Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Aquaman!

 Seventy years ago, on September 25, 1941, MORE FUN COMICS # 73 was published. This comic cover-featured Dr. Fate, with two of the back-up features being Green Arrow and Aquaman. Now, if  you are a comic-book fan you may have heard of Dr. Fate. If you are a SMALLVILLE fan you have heard of Green Arrow. And if you are over the age of 20, you've heard of Aquaman. 
He is so well known, in fact, that he is one of the ten DC super-stars that made it onto stamps in 2006. He was part of the JUSTICE LEAGUE MONOPOLY set. He was a founding member of that organization as well as its Big Brother-Big Sister branch, the SUPER FRIENDS. He was the first super-hero to get married (Reed and Sue were a year later) and the first to have a child (ditto). Unfortunately, he was the only super-hero I know of whose child was actually killed (murdered by Black Manta). He shared a cartoon show with Superman in 1968 (Batman was busy being Adam West). He's appeared on SMALLVILLE (with Green Arrow, in fact, and almost by the same actor) and was made into a movie by no-less a luminary than James Cameron on the tv show ENTOURAGE.
More recently he has appeared in the Mattel toy line DC SUPER FRIENDS and on Cartoon Network's BATMAN: Brave & Bold show and YOUNG JUSTICE, making him cool for a whole new generation of fans. Pretty good pop culture presence for somebody who "only talks to fish."

Personally, I remember that I first encountered Aquaman on the SUPER FRIENDS show. I knew the others, but I had never heard of this blonde guy. As soon as I saw him I wanted to know more. This was right around the time of JAWS, and anybody who could control or befriend sharks was OK with me! Nowadays a lot of punk comedians want to make Aquaman the butt of lame jokes. However, if you go back and watch some of these old SUPER FRIENDS episodes, he sometimes actually managed to be useful, especially early on before characters like Green Lantern, Cyborg, and Firestorm appeared. It wasn't his fault the writers wrote Superman, Batman and Robin, and Wonder Woman as the stars. I mean, really, any show that BOASTS the Wonder Twins, you're going to take seriously? ;-)
Nowadays, when anybody tells me Aquaman is lame I always say, "He could kick your ass." I mean, really. Go to the local pool sometime. Swim for a few minutes. Then get up and out of the pool and realize just how many of your muscles hurt. Aquaman *lives* down there at the bottom of the ocean. He rides whales (or humongous sea horses). Spiderman has New York City. Batman as Gotham. Aquaman has 70% of the world to protect. Now tell me that isn't cool.

Happy Birthday, Aquaman! May you give as much pleasure to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren as you have for me and my daughter!

To read other birthday wishes and to be impressed by sheer Aquaman Awesomeness click here:  The Aquaman Shrine Celebration

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