SDCC 2017: Geoff Johns Explains Why He Loves Aquaman

Aquaman in the DC Universe is one of the most ridiculed superheroes of all time, and it seems that these days it’s finally over, thanks to Jason Momoa, who will be portraying the half-human half-Atlantean on the big screen, and to Geoff Johns, DC’s Chief Creative Officer.

Throughout the years, Aquaman has been bullied by several fans, and when Johns took on the project for the New 52 to handle Aquaman’s story, a lot of eyebrows were raised, questioning his decision. And now, with the King of Atlantis going to have his debut on the silver screen next year, the writer/producer finally sheds some light on his motivations.

During a spotlight panel on Johns’ career at the SDCC 2017 – the same panel where he gave out details on the upcoming DC story Doomsday Clock – the question was raised on his selection of certain characters by DC co-publisher Dan DiDio. In his early years, he took on the Teen Titans, then he took on Hal Jordan and even resurrected the long dead Barry Allen. And then he took it upon himself to write the reboot story of Aquaman, despite the advice of experts around him.

Although the questions where specifically in a larger context of Johns’ shift from comics to film, some focused on his view of DC’s greatest superheroes. And most importantly, what makes these characters, even “the man who talks to fish”, so special to him. Dan DiDio even noted that Geoff never asked or requested a run on the main Batman book (a dream every writer would willingly take on). Here, he explains why he’s rooting for the underdogs:

“To me, I love taking characters that don’t work. Batman, he’s great, he works, you can tell great stories with him. But for some reason when someone says to me, like ‘Aquaman sucks,’ I get really bothered by it [Laughter]. Then I want to write the book… Characters that kind of need help. I like helping. Helping to illustrate or clean up characters that people might not give a second look at. And it’s how I connect with people, because if I like Aquaman and someone else says ‘Oh my God I like Aquaman too’ it’s cooler. If someone says ‘I like Batman’ well everyone likes Batman.”

These words are true to devoted comic book fans. Usually, we tend to look up to heroes that are great like Superman and Batman and often forget the heroes that are also making a difference like Plastic Man, Aquaman, and Booster Gold. And with the Aquaman movie, we see the first non-Trinity DC superhero get a movie of his own, and Zack Snyder (director of Justice League), James Wan (director of Aquaman) and Geoff Johns are making a personal investment in the King of Atlantis to be taken seriously.

Longtime fans will remember that the director of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Zack Snyder, called a radio show to defend Aquaman and Johns also gave a piece of his mind of why he is bothered by Aquaman haters. He also mentions that the character of Arthur Curry can tell stories that speak to downright mythic tropes and traditions:

“Why is Aquaman interesting? Well, I can tell you from my perspective, emotionally, why it’s interesting. It’s because his father was a human, his mother was Atlantean, and he thinks he’s a half-breed, and he doesn’t belong to either world: surface or the oceans, or Atlantis. And he kind of considers himself a man with no world, and it’s not until he really finds and meets Mera that he finds a place in life. His brother Orm is full Altantean, he believes they should just destroy the surface. And ultimately it’s Arthur’s job to bring those worlds together.

Also, the fact that I’ve written all his comic books gives me a lot of credibility coming into the room because it’s hard to argue sometimes. Like people can tell me what they think Aquaman is, but if I’ve written the book – literally – it helps me out.”

The choice of casting Momoa as Aquaman was a brilliant choice by director Zack Snyder and was a clear message to everyone that he planned to change the conversation about this character, and we hope to see just that in Justice League.

Justice League is set to be released this November 17 while Aquaman will hit theaters next year on December 21, 2018.

Reigh Carlo

Reigh Carlo

An aspiring Writer and Poet with high hopes to bring justice and truth to all people and to help others at all cost, just like the superheroes in comic books.