It’s that special time of year, when everyone gathers ‘round the ocean, sings their favorite carols like Yo La Tengo’s “Season of the Shark,” and another Sharknado film inevitably debuts, trends, and is awful.
Yes, we’re talking about Shark Week, so naturally we are presenting some Shark Week content themed to our site. With that very honest introduction in mind, here are five of the best, weirdest, or “we needed a fifth” characters in comic books that rock the shark theme.
Todd Arliss was an Olympic-level athlete, competing as a swimmer. He loved the fame that came with it, and tried to increase his standing by staging a daring rescue, but things went wrong. Paralyzed, he did what anyone would do: had his genes spliced with Namor’s and a tiger shark. Of course calling himself “Human-Namor-Shark-Man” would’ve been unruly, so he just went with the last ingredient. Now able to breath underwater, swim even faster, and, uh, bite stuff, he naturally became a villain. Most notably, he killed Namor’s human father Leonard Mackenzie, and has fought most major heroes in the Marvel Universe, including Namor (naturally), the Avengers both East and West Coast varieties, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Wolverine, She-Hulk, and even once got his but kicked by Silver Surfer. If you want to beat him up yourself, go dig out your old copy of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.
Okay, okay, this was a cartoon first, and only six issues of comics ever got made, but that still counts, doesn’t it? A classic “Let’s make a cartoon to sell toys” product, the Street Sharks (and later Dino Vengers Featuring Street Sharks because why not) feature a family of a father and four sons who get transformed into human-shark hybrids by a gene-slammer of the father’s invention. They fought Dr. Luther Pardigm and the Seaviates, more mutant sea animal-human hybrids, and every episode title (and the first three comics, who borrowed their titles and plots form the first three episodes) had “Shark” in the title, with such puns as “Shark Treatment,” “Shark to the Future,” and “Card Sharks” in the mix of forty episodes. The comics really “nineties-upped” the series with the tagline, “Everything else is just BAIT!”
Iara Dos Santos is one of the newer mutants in the Marvel Universe, first appearing in January 2013’s Wolverine and the X-Men #20 by Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw. She is basically a were-Shark, though she retains her full conscious and active mind when in shark form, at least until she tastes blood. She has appeared on and off in the pages of X-Men comics since then, with at least some version of the future seeing her grow up to become Shark Woman, though the Marvel Universe’s future is in more than a little flux right now. With no indication whether or not there’ll even be a young generation of mutants when the Marvel Universe starts all its titles back at #1 in October, we’ll have to wait and see if Shark-Girl has more stories in her dorsal fin.
In a world, where a Bear lives in the Sea acting like a Shark, and a Shark lives in the forest acting like a Bear, you get: Ryan Ottley and Jason Howard’s Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark! Are you asking yourself, “Is this real? This must be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, right?” Yes, this is real, and yes, it’s the most ridiculous concept you’ve ever heard. A lesson in absurdity, Grizzly Shark’s entire half of this double-sized one-shot consists of him jumping out of trees and bushes, and biting people in half. No more, no less, and really, exactly what you expect from a story called “Grizzly Shark.” We’re gonna need a bigger… RV?
King Shark has had a few different incarnations and backstories in the twenty-odd years he’s been around, but in the New 52, he’s a Hammerhead Shark human hybrid who certainly likes eating people a lot. He’s most often been the son of a Shark God. In his animated feature debut, however, he just had a metal jaw and teeth, similar to “Jaws” in the James Bond universe, fin-like hair, and a bit of a skin condition. Still, wouldn’t want to cross paths with him.
What's your favorite comic book Shark character? #Sharkweek!