HERO-A-GO-GO! Aquaman’s Biggest Splash
Nearly 50 years ago, the Swift and Powerful Monarch of the Ocean made the A-List. — Every Saturday for 13 weeks, we’re serializing Back Issue editor Michael Eury’s upcoming book Hero-A-Go-Go! — a ginchy exploration of the Silver Age and Swingin’ Sixties. For other installments, click here. Hero-A-Go-Go! is due 4/19. You can pre-order it here. — Aquaman is one of my favorite heroes and the roots are right here: The Filmation cartoons of the ’60s, which were a big part of Young Dan’s early childhood. (As an adult I’ve also collected a decent stash of ’60s Aquaman comics, which are great.) This excerpt is a truncated, slightly edited version of a segment that takes a broader look at the Sea King in the ’60s: — By MICHAEL EURY The Bob Haney/Nick Cardy Aquaman (comic) of the mid-Sixties was one of DC’s most exciting titles, pulsating with the type of drama, unpredictability, and soap opera you’d find in a Marvel comic. And so, when superheroes old and new were making a big splash, it made perfect sense to turn Aquaman into a TV cartoon. As a high concept, the animated Aquaman was Batman-meets-Flipper-meets-Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea-meets-Father Knows Best. Aquaman had it all: a colorful waterworld environment, playful pets (Tusky the walrus and seahorses Imp and Storm), freaky undersea menaces (villains, monsters and aliens, both from the comics and created for TV), a kid sidekick, a cute wife, and imaginative super- powers and sound effects that translated well to cartoons. At least that’s what the folks at DC Comics believed. Filmation Associates’ co-founder Lou Scheimer needed persuading, though. Animation house Filmation had scored a hit in 1966–67 with its half-hour New Adventures of Superman program for CBS, so for the 1967–68 season it was working with DC in the development of the publisher’s heroic pantheon for Saturday morning cartoons. “DC actually asked us to do Aquaman, but I wasn’t convinced the network would buy it without seeing a pilot,” the producer revealed in his 2012 TwoMorrows Publishing autobiography, Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation,
written with Andy Mangels. “He wasn’t as famous as Superman or Batman.” So Filmation produced an Aquaman cartoon pilot that convinced CBS to pick up the project. “Nothing like it had been on the air,” Scheimer wrote. “The undersea stuff looked interesting, and it...