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Friday, March 06, 2009

Who Watches The Aquamen?

Today the loooong awaited Watchmen movie comes out, a day most of us comics fans (especially those of us old enough to remember when the series first debuted) thought would never arrive.

I'll be seeing the film tomorrow, and I'm interested in seeing if A)film is any good, and B)if so, how well it does. If its a good, thoughtful treatment of a maddeningly-complex story, and it does well at the box office, then maybe Hollywood will realize you can make a superhero movie that aims to be a lot more than a popcorn movie (as if the billion-dollar grosses of The Dark Knight don't already prove that).

But what does all this have to do with Aquaman, you ask? Well...not much, since of course Watchmen exists in its own little pocket of the DC Universe.

But since this is a big day for us comics fans, I thought we'd take a look at the very brief moments when each of the geniuses behind Watchmen--Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons--crossed paths with the King of the Seven Seas.

Alan Moore was first, in Saga of the Swamp Thing #24, where the Justice League gets involved in a battle with The Floronic Man (aka Plant Master), which eventually attracts the attention of Swamp Thing.

Up in their satellite, the JLA discusses what they can do to handle this crisis:
Panel four on page 3 and panel 2 on page 9 are, as far as I know, the only time when Aquaman ever made an appearance in an Alan Moore story, let alone spoke any dialog (he doesn't even make a cameo, amid all the other heroes, in Moore's classic "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" from Superman #423 and Action Comics #583).

And given Moore's current relationship with DC, we can pretty sure there will never be another.

(Update: Originally I had just a black and white scan of page 3 from this issue, but F.O.A.M. member David Kelly stepped up to the plate and sent me color scans of both pages in which Aquaman appears. Thanks David!)

Dave Gibbons' interaction with Aquaman is equally skimpy. As far as I could find, in all the books Gibbons ever did for DC, the only time he ever got to draw him was in the 2003 one-shot World's Funnest, a fall-down-funny effort written by Evan Dorkin.

Gibbons drew the opening segment, which sees Mr.Mxyzptlk fight with Bat-Mite. When one of them accidentally immolates Batman, the entire JLA gets involved:
...Aquaman wisely gets out of town, before being brutally--yet comically--murdered by the two imps. (I particularly enjoyed Snapper Carr getting it)

But, sadly, Aquaman doesn't get away for long, when later a giant Bat-Mite stomps through Atlantis, crushing everyone under him. Oh well.

Its a shame, in many ways, that Aquaman didn't end up getting used more by either of them. Gibbons of course is master artist, and his Aquaman, as seen above, is suitably regal and heroic.

And the mind reels at what unusual perspective Alan Moore might have had on Aquaman and his underwater world. Too bad its a pretty safe bet we'll never find out.

Go see Watchmen everybody!


Richard said...

There's also this one:


For what little it's worth!

Diabolu Frank said...

If not for Gerry Conway, I could have gotten a Martian Manhunter mini-series by Moore and Gibbons. If not for the Watchmen "swindle," we both would have had our heroes featured in "Twilight of the Superheroes." Le sigh.

rob! said...


good catch, i forgot about that. but since thats SOA Aquaman, my post retains its structural integrity.


i'm only vaguely familiar with the proposed Twilight series, to what are you referring--a MM series by Moore and Gibbons?!?

Btw--if anyone reading this has a copy of SOTSW #24, in color, and can scan in page 3 and send it to me, it would be greatly appreciated--there's a FOAM membership in it for anyone not yet enrolled!!

Anonymous said...

I remember reading "Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow" and thinking, Why isn't Aquaman featured more?!? IMHO that is the one major blight on that great story (the other blight is the old costumes of the Legion, but that was just a minor quibble...)