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Friday, February 26, 2010

Glen Weldon, Friend of AquaMan

Last week, I posted about a great article about the ups and downs of Aquaman (and being an Aquaman fan) that appeared on NPR's "Monkey See" blog.

A few days later, the article's author, Glen Weldon, sent me a Tweet to say he appreciated the shout-out and that he's a fan of the Shrine. Ginchy!

After that, I asked Glen if he and I could talk a little Aquaman. I thought Glen perfectly captured the feelings most Aqua-Fans have, weary of having to defend the Sea King from the constant, lame-o "He talks to fish!" broadsides, but also cognizant of the bad public image Aquaman has.

Here's a couple of quotes from our email exchanges, about why Glen is an Aquaman fan:

That post was fun to write. I didn't say anything that hadn't already been said by you and lots of other Aqua fans, but it's always cathartic to respond to the hacky "Aquaman is laaaaame" meme that's be going around for, oh, ever.

I can trace my own aqua-love back pretty far --

I was a competitive swimmer, growing up, and everyone on the team had a cheesy nickname. Mine was Aquaman, but I hasten to add: It wasn't because I was fast--I was very, very not--but because, when I was very young (6-8) I tended to sink down to the bottom of the pool and just hang out down there. Wasn't big on the whole competition thing, and much preferred to be under the water, where it was comparatively quiet--no yelling, no coach's whistle--and I could just chill.

My family used to gather around to watch every Cousteau special there ever was. By the time I was 10, I had his accent down.

I always dug the filmation cartoons, crappy though the animation was. You just gotta love Ted Knight's inflection: "ACK-wuh-man!"
And, yeah, okay, as a gay dude, I'll just admit at there was something about the blond hair-black eyebrows combo that always struck me as kind of...trashy, in a good, John Waters-y, carpet-doesn't-match-the-drapes kind of way. Like he should be the patron hero of Baltimore, or some such.

As noted, I dug Pfiefer's run, and I do think the character works best as a sheriff-of-the-sea. For the record, I will always have a soft spot for his goofier aspects, which is to say: Put me down for giant seahorse, all the way. The notion that you need to turn characters into hyperviolent "badasses" to make them interesting was what chased me out of comics in the 90s. I appreciated what David did, but it never hit my sweet spot.

As many on your site have mentioned--The Brave and the Bold Aquaman makes me just crazily happily. They nailed it.

Whenever I'm asked why I love the guy, I always send folk right to the Shrine, because I know they'll see in just a few a clicks what it'd take me hours to express."

I told Glen that anyone who wrote a piece like he did--which was probably read by more people than the Shrine does in a month--is a Friend of AquaMan, to be sure. And even though he didn't ask, I made him a member of F.O.A.M. Glen's response?:

"Thanks for the FOAM membership. (I dared not ask, yet still I hoped.)"

No problem, Glen--thanks for the great article and welcome to F.O.A.M.!


Airship Over Water said...

Welcome aboard, Glen! I recently joined F.O.A.M. officially too! The more Aquaman fans, the better!

Also, I'm a completely straight guy, but even I have to admit that Arthur's blonde hair and dark eyebrows can be mesmerizing, so I know whatcha mean - LOL.

Tegan said...

Wow. In my "Why Aquaman?" article I mention my joy at being at the bottom of a pool. Leah, the Aqualad fan who passed away a few years ago, had a similar experience. Reading that Glen had that "joy underwater" thing going makes me happy.

IADW said...

That's a great post Rob, and Glen! It's always cool to see how so many people came to be fans of Aquman. While other characters are limited in their appearances, Aquaman fans can come in from anywhere.

I was a competitive swimmer too - and always used to think Aquaman while standing on the starters blocks waiting for the 'bang' to go off.

'Just do an Aquaman - that's all you gotta do' Ha - if only it was that easy!!

Wings1295 said...

Great post! Glad he is here among us now! :)

Joe Slab said...

Here's some more info about this article:
Right after I emailed Rob about the NPR article on 2/17 (still too late to be a member!) I emailed a contact that I have at ComicBookResoures.com (also a big Aquafan!) with the link. He promptly forwarded it to Geoff Johns who had not yet seen the article and responded with much appreciation. Thanks from Geoff himself almost made up for my lack of FOAM membership ;) Geoff continues to drop hints about big plans for Aquaman's future, but will not divulge further...

Joe in Bethlehem

ghweldon said...

Sorry it's taken a while to respond. Thanks, all. Great to feel so welcome. Not surprising - we're kindred spirits, after all, and Rob's carved himself out an awfully friendly chunk of the web, here.

Which is not to take anything away from Tegan, whose site was a main port of call long before I found the Shrine. She kept me in the loop before I really understood that there WAS a loop.

All best,