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Knowledgeable comics fans are often eager to see what creators — if any — are mentioned in TV and movie credits. And in the case of the newly released Aquaman, there are two glaring omissions — artist Jim Aparo and writer Steve Skeates, whose seminal The Search For Mera was the first real modern, complex take on the Sea King.
For the record, Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris are listed in the film’s end credits as Aquaman’s co-creators, and executive producer Geoff Johns — whose New 52 run formed the movie’s backbone — receives a story credit. Then there’s a “Special Thanks” section that lists Nick Cardy, Peter David, Ramona Fradon, Bob Haney, Esteban Maroto, Jack Miller, Paul Pelletier, Joe Prado and Ivan Reis.
Those are all worthy names, to be sure, especially in the context of the film. And I recognize that you can’t list everyone who’s ever written or drawn a great Aquaman story. (Though David Michelinie and Dan Abnett are among the many who deserve consideration.)
Still, Skeates and Aparo were two of the most important architects of Aquaman’s world. Leaving them out is a baffling decision, especially when you consider that DC Comics just collected The Search For Mera — which first ran in Aquaman #40-48 in 1968-69 — for the first time ever:
Clearly, someone at DC thought publishing the book was a smart move right now. (It was.) However, that didn’t ultimately translate to the Warner Bros. side of things.
Now, to be fair, having seen the movie, Aquaman does not draw heavily from that specific story. It owes much more to Johns’ run. Nevertheless, The Search For Mera is one of the most significant stories in the Sea King’s illustrious catalogue of adventures.
And even if you want to argue that the story itself isn’t foundational, I defy anyone to leave Aparo specifically out of the mix, considering he went on to become the definitive Aquaman artist of the Bronze Age — and, to some, the King of the Seven Seas’ greatest illustrator.
This is a sensitive topic among both creators and the corporations that utilize their work for projects beyond the printed page: There are often complicated issues regarding rights and royalties. It’s easy to point the finger and call out Bad Company X — though sometimes that’s definitely warranted.
In this particular case, maybe there’s something I’m not seeing. So be it.
I just can’t imagine it would have been difficult to add two more names to the list.
Because Aparo and Skeates deserve it.
— The Complete AQUAMAN WEEK Index of Stories. Click here.
— 13 GREAT AQUAMAN MOMENTS: A Steve Skeates Celebration. Click here.