I’m still working my way through all the nuggets of awesome to come out at San Diego Comic-Con.
At this Nerdmas in July, the pop-culture geek masses unwrap the shiny boxes to receive Hollywood’s latest superhero blockbusters, magic works in progress, sci-fi TV series, toy products … and, occasionally, some comic books.
My summer weekends stay pretty busy at the pool, so I don’t really catch stuff as the news comes out. But I did pick up on the newest Justice League trailer.
Sure looked kick-ass.
And, again, the promo spends a lot of fun time on Aquaman. He’s shaping up to be the fun one of the bunch.
If we’re to compare Justice League to its Marvel counterpart in The Avengers, Aquaman appears to combine the studly carriage of Thor with the unbridled might of Hulk. It also doesn’t hurt that, for the DC Comics fanboys, Jason Momoa’s metalhead hair and beard conjures Lobo, the indestructible alien bounty hunter himself.
Aquaman is the guy riding on the hood of the Batmobile yelling “Yeah!” He’s the dude gleefully leaping into battle, who says “I dig it” at first sight of Batman’s getup. In the new trailer, he stomps a parademon several stories through a building and emerges from the dust with a hair flip, trident in hand.
Wait a minute. Is Aquaman finally cool?
We’ve had four decades of Aquaman jokes since his anodyne, water-lovin’ behind appeared on Hanna-Barbera’s Super Friends starting in 1973. The talking to fish, the yellow shirt, dry land is his weakness, etc.
In the 1990s, DC rebuilt Arthur Curry into a longhaired, bearded deepwater Viking with a harpoon hand. Aquaman showed up in his classic look as a wordless cameo on the Superman animated series, but on the Justice League cartoon a few years later he again resembled the Viking warrior style.
We got a strapping version of him on Smallville, in which it was nice to see him be strong alongside teams of other superheroes. And James Tucker’s Silver Age-nostalgic Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon reveled in an over-the-top, metatextual version of his Super Friends self.
When Geoff Johns and Jim Lee relaunched the character in DC’s New 52 continuity, they gave Aquaman the old suit, a hipstery haircut with sideburns, and a necklace. He summoned great white sharks to chomp a bunch of parademons and corrects a bunch of asshats that he has a telepathic link with aquatic lifeforms, but he doesn’t “talk to fish.”
Not only did the first run on the New 52 Aquaman comic book feature Ivan Reis art that made Arthur Curry sexier than ever. He even fought a race of monster-men and ran his own international superteam featuring a bodacious Brazilian jungle woman. Altogether, a fine adventure book, too.
But when Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics goes and casts Jason Momoa as Aquaman, that’s putting all the chips on the table to make the Atlantean powerhouse cool once and for all.
You can’t hire Momoa, freakin’ Khal Drogo himself with all his dark-and-burly sex appeal, and not change Aquaman’s course forever. Who doesn’t love a big, broad man swinging his giant, golden trident around to part the seas?
Chris Hardwick was joking when he said to Momoa at the Justice League panel that he was Aquaman “because everyone’s wet right now,” but he wasn’t lying. The man who swayed Lisa Bonet might be enough to sway an audience to check out Justice League. And the work on the upcoming Aquaman solo film, directed by Fast and the Furious man James Wan, is shaping up nicely so far.
Both movies could suck, though. So far DC only has Wonder Woman as a well-regarded film.
But at the very least, seeing a brown-skinned, Pacific Islander, albeit with blonde highlights and blue eyes, was enough to persuade me to place Aquaman’s scaled armor on the list of potential Halloween costumes this year.
I’m now in Year Four of wearing this big beard, and I don’t think I’m ready to let go of it yet. Come Halloween time, I like that I can incorporate the beard into whatever costume I choose.
The character doesn’t need to be bearded, per se, but the beard adds color. A 2015 costume as Joker became a pirate, with my beard colored green.
It’s also fun for me when I can do my nerd Halloween as a pop culture character, and they’re somebody with brown skin. In a world where the characters are overwhelmingly white, while I can choose any character, too often I’ll be “Black Thor” instead of just Thor. Sigh.
Going as Captain Nemo from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics, I could indulge both my skin tone and my beard. Bliss, I tells ya. And now Jason Momoa could possibly be the definition of Aquaman for this generation forward.
If Jason Momoa can kick it as King of the Seven Seas in that big beard and brown skin of his, I can do the same with mine, right?