Aquaman Omnibus Collects Classic Peter David Comics

A new Aquaman omnibus is surfacing from DC Comics.

The final page of 1994's Aquaman #0 ended with a dramatic reveal: Arthur Curry, the ruler of Atlantis and King of the Seven Seas, emerging from the depths of the Aquacave with a harpoon for a hand. After the villain Charybdis shockingly fed his hand to flesh-eating piranhas in Aquaman #2, the sea king decided he needed a symbol: "So the sea creatures know I'm of the surface, and the surface men know that the sea can turn their weapons against them." So decreed the writer who reinvented the fish-speaking Super Friend as an edgier, harpoon-handed badass: Peter David, who scripted DC's Aquaman: Time and Tide mini-series and a definitive run on Marvel's The Incredible Hulk.

DC Comics will collect David's influential run on Aquaman in the new Aquaman by Peter David Omnibus, scheduled for release on July 16th, 2024. Details are sparse, but the 1,464-page collection is expected to include Aquaman Vol. 5 #0-46 and Annuals 1-4, published during David's tenure on the title between 1994 and 1998. David previously scripted the seven-issue Atlantis Chronicles (1990) and the four-issue Time and Tide, a mini-series chronicling Aquaman's origins.


"[DC] were satisfied enough with the work I did that they felt I could handle the ongoing book," David recalled in a 2018 interview with webzine DC in the '80s. "I started trying to think of ways to make Aquaman interesting, because you have to understand — that at the time that I was taking over Aquaman — the general public had zero interest in him. I mean, when I told fans that I was going to be writing Aquaman, the most asked question was, 'Why?' He was seen as one of the lamest characters. Certainly his portrayal in Super Friends didn't help." 

While the run — with art from a lineup of artists that included Martin Egeland, Gene Gonzales, Jim Calafiore, Casey Jones, and Joe St. Pierre — retained Aquaman's iconic orange-scaled suit and green gloves, the character had a beard and a longer-haired look that would inspire Jason Momoa's burly badass in the DC Extended Universe.

(Photo: DC Comics)

"I decided that I had to radically change his appearance, that that would be a good start. So I gave him the long hair and I gave him the beard, and I developed the idea of him losing his right hand and having it replaced with a harpoon. I thought that would make him look a lot more dynamic," David said. "I mean, if the old Aquaman walks into a room, you'd go, 'Hey Aquaman! What's going on?' If the long-haired bearded guy with a scowl walks in and he's got a harpoon on his arm, you're gonna go, 'Um, yes? What can I do to help you, sir? don't kill me.' I wanted that kind of gravity to his appearance — so that when this guy walked into a room — you KNEW he was a bad-ass. He was NOT someone you wanted to screw with."

Over more than four dozen issues, David introduced Koryak — the son of Arthur and a human woman — pit the hero against such villains as the Piranha-Man, the Deep Six, Thanatos, Neron, and Ocean Master, and featured guest spots by the Justice League, Wonder Woman, Lobo, Superboy, and the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern. David also fleshed out Aquaman's supporting cast: his sidekick, Aqualad, the scientist Vulko, the silver-haired woman called Dolphin, and Mera, Queen of Atlantis.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom surfaces December 20th in theaters. Aquaman by Peter David Omnibus is available July 16th, 2024, from DC Comics.