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Friday, December 26, 2014

Aquaman Key Issues List

We are take a break from the 2nd appearances keys list and jump right into this Aquaman key issues list. This won't be an entirely in-depth key issue comics list, but it will highlight all the important keys while throwing in a few minor ones.

There's various volumes to the Aquaman titled series and I will only be covering the #1 issues concerning the Bronze Age, Copper Age and Modern Age. The Aquaman movie is still quite a ways off, so there's no telling which characters will be in it or what continuity they'll take from. Most are assuming the New 52, but that isn't always the case and most likely will be a mix.

Alright, let's get this going.

1st appearance of Aquaman

This is a holy grail of Aquaman key issues for sure as it holds the first appearance of Aquaman and Aquaman's Golden Age origin, which is vastly different than his Silver Age origin.

The Golden Age Aquaman tells this origin in a narrative flashback:

"The story must start with my father, a famous undersea explorer — if I spoke his name, you would recognize it. My mother died when I was a baby, and he turned to his work of solving the ocean's secrets.

His greatest discovery was an ancient city, in the depths where no other diver had ever penetrated. My father believed it was the lost kingdom of Atlantis. He made himself a water-tight home in one of the palaces and lived there, studying the records and devices of the race's marvelous wisdom.

From the books and records, he learned ways of teaching me to live under the ocean, drawing oxygen from the water and using all the power of the sea to make me wonderfully strong and swift. By training and a hundred scientific secrets, I became what you see — a human being who lives and thrives under the water."

The Golden Age Aquaman was not even an Atlantean as we most identify the character being nowadays, and this is an important fact to remember. Aquaman was just a normal human whom was taught the secrets of the Atlanteans to live underwater in his Earth Two Golden Age version.

The character was created by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris. Not only does this issue have the first appearance of Aquaman, More Fun Comics #73 also has the first appearance of Green Arrow, the first appearance of Speedy as well. So, yes, huge key issue, and it was published November, 1941.

eBay - As expected no copies for this hard to find key issue at the time of this writing. May change in the near or later future though.

2nd appearance of Aquaman
1st Black Jack

Can't miss the 2nd appearance of Aquaman in comics ever, and More Fun Comics #74 has the Golden Age goodie. The first appearance of Captain Black Jack is a pretty minor, although the pirate is actually Aquaman's very first villain ever, and he does recur often during this era.

Still, he's not a huge or major villain for the character, and during the Golden Age, Aquaman really didn't have any major villains. He fought against Nazi U-boat captains and mostly various pirates during the early years.

More Fun Comics #74 and the 2nd appearance of Aquaman was published December, 1941.

eBay - No copies for this one as well. Who knows when or if any of these early Golden Age Aquaman key issues will surface on eBay.

3rd appearance of Aquaman
2nd appearance of Black Jack

More Fun Comics #73 may only be a 3rd appearance of Aquaman, but it's definitely no over-looked or cheap buy. Won't be an easy find also for this early Golden Age comic. Mort Weisinger writes and Paul Norris pencils and inks this issue.

This comic has the 2nd appearance of Black Jack as well and was published January, 1942. Aquaman's 4th appearance is in More Fun Comics #76.

eBay - Zip. Zero for this key issue on the mighty eBay for now. Extremely hard find.

Aquaman begins in titled series

After Aquaman's last appearance in More Fun Comics #107, Arthur Curry was put into the pages of Adventure Comics as a back up feature for Superboy, the title's star at the time. Aquaman would be one of the few superheroes that would be continuously published during the Golden Age time when superhero comics fell out of favor also.

Not an easy feat, and the creatives working on the character during the Adventure Comics run would bring very important elements to the character that you'll soon discover in the upcoming key issues on this list. April, 1946 was when Adventure Comics #103 was published.

eBay - Only one copy found at the time of this writing on the mighty eBay and it's a CGC 8.0 VF. Pretty expensive already.

ComicConnect - Only one raw low VG here as of this writing.

ComicLink - One CGC 8.0 VF copy and three raw copies all in the lower grade. Highest raw copy is a low VG 3.5.

1st appearance of Topo the Octopus
1st Silver Age Aquaman?

In terms of the first appearance of Topo the Octopus, this is clear cut. It is the first appearance of Aquaman's pet Octopus Topo. I'm serious and before you call out "lame," this character is important for other reasons as well. The first:  Topo is Aquaman's first recurring supporting character in comics.

Also, Topo may just mark the first Silver Age Aquaman. As we know, the Golden Age in DC Comics was the place of the Earth Two superheroes. The Silver Age is Earth One.

Aquaman's Golden Age origin is very different than his Silver Age origin as you'll soon learn, unlike other characters like Batman and Superman whose origins are relatively the same in the Golden Age and Silver Age. So where does the split between Golden Age Aquaman and Silver Age happen? Which issue signals the two are different people?

I'm saying the introduction of Topo, because this character still shows up even when other supporting Aquaman characters that define him in the Silver Age are introduced. However, the first Silver Age appearance of Aquaman is debated and no one has officially put a stamp on it. I think it's Adventure Comics #229, and you'll learn more why that is in the next Aquaman key issues coming up.

October, 1956 was when the first appearance of Topo the Octopus in Adventure Comics #229 was published.

eBay - Only raw copies and not that many. They are lower grade ones. No CGC yet.

mycomicshop - Only one really low grade raw copy here. It is in stock and not on consignment, but it's only a FR/GD.

ComicConnect - Two raw copies with the highest being a VG/FN. The other is in the POOR range.

1st Silver Age origin

This is a huge Aquaman key issue and some debate that this is Aquaman's first Silver Age appearance, as it completely changes the origin. While the Golden Age Aquaman was a human whom was trained by his famous undersea explorer father to be able to draw oxygen from water, move swiftly through the ocean, and talk to or control sea life, the Silver Age origin, the origin presented in Adventure Comics #260, is the origin that we are most familiar with. Aquaman is the son of an Atlantean princess and a human lighthouse keeper named Tom Curry, and he is born with his powers.

This comic book definitely marks the divide between Earth Two and Earth One Aquaman, or Golden Age and Silver Age Aquaman. Extremely important Aquaman key issue, and Action Comics #260 was published May, 1959.

eBay - Limited selection on eBay for this copy. Only about a handful or raw copies and they are mostly low grade. Two appear to be in the FN range.

mycomicshop - Two low grade copies. Highest is a low GD or GD minus. Both are raw.

ComicLink - Only one slabbed 6.5 FN+ PGX copy available here for now.

Most in Part 1 will be either hard finds or pretty expensive. I chose to bypass a lot of the Golden Age key issues for Aquaman, because not really all that much concerning key issues happens in that era. Part 2 will continue with the Silver Age Aquaman key issues, and that's where a lot of Aquaman's mythology that we know of today was cemented and when they really began to expand on the character.

Part 2 is ready so just click the link below to continue onward.


  1. Thanks for making this list Mayhem. I really think Aquaman books have a chance to take off in value. He is an overlooked important character from the Golden/Silver age. Key issues are hard to find, especially in good condition. The new52 Aquaman has more appeal and is a shift away from "Superfriends" Aquaman so I'm hoping that's the Aquaman we'll see. Seems like the main villain will be either Ocean Master or Black Manta.

    1. No problem're right key issue aren't abundant in the market for sure right now, but I think they'll start to creep in more and more. The main villains will definitely either be Orm or Black Manta or maybe even both.

      I'm not sure how much the movie will be based on the New 52 as they are going for the scraggly more barbarian look for Aquaman surely since Jason Mamoa is cast. I wonder if they'll do the hooked Aquaman look. It'll probably be a mix and match of different continuities, but primarily New 52 based. Then again, who knows?

  2. Any idea why some people are trying to push Showcase 30 as his 1st SA appearance?

    1. Misinformed or simply don't know what they're talking about. Showcase #30 retells Aquaman's Silver Age origin that was first told in Adventure Comics #260 in 1959.

      Showcase #30 is about two years after that. Also, Toppo the Octopus was introduced in Adventure Comics #229 in October 1956 and Toppo was a character or pet for Silver Age Aquaman. Golden Age Aquaman did not have Toppo as a pet.

      So, I really have no explanation why some are pimping Showcase #30 as the 1st Silver Age Aquaman other than they don't know what they're talking about.