Newly minted movie star Aquaman swims fast and talks to fish. What else could you possibly need to know? Well, he's been around for 77 years, so a lot. Here are five fun facts to know and tell about the Sea King:
1: He wasn't the first underwater superhero. Or even the second.
Namor, the Sub-Mariner, burst from the pages of "Marvel Comics" in 1939, a prince of Atlantis who could breathe both air and water and fought Nazis. The Fin made a splash in "Daring Mystic Comics" in 1941, a king of "Neptunia" who could breathe both air and water and fought Nazis.
Aquaman surfaced seven months after The Fin in the back pages of "More Fun Comics." He was a guy from Atlantis who, of course, could breathe both air and water and fought Nazis.
2: Aquaman's first origin didn't stick. Neither did his third.
In his 1941 debut story, Aquaman got his swims-fast-and-talks-to-fish powers from his scientist father, "a famous undersea explorer" who had a lab in the ruins of Atlantis. In 1989, a new origin established that Aquaman had been exiled from Atlantis as a baby, and raised by dolphins. Well forget it, because both ideas were deep-sixed in 2011, when DC rebooted their entire superhero line and took Aquaman back to his second origin, which first appeared in 1959. That's the one everybody knows, where his name is Arthur Curry and his parents are Tom Curry, a lighthouse keeper, and Atlanna, an Atlantean exile. (She was kicked out for being surface-curious.)
3: Mera is more powerful than Aquaman.
The Sea King's love interest was introduced in 1963, the queen of the extradimensional "Dimension Aqua." She has the power of aquakinesis, which means she can mentally manipulate water. This is far more powerful and useful than "swims fast and talks to fish." Aquaman's powers have slowly been beefed up, gaining super-strength in the '70s and demonstrated to be bullet-proof since 2011.
4: Aquaman was once uncontested leader of the Justice League.
It's not as impressive as it sounds, though, because the only members left at the time (mid-1980s) were Elongated Man, Martian Manhunter and Zatanna. They were joined by newcomers Gypsy, Steel, Vixen and the break-dancing Vibe. Their headquarters was in Detroit, and a bunch of 'em got killed. Don't expect that to show up in the movies any time soon.
5: There are two Atlantises.
In a 1959 story, "The Girl in Superman's Past," the Man of Steel revealed that in college he fell in love with a coed named Lori Lemaris — who turned out to be a mermaid from Atlantis. That sank their love affair, but it raised a question: Why was Aquaman's Atlantis populated by people with legs, while Lori's Atlantis was filled with extras from "Siren?"
DC settled the issue by establishing that Aquaman hailed from Poseidonis, and Lori from Tritonis, and that both were cities on the legendary continent when it sank. Only Tritonians evolved fish tails, whereas Poseidonisians still put their trunks on one leg at a time.
Sea what I did there? Now enough from me, as the movie awaits. Everyone into the pool!