Aquaman: Where Do I Start?

Far from being just an ocean-based hero, Aquaman has proven himself amongst Earth's greatest heroes on land, sea and even in space a few times. As one of the "Big Seven" line-up for DC's flagship team the Justice League, Aquaman is their resident underwater specialist but also has royal blood on par with Wonder Woman and a diverse powerset that makes him an underestimated power player when it comes to battle.

But compared to the other top heroes in the DCU, Aquaman's gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to both ongoing series and collections of his previous stories. He's been given a solo series on four occasions with none reaching 100 issues, and his origin has been revised, retold and redone on at least eight occasions. But through all that murky water, there remains a strong current if you know where to look.

Trawling through the back issues and hunting up and down the bookstore aisles, iFanboy has prepared a list of five sea-worthy tales that'll shore up anyone's desire to get to know DC's resident undersea hero.

Aquaman: Time & Tide: Arguably the quintessential Aquaman story from beginning to end, this story by Peter David and Kirk Jarvinen shows the early days of Arthur Curry among the waves and his first encounters with both his allies and adversaries. David truly understand what makes Aquaman special and equal to his JLA counterparts, and his work on this series earned him a long run on the title afterwards.

Aquaman Vol. 1 #1-4: Although DC has yet to collect the four issue series, this tale by writer Neal Pozner and artist Craig Hamilton really tells a succinct story that gives you everything you need to know about the Prince of Atlantis. Similiar to the way Frank Miller & David Mazzuchelli brought a new take to Batman's origin in Batman: Year One, this 4-issue story takes all that came before and attempts to make it work in a more cohesive manner. The only downside to this story is the poorly thought-out blue costume Aquaman wore, but if you can get past that (and find these issues!) you're set.

Showcase Presents Aquaman, Vol. 1: For your money this is a best deal of the lot; 49 stories profiling the early years of Aquaman in print. No dour, dark incarnation here; these are classic Aquaman stories that make him a key figure in the DCU and a stalwart member of the JLA. This collection shows how far Aquaman's story stretches, from appearances in various anthologies to even stories with both Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.

Aquaman: American Tidal: The most modern of our stories in the list, this story by writer Will Pfeifer puts Aquaman into the role of rescuer after the city of San Diego is struck by an earthquake and submurged underwater. Over 4000 people are killed in the disaster, with a surprising amount of survivors developing the ability to breathe underwater. Aquaman goes in to learn what's happening and try to make sense of it. This series really shows Aquaman in a pure heroic light as opposed to merely an adventurer or puncher-of-evil-people

Aquaman: Death Of A Prince: This recently released collections gets some of the most prized material from Aquaman's middle years of the 1970s, facing off against who would become his biggest foe Black Manta and developing the characters in Aquaman's extended family. With DC's decision to bring this back into print now with just months before Geoff Johns' relaunches the Aquaman series, one could easily expect for this to be potent material to read preparing for the King of the Seas' return.


  1. That American Tidal stuff is GREAT! plus Pat Gleason’s art is amazing.

  2. Think I will just start with the DC reboot. Plan on starting on a ton of books this way.

  3. …And there’s always the podcast from that nice Mr Katers.

  4. I think that I would just wait for the new series with Geoff Johns & Ivan reis to jump on Aquaman, but AMerican Tidal sure sounds awesome, might check that out. What a great time for this article just in time for the prime of summer with some water based superheroic reading.

  5. Atlantis Chronicles by Peter David is amazing, not so much a story about Aquaman but an 8 issue “History of Atlantis” comic, it’s great, amazing art, awesome adult story. Cheap on ebay, a must get. I’d say all of Peter David’s run is a must get. 

  6. Where do I start? More like where do I end! Zing! Just kidding, I’m actually excited for this new Aquaman series.

  7. I just picked up the Death of a Prince trade yesterday, and it’s fantastic. Awesome Mike Grell and Jim Aparo art.

  8. @Jurassicalien  I second this. It is because of Peter David’s run on Aquaman that I am a fan of the character. I have everything from 1986 onwards, right up until the most recent volume. David’s work is by far the strongest. He incorporates Classical mythology so well, and the story is as much about Orin’s internal struggles as king as it is about fighting Ocean Master and Black Manta. Aquaman by Peter David is so much more than a guy who talks to fish… which sadly, the series reverted to when Erik Larsen took over.

    And yes, Atlantis Chronicles is amazing. It is not a must read in the sense that nothing else will make sense without it… it is just a must read in that it is damn good.

  9. Time and Tide is excellent. One of the few things I have in issues.

  10. This is a really useful list for me since i’ve never read a single aquaman story, im going to have to save this article and revisit it in the fall if the new John/Reis Aquaman series manages to wow me enough to spark an interest in the character

  11. No love for Veitch? His Aquaman is my favorite!

    Amercian Tidal was great and all but it was little too “Batman underwater” for my taste.

  12. Batman Brave & the Bold. All you need to know. Outrageous!

  13. AQUAMAN rocks!

    Big shout out to the (@AquamanShrine) as well.  For keeping Aquaman fans organized furing the lean years!

    Aquaman by this all star team is going to be epic.

  14. Tom vs. Aquaman!

  15. Most of the ongoing series with Peter David from the 90’s was great, go get tge back issues people!

  16. I agree with ResurrectionFlan, start w/Tom vs Aquaman!