Mobile Menu Toggle

Throwback Thursday: The Early Days of Aquaman

Article Image 0fbd

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.

Article Image beb7

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.

Article Image 148b

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.

Article Image 8f45

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.

Article Image 4d6f

Keep an eye on's TwitterFacebookYouTube, or Instagram for more character profiles! And if you're interested in more from the world of Aquaman, head to your local comic shop and check out the following...

(W) Laurie S. Sutton (A) Agnes Garbowska
Aquaman's underwater kingdom is facing a medical threat. Luckily, a sea witch offers him a rare plant to fight the sickness in exchange for a hefty price. But the Sea King soon discovers she isn't just greedy. The old woman has locked the true crop owner in an enchanted coral tower! What's worse, the trapped mermaid thinks she's being protected not imprisoned, so her living seaweed hair is ready to fight off any stranger who climbs inside. Can the Atlantean hero partner with the coral captive to end the witch's fishy scheme?
In Shops: Feb 09, 2022
SRP: $6.95
PREVIEWS Page #274

(W) Geoff Johns (A) Pete Woods, Paul Pelletier, Jean-Claude St. Aubin, Geraldo Borges, Various Others (A/CA) Ivan Reis, Joe Prado
Just in time for the big screen release of the Warner Bros. movie Aquaman, DC rush solicits the new AQUAMAN BY GEOFF JOHNS OMNIBUS hardcover! Collecting the entire run of Aquaman written by Geoff Johns, this 728-page hardcover includes AQUAMAN #0-19, #21-25, #23.1 (featuring Black Manta), #23.2 (featuring Ocean Master) and JUSTICE LEAGUE #15-17. These issues are illustrated by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Pete Woods, Paul Pelletier, Claude St. Aubin, Geraldo Borges and others, with a cover by Reis and Prado. As these stories begin, Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis - until, from a forgotten corner of the ocean, emerges the threat of the Trench! Then, Aquaman joins up with his old teammates, The Others, to learn who destroyed Atlantis! But as they seek the truth, Black Manta is stalking them all-and Mera learns some dark truths about Aquaman! And in the "Throne of Atlantis" epic, Aquaman teams up with his Justice League comrades to defend the surface world from the invading Atlantean horde.
In Shops: Dec 12, 2018
SRP: $75.00

(W) Peter David (A) Kirk Jarvinen, Jim Calafiore, Casey Jones, Howard M. Shum (A/CA) Brad Vancata, Martin Egeland
Peter David's classic run on Aquaman begins in this volume collecting AQUAMAN: TIME AND TIDE #1-4 and AQUAMAN #0-8. From his abandonment on a reef to his upbringing by a dolphin to his first encounter with surface dwellers, these tales chronicle the origin and ascension of the mythic figure known as Aquaman.  
In Shops: Feb 07, 2018
SRP: $29.99

(W) Steve Skeates, David Michelinie, Paul Kupperberg, Gerry Conway, Paul Levitz, Martin Pasko (A) Mike Grell, Don Newton, Carl Potts, Juan Ortiz, Vince Colletta, Joe Rubinstein, Dick Giordano, John Celardo, Bob McLeod, Dave Hunt (A/CA) Jim Aparo
After being dethroned by his own people and sent into exile, Aquaman discovers a conspiracy in his kingdom, in this tale presented for the first time in hardcover. Rather than reclaim his birthright, he becomes a hero, but even Aquaman cannot escape tragedy as Black Manta kidnaps and kills his infant son! How Aquaman copes with these crushing blows comes to define him as the hero we know today. Collects stories from Adventure Comics #435-437, #441-455, and Aquaman #57-63.
In Shops: Jan 29, 2020
SRP: $39.99

(W) Robert Bernstein, Jack E. Miller (A) Nick Cardy, Lee Elias, Ramona Fradon, Jim Mooney, Al Plastino, Kurt Schaffenberger, Charles Paris (CA) Howard Purcell, Sheldon Moldoff
Collecting classic tales of Aquaman from  ADVENTURE COMICS #260-280, 282 and 284 and more! Over 500 pages highlighting classic tales of Aquaman, featuring the debuts of Mera and Aqualad!
In Shops: Feb 14, 2007
SRP: $16.99

A war has been brewing between the different colored Lantern Corps, with the Green Lanterns fighting the Yellow, the Red trying to destroy everything, and the Blue attempting to broker peace among the tribes. But the real battle is yet to come: the undead Black Lanterns are coming and seemingly nothing can stop them. Putting aside old vendettas, it's up to Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps to lead DC's greatest champions as well as their deadliest foes in a battle to save the universe from an army of the dead. Then, once dead heroes Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Deadman, Jade, Osiris, Hawk, Captain Boomerang, and Zoom must discover the mysterious reason behind their return and uncover the secret that binds them!
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,
In Shops: Aug 12, 2020
SRP: $39.99

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 PostersThe 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.


Follow Us Facebook Icon Twitter Icon Instagram Icon YouTube Icon Rss Feed Email
Search for a Comic Shop

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. To manage our use of cookies click Cookie Policy.
By clicking 'Accept & Continue' or closing this banner, you accept our use of cookies.