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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Supergods by Grant Morrison

Grant Morrison's book about superheroes, Supergods, came out a couple of weeks ago. And as I do with all books on the subject (75 Years of DC Comics, Rough Justice, etc.), I immediately went to the Indicia to see where, if at all, Aquaman might be mentioned.
Other than being represented (via Jose Luis Garcia Lopez stock art) on the back cover, along with another dozen or so heroes, Morrison doesn't mention the Sea King much in the book's 300+ pages; three spots, two of which are posted here:
This one startled me a bit (Aquaman undeservedly surviving through the 1950s? Them's fightin' words!), but in the end I realized its a fair question to pose, especially when you consider Aquaman's spotty record in the subsequent decades. Me, I like to think Arthur survived not by luck, but because young comic book readers knew he was really cool and unique, and voted with their sticky dimes.

There's two mentions in the book of Aquaman in the context of being a member of the JLA. The second is just a list of characters, but this first one is a bit of a compliment:
Aquaman, a part of a "pop art divinity"? I like it!

I haven't had a chance to read the whole book, but I definitely want to. When I buy it, it will be placed amid the giant stack of books I have by my bed, all of them waiting to be started, continued, or finished--interspersed with Aquaman comics, of course.

Supergods sounds like something you'd be interested in reading yourself, you can purchase via Amazon right here:

(BTW, Back cover photo courtesy our newest F.O.A.M. member, Jake Johnston!)


Diabolu Frank said...

While he may not qualify for the "Pop Art Pantheon," I'm glad J'onn rated a nice aside.

pblfsda said...

Morrison might have looked at the Golden Age Aquaman and Green Arrow as 'undeserving' because he's looking at them as a writer. An editor would have chosen to keep Aquaman because the underwater setting had variety built into it, and variety was a selling point when anthologies were a standard format. The editor's job would be half done regardless of the quality of the work submitted. For a writer like Morrison a character with one setting (or in Green Arrow's case, one modus operandi) becomes more of a challenge. I think it's the reason some characters like Dr. Strange and Blackhawk repeatedly get new series every decade, but which rarely last a decade. The characters have an appealing premise and can easily inspire a few excellent stories, but the longer any writer handles them, the more difficult it becomes.

Say, unrelated point, but Craig Ferguson is spending this week airing episodes that use footage shot in Paris last month. They're fleshed out with French-themed pre-recorded bits including the Aquaman advice column routine done with new French language titles and theme song.

Pat said...

Who's the other DC superhero who survived the 1950s despite not being a headliner? Answer: Green Arrow. What do Aquaman and Green Arrow have in common?

They both debuted in More Fun #73 in stories written by Mort Weisinger.

Joe Slab said...

Good stuff!

Grant is actually on record as a huge Aquaman fan and wrote the Sea King in an unapolagetice, force-to-be-reckoned with manner in his 90's JLA run.

We've been running some audio of Grant talking the Sea King from SDCC 11 on the Shrine twitter feed over the past week. Check it out here:


Joe Slab

Wings1295 said...

Not sure when I would get to this, so thanks for highlighting the Aqua-content for us.

And I have the same "problem". So many books waiting to be read, and I am always adding more!

Aaron said...

I can't help but think it's nice Cyclops gets his own bubble on the back cover, he's the Marvel character that always gets jerked. Hmm, wonder if there are any Scott Summers blogs...

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Me wantee. Too bad Aquaman's not given more type, but I love these retrospective books. The Les Daniels ones for both DC and Marvel are great; he has a charming, affectionately funny way of analyzing the quirks of the characters and the industry.

Diabolu Frank said...

Aaron, Pretty Fizzy Paradise talks about Scott Summers regularly.

I get the "undeserved" line. Aquaman wasn't a gig deal in the Golden Age, earning his fame in the Silver and Bronze. He survived the '50s on Superman's coattails. There's no shame in that, considering how few headliners survived the decade. Not a single Marvel hero made it, for instance.