What Does DC Comics Stand For? A Complete History

Entering the world of comic books can be daunting for any newcomer. While longtime superfans might spend hours embroiled in a Marvel vs. DC debate, new comic fans understandably might just wonder—just what does DC Comics stand for? Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman might be part of the pop culture lexicon, but just because you’ve seen a movie from the DC cinematic universe doesn’t mean you know anything about its history.

Whether you found DC through its animated projects, through reading comics online, or you’ve heard about the new DC Universe streaming service, there’s a story behind how DC comics got its name. 

Who created DC Comics?

DC Comics was founded in 1934 by Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, following his departure from the army. Originally launched as National Allied Publications, the company pioneered the concept of a comics featuring entirely original content. Previously comic books sold in stories reprinted old strips from the newspaper. Its first title was New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine. It was released in February 1935, was a 10-inch by 15-inch anthology that bared little resemblance to the modern books it publishes today.

New Fun became a launching pad for new talent, most famously Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. In 1935 they added another book Adventure Comics, which ultimately ended up running until 1983. However, it was Major Wheeler-Nicholson’s final title published with National Allied Publications that set the company on its true future path.

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What does DC Comics stand for?

In 1937, NAP published Detective Comics #1, its first hard-boiled crime series. At the time, Major Wheeler-Nicholson was in major debt with his printing company. However, the company’s owner, Harry Donefeld, had another idea. The duo teamed up and formed a partnership called Detective Comics Inc. and published the first book. The Major ended up selling his share of the company to Donefeld—whether it was to pay off debts associated with the Great Depression or as part of a hostile takeover remains up for debate today.

Detective Comics became the eventual birthplace of Batman in issue #27.

Even before the Detective Comics’ popularity skyrocketed, the series was known colloquially as DC Comics. However, National Comics didn’t officially rebrand as DC Comics until 1977. Technically this means DC Comics’ original name, unabbreviated, is “Detective Comics Comics.”

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Who owns DC Comics today?

DC’s current ownership is surprisingly entertaining. National Comics was purchased by Kinney National Company in 1969. Kinney held the rights until the 1970s. Kinney National also held a stake in several games, from films under its Warner Bros. label to parking and property management companies. In 1972, Kinney National was forced to split its entertainment and non-entertainment entities following a scandal involving price fixing in its parking garage business. The Kinney National Company’s entertainment assets were moved under the umbrella of a new company, Warner Communiations Inc.

In 1990, Warner Communications and Time, Inc. merged into one massive media company. Although the merger was announced in 1987, it took almost three years for the deal to be finalized. Finally, Time Warner was purchased by ATT in 2016 for $85.4 billion dollars, leaving Superman and the Justice League in the hands of one of the world’s largest telecom companies.

 

From: https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/what-does-the-dc-in-dc-comics-stand-for/

The Best Comics of 2018

Thankfully, 2018 was another strong year for comics, with good material being released across the board in every imaginable category and genre. In the face of such choice, it only makes sense to look for guidance in what to read, which is where Heat Vision comes in. Here, across seven different categories, is just what you want to track down to feel as if you’ve read the best comics of the past 12 months.

Best Superhero

Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads (DC Entertainment)

The second half of the revival of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World saga shifted the story from epic scope to something far more intimate, and the result was a comic unlike any other — a meditation on parenthood, partnership and self-mythology filled with sly humor and raw honesty that was, thanks to Gerads’ award-winning artwork, also one of the best-looking comics released this year.

Man of Steel/Superman/Action Comics by Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, etc. (DC Entertainment)

Bringing Marvel’s biggest creator across to DC and giving him control of the company’s most iconic character — well, behind Batman, perhaps — might have seemed like a risk, considering Brian Michael Bendis’ history on runs like Jessica Jones and Daredevil. However, the result has revitalized Superman and his supporting cast, bringing new energy and urgency to the world’s oldest, and still greatest, superhero.

X-Men: Red by Tom Taylor, Mahmud Asrar, etc. (Marvel Entertainment)

What at first seemed like the latest of many X-Men reboots turned out to be the sharpest take on the concept in years, thanks to Tom Taylor taking the franchise back to its early days with a story — and a team — purposefully standing against bigotry and oppression without the need for metaphor or allegory. It only lasted a year, but it’ll be remembered as a high point of the X-Men for some time to come.

Best Science Fiction

Prism Stalker by Sloane Leong (Image Comics)

Visionary and hallucinatory, Prism Stalker felt like a comic ahead of its time in any number of ways. It also firmly placed Leong on the map as a creator to follow in the years to come, offering classic sci-fi tropes revisited via Cronenberg and imagery fed by manga and fine art as much as anything else in western comics.

Judge Dredd: The Small House by Rob Williams and Henry Flint (2000 AD/Rebellion)

In many ways, The Small House — a 10-episode serial in the pages of the weekly 2000 AD series — is something that only a comic that has been continuing for 40 years, with its characters and world aging and evolving in real time, could achieve. The story unfolded like the sharpest political thriller, undermining the iconic future lawman’s world while underscoring the power he’s built around him throughout his years on the streets of Mega-City One and beyond. When Dredd is at its best, it’s unlike any other comic out there, and The Small House was the character, and the strip, at its very best.

Brink by Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard (2000 AD/Rebellion)

Another 2000 AD strip, Brink is True Detective in space, if True Detective was written by Philip K. Dick and fascinated by class struggle and labor issues while something ominously big — as in, disappearing planets, big — happens in the far reaches of space. Playing with genre tropes and reader expectations with glee, it’s something that feels like the promises of both Ridley Scott’s Alien and Prometheus fulfilled in ways he couldn’t have imagined.

Best Historical

Berlin by Jason Lutes (Drawn Quarterly)

Finally completed after two decades of work, Berlin looks at life in early 1930s Germany, with the fall of the Weimar Republic as the backdrop to stories of those left in the wreckage. Lutes captures the scale of events by focusing on the humanity of those caught up in history, and his focus never wavers as the world crumbles.

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu (First Second)

Following up on her book-length California Dreamin’ (a biography of Mama Cass), Bagieu’s recent book is a collection of short biographies of important women throughout history, from the famous to the obscure. It’s a beautiful book, an enjoyable read and something that will almost certainly be educational to everyone that picks it up.

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell and Mike Feeman (DC Entertainment)

Only the writer behind the recent Flintstones comic could turn Hanna-Barbera’s pink, talking mountain lion into a tragedy about the experience of living in the closet — sexually and politically — in the United States of the 1950s. However, it works — by the end of the story, it goes far deeper than most would have expected, and turns into one of the most touching and human comics of the year.

Best Humor

Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal (Drawn Quarterly)

Life after men turns out to be… not entirely unlike the world when men were still alive, in this episodic take on the post-apocalyptic genre that places as much emphasis on Paul Blart and Beyonce as it does on the practicalities of life after the end of the world.

My Boyfriend Is a Bear by Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris (Oni Press)

Who would have thought that one of the best romantic comedies of the year would be between a young woman and a bear? Ribon and Farris’ graphic novel is charming, gentle and subtly understated in the ways it approaches dating. Oh, and it really puts the idea of a man cave into perspective.

Nancy by Olivia Jaimes (United Media)

Perhaps the unexpected runaway hit of the year, Jaimes — a pseudonym for the cartoonist whose true identity remains a mystery — managed to transform the long-running newspaper strip from cliche into one of the most buzzed-about comics of 2018. This was all thanks to a newfound playfulness with the medium, a voice that finally brought the strip into the 21st century and a love of the weird, all of which bubbled over to dominate the internet with three simple words: “Sluggo Is Lit.”

Best Horror

Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, etc. (Marvel Entertainment)

Of course the Hulk is a horror character; when you start thinking about the core concept behind the Marvel monster, it only makes sense. However, it took Ewing, Bennett and assorted guest artists to bring that element to the forefront in a series that is continually restless, consistently unsettling and marvelously — pun intended — enjoyable, as the unkillable nature of Bruce Banner’s alter ego starts to get unpicked, piece by piece.

Infidel by Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell (Image Comics)

It does Infidel little favor to say that it does for horror comics what Get Out did for horror movies, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. A smart, complicated take on familiar horror tropes becomes something far more as the terror increases, and the reason behind events starts to become clear. Tonally perfect and wonderfully disturbing, this underrated series is hopefully primed for a rediscovery soon.

Beneath the Dead Oak Tree by Emily Carroll (ShortBox)

Carroll’s latest release, from British indie press ShortBox, underscores, yet again, her utter mastery of the form — and, especially, of horror comics — as she takes what is essentially a familiar fairy tale and turns it into something creepy and beautiful at the same time. Carroll can do horror like none other, and this is a gut punch of a reminder of that fact.

Best Contemporary

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (Drawn Quarterly)

The line between fake news and conspiracy theory is crossed in this somber, affecting graphic novel about a woman who goes missing, and those left behind to deal with her absence: Her sister and her boyfriend. It’s most definitely a work of its time, but one that feels timeless even in its immediate telling.

Taemons by Kim Salt (ShortBox)

100 Demon Dialogues by Lucy Bellwood (Toonhound Studios/Lucy Bellwood)

These two books, by some strange coincidence, feel like different takes on the same idea — a personification of our own anxieties and fears as literal demons, and the need we have to interact with, and ultimately befriend, those demons if we’re to move on and heal. Bellwood’s Demon Dialogues is the less oblique, and more humorous, of the two, while Salt’s Taemons is a near-abstract fable with Art Deco inspired visuals that feels as much like poetry as it does comics. Individually, they’d earn places on this list. Taken together, it’s an unbeatable combination.

Best Manga

My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame (Pantheon Graphic Library)

Both a character study and commentary on societal and cultural norms in Japan, the second (and final) volume of Tagame’s series about a father and daughter’s response to the death of a beloved relative — and the arrival of his Canadian husband — is, if anything, even more charming and understated than the first. Volume two offers a resolution that fits everything that came before, while also leaving the reader satisfied and perhaps just a little misty-eyed.

My Solo Exchange Diary by Nagata Kabi (Seven Seas)

The follow-up to My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness sees the author not only continue to struggle with relationships and her own mental health, but also the unique pressures brought on by the release of the first book. While the idea of “fame doesn’t bring happiness” isn’t a new one, what Kabi does with it remains fresh and refreshingly honest.

Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction by Inio Asano (Viz Media)

An alien invasion — or, at least, what is believed to be one by humanity — forms the backdrop for this strangely off-kilter series that is simultaneously a slice of life drama, a satire of sci-fi tropes and perhaps even a parody of certain manga traditions, as well. Reading DDDDD is, at times, a disorienting experience, but one that proves curiously addictive.

From: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/best-comics-2018-1171840

Get Your Tickets for REIGN OF THE SUPERMAN Animated LA & NYC Premieres

Reign of the Supermen finds Earth’s citizens – and the Man of Steel’s heroic contemporaries – dealing with a world without Superman. But the aftermath of Superman’s death, and the subsequent disappearance of his body, leads to a new mystery – is Superman still alive? The question is further complicated when four new super-powered individuals – Steel, Cyborg Superman, Superboy and the Eradicator – emerge to proclaim themselves as the ultimate hero. In the end, only one will be able to proclaim himself the world’s true Superman.

Reign of the Supermen is the second half of a two-part DC Universe Movies experience that began in August 2018 with The Death of Superman – the two films telling a more faithful animated version of “The Death of Superman,” DC’s landmark 1992-93 comic phenomenon. Superman Doomsday, the inaugural film in the DC Universe Movies series, told an abridged version of that comics story, but with a runtime of 75 minutes, the film was only able to focus on a core, singular storyline. The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen restore many of the moments and characters that fans hold dear to their hearts.

The Reign of the Supermen all-star cast is led by Jerry O’Connell (Carter, Bravo’s Play by Play, Stand by Me), Rebecca Romijn (X-Men, The Librarians) and Rainn Wilson (The Office, The Meg) as the voices of Superman, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, respectively. The potent trio is joined by the DC Universe Movies’ returning voices of the Justice League: Jason O’Mara (The Man in the High Castle, Terra Nova) as Batman, Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Rent, Daredevil) as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore (S.W.A.T., Criminal Minds) as Cyborg, Nathan Fillion (Castle, The Rookie) as Green Lantern/Hal Jordan, Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs, Insatiable, Ugly Betty) as The Flash, and Nyambi Nyambi (Mike Molly, The Good Fight) as Martian Manhunter.

Newly featured cast members include Cress Williams (Black Lightning) as Steel, Cameron Monaghan (Gotham) as Superboy, Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul) as Hank Henshaw, and Tony Todd (Candyman) as Darkseid. In addition, the cast includes Charles Halford (Constantine) as Bibbo Bibbowski and The Eradicator, Rocky Carroll (NCIS) as Perry White, Toks Olagundoye (Castle) as Cat Grant, Max Mittleman (Justice League Action) as Jimmy Olsen, Paul Eiding (Ben 10: Omniverse) as Jonathan Kent, Jennifer Hale (Green Lantern: The Animated Series) as Martha Kent, Trevor Devall (Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay) as Dabney Donovan and Erica Luttrell (Salvation) as Mercy.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, the feature-length animated Reign of the Supermen arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting January 15, 2019, and on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on January 29, 2019.

From: http://www.comicsbeat.com/get-your-tickets-for-reign-of-the-superman-animated-la-nyc-premieres/

‘Aquaman’s Jason Momoa Standing up for Henry Cavill’s Superman in Old Comic Con Video Goes Viral

Aquaman star Jason Momoa has a lot of love for Superman actor Henry Cavill and he isn’t afraid to show it.

In an old video which has resurfaced online in viral fashion, Momoa literally stands up for Cavill at a Comic Convention where a fan seems to have had some negative comments about the Man of Steel. “How come you didn’t like the Superman?” Momoa asks the fan. He then pushes the table and hops up to show off his intimidating physique. “No, no, no, no, no. By all means, speak your mind. You got a problem with my boy?”

Momoa has been known to speak up for what he believes in and this seems to be no exception, though he is probably just having a bit of fun with the fan. Check out the video which resurfaced on Twitter and went viral below!

Momoa worked appeared in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but never shared the set with Cavill on that production. He did team up with the actor in Justice League under the direction of Zack Snyder before ultimately heading out on his standalone journey with Aquaman. To this day, Momoa looks back on his days with Snyder quite fondly.

“They’re two different styles completely,” Momoa told Comicbook.com in the interview featured in the above video. “I mean, I think that’s just going from any director to another idrector, they’re very different. The one thing that they are, are definitely visual, visual artists. I mean, like this picture behind you, I knew about this before we even started filming. Zack is constantly doodling. He knows every frame. Definitely two amazing artists. Zack created this character and James just killed those role, also really great at characters and building. There’s a lot of similarities and differences.”

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As for whether or not Momoa would like to team up with the other DC Comics heroes again, he is fully on board for shared suffering with his co-stars! “Honestly, I’m more of slacker, and I like to have fun so I don’t like to have all the weight on my shoulders,” Momoa said. “I do enjoy this but it’s a lot, a lot, a lot of work! You know what I mean? So, it’s fun playing on Justice League because you’re in pain with everyone else and that’s fun. If Ben’s putting on the cowl and he’s hot and he’s it pain, I’m gonna laugh, and that gives me great joy when he’s in pain. But when I’m just in pain, I’m freezing and I’m sitting in a harness and it’s just Amber next to me, it’s not nearly as fun.”

Aquaman is now playing in theaters worldwide.

From: https://comicbook.com/dc/2018/12/27/aquaman-jason-momoa-superman-henry-cavill-video/

For a Comic-Book Writer, ‘Superman’ and His Own Line Are Two Blessings

For most comic-book writers, the chance to overhaul Superman would have been challenge enough.

But for Brian Michael Bendis, who made waves in the industry in 2017 when he jumped from Marvel Comics to archrival DC Entertainment, that was only part of the attraction. The other was the opportunity to revive Jinxworld, his line of arthouse-style, largely superhero-free comics, based on characters and concepts he developed himself, rather than the corporate-owned characters on which he rose to prominence.

From: https://www.wsj.com/articles/for-a-comic-book-writer-superman-and-his-own-line-are-two-blessings-11545836219

Here’s What Jon Hamm Could Look Like as Kingdom Come Superman

Jon Hamm is one of those actors that fans would really like to see in a comic book movie, and a new piece of fanart adds an interesting possibility to the fray.

Instagram user skull101ify recently shared their rendition of what Hamm would look like as Superman in the iconic DC Comics miniseries Kingdom Come. You can check it out below.

Art by me. Jon Hamm as Kingdom Come Superman. For me Hamm is either Batman or an older Superman. . . . . . #DianaPrince #ClarkKent #JohnJones #jonjonzz #wallywest #barryallen #ArthurCurry #TaliaAlGhul #maxwelllord #justiceleague #jla #superman #batman #wonderwoman #flash #theflash #MartianManhunter #greenlantern #aquaman #dc #dceu #dccomics #dcextendeduniverse #fancast#fancasts #fancasting #JonHamm #AlexRoss #KingdomCome

A post shared by Skull101ify (@skull101ify) on Dec 23, 2018 at 8:11pm PST

While the older, grizzled version of Superman might not be the first role everyone thinks of for Hamm, there arguably is something that works about seeing him as the character. For the most part, fans have campaigned for Hamm to play the role of Batman in some capacity, something that Hamm has taken a liking to.

“My God, yeah, it’s fun.” Hamm explained earlier this year. “That’s a part of the culture we live in, and we’re making those movies more and more, but they’re also making more creatively and more originally. And sure, it’s always an exciting thing to have your name in the list so that’s great.”

“It depends on the script, what the story is,” Hamm revealed. “I am a huge comic book fan, always have been. I have read comic books since I was nine or younger. And I am pretty knowledgeable about a lot of them. And I like the genre, and I like when they are done well.”

“I have had rumors about [Batman] since probably season one of Mad Men,” Hamm explained. “I have never had a conversation with anyone about it, literally. And I’ve sat in the room with all these guys. I have never been offered anything. I think the Internet wants what it wants. But, I mean, a lot of people have to sign off on that, obviously not just the Internet.”

That being said, Hamm would be willing to take on the role in the right context, even if it would involve a bit of extra effort.

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“I’d probably fit the suit.” Hamm added. “I’d have to work out a lot, which I don’t love. But, I am sure there is an interesting version of that being out there. And if they wanted to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to do it: why not?”

Would you want to see Hamm playing Kingdom Come‘s version of Superman? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

From: https://comicbook.com/dc/2018/12/24/jon-hamm-comic-book-movie-dc-comics-kingdom-come-superman/

How ‘Aquaman’ Saved The DC Films Universe And Redeemed ‘Batman V Superman’

‘Batman v Superman’Warner Bros.

Barring a fluke, Aquaman will probably cross $500 million worldwide sometime today or very early tomorrow. The DC Films superhero flick has earned $483m worldwide, including $72.7m in its domestic debut, so it should be over/under $80m domestic by the end of today. For reference, National Treasure fell 40% on its first Monday on Christmas Eve after a $44m debut weekend in 2007 while The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which opened a week earlier in 2012, fell 60% on day four after a then-record $84m Fri-Sun haul. So, yeah, barring an unexpected collapse, the Jason Momoa/Amber Heard adventure is already a sizable hit for the Dream Factory, and it’s on course to be their biggest domestic and global grosser of 2018.

It is standard practice after any DC Films movie to examine what its success (or relative failure) means for the brand as a whole. It may be too early to explore the long-term impact, but at a glance, DC Films is now in a position where not every film has to justify the entire IP or the overall fate of the studio. Warner Bros. had a pretty damn good 2018, offering a slew of mid-priced domestic winners (A Star Is Born, Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean’s 8) and big-budget tentpoles that did okay in North America and broke big overseas (Ready Player One, The Meg, Rampage) and thus finally declaring that they won’t be entirely defined by DC Films and the J.K. Rowling brand.

One thing the relative commercial and critical success of Aquaman means is that the series won’t necessarily live or die by the fate of each movie. Maybe Shazam will be another goofy treat, and since it’s from New Line as well as Warner Bros., I’m presuming it’s budgeted closer to The Fellowship of the Ring than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Maybe Todd Phillips’ Joker will be a halfway-decent 1980s crime drama that happens to be a Joker origin story. Or perhaps not. But each new film will, as long as some of them are decent (and WB has other IP and non-IP hits to crow about),  be allowed to stand on its own without much concern about the overall fate of the brand being taken into account.

Coincidentally enough, today marks 33 months since the release of Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. After Snyder’s Man of Steel earned mixed reviews and grossed “just” $668 million worldwide, Man of Steel 2 morphed first into a Superman sequel that happened to involve Batman and eventually into an official backdoor pilot for the DC Films franchise. So the poor reviews and quick-kill box office ($873m but from a $422m global launch) wasn’t just about whether the movie made money (it did) or justified itself artistically (that’s a coin toss, especially in its compromised theatrical cut), but how it laid the groundwork for the sequels and spin-offs to come. Much of the conversation revolved around what the film said about the overall DC Comics film franchise.

This is what happens when a studio positions a new biggie as not just a big movie (or even a big sequel) but as a launching pad for a would-be cinematic universe. It was a distinctly less stand-alone movie than, for example, Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (whose marketing emphasized the barely-there cinematic universe implications). Superman (Henry Cavill) met Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). We briefly met The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). The film set up a looming threat from Apokolips and hinted at an endgame similar to Injustice: Gods Among Us (a popular DC Comics fighting video game where Superman goes world-crushingly rogue after Lois Lane is murdered).

Oh, and it ended with Clark Kent perishing in battle with the presumption that he would be resurrected in Justice League. The grim, hyper-violent and barely comprehensible sequel was discussed in terms of its quality and in terms of what it meant for the overall DC Films franchise. It earned nearly $900 million but was so divisively received that it caused significant changes for Suicide Squad (which ended up being recut by the company that produced the first crowd-pleasing theatrical trailer) and Justice League (where Joss Whedon eventually took over from Zack Snyder and delivered a soft remake of The Avengers). As a backdoor pilot for a cinematic universe that was intended to replace WB’s Harry Potter grosses and stand toe-to-toe with the MCU, it was a disaster.

But the success of James Wan’s Aquaman, both critically and (thus far) commercially, means two big things for the DC Films franchise. First, it means that they can keep the established continuity intact while going in a different direction (or many different directions) for the likes of Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey, David Sanberg’s Shazam and Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984. It may not have “saved the DCEU,” but it most certainly saved the DC Films continuity and prevented a more overt reboot. Ditto (presumably) Shazam, whose trailer explicitly references the events of Batman v Superman even while telling a more kid-friendly adventure fantasy. Secondly, for what it’s worth, it means we can now judge Dawn of Justice as its own thing instead of a foundation for a rickety house.

As a stand-alone film, even the 180-minute (and R-rated) “ultimate edition” has many of the same problems it did 2.5-years-ago. The critical title fight is still based on miscommunication and misdirection, so it’s not really the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight wanting to beat the hell out of each other. The first two hours is mostly just Lex Luthor (an underrated turn from Eisenberg) slaughtering innocents behind the scenes while Batman and Superman blame each other and brood. The desire to make Luthor into a full-blown puppet master makes the plot more complicated and confusing than it needed to be. And, like Man of Steel (and Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises), the film’s first plot-filled/character-centric half is more compelling than its action-packed second half.

Absent the misguided notion of introducing a four-quadrant super-franchise with a film like Batman v Superman, the picture works as an Elseworlds movie. It is still one of the most beautiful-looking superhero movies I’ve ever seen, and how I wish Larry Fong had shot Justice League too. While too many superhero team-up movies and shows tend to isolate their heroes and minimize their contact with the outside world, Batman v Superman has a sprawling supporting cast and is as much about the regular people as it is about Batman and Superman. As a visually-majestic and highly quotable superhero drama that blends gritty realism with apocalyptic fantasy while trying to examine Superman’s role in a world where his every action is politicized, it’s at worst a noble failure.

Like Ang Lee’s Hulk or even Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2 (which is a superhero sequel as a sitcom bottle episode), Zack Snyder’s second DC Films movie is an engrossing misfire both for what it attempts and beautiful it often looks and sounds. There’s certainly nothing else like it in the sub-genre. It will likely age well as its own thing now that it no longer carries the burden of an entire cinematic universe (and arguably an entire movie studio) on its doomed, misguided shoulders. That it turned out to be the most potent (and sadly accurate) political metaphor for the 2016 presidential election (Batman = Sanders, Superman = Clinton, Luthor = Trump) of that year only adds to its skewed legacy. And now Aquaman has set it free.

From: https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2018/12/24/how-aquaman-saved-the-dc-films-universe-and-redeemed-batman-v-superman/

‘Aquaman’: The Comics That Inspired the Movie

A nuclear submarine is being attacked by pirates when something hits the hull, knocking the saboteurs off-balance. We see a figure cut through the water and hit the submarine like a battering ram before lifting it higher and higher, until it breaks through the water. The rumors are true — the hero of the deep has returned. The bulkhead is wrenched open and a figure drops to the floor of the ship, long-haired and tattooed. “Permission to come aboard?” he says with a wry smugness that’s immediately endearing. Right off the bat we’re assured that Aquaman, a character most known to a non-comic reading public as the guy in the orange and green suit who talks to fish, is the pinnacle of coolness.

As James Wan’s Aquaman swims into theaters over the holidays, much of the conversation thus far has revolved around the film making the character appealing to audiences who have witnessed characters as big as Batman and as unknown as Groot get a splash of modernity. While Aquaman is a known entity, he’s still considered an underdog. Before a screening, a PR spokesperson introduced the film by saying, “imagine if I told you 10 years ago that Wonder Woman and Aquaman would be DC’s best films.” The audience responded with good-natured laughter and who could blame them? From Super Friends to Entourage, Aquaman has largely been treated as a joke in pop culture. He’s the background player in SNL skits, a cutaway gag in Family Guy, and parodied in Spongebob. Part of the appeal of Aquaman, and its marketing strategy that seems to be working, is that a character generally considered to be uncool is the star of one of the coolest movies of the year.

For those who only keep the happenings of comic books in their periphery, Aquaman’s makeover began only a few years ago when Zack Snyder cast the larger-than-life Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Then, it seemed odd to moviegoers that Snyder would cast the actor as the commonly regal, blond-haired and blue-eyed Aquaman. Surely this was an attempt to shift Aquaman in a new direction and gain goodwill from Game of Thrones fans, who knew Momoa for his role as Khal Drogo. The casting wasn’t controversial per se, at least not compared to other actors who have suffered the slings and arrows of social media’s casting opinions, but Momoa certainly didn’t fit with the preconception of Aquaman. For many, James Wan’s Aquaman will be seen as the culmination of a couple short years of Aquaman’s glow-up. But the film is much more than a quick reassessment of the character. It’s a deeply knowledgeable and faithful adaptation that works on the basis of Wan being absolutely certain of one very important thing: Aquaman has always been cool.

When Aquaman, created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, first debuted in the pages of More Fun Comics No. 73 (1941) he was a backup character, along with the simultaneously debuting Green Arrow. And while these early Aquaman stories, which were quaint in the way that only Golden Age comics could be, offered a different origin story from the one that would later be adopted in the Silver Age, Aquaman proved to be a success. His popularity survived through World War II, something that couldn’t be said for many comic book characters who vanished after the war, and he went on to become a founding member of the Justice League of America. While our understanding of cool may have been different during the middle of the 20th century, and Aquaman never reached Batman or Superman level of merchandizing, he was considered a gold standard — a clean-cut hero whose adventures took readers to new corners of the world and whose supporting characters and aquatic friends gave him a narrative versatility. If there was one alteration to the character during this period that would prove damning it was the decision that his weakness should be that he had to be in contact with water every hour. And just as Superman was threatened with Kryptonite, and Wonder Woman tied and bound, Aquaman’s foes continuously threatened to dry him out.

When the Super Friends began running on ABC in 1973, much of the character’s versatility shrank so that if the mission didn’t involve water, Aquaman was pretty useless. Super Friends became the predominant means of exposure to DC’s heroes, and with Aquaman’s book no longer in the newsstands, having been canceled in 1971, there was no means to combat the idea that Aquaman was a joke who water skied on fish. Aquaman was revived in 1977 in the now famous “Death of a Prince” arc from David Michelinie and Jim Aparo in which Black Manta kills Aquaman’s son, creating a rift between King Arthur and his wife Queen Mera. Michelinie and Aparo added some gravitas to Aquaman, and while the Modern or Dark Age of comics wouldn’t properly begin until five years later with Frank Miller’s Daredevil and Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Black Manta’s murder of a baby was one of the darkest points in mainstream comic history at that point, and hinted at the shape of things to come.

The gravitas that Aquaman had earned in the late ’70s stuck. And while Superman (1978) flew into theaters with a call for hope, optimism and classic good and evil, DC Comics was changing. Superman may have been placed at the forefront of public consciousness in terms of what these heroes meant, but Aquaman, just under the surface, showed better than almost anyone save Batman, what the future for superheroes looked like. It’s this tonal shift in comic books from the Silver Age to the Modern Age that Wan manages to capture so well in his film. Aquaman has faced some criticisms over its tone, and said inability to decide whether it wants to be dark and serious or light and fun. But the truth of the matter is that Aquaman has always served both. Aquaman being of two worlds is not simply a land and sea division, or his heritage as both the son of a lighthouse keeper and a queen. It’s the division, or rather blending of a history that includes an octopus sidekick and water-themed villains, and the dissolution of a marriage when one of those water-themed villains suffocates a baby in oxygen in the hopes of ruling Atlantis in what may or may not have been an attempt to create an empire for oppressed African-Americans. It’s nutty, and (overly) complicated but it’s also the beautiful nature of comic books.

While Aquaman never really went away, his solo series ended, and DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985) promised to rewrite comic book history, leaving readers and comic creators to consider where Aquaman fit into all of this. While various miniseries attempted to find the answer, it wasn’t until 1993 when Peter David finally solved the riddle of Aquaman. Having told the entire history of Atlantis in The Atlantis Chronicles (1990), David rewrote Aquaman’s origins in Aquaman: Time and Tide, before launching into a four-year run on the character’s book. It’s in these pages that so many of the elements that would inspire Snyder’s casting of Momoa and Wan’s execution were found. Aquaman was no longer king, Mera had left him and his ties to the Justice League were strained. David’s Aquaman was long-haired, bearded and angry. Further sealing the new direction for the character, David had Aquaman lose his hand in the second issue before he had it replaced with a harpoon. This depiction of Aquaman lasted throughout the ’90s, and went on to become the basis of the character’s appearances in the animated Justice League (2001). The new look and the emphasis on fantasy elements made Aquaman DC’s very own Conan. It seems fitting of course that Momoa, who portrayed the character in Conan the Barbarian (2011), should also put his mark on Aquaman.

In terms of the film’s visuals, Wan draws a lot from the ’90s Aquaman comics. Even much of the language feels borrowed from those issues. Aquaman doesn’t simply feel like a throwback to the styles of ’80s giants Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Robert Zemeckis, along with cult filmmakers like John Boorman and Terry Gilliam. It also feels like a throwback to the entire comic book history of Aquaman, ranging from the cheesiest moments to the most badass. While tonally completely different, Wan takes the same comprehensive approach to source material that Zack Snyder did, only he doesn’t deconstruct Aquaman, rather constructs the most appealing version of the character in order to say this is who Aquaman is definitively. Comic book writer Geoff Johns, who co-wrote the film’s story, made a very similar effort when he and artist Ivan Reis put their stamp on the character for 2011’s New 52 launch. Johns took the not quite meta approach of positioning Aquaman in a world where he is considered a joke by people unfamiliar with him, and then shattering their expectations by proving his capabilities. While Aquaman’s plot may lean most closely to be Johns’ run in which Aquaman and Mera faced off against Ocean Master and Black Manta, the film truly is the sum of a wide range of influences.

Although Wan isn’t adapting any particular Aquaman story, he manages to find a cohesive take on the character’s history by way of both heart and style, similar to what Raimi achieved with Spider-Man (2002). Perhaps it’s a testament to horror directors, so often aware of influences and history, that they make some of the most fulfilling comic book movies. Wan’s background in horror also speaks to his love of the fantastic. There’s nothing grounded about this film. And while filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and Jon Favreau have found great success in picking out the moments of reality in comic book history for their cinematic turns, Wan goes for the boldest and most visually pleasing moments of unreality. Nearly every shot, from an octopus playing the drums, to Aquaman riding atop a giant seahorse, is pulled directly from Aquaman’s long comic book history. Wan takes nearly everything that was once considered uncool about the character and redefines it here. Aquaman is a comic book collage and in Wan’s hands, there’s arguably no cooler method for a character that has become the unspoken barometer for DC’s continued evolution.

From: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/aquaman-has-been-cool-you-just-didnt-know-it-movie-1171547

Meet the artist who put a realistic spin on comic book superheroes

In the world of comic book artists, Alex Ross is a superhero. He’s been called the Norman Rockwell of comics, putting his imprint on SupermanSpiderman, Aquaman and Captain America

Ross wields his superpower in his paintbrush, and he allowed CBS News’ Anthony Mason into his secret lair.

The little museum upstairs in Ross’s home in the Chicago suburbs is every comic book fan’s dream, filled with figurines, life-size superheroes and memorabilia.

“This is making up for a life where I had to ask or beg for toys, and so once I had money then I could buy everything I ever wanted. And it just never stopped,” Ross said.

This is Alex Ross’s world. He not only collects it, he creates it.  In nearly 30 years as an artist and illustrator, he’s painted almost every popular superhero. His work for DC was collected in the book “Mythology,” and his work for Marvel has just been published in “Marvelocity.”

“It’s kind of a difference based upon mood and vibe of the material. There’s something about the stoic heroes of DC that could be contrasted against the hyperkinetic heroes of Marvel,” Ross said. “I knew from whatever you might call a very early age this is what I wanted to do, period. I wanted to make art of superheroes. I wanted to, you know, sort of live in their skin full time if I could.”

1222-satmo-marvelartist-mason-1742295-640x360.jpg
Alex Ross

CBS News


As a kid, he began sketching his favorites, even making paper action figures, and found inspiration in his mother who was a fashion illustrator.

“She became more my hero in the sense of watching her go off and work and giving me the idea of, hey, getting paid to do this. Not strictly just for the medium I wanted to be in, but just getting paid to draw,” Ross said.

Like his mom, Ross went to the American Academy of Art in Chicago, where he developed the realist style that would distinguish his superheroes.

“It’s supposed to respect kind of the history of the character going back to the original art style if the 40s,” Ross said of his version of Superman. “This thicker, heavier version of the character, where he looked like he would really beat the living hell out of somebody was something that drew me in. There’s something graphically interesting about the Joe Shuster art style that way.”

When Ross started in the late 80s, most comic book art was drawn and then inked in. But Ross wanted to paint his superheroes.

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Alex Ross paints his version of the Hulk

CBS News


“It’s like you’re getting more content added at you. More detail. More illumination of the subject. It’s the same thing that you’re taking out of seeing them in feature films now,” Ross explained.

Readers responded. He won the Comic Buyers Guide Fan Award for favorite painter seven years in a row and admits he wasn’t surprised.

“It’s a terrible thing to say I wasn’t, right? That’s really egotistical. I’m sorry. … I feel like I was waiting for somebody to come and do this. And I’d been following comics my whole life and there had been these wonderful painted covers when I was a kid in the 70s that I just felt man, to read a whole story that would look like that on the inside would be fantastic. Well, nobody was doing that then.”

It has allowed Alex Ross to live the life he always imagined.

“It means everything, you know? The fact that I would be intertwined with it, that it could fill my days, you know. That’s the joy I still experience. I like to connect back to the person I was in that thing that gave me so much joy as a kid.”

From: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/comic-book-artist-alex-ross/

Aquaman: Complete DC Comics Easter Eggs and DCEU Reference Guide

This article contains nothing but Aquaman spoilers.

After years of development, the Aquaman movie is finally here. For a little perspective, we first glimpsed Jason Momoa as Aquaman in a brief cameo in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but he had been cast in the role as early as 2014. That’s…quite a long time to wait for the king of Atlantis to ascend (or descend) to his throne, even when you take his starring role in last year’s Justice League movie into account.

And just as we’ve seen in every DCEU movie, Aquaman is absolutely packed to the gills (sorry) with DC Universe easter eggs. With a tremendous amount of reverence for Aquaman comic book history, and a few subtle nods to the wider DC Comics world, there’s a lot to unpack here.

So here’s how this works. I’ve spotted everything I can from my first viewing. If you see anything I missed, let me know, either in the comments or yell at me on Twitter, and if it checks out, I’ll update this.

Let’s get our lines in the water, shall we?

The Origin Story

Let’s talk about Arthur Curry for a minute. Do you know this character has been around nearly as long as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman? Aquaman first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in 1941, where he was created by Mort Weisinger (who later went on to be a legendary…and legendarily difficult…editor on the Superman titles) and Paul Norris. 

Arthur has had a ton of different origins through the years, but this movie primarily pulls from comics published in the last decade. It’s far less confusing that way.

read more: Aquaman Comics Reading Order

– Just a quick note about Aquaman’s look before we dive back into the rest of the fun stuff in the origin story. While he ultimately ends up in a very faithful version of his comic book costume (and seriously, it looks amazing, doesn’t it?), the long-haired, bearded, tough guy Aquaman look was really popularized when Peter David was writing the character in the 1990s, and was further cemented in pop culture consciousness by the excellent Justice League animated series in the early part of the 21st century. In fact…

– The gladiator gear Arthur wears during his first fight with Orm is reminiscent of the Peter David era of the character.

Aquaman - DC Comics

OK, back to work…

– The underwater WB logo reminds me a little of Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie. That was the first time I could remember the WB logo being presented against something less traditional than the bright blue sky. There, the sky darkened to night before panning down for the opening credits. Here it’s more intricate (with the barnacles, etc) but it’s still very cool.

– The opening narration by Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry includes a quote from Jules Verne, one of the fathers of science fiction. Here’s the full quote:

“Put two ships in the open sea, without wind or tide, and, at last, they will come together. Throw two planets into space, and they will fall one on the other. Place two enemies in the midst of a crowd, and they will inevitably meet; it is a fatality, a question of time; that is all.”

While the first part of that quote certainly refers to Tom Curry and Atlanna (and perhaps Arthur and Mera), the rest of it could surely encompass the rest of the movie. The “two planets in space” is the surface world and Atlantis, and the “two enemies in a crowd” is Arthur’s dual nature as an Atlantean/human, his relationship with his half-brother, but ultimately I feel like it best sums up the enmity between Aquaman and Black Manta.

read more: Creating the World of Aquaman

– Right out of the gate, the influence of Geoff Johns on the Aquaman character is felt in this movie. The first time we ever heard of Amnesty Bay as his hometown was in the Johns-penned Blackest Night series (something that would make a fine basis for a Green Lantern movie or Justice League sequel down the road, by the way).

– On the TV during that intro sequence is the intro to Stingray, a 1964 puppet animation underwater series. Interestingly enough, the very first episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 from back in its public access days was “Invaders From the Deep,” a feature length compilation of Stingray episodes. 

– In the Curry household you can spot a Fender bass and a Vox amplifier (is that a Pathfinder, amp?). While neither Tom nor Arthur Curry are particularly renowned for their musical skills, Jason Momoa does play a mean bass.

– The adorable golden retriever is most likely a reference to “Salty” (no, his name isn’t Aquadog) from the Geoff Johns New 52 run. The difference there is that the doggie wasn’t Tom Curry’s, but adopted by Arthur and Mera after his owner had been killed by the trench.

– As an early nod to director James Wan’s horror roots during the otherwise Amblin-esque prologuge, there’s a copy of HP Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror visible on a table. That story also deals with a “half-breed” main character, although one whose mysterious origins are far less noble than Arthur’s. Its New England setting also connects with the Amnesty Bay opening sequence here.

– The scene with Atlanna swallowing the goldfish is a play on classic “fish out of water” tropes. Older fans may remember Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks in Splash, where Hannah’s mermaid eats a lobster, shell and all. 

We definitely get a distinctive “vuu-vuu-vuu” sound when young Arthur talks to the fish, reminiscent of what would be heard when Aquaman would use his powers on various incarnations of the Super Friends cartoon.

Later on in the movie we also get the famed “circles” effect that would be visible when Aquaman would use his powers in assorted animation series. It’s really cool to see it represented on screen.

Aquaman Villains

Let’s talk about this movie’s baddies, shall we?

BLACK MANTA

– The Black Manta origin story we see on screen is basically an adaptation of his most recent one (he has had…a bunch…we detailed them all here). There are some changes here, though. In the comics origin (this one concocted by Geoff Johns), Arthur killed Manta’s father by mistake, as he believed he was responsible for the death of Tom Curry. Here, it’s used to illustrate how Arthur needs to learn mercy for later in the film, but it’s still close enough to the comics version of events.

– When we finally see Black Manta in his full costume, there’s a great vocal effect. One of the most striking things about the character when he was a regular on Challenge of the Super Friends was his voice. Unforgettable, and a nice nod here.

read more – Aquaman and the Secrets of Black Manta

– When building his technology, Manta says “I think I’m gonna need a bigger helmet,” a clear nod to the famous “we’re gonna need a bigger boat” line from the greatest seafaring blockbuster of all time, Jaws.

– It’s interesting that they lean so hard into how well-established Aquaman is as a superhero with the Aquaman-fights-pirates scene. It helps place this movie even more firmly within the DCEU (which is not being rebooted any time soon). We already knew Arthur had been operating more or less out in the open before Justice League, but clearly the events of that movie have made him more of a household name. It’s not clear how long after the end of Justice League this movie takes place, but let’s just say it has been roughly a year, which gives Arthur’s fame a little more time to grow.

Orm

– Orm has been around since Aquaman #29 in 1966, where he was created by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy. Like Black Manta, Orm has had several variations of his origin story through the decades, but also like Black Manta, the version we see on screen here is most similar to the New 52 version of the character introduced by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Paul Pelletier.

read more – Aquaman Villains Explained: Who is Orm, the Ocean Master?

– Once nice touch here is that they made Ocean Master a title, not a codename.

Orm’s father, King Orvax is from the Geoff Johns comics, as well. Orvax was a Captain in the Atlantean army who became king by marrying Atlanna. The idea is to make sure that the royal family is always bound to military leaders. Needless to say it didn’t work out well for anyone involved.

– The visual of the tidal wave coming to shore is very much like how Orm first launched his attack on the surface world during the Throne of Atlantis comics story, which this movie certainly owes a tremendous debt to. There, however, Orm actually did wage all out war on the surface world, rather than merely threaten it, and it took the full Justice League to stop him. It’s too bad they seem to have used up this story here, because this story is certainly big enough, and would have made for an interesting Justice League 2.

Also, it might be a coincidence because it looks cool, but the final throwdown taking place in the pouring rain feels like it comes out of , too. It was always raining in that story.

– It takes him a while to get there, but Ocean Master does eventually wear his classic comics costume, right down to the famous helmet.

– One other random thing about Patrick Wilson as Orm. His clean-shaven, blond haired, classical good looks make him appear far more like traditional comic book depictions of Aquaman.

ATLANTIS

– The flashbacks to the dawn of Atlantis is reminiscent of the worldbuilding we saw in Wonder Woman and Man of Steel. This is a highlight of nearly every DCEU movie. I love seeing the ancient history of these societies represented on screen.

I don’t believe that this particular origin of Atlantis lines up with any of the ones from the comics. One thing to keep in mind is that for years, DC had multiple/competing versions of Atlantis in their continuity, before they were finally all unified in the excellent Atlantis Chronicles limited series. You can read that on DC Universe right now, and it’s definitely worth your time.

– One of the nice little touches throughout the movie is that there is a subtle but cool underwater vocal effect.

– King Nereus first appeared in Aquaman #19 (2013) and was created by Geoff Johns and Paul Pelletier. He’s played here by the beloved, awesome Dolph Lundgren. He’s a fairly different character in the comics, though, where he isn’t a king, but a soldier of Xebel. And he isn’t Mera’s father, but a competitor for her romantic interests. Instead, they made Orm into Mera’s betrothed…who she ditches for Arthur. Comic book Nereus and movie Orm should go out for a beer and have a good cry together.

read more – Explaining the Seven Kingdoms of Atlantis

– Murk (played here by Ludi Lin, who we loved in the Power Rangers movie) first appeared in Aquaman #17 (2013), and like Nereus, he was created by Geoff Johns and Paul Pelletier. Later in the movie (during that amazing Sicily fight/chase sequence) he loses a hand, which is a nod to his comic book look, where he is a far more grizzled soldier with a harpoon for a hand.

The octopus playing the drums during the Orm/Arthur battle is none other than Topo! And yes, he was known to dabble in music from time to time… 

Topo - DC Comics

Topo was created by Ramona Fradon (a giant among Aquaman creators) in the pages of Adventure Comics #229 in 1956.

However, the New 52 version of Topo is a giant kaiju-type monster, one who looks far more like the beast Arthur brings to everyone’s aid at the climax of this movie.

– So much of this movie’s visual flair is reminiscent of Mike Hodges’ brilliant Flash Gordon movie from 1980, and I feel like some of the underwater laser sound effects sound like nods to those.

Mera

Mera has been around since Aquaman #11 in 1963, where she was created by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy. In the comics, Xebel isn’t another kingdom of Atlantis, it’s an entirely different dimension. And again, it should be noted, Nereus is NOT her Dad in the comics. Because…that would be weird.

– The same way Aquaman draws moisture from Aquaman’s body to activate that piece of Atlantean tech, she also can use that kind of power offensively. There’s an issue of the New 52 series where she straight up dehydrates a guy to bring him down…as in, makes him feel the effects of nearly 2 full days without water. In other words, just in case this movie didn’t clue you in, under no circumstances should you mess with Mera, because she will mess your life up.

Mera references the events of Justice League, and that’s about as much inter-movie continuity as we get in the movie (or need, for that matter).

– King Atlan, first appeared in the excellent Atlantis Chronicles mini-series, but like nearly everything else in this movie, what we see here is primarily from what was introduced during Geoff Johns’ New 52 run on the character. His look here, and how he just kind of hung out mummified on his old throne, is reminiscent of those comics. And yes, New 52 Aquaman wields his scepter.

However, it wasn’t his trident that was the ultimate “holy relic” you see in this movie, but rather a magical scepter, one far more powerful than the trident. In any case, that scepter was responsible for the sinking of Atlantis in the comics, not the misuse of technology shown in the movie.

Vulko

– Vulko’s full name is Nuidis Vulko (but I don’t think we ever actually hear it in the movie). The character has been around since 1967’s The Brave and the Bold #73, where he was created by Bob Haney and Howard Purcell. But the character as we see him here, a loyalist to Atlanna who takes it upon himself to train young Arthur is far more in line with the New 52 version of the character as written by Geoff Johns.

– I am kind of imagining this, but the blue “deep ocean camoflauge” suit that Vulko wears while training young Arthur reminds me of a briefly used, but incredibly cool, Aquaman costume design from the 1980s…

Aquaman's Blue Costume - DC Comics

The Trench

Honestly, if Warner Bros. decides that they want to do a smaller, more horror-focused Aquaman sequel, you could do worse than adapting the first story from Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Paul Pelletier’s first volume of the New 52 series, which introduced the Trench. In that story, they basically invade Amnesty Bay before Aquaman tracks them back to their undersea lair and seals them in. 

The Trench - DC Comics

But there’s one ability of the Trench that we don’t see in the movie. They secrete this substance that basically shuts down their prey’s nervous system, making them easier to eat. So yeah, that’s terrifying. Imagine what James Wan could do with a story like this, one far less ambitious than this crazy Aquaman movie, but one more akin to The Walking Dead with horrifying fish monsters.

Miscellaneous Cool DC Stuff (and More!)

– While Aquaman is taking out the pirates on the submarine, there’s a funny moment where he holds an unconscious guy up to a porthole in the door, in order to fool one of the other pirates into opening it. I don’t know if this was intentional or not (I’d like to think it was), but in Jason Momoa’s ill-fated Conan the Barbarian reboot, there’s a scene where he does something similar…only it’s with a severed head. I…I actually really enjoy that Conan scene, even though the rest of the movie isn’t really up to it.

This isn’t the only Conan reference in the movie. Later on, when Arthur is confronting the Karathen and making his case as to why he should be allowed to take the lost trident of Atlan, he tells it (her? It’s a her. That’s Julie Andrews, after all. I had better show some damn respect) “if that’s not good enough, then screw you!” It’s like a modern version of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s classic prayer to Crom in John Milius’ brilliant 1982 Conan the Barbarian, where he ends with a rather pragmatic, “and if you don’t listen, then the hell with you!”

– Speaking of the Karathen, while that isn’t from the comics, there is a similar giant kaiju from Jeff Parker and Paul Pelletier’s “Sea of Storms” story, called the Karaqan, and I don’t think this is a coincidence. The Karaqan is less friendly (and dignified) than the Karathen, but let’s say they’re roughly of the same family.

And also, the image of the “forge” for the trident seems to be inspired by a panel from “Sea of Storms” which looks almost identical, although the context is very, very different there.

– Everyone is watching WGBS in the bar. Galaxy Broadcasting System is the most famous fictional network in the DC Universe, at one point owning The Daily Planet in addition to its other enterprises. The TV arm, WGBS, employed Clark Kent as a news anchor during the 1970s and early 1980s. And the head of WGBS? That would be Morgan Edge, someone we haven’t yet seen in the DCEU, but who certainly could make an impact if they decide to do anything with him down the line.

read more: Full Upcoming DCEU Movies Schedule

– Apparently, you can spot the creepy Annabelle doll from The Conjuring stashed underwater in one scene, but I didn’t see her myself on the first viewing. I’m willing to take everyone’s word for it, though!

– All through Atlantis we see Atlanteans riding seahorses. But…badass seahorses. But this is especially significant during the final battle when Arthur is charing into war on the back of one, wearing his classic comic book costume. This is a nod to what has generally been the most prominent picture of Aquaman in the pop culture consciousness: a dude who rides a seahorse.

– There are two moments in this movie that remind me of a mostly forgotten chapter in Aquaman history. Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming, and the great Curt Swan had a limited series called The Legend of Aquaman in the 1980s. The vast majority of this story has been consigned to the continuity dustbin of history (which is too bad, because it’s really cool). But in it, Aquaman is first brought to Atlantis as a prisoner, which feels kind of reminiscent of his first encounter with his brother in this movie.

But the other is his first large scale use of his ability to communicate with undersea life comes during a massive final battle to repel invaders, where he basically gets alllll the fishies to come and kick some ass for the glory of Atlantis. There’s an element of that here.

– Back to more current Aquaman continuity, though…the sequence with Arthur and Mera in the desert isn’t from any particular Aquaman comics, BUT it does seem inspired by something that came at the tail end of the first volume of the New 52 series by (you guessed it) Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. There’s certainly a visual homage to it, as Arthur makes a hard landing in the sand at the start of it, and he’s following the directions of a piece of Atlantean tech that needs to be immersed in water to be properly activated.

– The idea of Atlanna being alive was first brought forth in Jeff Parker and Paul Pelletier’s “Maelstrom” which sees Aquaman and Mera travel through a kind of dimensional barrier (similar to what they have to do to evade the Trench in this movie), to a tropical world where Atlanna still lives. There, however, she’s a little less friendly. But whatever.

Aquaman Post Credits Scene

– Throughout the movie we see noted scientific crackpot Stephen Shin talking about Atlantis on TV. Shin was created by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis early in the New 52 Aquaman period. What we don’t get in this movie, but that could potentially be explored in sequels, is his history with Arthur, which explains why he is so certain that Atlantis exists.

– In Shin’s beat-up old lab, full of newspaper clippings about Atlantis, one stands out: The Coast City Ledger! This might be the first reference to Coast City in the DCEU (please correct me if I’m wrong). Coast City is home to Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern who we’ll (presumably…eventually) see again in a new Green Lantern Corps movie, whenever that finally gets made.

Spot anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Mike Cecchini is the Editor in Chief of Den of Geek. You can read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @wayoutstuff.

From: https://www.denofgeek.com/us/movies/aquaman/277978/aquaman-dc-comics-easter-eggs-dceu-reference

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