For this post I want to thank Jimmy (@Jetts31) from Founding A Father for contributing this to the Modern Myths Series. This is a great take on an often overlooked but always utilized character. I know you will enjoy it, and also stop by Jimmy’s Twitter and website as well.
As a lifelong fanboy, I have been glued to Joe’s ‘Modern Mythology’ series. I love how he has taken iconic characters, characters I have grown up with, and spun them to reflect Dadhood (yes, I mean that pun). So when he asked for someone to contribute a guest post for his site, I jumped at the chance. My obvious choice of what to add was to be towards his ‘Modern Mythology’ series and I had a specific character in mind.
Aquaman is from the DC Universe, created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger. Aquaman, no matter what your thoughts are about the character, is one of the oldest and most recognizable in comic books. His first appearance dates back to ‘More Fun Comics’ #73 in September of 1941 which makes him as old as Captain America and Wonder Woman and older than Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern.
While his origin has been told and retconned throughout the years, it has been recently established by the writers and editors at DC, that Aquaman is Arthur Curry, the half human son of Tom Curry and Atlanna, an Atlantean princess. He is the king of Atlantis, King of the Seven Seas, the Aquatic Ace, the Marine Marvel, and maybe one of the most over looked heroes in all of comics.
So what could the guy in the green and orange tights who talks to sea life have to do with modern dads?
Aquaman has never really been taken seriously by the masses. While Batman and Superman have had phenomenal (and not unwarranted) success and seen their comic book titles run continuously throughout the years, Aquaman has had multiple series come and go, been without a title multiple times throughout his history, and had his longest run in his own title go a meager 75 issues. Aquaman, who was a founding member of the Justice League in 1960, has been the butt of jokes, not taken seriously as a character, and pushed to the background. He has gone through changes with his character, his appearance, his demeanor, and his appearances in the mainstream DC Universe.
Yet the character has endured…for over 70 years. He has been in other titles if he was not in his own; he was in the first Justice League. He was included in Grant Morrison’s Justice League run, the Brightest Day arc, and he was added to DC’s recent relaunch, 52, with the Justice League and in his own (popular) title. For a character long mired in retcons, re-do’s, overhauls, and modern media parodies, Aquaman has been a mainstay and an important piece in the DC Universe standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Batman and Superman.
Dads of today should take notice.
Like the King of Atlantis, we have watched while others got credit, glory, or top billing. Despite how he has been portrayed in the media, his importance to his comic universe remains. Dads of today are going through much of what Aquaman has been through in his 71 years as a character (without the harpoon hand or a half-brother who is our arch-nemesis). The need for us to be active members of our children’s lives is important no matter what has been said about us, how many times we have been pushed to the background, parodied or slighted in the media…or how ridiculous any of us would look talking to dolphins in green and orange tights.
The DC Universe needs Aquaman and our families need us.
Aquaman has endured. He has evolved, changed, changed back, and changed again to best fit the moments he has occupied the pages. We as fathers can learn a lesson from Arthur Curry, aka Orin, aka Aquaman. Our job, as dads is to evolve, change, change back, and back again so that we may best fit what our families’ need from us. We shouldn’t require the spotlight, top billing or even presume to be taken seriously because we are undeniably needed, we are important, and we will endure.