Comic Book Legends Revealed #435
COMIC LEGEND: Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo put in a proposal for Aquaman.
Can you imagine a Mark Waid/Mike Wieringo Aquaman?
The pairing who were so amazing on Flash almost had a chance to do the same with Aquaman, as Waid was given the chance to pitch DC on an Aquaman series back in 2003.
Waid helpfully shared the pitch with readers as an example of a pitch at John Rogers’ site a few years back.
Check it out…
Mark Waid/Mike Wieringo
Preliminary Pitch for a One-Shot/August 3, 2003
I am so sick of people making fun of Aquaman that I’m beginning to take it personally. For the last ten years or so, the way we’ve been scrambling to combat Aquaman’s “Dork of the Sea” image–and I’ve been guilty of trying this, too–is by making Aquaman increasingly darker, grittier, and tougher, the brooding, angry king beset with trouble. Each incarnation of the character seems grimmer than the last, to the point where all that’s left for us to do is give him two hooks. And a peg-leg.
Yes, the seas can be turbulent and stormy, but y’know what? Far more often, the ocean is a universal symbol for peace and contentment. It’s a calming influence. If it weren’t, Bermuda would be deserted and Hawaii would be an industrial trade port. It is most people’s “happy place.” Yes, the ocean is the set piece for “A Perfect Storm,” but it’s also the world of “Finding Nemo” and “The Little Mermaid.” I have never yet met anyone of any age who didn’t come away from Sea World envying the guides who swim with the whales and porpoises. I propose we turn this “grim Aquaman” paradigm around for a one-shot and see what happens.
Our POV character in this story is a female marine biologist–and since Aquaman’s turf covers the world, there’s no need to make her American. (In fact, Russian is preferable–I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the culture of Russian courtship, and that could really play in nicely.) At any rate, our biologist–let’s call her Yelena for now–may have heard the name “Aquaman” here and there, but to her, he’s about as real and significant as, say, German football stars are to you and me.
Yelena’s work is done with grungy old equipment and spit-and-bailing-wire technology, the best she has to work with. Her whole world has a gritty feel to it– –so when this bright, blond, shining knight of a man pops out of the water and into her life, she’s addled simply by the contrast. Their paths cross, and she’s drawn into an Aquaman adventure that takes us out on (and under) the water.
Yelena’s not reluctant. To Yelena, this “Aquaman” is, yes, mysterious like the sea–but in a warm, enticing way. To Yelena, he is otherworldly, like a fairy tale character come to life. He rarely speaks (though when he does, he’s staggeringly charming), he lives in the water, and he smiles. Constantly. In fact, at first, Yelena has a nearly impossible time taking him seriously. He’s like a walking cartoon.
And yet…the more she gets to know him, the further she’s drawn out of her world and into his, she’ll come to realize that there’s something going on behind those wide eyes of his. Looking in them, she sees peace and confidence; looking through them, she’s gradually introduced to an underwater world of absolute wonder, a place that is far more colorful and in tune with nature than is her own gritty lifestyle. Once she surrenders to the implausibility of it all, she’s rewarded a thousandfold, and so are we. Aquaman’s joy becomes her joy becomes our joy.
There will be no mocking. NO jokes about how “dumb” talking to fish is. Anyone with a keyboard can make cynical jokes. That’s easy. What’s harder is reminding you why, when you were a kid, you thought the idea of living underwater or riding on the backs of whales WAS cool. We can do that. We can remind you, and Yelena’s awed voice will be there to back us up.
Here’s a drawing Wieringo did to go along with the pitch…
Doesn’t that sound like a great series?
Sadly, the editor Waid was pitching to didn’t think so (I believe Waid later noted that it was Wieringo’s art, oddly enough, that was specifically at issue).
Since Wieringo tragically passed away back in 2007, we’ll sadly never see this series.
Thanks to Mark for sharing the awesome pitch, though!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did the pop song “Dream Weaver” really inspire Wes Craven to create Nightmare on Elm Street?
Okay, that’s it for this week!
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See you all next week!