Yet that's exactly what they did, just in time for the book to end. Luckily Tad was generous enough to talk to the Shrine about his brief but important part in the history of Aquaman:
Aquaman Shrine: Did you read comics growing up?
Tad Williams: God, did I. Everything--funny animal books, Archie comics, you name it. Then when I was about eight or nine I fell in love with superheroes, and began reading those--DC and Marvel primarily, of course. I mean, I may have owned a few Harvey superhero books, but that would only have been if someone gave them to me or something.
AMS: How familiar with Aquaman were you when you got offered the book?
TW: Not day-to-day familiar--I hadn't been a regular reader for a while--but certainly a fan and someone who's been reading Aquaman since the 60s.
AMS: There were a lot of supporting characters in the book; was that to help establish this new Aquaman by giving him lots of people to play off of?
TW: That was a lot of the idea, yes. I tend toward epics, and I like big casts. Also, I was(I thought temporarily) using a main character who wasn't particularly loved, so I wanted to try a few different things and prepare the ground for a bigger world later on, with the original cast and some of the new combined.
AMS: You've said that you had the intention of bringing back the original Aquaman, but DC said no. Any idea why?
TW: I'm only guessing, but I think they believe they've made a choice and it's not their nature to "retreat"--that in the long run, people will get used to the new version. I'm not sure I agree--I think he'd work better as a secondary character until he's established an identity, the way Wally West fell fairly naturally into being the Flash after Barry Allen Saved Everything.
AMS: If you had been given the chance to bring him back, did you have it planned out how you were going to do it or was it more of a long-term goal?
TW: No, I had the beginnings of a story that would have led to the underground empire of Dyss--working in tandem with some more familiar villains--and more specifically its godly founder/foundation/essence to awake and threaten the world, and only the original Aquaman, of all earth's heroes, would be capable of saving
the world.(There was even a reason why only he could do it, but I won't give it away in case I ever get to do the story.)
Thus, I was going to have the younger version sacrifice himself (at least for the foreseeable future) so the original could be brought back to life. This would tie in with the revelation that Arthur Jr. was in part animated only by what was taken from the orginal A-man by Jr.'s scientist dad, which has now been made in the last issue of my run instead.(I really thought the poor kid needed an origin.)
AMS: You ended Sword of Atlantis on a very heroic note--the new Aquaman heading out in an attempt to be worthy of the mantle. Was this a moment you were already headed for at this point in the series, or did you come up with it once you heard the book was ending?
TW: As I mentioned, I'd intended him to die fairly heroically, to save the world. This was an emendation based on learning that I wasn't going to get to do all that other stuff, and that in fact I'd be pressed for time to wrap up some of the more pressing plotlines. (I had assumed, foolishly I guess, that I had at least a year.)
AMS: Was it a big adjustment, playing with someone else's characters instead of writing novels?
TW: No, I love that stuff, in part precisely because it's different from what I usually do. Also, every kind of writing is excellent and challenging and fun. I just love telling stories.
AMS: What are you working on next? Are you taking a break from novels while working in comics?
TW: Whether I'm taking a break or not depends on whether DC follows through on any of my proposals, or offers me something else, or whether the proposal for the Factory project comes to anything.
...maybe someday we'll get to see Tad's idea on how to bring the original Aquaman back. If not, I'll always appreciate his work on the series. Thanks Tad!