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Author Topic: Aquaman Primer  (Read 405 times)

Offline BentonGrey

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Aquaman Primer
« on: January 20, 2016, 05:13:01 AM »
Howdy guys, I've got a new post on my blog, something I've been working on in my spare time.  It's a short primer on Aquaman for those who don't know the character or have the wrong impression about him.  It includes some basics about his abilities, some recommended reading, and some history.  Check it out if that sounds interesting!
https://bentongrey.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/aquaman-primer/
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
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Online kkhohoho

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Re: Aquaman Primer
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2016, 12:50:18 AM »
Nice look at Aquaman Benton, though I'd also add Peter David's Aquaman run to the list of recommended Iron Age stories. Sure, he's where Aquaman started to become more of a 'hot-headed, ill-tempered jerk,' but David never goes too far with it, and to be honest, I actually think it makes the character more interesting. While I haven't read much of Aquaman's solo stories from Pre-Crisis, I have read all of his appearances in the classic League, and, well, he's bland. Granted, Hal also came across as bland, so maybe it's just the writers fault for that particular series and not how the characters were outside of that, but regardless, that's still how he came across to me. At least having him be a 'hot-headed, ill-tempered jerk' gives him an actual well-defined personality, though I'd liken him more as a gruff temperamental seaman in the comics more than anything else.

Really though, if you want a 'hot-headed, ill-tempered jerk', just look at Namor. (Who I actually really like as a character, so maybe it's just me.)
The Golden Age; 'A different look at a different era.'

http://archiveofourown.org/works/1089779/chapters/2193203

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Aquaman Primer
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2016, 05:38:28 PM »
Really though, if you want a 'hot-headed, ill-tempered jerk', just look at Namor. (Who I actually really like as a character, so maybe it's just me.)
(Emphasis added)

Haha, I think we may have found out something about your tastes, Kk.  ;)

Thanks!  I appreciate the suggestion, but I'm afraid I haven't read much of PAD's run, and what I have, I have rather strongly disliked.  I like some of the mythical things he did, but the writing of Aquaman and his supporting cast just struck me as unbearably angsty and adolescent.  For my money, that's where things went completely off the rails for the character.  It's funny you bring up Namor, because it is because of that version of Aquaman's resemblance to the Prince of the Blood that folks tend to call him 'Namor-lite.'  I like Namor, but I also like that Aquaman isn't Namor.  I like them for different reasons, you know?  Yet, you're certainly not alone in your fondness for the PAD series.  It's got a lot of love from fans.  I'm just not one of them, I'm afraid.

In terms of your experiences with Aquaman in the League, my guess is that what you read is more of a function of the general blandness of characterization in those books.  It isn't until the somewhere around #75 or so (when O'Neil takes over) that the Leaguers begin to develop real personalities.  I'd say that you'd be better off reading some of Aquaman's solo adventures.  Honestly, a lot of his backup appearances in Adventure Comics are really quite charming and enjoyable.  I actually gave a bunch of them to my niece, since these are by and large really fun, inventive, and surprisingly non-violent adventures.
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
Check out my DC voicepacks at my yahoo group.
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Online kkhohoho

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Re: Aquaman Primer
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2016, 06:19:15 PM »
Really though, if you want a 'hot-headed, ill-tempered jerk', just look at Namor. (Who I actually really like as a character, so maybe it's just me.)
In terms of your experiences with Aquaman in the League, my guess is that what you read is more of a function of the general blandness of characterization in those books.  It isn't until the somewhere around #75 or so (when O'Neil takes over) that the Leaguers begin to develop real personalities.

I'm have to disagree, at least partially. Sure, some of the Leaguers did develop actual personalities after O'Neil came on board, with the biggest improvement being Green Arrow's personality, in that he actually has one. But right up until the last issue before the Detroit League came along, Hal, Zatanna, Black Canary and, yes, Aquaman were all as interesting as wet cardboard. And yet, characters like Green Arrow were the life of party, whereas others like Red Tornado were well developed and essentially the soul of the book. So there's really no excuse for why those four turned out the way they did, Aquaman included.

As for Adventure Comics, thanks for the offer, though now that you mention it, I was actually planning on checking them out at some point anyway. What I want to do is read some of each of the classic Leaguers' (and JSA'ers for that matter,) original appearances in the Silver and Golden Ages, so that I can get a better idea of how they started and what they're about. The problem is that a lot of it doesn't really hold up that well nowdays and can be a bit of a chore to get through, so I haven't been getting through as much of it as I'd like. So far, I've read some GA&SA Superman and Batman, some SA Flash and Hawkman, and that's it. Which is a shame, because these books have potential, but compared to what Marvel was putting out, they just pale in comparison. (The SA books anyway. For the time, the GA books were topnotch.) So while I'll be getting to Adventure Comics at some point, I'm not really sure if I'll enjoy them, especially if they're like most of what DC was putting out at the time.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 06:26:56 PM by kkhohoho »
The Golden Age; 'A different look at a different era.'

http://archiveofourown.org/works/1089779/chapters/2193203

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Aquaman Primer
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2016, 12:41:01 AM »
Kk, that's very true, but I didn't say that O'Neil gave them all personalities; I said he started to give them personalities.  ;)  You're right, there was a definite preference to a sub-set of characters, which is one of the things that sort of annoys me about his run.  I like those characters, but they aren't the ONLY ones I like, which is why I am reading Justice League in the first place.  Still, I think Aquaman's characterization IS better towards the end of JLA, but the problem is that he just isn't around very much. :(

You're not wrong about the quality of Marvel and DC books in the Silver Age.  For all of the flaws of a Stan and Jack book, they were still endlessly creative and exciting.  They were throwing out amazing concepts nonstop, and even if half of them flopped, the other half soared.  What's more, as goofy as they were, they actually did put some efforts into logical consistency.  DC's Silver Age offerings are often pretty hard to read by comparison.  Like I wrote in my latest Bronze Age post, I've often wondered how JLA was able to survive when Marvel started publishing The Avengers

Despite that, there are some real gems to be found in the catalogs of both companies.  Silver Age stories always require some allowances, though, as they are just a different, sillier type of story-telling.  Those Adventure backups are pretty fun to me, but I've developed something of a taste for SA yarns.  Still, I think many of them are less goofy than the mainstream books, especially less than the Superboy tales they share real-estate with.
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
Check out my DC voicepacks at my yahoo group.
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey/
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey2

Online kkhohoho

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Re: Aquaman Primer
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2016, 03:37:58 AM »
Despite that, there are some real gems to be found in the catalogs of both companies.  Silver Age stories always require some allowances, though, as they are just a different, sillier type of story-telling.

It's not the silliness that bothers me. I actually like all of the aliens and time-travel nonsense and other such goofiness. What I don't like is the stilted dialogue, and especially the near-complete lack of characterization and development. That doesn't mean there wasn't any characterization to be had, as the SA Hawks actually managed to have some nice characterization in their own title. The problem though was that it was only due to the late great Joe Kubert that they had any personality at all, as there wasn't much to be found in Gardner Fox's actual writing, which is a shame. Even the silliest of concepts can work if you have good writing and characterization; Quality's Plasticman comics from the GA were as silly as you could get, but the comedy and colorful characters made of it work.

Now I'm not saying the SA needed to be more comedic by any means; heck, Superman was practically a sitcom, and look how that turned out. But when it came to actual good writing, most of DC's Silver Age output just didn't have it, especially compared to Marvel's stuff. That didn't mean DC didn't have any good SA material; Metamorpho, Metal Men, and the Legion were all good, and Doom Patrol was a classic. But that was all on the fringe, and the more mainstream titles just weren't on the same level as those books.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2016, 02:47:17 PM by kkhohoho »
The Golden Age; 'A different look at a different era.'

http://archiveofourown.org/works/1089779/chapters/2193203

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Aquaman Primer
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2016, 05:32:48 AM »
Yep, those classic Hawkman books are some of my absolute favorite Silver Age DC stories.  I think you're a bit hard on the writing for those, but I certainly can't disagree about anything else.  There are definitely great stories to be found, but the writing is generally the wooden, plot driven standard fare.  I'd say the Superman books are the worst offenders, but I've found both the Flash's and GL's books to be generally pretty rough going.  I suppose that's why I'm focusing on the Bronze Age, after all. 

If you ever decide you want to check out some of those Adventure books, let me know and I'll give you some recommendations.
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
Check out my DC voicepacks at my yahoo group.
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey/
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey2

Offline dudalb

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Re: Aquaman Primer
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2017, 11:27:56 PM »
The writing in the Silver Age Hawkman was wooden, but Joe Kubert's artwork was great. He is best remembered for his War comics, ...Sgt Rock and Enemy Ace in Particular...but he did fine work in the superhero comics as well, and was later one of the great Tarzan artists.