Remember back in 2005 when the show Entourage used the idea of a blockbuster Aquaman movie and sequel as a running gag? Anyway, Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom, sequel to the billion-dollar-grossing 2018 movie, opens this Friday. Back to the Past is using its its comic book knowledge, as wide and deep as the seven seas, to recommend some good reading for newer AquaFans looking for someplace to start.
Honorable Mention: JLA Year One
This one gets an honorable mention because it’s not just an Aquaman story, but it’s worth a read. See, the 90s version of Arthur “Aquaman” Curry wasn’t raised in either the U.S. or Atlantis. No, dolphins raised him. His adventures as founder of the Justice League were some of earliest experiences with society in general. Writer Mark Waid makes wonderful use of Aquaman’s outsider status, using it to create a bond between him and fellow founder Martian Manhunter.
5) Sub Diego
Spanning from Aquaman (2003) #15-22, the Sub Diego era sought to massively redefine the King of the Seven Seas. After a mysterious calamity sinks a large portion of San Diego, many of its residents discover they’re now water-breathers. Aquaman steps up to help his newest subjects navigate the transition from surface to ocean life, and to solve the mystery of why this has happened to them. He swiftly recruits a new Aquagirl from the ranks of the Sub Diegans, Lorena Marquez. It was a bold new direction, one that unfortunately didn’t have time to be fully explored.
4) Throne of Atlantis
Spanning Aquaman (2011) #0, 14-17 and Justice League (2011 series) #15-17, this crossover arc was super influential on the first Aquaman movie. It helps that its writer, Geoff Johns, was a producer on the flick. Throne of Atlantis sees an American submarine seemingly open fire on Atlantis. In response, King Orm (AKA Ocean Master) declares war on the United States. Aquaman and his Justice League colleagues find themself caught in the middle, trying to avoid casualties on both sides while searching for the truth of what happened.
3) Silver Age Key Issues
In the 50s & 60s, comic stories were generally one-offs. Heck, a lot of the time they didn’t even take up the full issue! So we’re gonna shotgun some all-time classics, the basis for every Aquaman story that’s come since, at you:
- Adventure Comics #269, 1st appearance and origin of Aqualad!
- Aquaman (1962) #11, 1st appearance of Mera!
- Aquaman (1962) #18, Marriage of Aquaman and Mera!
- Aquaman (1962) #29, 1st appearance of Aquaman’s villainous brother Ocean Master!
- Aquaman (1962) #35, 1st appearance of Aquaman’s arch-nemesis Black Manta!
Most of these stories can be found in the hardcover “Aquaman: 80 Years of the King of the Seven Sea”. Even more than his Golden Age appearances, these stories are the basis for Aquaman as we know and love him today.
2) Hitting Bottom
Comprised of Aquaman (1994) #1-5 and #0, this arc kicks off writer Peter David’s legendary run on the character! Aquaman lose his left hand, his shirt, and his razor to became a more barbaric hero. Armed with a mechanical harpoon/hook hand, he battles all manner of new threat as the sworn protector of the seven seas. Reinvented for the 90s, this volume went on to become the single longest running solo title the character has ever had.
1) Death of a Prince
Running in Adventure Comics #445-452 and ending in Aquaman (1962) #57, this Bronze Age story is still one of the best. For ten years of real time, Aquaman had been something almost no other superhero was at the time: a happily married father. His wife Mera and their son Aquababy were major parts of his supporting cast, and his relationship with Black Manta was antagonistic but impersonal. That changed with story, in which Black Manta kidnaps Aquaman’s wife and child as part of a plot to end the hero once and for all. Like “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” over at Marvel, this arc heralded a sea change in comic book storytelling. It’s one that comic fans of all stripes should be reading for the history alone!
Got Key Issues?
If you’ve got a run of Aquaman, or any other, comics you’re looking to sell, we want to help you! Key issues are always the most valuable, but Back to the Past builds auctions around your collection to ensure you get the best value for everything. We do all the hard work, and you just reap the reward – what more could you want? Drop us a line today!
And if you’re not ready to sell, let us know your favorite Aquaman story! Either sound off below or on social @b2pcollect.