Throwback Thursday: The Early Days of Aquaman
Dec 02, 2021
Introduced in More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941), Aquaman was often a backup feature before he swam his way into starring roles. As DC Comics’ underwater superhero celebrates his 80th anniversary, we dive into his early days in the Golden and Silver Ages.
Arthur Curry was created by Paul Norris (Adventure Comics) and Mort Weisinger (Superman editor, creator of Green Arrow). His original origins, as told in a flashback in his first appearance, differed wildly from what they are today. His Golden Age origins put him as the son of a famous undersea explorer who grew up in the ruins of Atlantis in a water-tight home, and he became powerful by “training and a hundred scientific secrets.” His powers during this time were fairly limited – he could control undersea creatures for up to a minute by speaking to them “in their own language” rather than telepathically, and he could breathe underwater. His base was an old shipwreck, and most of his battles (like many other comic heroes of the time) were against the Nazi forces, specifically defeating their U-boats underwater.
In the Silver Age, like many of DC’s heroes, Aquaman’s backstory changed (though this would later be attributed to the DC multiverse’s existence). As of Adventure Comics #260 in May of ’59, he now was the son of Tom Curry, a lighthouse keeper, and Atlanna, an outcast from Atlantis. Due to his heritage, Arthur possesses superhuman swimming abilities and the power to communicate with sea life. Later, writers retroactively introduced a key weakness to Aquaman: he had to come into contact with water at least once an hour, or else he would die.
Aquaman was later a founding member of the Justice League of America and was involved with the team throughout the 1960s. This was also the decade that saw the Atlantean truly rise to prominence, as his own rogues gallery expanded to include the Ocean Master (his amnesiac half-brother), Black Manta, and the O.G.R.E. organization. It also expanded Aquaman’s own family to include Aqualad, Dr. Vulko, and Mera, his wife.
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This eye-popping box set includes 12 brand-new hardcovers that collect this entire epic, featuring stories by top DC talent including Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Ivan Reis, and many more!
Plus, this box set also includes a set of nine plastic rings from across the spectrum of the many Corps that are a part of this story!
Includes 12 new hardcover collections!
• Blackest Night: Prelude collects Green Lantern #26-28 and 36-43, and Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1
• Blackest Night collects Blackest Night #0-8 and pages from Untold Tales of the Blackest Night #1
• Blackest Night: Green Lantern collects Green Lantern #44-52
• Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps collects Green Lantern Corps #39-47
• Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps Book 1 collects Blackest Night: Batman #1-3, Blackest Night: Superman #1-3, and Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1-3
• Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps Book 2 collects Blackest Night: The Flash #1-3, Blackest Night: JSA #1-3, and Blackest Night: Titans #1-3
• Blackest Night: Rise of the Black Lanterns collects The Atom & Hawkman #48, Phantom Stranger #42, Green Arrow #30, Adventure Comics #7, Starman #81, The Question #37, Catwoman #83, Weird Western Tales #71, and The Power of Shazam! #38
• Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps collects Blackest Night: Tales of the Black Lanterns #1-3, Adventure Comics #4-5, Untold Tales of the Blackest Night #1, stories from Green Lantern #18-20, 40, and 49, Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps: Secret Files #1, Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Superman-Prime #1, and pages from Blackest Night #0
• Brightest Day: Green Lantern collects Green Lantern #53-62
• Brightest Day Book 1 collects Brightest Day #0-11
• Brightest Day Book 2 collects Brightest Day #12-25
• The Book of the Black collects sketch material (both previously released and new), series proposals, variant covers, posters, Blackest Night outline scripts,
This article originally appeared in Gemstone Publishing’s e-newsletter Scoop.
Amanda Sheriff is Gemstone Publishing’s Associate Editor, serving as the writer/editor of the e-newsletter, Scoop. She is the author of The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Movie Posters, The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Concert Posters, and The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Horror, and co-author of The Overstreet Price Guide to Star Wars Collectibles and The Overstreet Price Guide to Batman.