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Monday, April 14, 2008

Aquaman Timeline

I had been wanting to get to something like for a while.

I thought it would neat to have some sort of timeline for Aquaman, something that would hit the major moments in the character's history over the decades. For anyone not familiar with the character, this can quickly get them up to speed (though I doubt very many people like that would visit something called The Aquaman Shrine, but I digress).

So I worked up what I thought were the seminal moments for the Sea King, in and out of comics. I'm posting a permanent link to it on the right, so anyone who wants to refer to it can easily find it.

If any of you have an important moment you think I missed, please let me know and we'll see about adding it!

Nov. 1941 - More Fun Comics #73 - Aquaman debuts in an untitled story, written by Mort Weisinger and drawn by Paul Norris.


sgApr. 1946 - Adventure Comics #103 - After thirty-four consecutive issues, Aquaman (and most of the cast of More Fun) is moved over to Adventure Comics.

The first story, "Footsteps in the Ocean", is by an unknown writer and artist Louis Cazeneuve. Aquaman would return to Adventure multiple times over the following decades.


sgOct. 1956 - Adventure Comics #229 - Aquaman's undersea pal, Topo, is introduced in this story, written by unknown and drawn by Ramona Fradon.

Some comic sites (like the exhaustingly detailed
Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics) list this as the first appearance of the "Earth-1" Aquaman.

sgMay 1959 - Adventure Comics #260 - A new origin for Aquaman is revealed, in "How Aquaman Got His Powers" by Robert Bernstein and Ramona Fradon.

This story is more universally accepted as the beginning of the Aquaman we all know and love!


sgFeb. 1960 - Adventure Comics #269 - Aqualad debuts in "The Kid From Atlantis" by Robert Berstein and Ramona Fradon.


sgFeb./March 1960 - Brave and the Bold #28 - Aquaman is a charter member in the debut appearance of the Justice League of America. This is the first comic book cover Aquaman has ever appeared on.

"Starro the Conqueror" is by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.


sgNov. 1960 - Justice League of America #1 - Aquaman is present for the debut issue of the JLA's solo title.

And until Superman and Batman started taking up the lion's share of the action, Aquaman and the other members (Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, The Martian Manhunter) were the stars of the book.

The first story, "The World of No Return" is by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.

sgMarch 1961 - Showcase #30 - Aquaman headlines a comic book for the first time, in a three-issue tryout in Showcase.

"The Creatures from Atlantis!" is written by Jack Miller, with art by Ramona Fradon.


sgJuly 1961 - Detective Comics #293 - Stretching the title "Detective Comics" a tad, Aquaman begins appearing as a back-up feature.

Since this strip started immediately after his successful Showcase run, presumably it was done to have some place for Aquaman to appear before the debut of Aquaman #1.

The first story, "The Sensational Sea Scoops" is written by unknown (Jack Miller or Robert Bernstein, surely) and drawn by Nick Cardy.


sgFeb. 1962 - Aquaman #1 - Aquaman finally gets his own title!

"The Invasion of the Fire-Trolls!" is by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy.


sgMay 1962 - World's Finest Comics #125 - Aquaman starts a back-up feature. It will run on and off (mostly alternating with a Green Arrow strip) for about twenty issues. This issue's story, "Aquaman's Super-Sidekick" is by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy.

At this point in time, for the three years the World's Finest back-ups ran, Aquaman was appearing regularly in three separate titles--Aquaman, World's Finest, and Justice League of America.

sgOct. 1963 - Aquaman #11 - Aquaman's future wife, Mera, debuts in this issue.

"The Doom From Dimension Aqua" is by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy.


sgDec. 1964 - Aquaman #18 - Aquaman becomes one of the first superheroes ever to marry!

"The Wife of Aquaman" is by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy.


sgOct. 1965 - Aquaman #23 - Aquaman breaks even more ground as a superhero, as he becomes a father to Arthur, Jr.!

"The Birth of Aquababy" is by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy.


1966 - Aquaman is included as part of Ideal's Captain Action line of "action figures" (a new term coined just a few years earlier for Hasbro's G.I. Joe), along with fellow DC heroes Superman and Batman. This is the first Aquaman action figure.


sgOct. 1966 - Aquaman #29 - The Ocean Master, Aquaman's half-brother and arch-villain, debuts.

"Aquaman, Coward-King of the Seas" is by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy.


sgOct. 1967 - Aquaman #35 - Arguably Aquaman's greatest--certainly most famous--foe, Black Manta, debuts.

"Between Two Dooms!" is by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy.


sgAug. 1968 - Aquaman #40 - The new creative team of Steve Skeates, Jim Aparo, and editor Dick Giordano--"SAG"--take over Aquaman with this issue. The first story is titled "Sorcerers of the Sea."

Under SAG, the book's sales spike. But when editor Dick Giordano leaves DC, the book is canceled (at issue #56) instead of being assigned to another editor.

For the next few years, Aquaman's only appearances are in Justice League of America.


sg1968 - The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure by Filmation Studios debuts Saturday Mornings on CBS.

Actor Marvin Miller provides the voice of Aquaman. Other rotating DC heroes fill the third slot in the show. The Aquaman portion of the show will be replaced by Batman the following year, with the Aquaman shows re-run separately.


sg1972 - Mego Toys debuts its World's Greatest Superheroes line of 8" action figures. The inaugural figures in the line are Superman, Batman, Robin, and Aquaman.

Even though Aquaman was never a huge seller, there was an Aquaman playset ("Aquaman vs. The Great White Shark"). Also, the Aquaman figure would be produced all during the line's existence into the early 1980s.


sg1973 - Hanna-Barbera's The Super Friends cartoon show debuts on Saturday Mornings.

The show would go through various iterations during its original broadcast run over twelve seasons. Every show's line-up would include Aquaman in some form.

He is voiced at first by Norman Alden, then William Callaway.

sgOct. 1974 - Adventure Comics #435 - After years of not having a solo feature, Aquaman returns as a back-up in Adventure Comics. It lasts three issues.

"As the Undersea City Sleeps" is by Steve Skeates and Mike Grell.


sgOct. 1975 - Adventure Comics #441 - Aquaman is promoted to the lead feature, starting off with the team of Paul Levitz and Jim Aparo, with the first story "The Pirate Who Plundered Atlantis."


sgAug. 1977 - Adventure Comics #452 - Aquaman's son, Arthur Jr., is murdered by Black Manta in "Dark Destiny, Deadly Dreams" by David Michelinie and Jim Aparo.

This ends one of Aquaman's most successful Adventure runs, as it leads directly to the return of Aquaman's solo title.


sgSept. 1977 - Aquaman #57 - Aquaman is given his own title again, picking up the numbering his old series left off with.

"A Life for A Life" is by David Michelinie and Jim Aparo. This second iteration would last until issue #63, a casualty of the "DC Implosion."


sgDec. 1978 - Adventure Comics #460 - After Aquaman is canceled--for good--he returns to Adventure in stories by Paul Kupperberg and Don Newton, the same team that produced the final few issues of his solo series.

This issue's story is titled "The Hunt." This series lasts six issues, ending in December 1979 with issue #466.


sgMay 1980 - World's Finest #262 - Aquaman is moved over to World's Finest again, in stories by Bob Rozakis and Don Newton. This feature only last for three issues, ending with #264.

This first story is titled "Siren of the Sargasso."


sgSept. 1980 - Adventure Comics #475 - Aquaman is moved back again to Adventure, in an excellent series of stories by J.M. DeMatteis and Dick Giordano.

The first story is called "Scavenger Hunt." Sadly, this series only run four issues.


sgMarch 1981 - Action Comics #517 - Aquaman's run from Adventure moves directly to Action, with stories again by J.M. DeMatteis, this time with art by Don Heck.

This series would swap with back-ups starring The Atom and Air Wave, and last until Action #540.


sgOct. 1982 - Adventure Comics #491 - Aquaman is a feature in Adventure--now in the digest format--one last time before the book is canceled.

Instead of new stories though, the Aquaman tales are all reprints from the classic Skeates/Aparo/Giordano issues of Aquaman. Unbelievably, these remain (to this writing) the only time these stories have been reprinted. They end with Adventure's final issue, #503.


sgEarly/Mid 1980s - Aquaman is a major part of DC's newly-produced art style guides, featuring (for the most part) art by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez.

These shots of Aquaman and other DC heroes--dynamic, colorful, and iconic--would be used on various products for years, and many are still used on products to this day.


sg1984 - Justice League of America Annual #2 - Aquaman once again only has the JLA to call his home.

After leading the JLA fighting off a Martian invasion, he forms a new Justice League, consisting old and new heroes, and becomes its leader.

"The End of the Justice League" is by Gerry Conway and Chuck Patton, and the story continues in the regular Justice League title.


1984 - Aquaman is part of the initial line of Super Powers action figures by Kenner.

The line only lasts a few years, but it spawns a mountain of tie-in merchandise, and releases a second wave of figures.


sgOct. 1985 - Justice League of America #243 - Aquaman leaves the team he founded to be with his wife Mera. After a quarter of a century with the team, Aquaman is no longer involved with the Justice League.

"Storm Clouds" by Gerry Conway and George Tuska.


sgFeb. 1986 - Aquaman #1, Volume 2 - Aquaman gets his own title again, in this four-issue mini-series by Neal Pozner and Craig Hamilton.

Aquaman is given a new costume, some new supporting characters, and the series is open-ended, setting up for more stories. The series sells well, and plans are put in motion for a second series, but due to creative problems it never comes to pass.


sgAug. 1986 - All-Star Squadron #60 - The Earth-2 Aquaman, not seen for decades, makes a brief return starting in All-Star Squadron #59.

It is this issue, however, where he and his fellow heroes Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow are "erased" from revised continuity because of events in Crisis on Infinite Earths. From this point on in DC continuity, there never was an Earth-2 Aquaman.

"The End of the Beginning" is by Roy Thomas and Arvell Jones.


sgJune 1989 - Aquaman #1, Volume 3 - After a one-shot special in 1988, Aquaman is given another mini-series, this time by Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming, and Curt Swan.

The first story is titled "Aquarium." The mini-series runs five issues, and following that another one-shot special is released.


sgDec. 1991 - Aquaman #1, Volume 4 - Aquaman is given an ongoing solo series again, this time by Shaun McLaughlin and Ken Hooper. The series only lasts thirteen issues.


sgDec. 1993 - Aquaman: Time and Tide #1 (Volume 5) - Aquaman gets another mini-series, this time by Peter David and Kirk Jarvinen.

This series, starting off with the story "Flash Back", is highly successful, and quickly leads to a regular series, written again by David.


sgAug. 1994 - Aquaman #1, Volume 6 - What will be Aquaman's longest-running series starts here, with "Hitting Bottom", by Peter David and Martin Egeland.

This series lasts seventy-five issues, and five annuals.


sgJan. 1995 - Aquaman #5, Volume 6 - After getting his hand bitten off by mad piranhas in the second issue, Aquaman, having grown a beard and long hair, chases his outfit along with getting a cybernetic hook for a hand.

This is the first major change in Aquaman's costume since his 1941 debut.


sgJan. 1997 - JLA #1 - After being absent from the team during its second incarnation (as Justice League International), Aquaman returns to the team with his fellow founding members in a new JLA book, by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter.

The first story is titled "Them" and Aquaman remains a member of the team for several years.


sg1999 - Aquaman makes a guest-appearance in an episode of Superman: The Animated Series, titled "A Fish Story."

Aquaman is voiced by actor Miguel Ferrer.


sg2001 - Aquaman, Mera, and Arthur Jr. appear in the first season of the animated series Justice League. Aquaman is voiced by Scott Rummel.

When the series changes format and its title to Justice League Unlimited, Aquaman makes a few more appearances, none as central to the plot as this initial two-parter, titled "The Enemy Below."


sgFeb. 2003 - Aquaman #1, Volume 7 - Aquaman, having been seemingly killed off in JLA, returns and is given a new solo series, his seventh.

The first story is "Castaway!" by Rick Veitch and Yvel Guichet. After a few issues, Aquaman cuts his hair, loses the beard, and replaces his hook with a magical water hand. Soon after he will don a costume that is an updated version of his original one.

This series will last thirty-nine issues before the events of DC's 52 series cause major changes to many of their characters, including Aquaman.


sg2005 - Aquaman makes his live-action debut on the WB series Smallville, in an episode titled "Aqua."

He is played by Alan Ritchson, but he is never called Aquaman in the show. Instead, he goes by his initials, "A.C." It is one of highest-rated episodes of the series.


sgMay 2006 - Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40 - Aquaman's seventh series is retitled, with a new hero, Arthur Joseph, assuming the role of Aquaman. It takes place one year after issue #39.

The initial issues are by Kurt Busiek and Jackson Guice, and after a few issues, the original Aquaman, now known as The Dweller of the Depths, dies.

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis lasts seventeen issues, ending with #57 with the creative team of Tad Williams and Shawn McManus. It is (to date) the last Aquaman solo series.


sgSummer 2006 - The Post Office issues a new sheet of DC Super Hero stamps, starring ten different characters getting two stamps each.

One Aquaman stamp is by Jim Aparo, the other is by Curt Swan.


sg2006 - The producers of Smallville produce a pilot for an Aquaman spin-off, starring Justin Hartley as Arthur Curry.

Just as the pilot is produced, the WB and UPN Networks merge, leaving many shows--some old, some new--with no spot on the TV schedule. The new network, the CW, does not pick up the show(at times called Aquaman, other times Mercy Reef).

The pilot is eventually sold on iTunes, becoming one of their most popular downloads, and then put on DVD with Smallville boxed sets.


sg2007 - Aquaman/A.C. returns to Smallville, in an episode called "Justice", featuring other heroes from the DC Universe Impulse, Green Arrow, and Cyborg.

He is again played by Alan Ritchson, and at one point in the show he is called "Aquaman."


sg2007 - Mattel releases a new toy line, called DC Super Friends, aimed at very young kids, and Aquaman is part of the first wave, along with Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Lex Luthor.

There is also a tie-in comic of the same name, and Mattel will be releasing an Aquaman accessory, an AquaSub, in 2008. It will be the first Aquaman toy accessory released since Mego's "Aquaman vs. The Great White Shark" playset in 1978.

2008 - Mattel releases the Aqua Sub, a vehicle for Aquaman, as part of an expansion to their DC Super Friends toy line. It is the first time an Aquaman action figure has received any sort of playset or vehicle accompaniment since Mego's Aquaman Vs. The Great White Shark playset in 1977.

The line also inspires a DC comic book of the same name, featuring Aquaman in a large role.

Mattel also releases Aquaman and Black Manta figures as part of Wave 2 of their DC Universe action figure line. This means for 2008 there are two Classic Aquaman figures available on nationwide toy aisles.

Dec. 2008 - Aquaman makes a return to TV as a guest-star on Cartoon Network's new Brave and the Bold series. He teams-up with Batman in the third episode, "Evil Under The Sea!" He is voiced by actor John Di Maggio (Futurama).

Also appearing in the episode are Mera, Black Manta, and Ocean Master.

And that's it, so far! Like I said above, if there's any major item you think I've left out, let me know!

Until then, let's hope we can add Aquaman, Volume 8 here soon...

(For more fun AquaFacts, check out Laura's cool
AquaWiki page!)


Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Kudos. Wonderfully fun. You probably know this stuff so well that you put this to pixels off the top of your head. (No offense if you didn't! Either way, it's still wonderfully fun.)

I just realized something. Was Aquaman only the second DC hero to be animated, after Superman (not counting the opening credits of the 60s Batman live action show)?

Diabolu Frank said...

I so don't have time to consider anything like this in the near future, but worth noting:

Martian Manhunter and Aquaman both written by Jack Miller for much of the 60's, with all three appearing for a time as the back-up feature in Detective Comics under Jack Schiff. Under Miller, both characters take on startling new directions, especially for the time.

Both Aquaman and Martian Manhunter cover featutred for the first time on Brave and the Bold #28, with both eventually pushed off the Justice League as the team grew.

Both characters' books cancelled in 1968, and remain largely dormant as soloists throughout the 1970's, followed only by mini-series in the 1980's.

Both appeared in Adventure Comics and World's Finest Comics in the 70's.

Both received solo spotlights written by J.M. DeMatteis in the 80's.

Both members of JLDetroit and Super Powers.

Both characters voice-acted by Miguel Ferrer in animated special appearances.

Both returned to the JLA under Morrison, and both appear as members of that team on "Smallville."

Siskoid said...

I wasn't expecting you to go through all the decades in one go. Nice work!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great capsule history of Aquaman!

My only minor suggesstion would be to add the Captain Action Aquaman outfit. It makes Aquaman of the very first super heroes to be made into an action figure (kind of). Also maybe the JLA Ideal figurine.


rob! said...


thanks! it was fun to put together.


more reason why there should be an Aquaman/Manhunter duo-solo(?) book!


i had thought about breaking it up, but i liked how it all looked together.

e-2 chris-

good catch on captain action. added!

i left the ideal playsets off because i didn't feel, as cool as they are, they had any further impact on aqua-merchandising (which is why i left off the Toy Biz line, Total Justice, etc). but Captain Action is definitely significant.

Anonymous said...

Gotcha Rob! But before the Joe fans come out in force to short sheet you, you'd better change GI Joe's maker from Mattel to Hasbro!


rob! said...

oops--done! thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Rob! This is quite awesome, thanks for all the hard work putting it together!

Adama said...

Dude, this is really impressive! Now, if only I had the patience to do this for Ollie...

Diabolu Frank said...

Seeing as Aquaman and Martian Manhunter are both dead at present, I expect the Phantom Stranger would also need to be involved in any team-up books.

It occurs to me though-- shouldn't the infamous Aquaman video game be in there somewhere? Or the old "Justice League Task Force," both sadly in full bedraggled "glory?"

Anonymous said...

Some comic sites (like the exhaustingly detailed Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics) list this as the first appearance of the "Earth-1" Aquaman.

I wonder why they chose this issue? Because of Topo; or because it came out at roughly the same time as Showcase #4?

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Rob - This is REALLY impressive! Way to go!

The only suggestion I can think of is to add the Atlantis Chronicles. It really set-up the "Time & Tide" mini-series and subsequent monthly.

Great job!

The Irredeemable Shag

Manta Negra said...

Wonderful! Now it`s time to add the events of Blackest Night and Brightest Day; I also suggest adding the stuff about Aqualad on the Teen Titans cartoon and , of course, Aquaman/Aqualad on Young Justice.