Wednesday, September 28, 2016

JLA: A Midsummer's Nightmare Original Art by Kevin Maguire

This is master comics artist Kevin Maguire's original cover to JLA: A Midsummer's Nightmare #1 from 1996, soon up for auction on Comic Link. So if you've got some deep pockets, here's your chance to own an original Maguire, featuring Aquaman!

(h/t: Ilke Hincer)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

All-Time Favorite Aquaman Moments - Part 2

I can't remember, but I think my first introduction to Aquaman was on Hanna-Barbera's Super Friends, which launched in 1973. Every episode started with this stirring theme song and, combined with the Alex Toth character designs, it put Aquaman on par with icons like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman in my mind. That initial impression has never faded.

I still get charge, every time I watch this!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Aquaman Art Gallery: Andias Rahkman

This wonderful illustration of the DC Films Aquaman (plus fellow movie star Dory) is by artist Andias Rahkman

Friday, September 23, 2016

Aquaman (Vol.9) #7

"Uneasy Lies The Head That Wears The Crown" by Dan Abnett, Scot Eaton, Wayne Faucher, and Gabe Eltaeb.

Aquaman and Mera are back in Atlantis, dealing with the various, sundry details of running a kingdom. He is, of course, most concerned with just who is trying to sabotage relations between Atlantis and the Surface World, but a lot of other stuff is getting in the way. One of the elders, Koah, suggests that if Aquaman is to marry Mera, she undergo a series of "tests" to prove her worthiness. Aquaman is, of course, aghast at this, and tells a stuttering Koah to get out.

Aquaman then meets with Murk, who was there at the wreckage of the Navy vessel. Murk shows him an Atlantean helmet found there, "proving" it was the work of one of them, Except--the helmet has been retrofitted with an air-breathing apparatus, meaning the person using it could not breathe water. Meanwhile, in Venice, at the HQ of N.E.M.O., Black Manta makes quick work of those who oppose his forced ascension to leader, after killing the previous Fisher King. 

Aquaman goes to see Corum Rath, the head of the resistance group known as The Deluge. Corum sees Aquaman as an illegitimate ruler, a half-breed (a crack which earns him a left cross from Tula). He refuses to help Aquaman get to the bottom of who is behind all this. Later, Aquaman has a discreet line of communication (an "Aqua-Phone") set up with Agent Irving of the FBI. He thinks that the FBI's investigation of the Scavenger--and who he sold his stolen Atleantean treasures to--might provide some clues. 

Not too far away, N.E.M.O. launches its first plan--unleashing some sort of giant beast the emerges from the Atlantean sea bed, and lumbers its way toward Atlantis. To be continued!

I have joked many times that I am really tired of seeing Aquaman get bogged down in Atlantis, and I have referred to it as the "'uneasy lies the head that wears the crown' bit." And here is Dan Abnett literally calling a story that, which didn't fill me with confidence, I have to admit. I just don't understand why Aquaman writers--virtually every single one of them--are so obsessed with getting Arthur back in Atlantis and dealing with all this palace intrigue stuff. Even Geoff Johns, who did more than any single Aqua-writer to transform the view of Aquaman into a full-fledged superhero, couldn't help bringing the story back to Atlantis during his final issues of the previous series.

That said, I still enjoyed Aquaman #7, watching the Sea King get pulled in several different directions. It would be easy to just blame the Deluge, especially since Corum is so unrepentant. But Arthur knows something else is going on, so he has to do a little detective work and see the bigger picture. Traditionally, Aquaman was written as a hothead and Mera was the calmer, more deliberate one, but Abnett has flipped that here. Heck, Aquaman would probably still be in a jail cell if Mera hadn't had enough and broke him out.

Abnett's political commentary is even more explicit this issue, right down to Corum trying to insult his king by calling him "progressive." To some, that is an insult, but to others, it just underscores how sadly stuck The Deluge is in its view of the way world is now vs. the way it was. The Deluge is going to Make Atlantis Great again, come hell or high water. 

On the art front, I do miss Brad Walker, but the Eaton/Faucher team do nice work here, especially with some of the close-ups. That shot of Corum saying "False King" I thought was quite good, as is a later shot of Aquaman talking to Agent Irving. And colorist Gabe Eltaeb continues to do an exceptional job with the colors.

Aquaman #7 is on sale now!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Aquawoman and WonderMan @ The 2016 Long Beach Comic Con

Two killer cosplayers at the 2016 Long Beach Comic Con! Photo sent in by Scott Wood!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Aqualad by Ramona Fradon

This majestic shot of Aqualad by the legendary Ramona Fradon is currently up for auction over on Comic Link. If you've never had the good fortune to meet Ms. Fradon in person, then here's your chance to get an original from her!

(h/t: Ilke Hincer)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Super-Team Family #1612 - Stingray and Aquaman

The team-up no one demanded--Stingray and Aquaman!

Another beautiful custom cover from the nerd-riffic Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues blog. One criticism, though--why does Stingray get top billing?!?

(h/t: Clinton Robison)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Aquaman’s Spanish Vacation

My pal Dan Greenfield (editor of, for which I write a movie review column) recently took a trip to Spain, and the King of the Seven Seas went along for the ride! Check out this superhero team-up over at!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Aquaman: A Celebration of 75 Years Solicit


Though often overshadowed or overlooked, Aquaman is among the greatest and most enduring characters in the DC Universe. The King of Atlantis is one of the few Golden Age characters to survive into the present day. He’s also a founding member of the Justice League, the first DC hero to start a family and soon will star in his own big-screen franchise.

From the lighthearted swashbuckling adventures of Aquaman's early decades, through the loss of his son (not to mention his hand), to his modern reinvention as a formidable master of the sea, this collection provides a crash course in more than seven decades of DC history!

AQUAMAN: A CELEBRATION OF 75 YEARS collects 400 pages of the iconic hero's finest moments--from his first appearance by Mort Weisinger and creator Paul Norris to his modern-day adventures--and features the work of such comics superstars as Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Jim Aparo, Steve Skeates, Peter David, Ramona Fradon, Paul Levitz, Nick Cardy and more.
  • More Fun Comics #73
  • Adventure Comics #s 120, 174, 220, 260, 269, 444, 452, 475
  • Aquaman (1962) #s 1, 18, 40
  • Justice League of America Annual #2 
  • Aquaman (1986) #3
  • Aquaman (1991) #2 
  • Aquaman (1994) #s 4, 17
  • Aquaman (2011) #s 1, 43

Monday, September 12, 2016

Aquaman (Vol.9) #6

"The Drowning Part Six: Out of His League" by Dan Abnett, Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessey, and Gabe Eltaeb.

Aquaman and Mera find themselves face-to-face with the Man of Steel. Things get worse from there, leading to punches being thrown. Aquaman, fighting for his life and his people, manages to get a couple of good shots in on Superman (as does Mera). Superman takes the abuse, until a low rumble that signals an invading Atlantean army is heard. But before things get worse, Aquaman asks his people to stand down. Aquaman and Mera head back for Atlantis, knowing this all has to be fixed--now. To be continued!

Nice to finally have Brad Walker back, and I enjoyed his work here just as much as I did in issue #1. Considering that most of this issue is just a big fight, I think it helps having someone with a fairly idiosyncratic style handle it. A lot of the poses are unique (like when Mera hauls off and knocks Superman off his feet) and he really gives the fight an extra level of visual interest.

While DC has done a lot to ramp up Aquaman's strength levels since the New 52, clearly Superman is humoring the Sea King here. I'm just not buying that the Sea King could even really get a shot in, so it's kinda nice of Clark to not make Aquaman feel too bad. It also seems like DC and/or Dan Abnett is re-positioning Aquaman, moving into the role Batman filled in the late 90s--namely, the good guy who's not totally on board and needs to be reined in once in a while. Not that Aquaman didn't have this shading previously, but the conversation he and Superman have throughout this issue reminded me of how Supes and Bats talked in The Dark Knight Returns.

There's also the developing sub-plot of Black Manta having been drafted into N.E.M.O. Of course, with Manta being the giant jerkwad he is, he thinks nothing of killing its leader and installing himself. Good to know that this new Black Jack is no more competent than the original 1940s version. Some things never change.

Aquaman #6 is on sale now!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Li'l Aquaman

This adorable (but fierce!) Li'l Aquaman was spotted at this year's Dragon*Con!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Aquaman's First DCU Mention?

While chatting with #1 Aquaman Fan (and, of course) Laura Gjovaag for an upcoming episode of The Fire and Water Podcast, she mentioned that Aquaman was referenced in a 1940s Johnny Quick story, quite possibly the Sea King's first-ever mention in the greater DCU. I had never heard of this, and somehow missed Laura's post about it over on her Unofficial Aquaman Website--so here it is!

Aquaman (in)famously did not appear on DC comic book cover until The Brave and the Bold #28. His first official crossover with another DC hero took place just a few months earlier in Adventure Comics #267, when he met his longtime book co-star Green Arrow. But to my knowledge there was never any inkling that Aquaman was connected to any other DC character between his debut in 1941 and 1959--but thanks to Laura I'm happy to learn that's wrong!

This Johnny Quick story was written by Joe Samachson, who also penning Aquaman's More Fun adventures at the same time, so this can be chalked up as a nice little gag for readers. And nerds like me, eight decades later.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

1980 San Diego Comic Con Program

This is the back cover to the 1980 San Diego Comic Con program book, drawn by the legendary Joe Staton, featuring the stars of the DCU--including, thankfully, Aquaman!

This ad is clearly focused on DC's new wave of back-up feature stars: the Sea King, Firestorm, the Huntress, OMAC, Air Wave, Adam Strange, etc. Some wouldn't last all that long, but it's cool seeing DC give them such a nice presentation here. Joe Staton has always been one of my favorite artists, and he never got to do Aquaman much, so a discovery like this (thanks to Ilke Hincer) is always a treat!

Also, with Firestorm being so prominent, this makes for a good Fire and Water Podcast-themed crossover!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Play-Doh Aquaman

Courtesy author, lecturer, world traveler, (and F.O.A.M. member) Marc Tyler Nobleman comes this photo of a Play-Doh Aquaman he made when he was a kid. Best part is, after you're done playing with it, you can eat it!* Thanks Marc!

(*The Surgeon General does not advise eating large amounts of Play-Doh)

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Know Your Villains: The Marine Marauder


Our fifth installment of Know Your Aquaman Villains focuses on what would have been a footnote in the history of the Sea King if not for a new version that came to eclipse the original. We're talking about The Marine Marauder!

The Marine Marauder came to us fully formed as a super-villain, a crook who can command whales via a transmitter built into his costume. After stealing the cargo of a passenger ship, Aquaman gets involved. During a scuffle, MM commands a giant whale to swallow Aquaman and Mera, who get spit out only after the Sea King overrides MM's command.

After talking to the Navy, Aquaman learns that their sonar goes haywire every time Marine Marauder is around. He eventually finds MM's hideout, ending with the green-suited, goggled bad guy commanding a whale to ram the Navy ship which is carrying a valuable vaccine. As Aquaman heads off that disaster, Marine Marauder takes off:

Aquaman succeeds of course, but the Marine Marauder escapes. He essentially gets away with it, because he was never seen again! Okay, sort of--he did appear in the Aquaman back-up feature in Action Comics #520, alongside other Aqua-Villains, but it turned out he and the rest were just robot duplicates:

About half a decade later, Mike W. Barr would introduce a new Marine Marauder, this time a woman. She got her own listing in Who's Who: Update '87, where we learn her connection to the original:

This Marine Marauder (beautifully drawn here by Ty Templeton) has an unnamed brother whose money she used to further her career in oceanography. It's safe to assume this is the original Marine Marauder, but it was left vague.

This new Marine Marauder would end up tangling with Aquaman twice, beating her brother's record by 100% (again, if you discount robot duplicates). The first time was when Aquaman guest appeared in The Flash #66:

There's no real mention of the original MM, so any connection between the two remained vague. This new version returned In Justice League: The Nail #2, she teams up with Ocean Master to take on the Sea King, but doesn't prove to be any more effective than her brother despite outnumbering our hero:

Marine Marauder and Orm are defeated, and that was pretty much it for the character. Unless I am mistaken (always a possibility), the character has not been seen again.

Which is too bad--considering how thin Aquaman's Rogues Gallery is (though there's been some solid additions to it, post-New 52), I've always though the Marine Marauder had real possibilities. I think the costume is sharp, the power set is cool, and the whole idea of a sister taking a villainous cue from her brother is a nice hook from which to hang a back story on. Maybe something happened to the original, post his scuffle with Aquaman, that led the new version on a quest for vengeance. That kinda stuff is always fun.

In any case, the Marine Marauder is still out there, lingering in DC's massive list of copyrights. Any writer could pick him/her up and dust them off. What say you, Dan Abnett? If you can bring back Black Jack, the Marine Marauder ought to be a snap!


Marine Marauder I created by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo. Marine Marauder II created by Mike W. Barr and Trevor Von Eeden.

Marine Marauder Appearances:
Adventure Comics #449
Action Comics #520
Adventures of the Outsiders #s 37-38
The Flash #66
JLA: The Nail #2

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Justice League #3

"The Extinction Machines Part 3" by Bryan Hitch, Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea, and Tomeu Morey.

Gah! Aquaman is still all by himself for the third issue in a row. While I'm of course happy he's part of this new series, the attraction (for me) is to have all these heroes interact, so this constant popping back and forth to different locations I find frustrating. At this rate, we'll have to wait until the final issue of the storyline to see them all together. 

This way of telling a superhero story is nothing new, of course; Geoff Johns did it a lot during his tenure on the book. But, I dunno, I always hope when a book starts over it takes an opportunity to something different. So far I'm not seeing much of that here, even if (as I mentioned earlier in the week) the artwork is terrific.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Justice League #2

"The Extinction Machines Part 2" by Bryan Hitch, Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea, and Tomeu Morey.

As some of the JLAers meet in The Watchtower, Aquaman finds himself waking up on the floor of the ocean. He finds a small collection of crystal statues that emit a calming harmony. He grabs them and takes off. 

Finally Batman gets Superman involved, and they hatch a plan: to head to the center of the Earth! To be continued...tomorrow!

Aquaman gets a but more to do this issue, but he's still swimming solo while the rest of the team gets together. Let's see if he actually gets to hang with the gang in issue three.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Justice League #1

"The Extinction Machines Part 1" by Bryan Hitch, Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea, and Tomeu Morey.

The Shrine has been a bit behind keeping up with Aquaman's other appearances in the DCU, post-Rebirth. So this week we'll be catching up with the Sea King as he fights along his fellow heroes in the new Justice League!

The globe is hit by a series of extinction-level events, with each of the Leaguers trying to deal with the catastrophes. Of course, one of the places hit is Atlantis. As Aquaman is trying to run the rescue effort, he is surrounded by a strange group of beings who mutter about "stolen words." They swarm Aquaman and take him down.

Aquaman only appears in two pages of out the book; what you see above is his entire role in the story. But thanks to Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea he looks great, so it's on to issue #2!

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