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250px Ross Aquaman Aquaman
Art by Alex Ross.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance More Fun Comics # 73 (Nov. 1941)
Created by Mort Weisinger (writer)
Paul Norris (artist)
In story information
Alter ego Orin, adopted as Arthur Curry
Species Atlantean
Team affiliations Justice League
Notable aliases The Sea King, the Dweller-In-The-Depths
Abilities Undersea adaptation; telepathy; enhanced strength; enhanced speed; Healing factor; senses and durability; extra resistance to heat/energy based attacks; mystically enchanted left hand; ability to dehydrate others Hydrokinesis

Aquaman is a fictional comic book superhero who appears in DC Comics. Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, the character debuted in More Fun Comics #73 (Nov. 1941). Initially a backup feature in DC’s anthology titles, Aquaman later featured in his own title several times. Nearly two decades later, during the superhero-revival period known as the Silver Age of Comic Books, he was a founding member of the Justice League of America. Later still, in the 1990s-present Modern Age of Comic Books, Aquaman’s character became more serious, with storylines depicting the weight of his role as King of Atlantis.

Aquaman has also appeared in animated and live-action television programs. In pop culture, Aquaman has been the subject of satire and mockery for his most distinctive powers, which are often portrayed as useless.



  • 1 Publication history
  • 2 Fictional character biography
    • 2.1 Golden Age
    • 2.2 Silver Age
      • 2.2.1 Allies and foes
      • 2.2.2 End of an era
    • 2.3 Modern Age
      • 2.3.1 Retelling origins
      • 2.3.2 New direction
      • 2.3.3 Back to basics
      • 2.3.4 The Missing Year
  • 3 Arthur Joseph Curry
    • 3.1 Publication history
    • 3.2 Fictional character biography
  • 4 Powers and abilities
    • 4.1 Orin
    • 4.2 Arthur Joseph
  • 5 Alternate versions
  • 6 In other media
  • 7 See also
  • 8 Footnotes
  • 9 References

Publication history

During the 1930s and 1940s — a period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books — the first version of Aquaman appeared in DC Comics’ More Fun Comics #73-107 (November 1941 – February 1946). After February 1946, the series dropped superhero stories to become a humor comic book. Aquaman’s feature moved to Adventure Comics #103-284 (April 1946 – May 1961) as a backup to the book’s star, Superboy.

Louis Cazeneuve succeeded artist co-creator Paul Norris to become the longest-running artist of the undersea hero’s Golden Age adventures. Cazeneuve debuted on “Aquaman” in More Fun Comics #82 (Aug. 1942), and continued with the feature through issue #107 (Feb. 1946), and its subsequent move to Adventure Comics #103-117, 119-120, 124 (April 1946 – June 1947, Aug.-Sept. 1947, Jan. 1948). The primary artist for most of the Aquaman stories from the early 1950s to the early 1960s was Ramona Fradon, one of the few female comic artists of that period. Her version of Aquaman set the standard for several years.

The first recurring supporting characters in the feature were various sea creatures, including Ark, a pet seal who appeared in several of Aquaman’s 1940s adventures, and Topo, Aquaman’s pet octopus, who first appeared in Adventure Comics #229 (Oct. 1956).

In the period spanning the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, known as the Silver Age of Comic Books, Aquaman starred in a 56-issue namesake series (Feb. 1962 – April 1971). Seven additional issues, #57-63 (Sept. 1977 – Sept. 1978), later appeared. A four-issue miniseries, Aquaman vol. 2 (Feb.-May 1986) and a one-shot sequel, Aquaman Special (1988) followed, then a five-issue miniseries, Aquaman vol. 3 (June-Oct. 1989), and another one-shot, The Legend of Aquaman #1 (1989). A second ongoing series, Aquaman vol. 4, ran 13 issues (Dec. 1991 – Dec. 1992). After one more miniseries, Aquaman: Time and Tide (Dec. 1993 – Feb. 1994, with two issues in the final month), Aquaman appeared in his longest-running solo title, Aquaman vol. 5, running 77 issues from #1-75 (Aug. 1994 – Jan. 2001), plus an issue #0 (Oct. 1994), published between #2 and #3, and an issue #1,000,000 (Nov. 1998), published between #49 and #50. This series spawned five annuals, cover-dated July 1995 to September 1999.

The next ongoing series, Aquaman vol. 6, ran 39 issues (Feb. 2003 – April 2006), and was revamped as Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, which ran an additional 18 issues, #40-57 (May 2006 – Dec. 2007).

Fictional character biography

Golden Age

Aquaman’s first origin story was presented in flashback from his debut, narrated by the character himself:

“ The story must start with my father, a famous undersea explorer — if I spoke his name, you would recognize it. My mother died when I was a baby, and he turned to his work of solving the ocean’s secrets. His greatest discovery was an ancient city, in the depths where no other diver had ever penetrated. My father believed it was the lost kingdom of Atlantis. He made himself a water-tight home in one of the palaces and lived there, studying the records and devices of the race’s marvelous wisdom. From the books and records, he learned ways of teaching me to live under the ocean, drawing oxygen from the water and using all the power of the sea to make me wonderfully strong and swift. By training and a hundred scientific secrets, I became what you see — a human being who lives and thrives under the water. ”
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The Golden Age Aquaman communicating with sea life by an ancient Atlantean temple he uses as his lair. Art by Louis Cazeneuve.

In his early Golden Age appearances, Aquaman had the ability to breathe underwater and superhuman strength enabling him to swim at high speeds. He was also shown to have the ability to communicate with sea-life and have them do his bidding. Initially, he was depicted as speaking to sea creatures “in their own language,” and only when they were close enough to hear him rather than being telepathic in nature. While he was often described as the “sovereign of the sea,” with the waters of the entire globe his “domain,” and almost every sea creature his “loyal subject,” the title was never an official one. Aquaman’s adventures took place all across the world, and the only base he appeared to have was “an ancient temple of lost Atlantis, kept underwater,” in which he kept a solitary throne.[1]

During his wartime adventures, most of Aquaman’s foes were Nazi U-boat commanders and various Axis villains. The rest of his adventures in the 1940s and 1950s had him dealing with various sea-based criminals, including modern-day pirates such as his longtime archenemy Black Jack, as well as various threats to aquatic life, shipping lanes, and sailors.

Silver Age

Starting in 1959, Aquaman’s backstory was revised, with various new supporting characters added and several adjustments made to the character, his origins, his powers, and persona.

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Aquaman, Mera, and Aqualad, as depicted by Nick Cardy in Aquaman #18 (Dec. 1964)

In Adventure Comics #260 (May 1959) and subsequent Silver Age comics, it was revealed that Aquaman was Arthur Curry, the son of Tom Curry, a lighthouse keeper, and Atlanna, a water-breathing outcast from the lost, underwater city of Atlantis. Due to his heritage, Aquaman discovered as a youth that he possessed various superhuman abilities, including the powers of surviving underwater, communication with sea life, and tremendous swimming prowess. Eventually, Arthur decided to use his talents to become the defender of the Earth’s oceans, first starting a career as “Aquaboy” and meeting Superboy (Earth’s only other superpowered hero at the time) on one occasion (Superboy #171, Jan 1971). When Arthur grew up, he called himself “Aquaman.”

It was later revealed (in Aquaman #29) that after Atlanna’s death, Tom Curry met and married an ordinary human woman and had a son named Orm Curry, Aquaman’s half-brother. Orm grew up as a troubled youth in the shadow of his brother, who constantly bailed him out of trouble with the law. He grew to hate Aquaman not only for the powers that he could never possess but also because he knew that their father would always favor Aquaman. Orm disappeared after becoming an amnesiac and would resurface years later as Aquaman’s archnemesis, Ocean Master.

By the late 1950s, Aquaman’s ability to talk with fish had been expanded to full-fledged telepathic communication with sea creatures even from great distances, but in Adventure Comics #256 (Jan 1959) he was also retroactively given a specific weakness akin to Superman’s vulnerability to Kryptonite or Green Lantern’s vulnerability to the color yellow: Aquaman had to come into contact with water at least once per hour, or he would die (prior to this story Aquaman could exist both in and out of water indefinitely). This problem was later explained as a characteristic of all Atlanteans.

Allies and foes

Aquaman was included in the Justice League of America comic book series, appearing with the team in their very first adventure in The Brave and the Bold #28 (Feb-Mar 1960). He was a founding member of the team, as shown in a flashback in Justice League of America #9 (Feb 1962). Aquaman took part in most of the 1960s adventures of the superhero team.

With Adventure Comics #269 (Feb 1960), Aquaman’s supporting cast and rogues gallery began to grow with the addition of Aqualad, an outcast, orphaned youth from a colony of Atlantis whom Aquaman takes in and begins to mentor. Adventure Comics #264 (Sep 1959) introduced the submerged fictional city of New Venice, which was later revealed to be based in Florida and which also became Aquaman’s base of operations for a time in the early 1980s, beginning with World’s Finest Comics #263 (Jun-Jul 1980).

Aquaman continued to appear in Adventure Comics until issue #284 (May 1961), when the feature moved to Detective Comics from issues #293-300 (Jul 1961-Feb 1962), then to World’s Finest Comics from issues #125-139 (May 1962-Feb 1964). After four tryout issues in bi-monthly Showcase (#30-33, Feb-Aug 1961), Aquaman gained his own series for the first time with the publication of Aquaman #1 (Jan-Feb 1962).

Aquaman eventually met the Atlanteans and became their ally. He was recognized as the son of Atlanna and later voted to be the King after the death of the former regent, who had no heirs. By this time Aquaman had met Mera, a queen from a water-based dimension, and he married her at the same time he was crowned king of Atlantis, Aquaman #18 (Nov-Dec 1964). They soon had a son, Arthur, Jr. (nicknamed “Aquababy”) in issue #23 (Sep-Oct 1965).

The 1960s series introduced other such archenemies as the Ocean Master (Aquaman’s amnesiac half-brother Orm), Black Manta, the Fisherman, the Scavenger, and the terrorist organization known as O.G.R.E. Other recurring members of the Aquaman cast introduced in this series include the well-meaning but annoying Quisp (a water sprite); Dr. Vulko, a trustworthy Atlantean scientist who becomes Aquaman’s royal advisor and whom Aquaman eventually appoints to be king after leaving the throne himself; and Tula (known as “Aquagirl”), an Atlantean princess who was Aqualad’s primary love interest.

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Aquaman in Adventure Comics. Art by Jim Aparo.

Most of Aquaman’s early Silver Age adventures were written by George Kashdan[2] and Bob Haney, while Nick Cardy took Ramona Fradon’s place as the primary Aquaman artist. With Aquaman #40, the writer-artist team of Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo brought new levels of sophistication to the characters and stories.

The original Aquaman series ended with issue #56 (Mar-Apr 1971). Aquaman was given his own feature again in Adventure Comics #435-437, and #441-452, this time as the main feature in most of these issues. The Aquaman series was restarted with issue #57 (Aug-Sep 1977) and ran until issue #63 (Aug-Sep 1978), when it was finally canceled. Aquaman continued to appear in Adventure Comics #460-466, when his feature moved to World’s Finest Comics from issues #262-264, and back to Adventure Comics (for the final time) from issues #475-478. Aquaman appeared in a backup feature in Action Comics which he shared with the Atom and Air Wave in various issues. Throughout this time Aquaman also appeared in various series (such as Justice League of America, The Brave and the Bold, World’s Finest Comics, and DC Comics Presents) in partnership with other superheroes.

After becoming king of Atlantis, Aquaman began a policy of slowly reintroducing the once-secretive Atlantis to the surface world. After he was briefly ousted from the throne by the Shark (whom he defeated), he made the decision to leave the throne to become a more traditional superhero, and Dr. Vulko was elected as the new king.

End of an era

Eventually, as part of a trap, Aquaman’s foe Black Manta kidnapped and ultimately murdered Arthur, Jr. (Adventure Comics #452, Jul-Aug 1977), causing a rift between Aquaman and Mera. They remained married for a few more years and for a while operated out of the submerged city of New Venice, Florida.

In the mid-1980s, after his own feature’s demise, Aquaman was briefly made the leader of the Justice League of America. In a storyline told in Justice League of America #228-230, an invasion of Earth by a race of Martians occurred at a time when the core members were missing. Aquaman was thus forced to defend Earth with a League much-depleted in power and capability, and he took it upon himself to disband the Justice League altogether in Justice League of America Annual #2 (1984), thereafter reforming it with new bylaws requiring members to give full participation to the League’s cases. With the help of a small number of veteran Justice League members willing to fully commit to the team, Aquaman recruited and trained four new and untried members, also relocating the team’s headquarters to a reinforced bunker in Detroit, Michigan after the destruction of the JLA’s satellite headquarters during the invasion. Aquaman’s participation in this new version of the Justice League ended in #243 (Oct 1985), when he resigned to work on his marriage with Mera.

Modern Age

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The deep-blue camouflage costume. Art by Craig Hamilton.

After the 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, several short limited series were produced in the late 1980s and early 1990s — beginning with 1986’s, four-issue Aquaman (Feb 1986-May 1986), featuring Aquaman in a new, largely deep-sea blue, costume. The series was well received and a follow up mini series was in the works, though it was eventually canceled due to creative problems. This series also shed some light on the Silver Age version of Aquaman’s origin as well as Aquaman’s relationship with his half-brother, Ocean Master, whose origin was retold in more complete detail. The series also added new mystical elements to the Aquaman mythos and reinvented Ocean Master as a sorcerer. Aquaman reappeared in his blue costume in the Aquaman Special #1 (1988).

Retelling origins

In 1989, Legend of Aquaman Special (officially titled as Aquaman Special #1 in the comic’s legal indicia, the second Special in back-to-back years) rewrote the Sea King’s mythos and origin, though keeping most of his Silver Age history intact. The special was by writer Robert Loren Fleming, with plots/breakdown art by Keith Giffen and full pencil art by artist Curt Swan.

The Modern Age Aquaman is born as Orin to Queen Atlanna and the mysterious wizard Atlan in the Atlantean city of Poseidonis, was abandoned on Mercy Reef as a baby because of his blond hair, which was seen by the superstitious Atlanteans as a sign of a curse they called “the Mark of Kordax.” The only individual who spoke up on Orin’s behalf was Vulko, a scientist who had no patience for myth or superstition. While his pleas were to no avail, Vulko would later become a close friend and advisor to the young Orin.

As a feral child who raised himself in the wilds of the ocean with only sea creatures to keep him company, Orin was found and taken in by a lighthouse keeper named Arthur Curry who named Orin “Arthur Curry” after himself. One day Orin returned home and found that his adoptive father had disappeared, so he set off on his own. In his early teens, Orin ventured to the far north, where he met and fell in love with an Inupiat girl named Kako. He also first earned the hatred of Orm, the future Ocean Master who was later revealed to be Arthur’s half-brother by Atlan and an Inupiat woman. Orin was driven away before he could learn that Kako had become pregnant with his son, Koryak.

Orin then returned to the seas mostly staying out of humanity’s sight, until he discovered Poseidonis. He was captured by the city’s then-dictatorial government and placed in a prison camp, where he met Vulko, also a prisoner of the state, who taught Orin the language and ways of the Atlanteans. While Orin was there he realized that his mother was also being held captive, but after her death he broke out and fled. Eventually, he made his way to the surface world, where under the name of “Aquaman” he became one of several superheroes emerging into the public view at the time. Upon his return to Poseidonis he was made the king, and sometime later he met and married Mera. The Modern Age Aquaman’s history is nearly identical to that of the Silver Age Aquaman from this point on.

As detailed in the five-issue Aquaman limited series (Jun-Oct 1989) (by the same creative team of the 1989 special of Robert Loren Fleming, Keith Giffen and Curt Swan), which continued a few of the themes from the Special, Mera was eventually driven insane by grief over the death of Arthur, Jr., and was committed to an asylum in Poseidonis. Shortly afterwards, an alien force conquered Atlantis. Arthur was forced to save the city but was hampered by an escaped Mera who personally blamed Arthur for the death of their son. In a fit of rage, Mera left Aquaman’s dimension.

The publication of writer Peter David’s The Atlantis Chronicles #1-7 (Mar-Sep 1990), which told the story of Atlantis from antediluvian times to Aquaman’s birth, successfully revived interest in the character. Significantly, it was in this limited series that the ancient Atlantean characters Orin (whose name was given as Aquaman’s Atlantean name) and Atlan (who was revealed to be Aquaman’s father) were introduced.

A new Aquaman ongoing series (#1-13) thereafter ran from December 1991 to December 1992, which portrayed Aquaman reluctantly deciding to remain in Poseidonis as its protector once again. For a time, he served as Atlantis’ representative to the United Nations but always found himself thrust back into the superhero role. Becoming more and more of a workaholic and solitary figure, Aquaman eventually returned to the oceans. He soon became tangled up in another attempt by Black Manta to destroy Atlantis by dragging it into a war with a surface nation.

Peter David returned to the character in another limited series, Aquaman: Time and Tide, a 1993/1994 four-issue series which further explained Aquaman’s origins as he finally learned all about the history of his people through the Atlantis Chronicles (presented as historical texts passed down and updated through the centuries). Aquaman learned that his birth name was Orin and that he and his enemy Ocean Master shared the same father, “an ancient Atlantean wizard” called Atlan. This revelation sent Orin into a bout of rage and depression, setting the stage for later confrontations between the two, as it was said that “two brothers will also battle for control of Atlantis” (the Silver Age Aquaman had always known that the Ocean Master was his half-brother Orm, although Orm’s amnesia prevented him from remembering that fact for some time).

New direction

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The 1990s version of Aquaman. Art by Jim Calafiore.

Aquaman received his own series again with the publication of the fifth Aquaman #1 (Aug 1994), initially scripted by Peter David, following up on his Aquaman: Time and Tide limited series. This new Aquaman series was the longest-running for the character, lasting until its 75th issue. David left the landmark series after issue #46 (Jul 1998) after working on it for nearly four years.

Soon in Aquaman #2 (Sep 1994), Aquaman lost his left hand when the madman Charybdis stole his ability to communicate with sea life and stuck Arthur’s hand into a piranha-infested pool. This caused Aquaman to become somewhat unhinged, and he soon began having prophetic dreams. Soon after, he attached a harpoon spearhead to his left arm in place of his missing hand. This was the start of an entirely new look: the classic orange shirt was discarded for a gladiatorial manica. Forsaking his former clean-cut appearance, Aquaman grew long hair and a longish beard. After the destruction of the harpoon, Aquaman had it replaced with a cybernetic prosthetic from S.T.A.R. Labs. This new harpoon had a retractable reel that he could fully control.

The major storyline, culminating in #25, concerned the Five Lost Cities of Atlantis. Facing an unearthly invading species linked to the origin of the Atlanteans, Aquaman had to search out and unite the lost cities. This storyline established him as a true Warrior King, and he became a major political power. The remainder of the Peter David run was about Orin coming to terms with his genetic heritage and his role as a king.

After a brief stint by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, David was replaced as writer by Erik Larsen with issue #50 (Dec 1998). Larsen’s work proved unpopular with readers, however, and with issue #63 (Jan 2000) he was replaced by Dan Jurgens, who saw the series through to its cancellation with issue #75 (Jan 2001).

Aquaman had rejoined the JLA when it reformed and remained an active member of that team until the Our Worlds at War event, during which Aquaman and the city of Poseidonis disappeared and were presumed to be destroyed. The JLA later discovered that Poseidonis and its inhabitants were taken into the ancient past by a powerful Atlantean sorceress named Gamemnae. The people of Poseidonis were made slaves by their Atlantean ancestors, and Aquaman himself was transformed into living water and imprisoned in an ornamental pool.

After a few months of their time — but fully fifteen years for the Atlanteans — the JLA freed Aquaman in “The Obsidian Age” storyline in JLA #66-75 (Jul 2002-Jan 2003), and Poseidonis and its people were returned to the present by the JLA, though not before Aquaman was forced to sink ancient Atlantis.

Back to basics

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2003 series’ initial look by Yvel Guichet.

A sixth Aquaman series began shortly afterwards, initially written by Rick Veitch who sought to take Aquaman in a more mystical direction. Subsequent writers who contributed to the series include John Ostrander, Will Pfeifer, and John Arcudi. This series ran from issue #1 (Feb 2003) to #39 (Apr 2006) when it was renamed Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis (see below).

As shown in this series, Aquaman’s decision to sink ancient Atlantis caused displeasure among some of the city’s citizens, and Arthur was once again driven out of Poseidonis. He spent some time in Ireland, where he met the Lady of the Lake, who gave him a new prosthetic hand composed of mystical water with unusual properties. From there he returned to his more traditional look: orange shirt, short hair, and beardless.

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Back to traditional look. Art by Alan Davis.

Later, Aquaman went to San Diego after a massive earthquake plunged half the city into the Pacific Ocean. He soon discovered that the survivors of the catastrophe were able to breathe underwater and began helping them to rebuild the submerged portion of the city they now called “Sub Diego”.

During this time, Aquaman picked up a new sidekick named Lorena, who eventually became the new Aquagirl. For a time, it appeared that Aquaman might reconcile with Mera, as he attempted to take her to the surface in order to save her from the Atlantean mages who had transformed her into an air-breather.

Shortly thereafter, during the Infinite Crisis event, Atlantis was destroyed by the Spectre, and many of its citizens were killed, including Aquaman’s son Koryak and his oldest friend (and father figure), Vulko. Aquaman led the survivors to Sub Diego in the hope that the two displaced peoples could help each other. When Black Manta attacked the sunken city, Aquaman defeated him and left him for dead, surrounded by carnivorous fish (it was later revealed that Manta survived, although it remains unclear whether Aquaman intended his death).

Aquaman made a brief appearance at the memorial for Superboy in 52. With Aquaman #40 (May 2006), the series was renamed Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis and taken in an entirely different direction by writer Kurt Busiek.

The Missing Year

During week 39 of the “missing year” depicted in the weekly comic book 52, Ralph Dibny, seemingly accompanied by Dr. Fate’s helmet, meets a bearded, long-haired, and amnesic Orin in the ruins of Atlantis. The helmet portends that “if he lives… if he lives… it is as a victim of the magicks of legend and the power of the sea”.

Orin was transformed into the Dweller of the Depths during Week 50 of 52 in the World War III event. In a desperate bid to save the life of several Sub Diego inhabitants who have lost the ability to live in water, Orin makes a deal with the gods of the sea to gain the power to save them. Using the bones of his severed left hand in a magical ritual, the sea gods give Orin the power to raise Sub Diego onto dry land. However, Orin mutates into the Dweller of the Depths as a side effect of gaining his new abilities and loses his memories as a result. He finally dies in Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #50.

Arthur Joseph Curry

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Promotional art for Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #54 (Sept. 2007)
by Terry and Rachel Dodson.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40 (May 2006)
Created by Kurt Busiek
Butch Guice
In story information
Alter ego Arthur Joseph Curry
Abilities Undersea adaptation,
Enhanced physical attributes,
Limited empathic communion with sea life

Arthur Joseph Curry is a fictional character, the second DC Comics superhero to be known as Aquaman. Created by Kurt Busiek and Jackson Guice, he first appeared in Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40 (May 2006). His costume resembles Aquaman’s costume in the 90’s and without a bluewater hand.

Publication history

As part of DC Comics’ “One Year Later” event, Aquaman’s series was renamed Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis with issue #40 (May 2006). The new developments include a new lead character, a new supporting cast, and the inclusion of sword and sorcery-type fantasy elements in the series.

Fictional character biography

While awaiting transport to Miami, Florida, a young man named Arthur Joseph Curry is washed out to sea when a storm ruptures the tank he was in. This Arthur Curry, whose origin closely resembles that of the Golden Age Aquaman as well as that of Neptune Perkins, is the son of oceanobiologist Dr. Phillip Curry. Arthur’s mother, Elaine, died in childbirth, and Dr. Curry was forced to use a mutagenic serum on his son when he was born three months premature. Arthur has lived his whole life in the main tank of his father’s research facility at Avalon Cay, his only window to the outside world being television.

Shortly after his arrival in the sea, Arthur is mentally contacted by the mysterious “Dweller of the Depths,” a deformed humanoid with tentacles instead of hair and a left hand made of water. The Dweller urges him to help King Shark, who still bears scars from a previous battle with Aquaman during the recent Crisis. The Dweller, confusing Arthur for Aquaman and calling him his “charge,” tells Arthur and King Shark of a prophecy regarding Arthur’s future, a prophecy which seems to be a distorted version of the original Aquaman’s history. The Dweller reveals that the original Aquaman was “transformed into one akin to a great and terrible enemy of your people and become the vessel of power strange, ancient and terrible.”

Arthur’s first trip causes him to meet many of Aquaman’s supporting characters including Mera, the Sea Devils, Vulko, and eventually Ocean Master. During this adventure, the Dweller progressively realizes that he himself is the original Aquaman, despite having no memory of his former life.

Later Arthur finds a humanoid squid named Topo, a naive youth attracted by superheroics, seeking to become a sidekick, and Tempest, now amnesiac, unable to breathe water and implanted with a post-hypnotic suggestion warning of an upcoming battle. The battle soon occurs, and the Dweller/Orin is apparently killed. The whole Justice League is called to evaluate Orin’s situation, but are unable to determine if he is truly dead, or if he can somehow resurrect himself due to his new magical nature.

In the final issue of Sword of Atlantis (#57), Aquaman is visited by the Lady of the Lake who explains his origins. The original Aquaman had given a sample of his water hand to his father in order to resurrect his dead son, Arthur, whom he had named after Orin. When Orin attempted to resurrect Sub Diego, part of his soul attached itself to the dead body of Arthur Joseph Curry, while Orin’s physical form mutated into the Dweller. Blaming himself for Orin’s death, Aquaman vows to never be called “Arthur” again, refraining from using the “stolen” name, asking only to be called simply Joseph in future.

Arthur is considered as a candidate for the new Outsiders by Batman. After seeing him in action with Metamorpho, however, Batman decides against his induction.

In their quest to rid the Earth of all forms of kryptonite, Superman and Batman journey deep below the sea and find a large amount of it. The World’s Finest are met with hostility by the Arthur Joseph Aquaman and King Shark. A brief fight ensues, but eventually Aquaman allows them to take what they came for. Before doing so, he points out that not everyone may want Superman to find all of Earth’s kryptonite, and that he would have to be at least part human to know that.

Arthur makes his next appearance in “Final Crisis: Requiem” at the funeral of J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter. Although initially assumed to have been misdrawn in Orin’s appearance, Final Crisis #3 reveals that Arthur has transitioned to wearing Orin’s classic gloved costume and has answered the hero draft at Oracle’s contact. He is referred to as ‘the new mysterious Aquaman’ by Oracle(due to this script being penned two years ago and possibly because only a few characters in the Outsiders have ever met him).

Powers and abilities


Aquaman has a number of superhuman powers, most of which derive from the fact that he is adapted to live in the depths of the ocean. Primary among his powers is the ability to extract oxygen from water, allowing him to ‘breathe’ while submerged. He is unaffected by the immense pressure and the cold temperature of the ocean depths; further, he possesses an enhanced resistance to injury and superhuman strength (he can easily throw a car hundreds of feet). He is likewise able to swim at very high speeds. He can see in near total darkness and has enhanced hearing. Although he can remain underwater indefinitely without suffering any ill effects, Aquaman grows weak if he remains on land for extended periods.

Aquaman’s most famous (or infamous) power is the telepathic ability to communicate with/command oceanic life. The range of this power is unclear; certainly he can summon sea life from vast distances. Although this power is most often and most easily used on marine life, Aquaman has on multiple occasions demonstrated the capacity to affect any being evolved from marine life (e.g., humans), or that lives upon the sea (e.g. sea eagles).

Aquaman’s telepathic abilities are otherwise unrefined but it has been demonstrated on multiple occasions that he can use his abilities to supplement other more skilled telepaths such as J’onn J’onzz.

After the loss of his hand, Aquaman initially replaced it with a cybernetic harpoon that responded to his thoughts and could be fired while staying attached via a retractable line. Later, the harpoon was replaced by the Waterbearer hand, given to him by the Lady of the Lake. This hand is magical in nature; it grants Aquaman numerous abilities, including but not limited to the ability to dehydrate anyone he touches with it, killing them instantly; to make the Hand extremely dense, thus taking Aquaman to the ocean floor quickly; to shoot jets of scalding water; healing abilities; and the ability to nullify magic.

Note: In both the Superman/Aquaman cartoons from the 1960s and the Smallville TV series, Aquaman displays the power (while submerged) to project ‘balls’ of water which can strike a target with tremendous concussive force. As depicted in the cartoons and Smallville series, it would seem that this power consists in some kind of water manipulation, similar to hydrokinesis. Aquaman has not demonstrated a similar power in his appearances in comic books (which are generally considered more ‘canonical’ than TV appearances), but it is worth noting that both his wife Mera and his old sidekick Aqualad have the ability to manipulate water in a telekinetic manner.

Arthur Joseph

The new Aquaman has many physical abilities in common with the original Aquaman, including underwater breathing, submarine speed, and superhuman strength. Like the Golden Age Aquaman, young Arthur can’t survive outside of water for long. He also gained telepathic powers. He now speaks and understands the languages of the sentient sea peoples unaided, and has a limited ability to communicate with nonsentient sea life. He cannot speak directly to them as his predecessor could, but can send and receive emotional impressions and desires, such as communicating a need for help. He is working to expand the latter ability, and in one instance has been able to “see” through the eyes of nearby fish.[3]

Alternate versions

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Interior artwork to All-Star Squadron #59, featuring the Earth-Two Aquaman.

  • Earth-Two: In the mid-1980s, following the establishment of DC Comics’ multiverse, the Golden Age Aquaman became known as the Aquaman of “Earth-Two”, and the modern-day Aquaman became the Aquaman of “Earth-One“. In modern-day comics, the original Aquaman appeared only in All-Star Squadron #59-60 (July-Aug. 1986), just before the character was retroactively eliminated from existence via the crossover event “Crisis on Infinite Earths”.
  • Ceetka: the Deva of the Water and a reflection of God. He watches over the seas and his kingdom in the Supergirl: Wings Elseworld story.
  • Barracuda: Aquaman’s Crime Syndicate of Amerika counterpart. Last seen leading the armies of Atlantis against the surface world in Florida.
  • In the Countdown tie-in The Search for Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman, a female version of Aquaman is shown to reside on Earth-11. This version is called “Anne”, is physically similar to Joseph Curry, and commands the armies of Atlantis.

In other media

Aquaman in popular media

Aquaman has appeared in multiple cartoon series, as well as a live action version appearing in the TV series Smallville. In addition, he has been the subject of many pop cultural references. Unlike many other heroes, Aquaman has often been the target of ridicule in pop culture( mostly due to the fact that his powers involve the sea and talking to fish, while most comic sotrylines do not involve the sea or fish at all), and has been mocked on shows such as X-Play, South Park, Seinfeld, The State, Spin City,Lil’ Bush, Family Guy, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and Robot Chicken. In the HBO TV series Entourage, the main character played by Adrian Grenier is said to have the highest grossing movie debut ever playing a live action Aquaman.

See also

  • Characters of Aquaman
  • Aquaman (TV series) – an animated TV series.
  • Aquaman (TV program) – An unaired live-action TV pilot.
  • Amphibian Man


  1. ^ More Fun Comics #84 (Oct. 1942)
  2. ^Thursday, June 8, 2006“. Retrieved on 2006-12-08.
  3. ^ Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #49


  • The Unofficial Aquaman Site, including the Aquaman FAQ
  • AquamanTV: Mercy Reef
  • Index of Aquaman’s Earth-1 adventures
  • Alan Kistler’s Profile On Aquaman

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