The New 52 has created a different persona for several of DC’s staple characters. One that has gone from fishy to phenomenal has been Aquaman under Geoff Johns. Now, Jeff Parker, who has brought weight to other comic book characters with less than serious background, gets a chance to explore the king of the sea’s world. From Batman ’66 to Adventures of Superman Comicosity got a chance to talk to Parker about diving into this new series in December.
Jessica Boyd: How does it feel to be taking on a character like Aquaman, that has gone through such a popular revival with the New 52?
Jeff Parker: It feels great, I always liked Aquaman. Geoff and Ivan and then Paul have done a fantastic job making him accessible to the readers, which is what he needed. Aquaman is a character you should be able to ‘get’ immediately, and now you can again.
JB: The most recent run of Aquaman has been willing to occasionally deal with or even poke fun at his previous reputation. Is that a dynamic you feel can continue or something that Arthur needs to move on from?
JP: We’re still going to be dealing with the public’s perception of Aquaman. Some people don’t ‘get’ him at all, some think he’s really strange, and some find him way more intriguing than the rest of the Justice League.
JB: The solicit for your first issue explains that the royal couple is dealing with the pressure of Atlantis as well as the global geological crisis above the water. How will Mera and Arthur’s relationship be explored and put to the test in this new arc?
JP: Mera doesn’t want to be in Atlantis, where she’s seen as someone from an enemy nation (Xebel) given access to the throne, though the Atlanteans honor her. She’d rather they stay on the surface in Amnesty Bay, explore the world of the land. And really, so would Arthur, but he takes the leadership position because there’s no one better. That push and pull of job and desires is something most of us can see in our lives and relationships. Kind of like being the President — everybody wants your time, and there’s only one of you.
JB: Of late, Aquaman’s supporting cast has been growing, with Tula and Vulko coming to the forefront, and even allusions made to Garth. Do you have characters you plan to focus on more than others, and how do they play off of Arthur and Mera that interests you?
JP: I want to go back and bring in some people from Maine. I think the life he came from matters to him and there’s a lot of potential there. Not to mention other heroes and villains from the greater DCU. And we’ll meet some new Atlanteans, get more of a picture of how their world works.
JB: With Atlantis being blamed for the cataclysm occurring in this arc, will your arc bring Arthur into conflict with his Justice League (or other hero) colleagues? How do you feel he negotiates his responsibilities to his kingdom versus those to the world above?
JP: It seems to me he’s been the most mature about how complex situations work and other JLers have been pretty simplistic. I guess that’s to be expected when you have to think in terms of a king.
JB: You’ve done a great job with characters who have not previously seen the spotlight as much to make them fun, personable and relatable. Are ideas for a character’s personality already running through your head or do you go through a processes to make sure characters speak to readers?
JP: I can write plots and outlines all day, but it isn’t until I get into the actual scripts that the characters assert themselves and start really coming to life. I often change a story because it becomes clear a character would make a decision that thwarts my original path. That’s the exciting stuff, where it becomes a breathing entity, and fun to read.
JB: Is there anything else you want to make sure people know before they pick up Aquaman or a little tease of what is to come for the aquatic king?
JP: We’re going to be weaving several storylines together the whole time, so there’ll be a lot happening. Almost any side of his stories you might be into is going to be embraced — lots of things will be happening quickly. But you don’t have to research Wikipedia. All you need to know is that he’s the superhero who straddles the worlds of land and sea, and he’s awesome.
Parker’s run on Aquaman begins in December with issue #26.