Friday, September 18, 2009


In our last post I showed you my version of the very first super-hero with whom I ever bonded as a fan. The character depicted below would be the second. When I first discovered super-heroes, via a certain animated TV show, I immediately adopted as my favorite characters the ones I found easiest to draw! That would include the actual comic book versions of that previous character, and of this one, whose theme song described his powers as "Stronger than a whale, he can swim anywhere! He can breathe underwater and go flying through the air...!" The series theme referred to him as an "exotically neurotic and aquatic super-hero," a rhyme that has stayed with me all my life. The actual character, in his purest and most classic form, wears nothing but a pair of trunks and a belt, and sometimes a pair of gold wristbands. My version of him is called Ultramarine, and while I've adhered to the pure visual concept, you can see I've jazzed him up a bit after my own fashion. The actual character is one of the first, original super-heroes; in fact he and the company to which he belongs are observing their 70th anniversary this year!

Now, the Dynamite Competition of the company to whom that character belongs also has a sea-going aquatic super-hero. The actual character is one of the most beloved super-heroes to comic-book-reading gays. In his purest and most classic form, he's an affable Monarch of the Depths who's known for being the Dr. Dolittle of marine life. ("If I could talk to the sea animals...") He's also known for hurling balls of coherent water at his foes and riding around on enormous sea horses. There's a particular pre-teen charm about him that has always endeared him to gay fans. I've always liked this character, my version of whom is seen below and is dubbed Aqualord. But in my fan life, I've spent far more time with the character on whom Ultramarine is based than with the character from whom Aqualord is derived. It's just my own personal affinity as a comics fan, which I was discussing with you the other week. The character on whom Ultramarine is based is a very dramatic and volatile figure who, depending on his storyline at a given time, can be either a dangerous do-gooder or a heroic adversary. I always found him more personally interesting than the character from whom Aqualord is derived. My brother would agree; he once referred to the basis for Aqualord as "S*b-M*r*n*r Lite!"

Of course, as standards in comic-book storytelling have changed, the character on whom Aqualord is based has changed with them over the years into a darker, angrier, "edgier" figure. They've even grown his hair long and lopped off one of his hands and replaced it with a harpoon. Ironically, that actually detracted from his appeal for me! But they're both among the oldest, most classic characters in comics, and they're among the models for the super-heroes who have followed them. Dare I sign off with the exclamation, "Imperius Rex!"

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