All Washed Up: The Tragic Tale of Aquaman – By Dennis Grisbeck

Aquaman. A founding father of the Justice League. Self-proclaimed Protector of the Oceans. Washed up super-hero. Just who is this Atlantean in the damp, orange, fish-scale suit who stalks the halls of the Justice League bitterly mumbling to himself? What is his story? How did he become the League’s laughing stock? Let’s take a closer look.

Born in Atlantis, Aquaman had the misfortune to be born with blonde hair. As we all know, Atlanteans consider blonde hair to be a greater disfigurement than we do, and the young boy was condemned to death…banished to the sea with only a pacifier and a soggy diaper. As fickle fate would have it, a storm wash Baby-Aquaman ashore beside a lighthouse where he was rescued by a kindly man named Tom Curry. Tom took the water-logged infant under his wing and christened him "Arthur".

Growing up as a water-breathing teenager in a small town had its advantages. For example, Arthur was captain of his high school swim team, and was jokingly voted "Most Likely To Spawn Before Senior Year". However, he was quickly ostracized for always leaving wet spots wherever he sat, and the glum teen returned to the seas immediately after graduation, adopting the moniker famous the world over: Aquaman.

Once back in his own element, Aquaman returned to Atlantis. Upon his arrival Aquaman applied for various jobs in the local fast-food chains, notably "The Clammery" and "Tuna Dreams". Although his work was acceptable, Aquaman fell into the wrong crowd, and was dismissed from his job for smoking "sea grass" while on the clock. Broke, wandering the watery streets of Atlantis, and evicted from his tiny two-room bungalow, Aquaman turned once again to the land, and the world would never be the same.

Seeing an ad in the newspaper advertising for someone to "Protect the seas of the world, including all its inhabitants, both animal and vegetable", Aquaman went to the address in the ad and turned up on the front steps of none other than The Hall Of Justice. (His first attempts to enter the edifice were thwarted when the concierge believed him to be another of "those damn pranksters" and promptly escorted him from the premises.)

fter interviewing Aquaman, the Justice League member held a closed vote, and by the narrowest of margins, the aquatic applicant was granted a 3 month trial membership in the League. (Although the tally of who actually voted for Aquaman’s inclusion was never publicized, sources inside the League said that Aquaman’s "kick ass" Cajun cooking and willingness to clean the League’s swimming pool played a crucial role.)

Unfortunately, Aquaman’s years in the Justice League were dreary and unfulfilling. Trying times indeed were the long days spent waiting for the Legion of Doom to make trouble. Even when trouble did pop up, Aquaman’s water-based skills were seldom of any use to the task at hand. The League members would occasionally take Aquaman along out of sympathy, invariably resulting in having to rescue him from certain doom due to his incompetence. As a sop, the League chipped in and bought Aquaman a jet ski so he could reach trouble areas if his skills were in fact needed. However Aquaman proved to be incompetent with mechanical devices, and the jet ski quickly fell into disrepair and has sat in dry dock ever since.

Aquaman did have a brief brush with fame after being approached by an action figure company regarding production of a line of Aquaman toys. Sitting alone in the Great Hall while the others were battling the Legion of Doom in outer space, Aquaman jumped at the chance and the first set of action figures were quickly produced and distributed around the nation. To Aquaman’s great disappointment, Batman revealed that he had in fact seen the toys, but they were being marketed as a gag gifts, and were found only in novelty stores, typically just under the "fart pillow" rack. In a huff, Aquaman cancelled the toy line and faded back into obscurity.

As the years went by, Aquaman withdrew further and further into himself. There were in fact several trouble calls when Aquaman’s "super" powers were needed, but Aquaman was nowhere to be found. (Super Man would often take the initiative and handle the aforementioned "trouble calls" himself, thus making Aquaman’s membership in the League even more redundant.) Eventually, Aquaman grew a beard, stopped cutting his hair, and would often disappear for days at a time "checking out" the seas. After missing 4 consecutive League Status Meetings, Aquaman’s membership was revoked and his 401(K) benefits were terminated.

Nobody has heard from Aquaman ever since. Rumor has it he spends his days swimming in the warm waters off Jamaica, smoking sea grass and sipping pina coladas. None of these rumors could be confirmed, and the fate of this tragic would-be super hero may never be known.