The Aquaman Shrine: For a long time your Twitter avatar was a shot of the Filmation Aquaman. Are you coming to this assignment as a fan of the character?
Jeff Parker: Very much so. I used to read his book and watch those reruns after school, and I knew just enough about mammals to wonder why Tusky never had to go up for air. By his very nature, Aquaman always had that cool built-in science-fantasy quality that meant you would be seeing lots of fantastic settings and creatures.
AMS: Any particular favorite versions of the character, inside or outside of the comics?
JP: I like the whole 60's early 70's stretch, with all the glorious art by Nick Cardy, Ramona Fradon, Jim Aparo. I also like the high-adventure, fun loving Aquaman from Batman: Brave and the Bold.
AMS: Without revealing anything specific of course, how do you feel your version of Aquaman differs from what Geoff Johns brought to the character?
JP: Hopefully not much, I'm really trying to keep him consistent with how Geoff wrote him. What I've really liked is that Aquaman comes across as a level-headed guy, very professional in his dealings with others. I want to keep that going. I'm pretty tired of heroes who act irrational for easy conflict, which is prevalent in all media. I also like the way he and Mera interact and want to focus on that a lot. It seems to me that Arthur Curry learned to be responsible and well-adjusted from his dad, and that's something we can explore.
AMS: You have experience writing characters with long histories (i.e., Kings Watch with The Phantom, Mandrake, and Flash Gordon). Do you think that experience will inform what you're doing with the New 52 Aquaman, who is simultaneously old and new?
JP: I hope so! To me the key is playing up what's classic and stands the test of time, not leaning heavily on continuity. A hero who bridges land and sea is a primal idea, you build to suit that rather than force him to be something he's not.
AMS: It's well known that Geoff Johns brought a lot of new fans to Aquaman; what's your message to get them to stick around and give your run on the book a chance?
JP: We have some really cool stories and characters to introduce, and I think word will get out pretty fast that more good things are happening in this book. Paul Pelletier staying on is huge, to me. I feel he gets Aquaman and Mera perfectly and he can deliver epic imagery as well as subtle emotion, which is the range we're running in these stories. Also I really like working with him.
It's also been great bouncing ideas around with [DC editors] Chris Conroy and Matt Idelson, they care about this title a lot and have bent over backward to make this transition go smoothly.
The Aquaman Shrine thanks Jeff for his time, and we hope this is the first of many chats we have with him. We wish him, Paul, Sean, Rod, and everyone else nothing but good luck with Aquaman. The new era for the Sea King begins with Aquaman #26, on sale December 31, 2013!