Aquaman

aquaman_ross

The DC Comics character Arthur Curry—a.k.a Aquaman—has, over the past couple of years, turned into one of my favorite fictional people. Before DC launched into the New 52, I had never really followed Aquaman. I had seen him cameo in other comics I read, but had never read his book. I keep mentally kicking myself for that, wishing I had picked up “Aquaman” a long, long time ago. Granted, I don’t know what the stories were like before the extremely talented Mr. Geoff Johns began writing “Aquaman”. But I love his work on the book, and am sorry to see him leaving that title.

Anyone who knows me—even a little—knows of my fandom (all right; near obsession is closer to the mark) for Batman. I first began reading the Batman family of titles back in the early 1990s, coming to them only a month or two after the “Knightfall” trilogy in which Bane was introduced. Before then, I had been a reader of Marvel titles, but came to my senses and hopped over to the DCU. I instantly discovered that I vastly prefer the DCU, and have never looked back.

Anyway, since the early 1990s, I have been a die-hard DC fan. Especially of Batman. Yet, as said above, I had never really gotten to know Aquaman. For some reason that I still don’t understand, I had a very, very strong urge to read “Aquaman” when the New 52 launched. I picked up the first issue, loved it, and am now almost as big of a fan of Aquaman as I am of Batman.

Regularly, things show up on-line regarding Aquaman. Most of these things take the slant toward bashing the character. I’ve come to the conclusion that these people either don’t know the character at all, or, at the very least, haven’t given the current title a try. Aquaman, as written by Geoff Johns, is a solid character. Being half-Atlantean, Arthur Curry is only half-human. Yet, he had more humanity in him than most fully-human comic book characters.

His non-human lineage has blessed him with an array of powers—an entire physiology evolved to withstand the crushing, cold depths of a deep ocean environment. This allows for super strength, the ability to breathe underwater, being able to swim faster than any human could even begin to move in the water, and skin toughened nearly to the point of being bullet-proof. On top of that, he is able to telepathically communicate with sea life. Contrary to popular belief, he doesn’t control them, however. He can simply communicate with ocean life, calling upon them for help.

Yet, Aquaman is a thinking, feeling being. He has a wife—a mermaid named Mera—and is deeply in love with her. Never knowing his mother, and the loss of his father, affect Arthur in a very fundamental way. He’s been hurt time after time by betrayals by those he thought were close friends and allies. These things make Aquaman someone any reader can identify with.

Keeping these things in mind, I truly think that an “Aquaman” movie could be a spectacular thing. Recently, I read something about this on-line. Apparently, Warner Bros.—who owns DC Comics—has estimated that an “Aquaman” movie would take around $200 million to make. This is due to all of the CGI and underwater photography that would be needed.  According to what I read, Warner Bros. is also of the mindset that Aquaman is a “third-tier character”, and that they wouldn’t recoup the cost of making the project.

I wholeheartedly disagree.

Aquaman is a fantastic character. He’s strong physically, yes, but also strong morally. Yet, as said before, he’s more human than most other fully-human comic book characters. He struggles emotionally at times. His dual heritage means that Arthur Curry is not fully at home—or welcome—on land, or in the ocean. Each side finds him suspicious because of his bloodline from the other. He’s an outcast wherever he goes. And, despite his moral strength, Aquaman has killed. He accidently murdered the father of a man named David (last name still unknown) in a rage-filled attempt to avenge the death of his own father at David’s hands. David, in a on-going attempt to avenge his own father, became Black Manta—one of Aquaman’s greatest foes. To this day Aquaman deeply regrets his actions that day; that never stops eating at him.

Aquaman’s personality, social status as sometimes King of Atlantis, yet mistrusted by people both in Atlantis and on land, combined with his physical attributes, would allow for a deeply-compelling, layered film. A movie focusing on the character could incorporate so many things. We could see an emotionally-vulnerable, yet morally strong superhero on screen. Aquaman could well be a role model for everyone if people would simply show this character the support and respect he deserves.

On top of that, for those who are drawn in and captivated simply by eye-candy CGI, an Aquaman movie would provide lots of that, too. I keep imagining what Atlantis and the underway seascapes would look like in such a movie. They would be truly incredible.

People who simply want lots of action in a film could also be satisfied by an Aquaman movie. Even when not working as part of the Justice League team, Arthur Curry is a man of action. He has a rogue’s gallery as impressive as Batman’s in length, on top of the companies he takes on who are harming the ocean environments of the Earth.

The possibilities for a film focusing on Arthur Curry are endless. I very much hope that the upper echelon bozos at Warner Bros. pull their collective heads of the sand and realize that very quickly. From what I keep reading on-line, they do plan to give us an Aquaman-centric film at some point. But they keep pushing that back, further and further. It seems they want to release the Batman/Superman film, which is currently in development, and then release “Wonder Woman”, “The Flash”, “Green Lantern 2”, and “Justice League” before working on “Aquaman”. There other in-development films based on DC comics characters, too, that will probably see release before “Aquaman”. And, I fear that Warner Bros. will simply slap something together, half-heartedly, in the expectation than an Aquaman film will fail, thus sabotaging the project, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. I don’t want that to happen. I want them to release a solid, well-thought out “Aquaman” movie. I want them to promote and market the film properly. Such a project could prove to the world that Aquaman is an excellent, solid character who is to be admired and respected.

As a writer, and a fan of Aquaman, I would relish the chance to work on an Aquaman project—be it a novel (where the lion’s share of my experience lies), comic book project, TV series (live action, or animated), or a film (again, live action, or animated). Warner Bros.? DC Comics? Are you listening to me? Here’s an experienced writer who wants a chance to help prove to the world that Aquaman could be a gold mine for you. Where do I sign up?

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

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