Monday, September 10, 2012
Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)
I’ve been a Smallville fan…on and off. There were things about it I could complain about but MOSTLY I was pleased with the show. I mean it wasn’t what Man of Steel is going to be, but DC gave Superman fans what they wanted, albeit in their own, Dawnson’s Creek teeny bopper way.
I hope Green Arrow gets the same worthwhile treatment. I thought that the Wonder Woman pilot was a bit of a stretch. And there WAS a short lived Birds of Prey TV series, but it was a mess. I don’t like to think about it.
But Aquaman? I could see that. Everyone tends to knock on Aquaman these days, but back in the day, he was a pretty popular character. I mean, people remember the Super Friends cartoon show, but way back before that came along, Aquaman sported his own cartoon series, just like Superman and Batman.
By now, everyone knows I’ve got a penchant for seeing something old and cheesy get re-made into something awesome. Aquaman has gone through quite a few re-writes in the past few years, some of which were maybe a bit over the top. At one point Arthur had lost his hand and had a hook/trident thing instead, at another point he actually had a hand made of mystical water. Nowadays he seems like he’s back to that classic incarnation we all know and love.
It seems like every comic book line has their own obligatory "this character is from the depths of the Atlantis" guy or gal. And while I could write another post on Namor and some of the things that have kept him interesting over the years, I still feel like Arthur Curry sort of remains the ‘best’ of this breed of comic book superhero.
It isn’t the whole telepathic talk to fish thing. I know, I know, everyone makes fun of that.
It’s just that Aquaman is a little more relevant than you think he’s going to be. There’s something in there about this guy being tossed into our world and feeling pretty lost, confused and actually outraged by our ideas and our methods. Plenty of great writers have spent hours staring out at the ocean and felt inspired by how timeless it is. It’s a strange thing, but many people describe the ocean as wise.
Aquaman sort of reminds us that there’s more than one form of life on that planet. And who’s to say that our way of life is actually better than anything living at the bottom of the ocean? In fact, who’s to say that we’ve got any right to encroach on anything living being down there while we’re at it?
That's not to say that I intend this post to be a rant on environmentalism out of MY mouth. I’m just saying that’s the POINT of Aquaman. That’s kind of the lesson there.
There are plenty of superheroes who bring out the best in humanity, but actually, Aquaman is a superhero who is CRITICAL of humanity. He doesn’t just blindly jump to our rescue. He actually asks us to come to HIS.
He pleads with us to do better, to think about the impact of our actions. Maybe a hero is somebody who jumps off a building and saves you. But then again, maybe a hero is someone who gives you a wake-up call and asks you to save yourself.
THAT’S the incarnation of Arthur that I find most interesting. He’s a king on the ocean floor, but he gets treated like dirt when he walks around Metropolis. He’s bitter and understandably so. He’s trying to help people see there’s a much bigger world out there than most of them know about.
This guy really has the weight of the entire world on his shoulders. It just isn’t the world YOU tend to think about when you’re going about your day to day business. So he has this kind of lost and forgotten nobility thing going on.