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Aquaman: Failing Upwards

You know that guy with whom you work, who never actually appears to be doing anything and yet still somehow gets handed all the cool projects and promotions? And even when he stuffs them up, which he invariably will, he still seems to come out on top… Well, I can’t help thinking that, like that ass-clown that you work with, DC Comics’ Aquaman IS the ‘that guy’ of the superhero universe at the moment.

FIrst there was the season two of ENTOURAGE, which featured the making of an Aquaman movie, staring the show’s main character Vincent Chase and directed by real life’s James Cameron. At the time it seemed to me to be an attempt on the part of the Entourage writers to pick a super hero of a similar stature to Spider-man. Now, before you start egging the eShack, let me explain! I don’t mean that I consider Aquaman and Spider-man to be equals in the world of comic book super heroes – however, in the mind of the average (non-comic or pop-culture nerd) they are probably around the same level of ‘recall-ability’. In fact just about any of the gender titled heroes would have done: Ant-Man, Wonder Woman, Iron Man. The problem is that there are already movies in the works for those characters, so Aquaman scored the fictitious movie deal on Entourage, because the real world didn’t want him.

Around this time Aquaman scored a guest shot on SMALLVILLE, why? Because he is a member of the Justice League. In a clear attempt to build a path to Superman’s future membership with JLA the creators of that show, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, have begun a parade of eventual members of said association across the screen. Not surprisingly the episode received some favorable ratings figures. Personally, I suspect that had more to do with the bikini action than anything that fish boy bought to the screen… which I also suspect to be the logic behind moving towards the making of the ill fated Aquaman series, Mercy Reef.

Back over on Entourage, season three started with the opening of the fictitious film which had featured in the previous season. The show’s plot calls for the movie to be huge success, so much so that they even had it break the box office record held by Spider-man. In a brilliant piece of self promotion the show’s creators took out a full page ad in Variety, congratulating James Cameron on the fictional success of his fictional movie.

Eventually the news came out that the proposed series, despite having a strong pilot, wont be getting picked up by the CW. But the Aquaman hype, by this point, is pretty strong and Gough and Miles are keen for people to actually see the pilot. So, some kind of deal is made and the unaired episode appeared on the iTMS. Instantly it’s a success (by iTunes standards); Within days it had reached fifth place on the iTunes ‘most popular’ TV shows listing.

So, what usually happens when there’s a buzz like this surrounding a character or concept? (I mean, beside idiots making long winded, pointless, blog posts about it). That’s right! It’s cash in time! It’s just talk and nobody is prepared to say anything official at the moment, but the word is that there’s going to be a (real) Aquaman movie made. Evidently that knobend McG (Charlie’s Angels) is already associated with the project.

Of course you’d be right in saying that, at the rate that the system is pumping out comic book based movies, we’d eventually see an Aquaman movie anyway. The point is that none of this hype is actually ABOUT Aquaman, the character, it’s all about the idea of a movie or a show based on the character. Like that guy you work with, (the character) Aquaman hasn’t actually done anything to deserve this attention… So, in the end, it’s a pretty flimsy pretext. But then, it wouldn’t be the first such movie made… Spice World anyone?

By the way, in the event that anyone is still actually reading, here’s my three word review of the Aquaman pilot: Potential, but “meh”. [source]

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