's gloves mysteriously turn yellow while teaming up with the JSA and the, er, ASS in All-Star Squadron #15!

Maybe because he was dealing with his Earth-2 heroes, Arthur thought he'd make them feel more comfortable by donning the gloves of his parallel Earth counterpart? Yeah, that's it.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Solicit: Aquaman #46

As if Aquaman isn't having enough trouble, Ocean Master returns and as you can see it's not a happy family reunion.

This cover to Aquaman #46 is by Neil Edwards, and the issue goes on sale Nov. 25, 2015!

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Fire and Water Podcast, Episode 138

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 138 - Blackhawk

With Shag still on his world tour, I welcome frequent guest Michael Bailey to talk about one of our favorite runs, BLACKHAWK by Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle! Part 1 of a Hawkaaa-rific podcast crossover!

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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! Hawkaaaaaaa!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Aquaman (Vol.8) #43

Comics Wednesday "Gospel of Destruction" by Cullen Bunn, Trevor McCarthy, Jesus Marino, and Guy Major.

This opens with Aquaman talking to Mera, who doesn't take too well to being left in charge of Atlantis. In fact, she blasts her beau with her hard water powers, calling him a traitor!

When then flash forward to the present, with Aquaman, Garth, and the rest of the Atlantean wrecking crew temporarily ceasing their fighting to band together and take on the giant creature which just moments before popped out of the ground!

In another flashback, Aquaman goes to visit a temple housing Poseidon himself, who explains who these other "invaders" are, and deigns to prepare the King of the Sea for the fight by bestowing him some new powers, which we have seen on display in the previous issues.

Back to the present, and Aquaman and the gang fight off the giant. They call a momentary truce, and unbeknownst to Arthur, two people of great interest are watching the proceedings: Mera...and her twin sister Siren!

...To be continued!

As anyone who reads this site knows, I am bored to death of Atlantean jibber-jabber, and this issue has too much (read: any) of it. The place is just nothing but headaches for poor Aquaman, so, royal duty or no, if I was Arthur I would just hole up in Amnesty Bay with my super-hot redhead girlfriend and dog Salty and refuse to answer Vulko's calls. But I guess that would make me a lousy superhero.

I still really enjoy Trevor McCarthy's work, and like last month I'm disappointed he's not doing the whole book. If he has such difficulty doing a monthly book, I vote for doing a "Classic Aquaman" fill-in month (someone call Ramona Fradon, or Ivan Reis, or Paul Pelletier, or...) giving McCarthy time to catch up so he can deliver all twenty pages when the story resumes.

Speaking of the story, the addition of Siren is a welcome twist, and solves a lot of story problems if Cullen Bunn chooses to go that route. I'm still dubious about this whole post-New 52 revamp, but I feel like this installment was a lap in the right direction.

For Further Reading:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Does Hallmark Hate Aquaman? extraordinaire Russell Burbage had this series of experiences and came to a few conclusions about Aquaman and merchandising. Take it away, Russell!

I went by a Hallmark store today to buy a card for a buddy's wedding. While I was there I noticed that their Itty Bitty stuffed toys were well represented by DC: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and...the Flash. Hmph. Their Christmas ornaments were likewise Wonder Woman and Batman (again?). If they ever make a Keepsake ornament of Aquaman I would be all over that like white on rice. Oh, well.

Then they had some illustrated story-books that featured...Batman. Although I have found a Super Friends book there before and actually bought it for my friend's son, it's no longer available. Hmmph. Birthday cards feature Batman, Superman, the Flash, and Green Lantern for the boys, and Wonder Woman was there for the ladies. Hmmph.

As I was walking out, my eagle-eyes spotted the great orange & green uniform...! I grabbed up the attached sticker pad, and then thumbed through it. Although Aquaman is clearly on the cover...he is not one of the stickers. Instead, his place is taken by--Shazam!?! Green Arrow!?! (okay, he's on TV, so I'll give him a pass). Firestorm!?! Martian Manhunter!!??!!

The second page features some bad guys, including...Black Manta!?! What the what...?!? Aquaman isn't featured, but his arch enemy is!?! Did Disney make this?!? Aquaman is featured on the Connect-the-dots page, in the exact same pose as on the cover. Lord have mercy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

1977 Super DC Calendar

Here's something I didn't even know existed, an alternate version of Jim Aparo's striking Aquaman illustration for the 1977 Super DC Calendar! It's currently on hold as part of an online auction, which Ilke Hincer was kind enough to send the Shrine's way.

Judging by the final version seen below, I assume that it was redone because in the above piece, the figures are so small and less impactful. If that was the case, you can see DC ultimately made the right choice. Still, any "new" Jim Aparo Aquaman art is worth seeing, thanks Ilke!

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Fire and Water Podcast, Episode 137

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 137 - Aquaman/Firestorm Short Subjects

This week Shag and I take a look at some classic Aquaman and Firestorm adventures! First up, "The Pirate Who Plundered Atlantis" by Paul Levitz, David Michelinie, and Jim Aparo, from ADVENTURE COMICS #441 (Oct. 1975). That's followed by "The Hyena Laughs Last" by Gerry Conway, George Perez, Bob Smith, John Costanza, and Lynn Gelfer, from THE FLASH #291 (Nov. 1980) and "The Hostages of Precinct 13", by Conway, Perez, Smith, Gelfer, and Ben Oda, from THE FLASH #292 (Dec. 1980)!

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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, August 21, 2015

Aquaman Underoos

By popular demand, Underoos are back baby, in "adult" sizes! Festooned with glorious JLGL (PBHN) art on the package, you now can go to sleep dressed just like Aquaman is in the comics--everyone recognizes that big black A he's had over his heart lo the past seven decades! I'm kidding of course, but given Aquaman's current costume, there is a certain amount of resemblance seen here. *Ahem*

Head over to to see all the new sizes and characters available!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mera and Paul Kupperberg Team-Up

Here's some amazing Mera cosplay at the 2015 Connecticut Comiconn, next to an even better example of Paul Kupperberg cosplay! I mean, this guy is good!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Aquaman Meets Bugs Bunny!

The Aquaman Shrine has given DC Comics a lot of grief over the years (most of it deserved, we believe), but when they do something right, they deserve praise.

Case in point: these DC/Looney Tunes variant covers, set for release in November. They are wonderfully silly, and I love every one of them. Some more than others, of course: case in point, this cover to Aquaman #46, with the Sea King (drawn by Ivan Reis!) being entranced by a suspicious-looking mermaid. Head over to DC Comics's site and check them all out, they'll put a smile on your face.

BTW, you can buy Reis' original, as seen below: 

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Fire and Water Podcast, Episode 136

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 136 - World Tour 2015 with Keith, Tom and Stella

The Fire and Water Podcast World Tour 2015 continues! Shag's on the road again and managed to coerce a few more friends to appear on the show! We start by sitting down with long-time Nuclear Sub Keith G. Baker live from Raleigh, NC! Then Shag chats with fellow podcasters Tom & Stella in Charlottesville, VA!

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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, August 14, 2015

Justice League United #12

Comics Friday "The Island of No Return Part 2" by Jeff Parker, Travel Foreman, and Jeromy Cox.

The current configuration of Justice League United find themselves on the run after they have been sucked into the gaping maw of, as the caption says, "A super-gross living island thing":

Mera uses her hard water powers to create a bubble around the team, keeping them safe long enough for Equinox to explain why they were all brought here on this dangerous mission. After an interlude involving Steel, Star Girl, Adam Strange, and Robotman, Poison Ivy sees a small flower growing in the mushy ground of the creature, and believes that is Swamp Thing, who was thought absorbed into the monster.

Part of the creature's ultimate plan is revealed to Swamp Thing, who communicates this to his "teammates." Then the living island starts to rise out of the water, heading inland. Mera again uses her powers to help the JLU escape:

The creature is destroyed, but so (seemingly) is Swamp Thing. Poison Ivy is aghast, walking off with Swampy's head in an attempt to revive him (which will probably work). With the mission now completed, Mera demands what she was promised--namely, to find out where Aquaman has gone. Animal Man promises to return her to his last known location--meanwhile, Star Girl is busy rounding up members for a new mission. And she's starting with Batgirl!

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this story wrapped up in just two issues! After what feels like decades of superhero plots being stretched past their normal life span so they fill a trade, I like Jeff Parker's approach here--if anything, it felt a bit like those JLA/JSa team-ups of old, which generally ran two issues at best and then got out of town.

From what I understand of this book, the team will be ever changing, so I guess that means Mera will not be returning for issue #13. Too bad, because it was great seeing her sans-Aquaman and kicking so much ass. She's not exactly team leader here, but it's close, and her powers end up saving the heroes more than once. Parker has found a good balance on how to write Mera, so let's hope Adam Strange and co. need her again, soon!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Aquaman Fanzine Commission by Jim Aparo Ilke Hincer found this buried gem, an original Aquaman sketch by the legendary Jim Aparo tucked away on the back cover of a 1969 comics fanzine called Formula X. Given the, uh, less than polished art on the front cover, I really have to wonder why the editors didn't give this piece a more prominent location. It's Aquaman by Jim Aparo, for Neptune's Sake!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Aquaman and Mera @ 2015 Wizard World Richmond

Now that is some Aquaman and Mera cosplay! Spotted at this year's Wizard World Richmond Comic Con.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Fire and Water Podcast, Episode 135

The official podcast of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE and FIRESTORM FAN

Episode 135 - Marvel's Fireside Chats, Part 1

Shag is off this week (again!), so I welcome guest KING-SIZE COMICS GIANT-SIZE FUN! host KYLE BENNING to discuss four of Marvel's 1970s books by Fireside Press: ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS, SON OF ORIGINS, BRING ON THE BAD GUYS, and THE SUPERHERO WOMEN! Face front, True Believer!

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, August 07, 2015

Aquaman Art Gallery: Monte Moore

This is a painting of Aquaman riding a hammerhead shark. Do I really need to say more?

Okay, I guess I do--it's by artist Monte Moore, commissioned by our newest member of F.O.A.M., Kevin Elman. Kevin has two whole sketchbooks of Aquaman art, some of which will show up here eventually.

But in the meantime, let me reiterate, this is Aquaman riding a hammerhead shark.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Super Friends Coloring Book Original Art by Alex Toth

Check this out! Later this month there's an auction of original preliminary drawings the master, Alex Toth, did for a 1975 Super Friends coloring book! I'm amazed stuff like this is still around, considering material like this was usually used in-house and then discarded. But of course, this is Alex Toth we're talking about here--even his napkin scribbles were worth preserving.

(h/t: Ilke Hincer)

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

DC Summer Reading

Author, world traveler, and Marc Tyler Nobleman sent in this imaginative sign promoting a library's summer reading program. As MTN points out, you see the Superman, Batman, and Flash chest emblems all the time, it's rarer to see Aquaman's "A" used for a similar purpose. Nice job Barbara Gordon!

Monday, August 03, 2015

Who's Who: Update '87 Volume 2

sgThe Fire and Water Podcast Presents: WHO'S WHO UPDATE '87: VOLUME 2

It's the second issue of WHO'S WHO UPDATE '87! We take a look at new and updated characters such as the Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, Doll Girl, Electric Warrior, The Flash, Fury, and more! We wrap up with your Listener Feedback!

Be sure to check out our Tumblr site for a few pages from this Who's Who issue:!

Let us know what you think of the show! Send questions or comments to:

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Our fantastic opening and closing themes by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge with their band The Bad Mamma Jammas!

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Thanks for listening! Who's Next?

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?

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