Chances are if a hero goes through costume changes it’s a sign the creators are trying to figure out a character. Whether sales are down, or there is a desire to connect to new audiences, there is a lot of power in a costume. It’s one reason why there are hundreds of Spider-Man costumes even though the iconic original still remains (more or less) the same. Then you have characters like Aquaman who have gone through so many costume changes one has to wonder if the creators were simply bored, or trying to energize the fan base to connect with the character. Whether it’s to increase sales via a reboot, or because the character needed a new costume due to story changes, here’s every iteration of the character.
More Fun Comics #73 (1941)
The first look is probably the most iconic in part because it was used in the now famous cartoon. Originally introduced via flashback narrated by Aquaman himself, the first costume had an orange scale shirt, green leggings, green gloves, boots with fins and a yellow A on his belt.
The yellow A coincided with his bright yellow blonde hair and had a similar feel to the “S” on Superman’s chest.
More Fun Comics #89 (1943)
Two years later Aquaman returned, this time with yellow-finned gloves and yellow fins attached to his boots — but a costume that was more or less the same. Truth be told the color did swap with green from time to time.
Aquaman #3 (1986)
The costume did not change for 45 years, which is probably why the orange and green keeps coming back. That didn’t stop Neal Pozner and penciler Craig Hamilton from giving Aquaman a blue camaflouge costume.
In the Aquaman: A Celebration of 75 years, Pozner said, “He hasn’t had a change in clothes in over 40 years,” and that, “In all honesty, the permanence of the new Aquaman unfiform depends entirely on sales and reader reaction.” Alas, the sales must not have been great since the costume only lasted 4 issues.
Aquaman #2 (1994)
It wasn’t until Peter David and penciller Martin Egeland came along eight years later that the costume got another change and this time it was very drastic. There’s a similar aesthetic, but Aquaman now had long hair, was bearded, and had a harpoon for a hand. Talk about pirate inspiration!
This was a much more masculine Aquaman who was more gruff and muscular and seemed to foreshadow/influence the eventual film incarnation starring Jason Mamoa.
At one point he loses the orange scaled shirt and went shirtless for awhile until he got a metallic arm guard to amp up his badass new attitude. He still had an A on his belt and green pants although they were scaley like his orange shirt (which he no longer wore).
This costume also popped up in the recent Injustice 2 video game.
Aquaman #50 (1998)
Briefly, Aquaman also sported a green and black open chested top with a bit more bling. We’re talking gold bangles and a tiara to show off his kingly status. This is thanks to Erik Larsen who was writing the series and drawing the covers.
Aquaman #4 (2003)
In response to being handless for 9 years, writer Rick Veitch and artist Yvel Guichet decided to give him a hand back. Thanks to the mystical Lady of the Lake, Aquaman now sported a prosthetic hand made of water.
The hand could even detach and walk around like Thing from The Addams Family.
Creators also switched up the pants and gave Arthur a bone necklace, which gave him a more wild look.
That was brief though, and aside from the hand, Aquaman was wearing relatively the same costume as he did when he was first introduced with both a scale orange shirt, green leggings, and an A on his belt. He did have a gold band around his collar which changed the look ever so slightly.
Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #1 (2006)
Kurt Busiek and Butch Guise took over the iconic series by replacing him with a character named Arthur Joseph Curry (who’s an altered human and not an Atlantean). This character had a wildly different costume which fit into a sword and sorcery fantasy vibe. It was essentially the classic look but had metal shoulder pads and gauntlets. He also sported a sword. The actual Aquaman was changed into a monster, but was revived during Blackest Night and then rebooted entirely (with the new hand intact) thanks to the New 52.
Aquaman #1 (2011)
Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis brought the character back to basics with only slight modifications to the costume including a higher necked tunic shirt and a modification to the “A” on his belt.
Aquaman #41 (2015)
Cullen Bunn and Trevor McCarthy kick-started their run on the character using the “Convergence” storyline costume which has an Sword of Atlantis look to it.
Batman vs. Superman (2016)
Ever so briefly we got a look at Aquaman in the new films which showed off tribal tattoos, a bit of armor, long hair and a beard. It’s a look that is somewhat familiar, but all new too.
A month prior to the films release movie director Zack Snyder revealed the costume which is a much better look at the costume than in the film itself.
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) February 20, 2015
Justice League movie (2017)
It wasn’t until the Justice League film came out that we got another costume change — this time in a full body armor that almost looks ceremonial due to its detail. Mostly gold and green, the costume still maintained the A on the belt which is very similar to the Aquaman #1 look by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis.
Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth Special #1
Probably the biggest change in Arthur’s look comes from the recent DC Comics “Drowned Earth” event. He’s once again shirtless (though lacking chest hair he had in the 90s) with green pants, but now he has tribal body art. It’s some kind of alien tech and not tattoos, but you have to wonder if this was added to make him look closer to the movie version.
Aquaman movie (December 2018)
The upcoming film shows off a more dressed down version of the character most likely because this will depict Aquaman before he goes full Atlantean. That said, the latest trailer revealed a look that is all too familiar:
He’s got the scale shirt (although this is almost gold as opposed to full orange), the green fin gloves and boots, as well as green scaley pants with some added gold detail along the sides.
Francesco Mattina’s variant for Justice League/Aquaman: Drowned Earth Special #1 shows it off quite nicely.
Aquaman #43 (December 2018)
It’s hard to say what costume Aquaman will be wearing when Kelly Sue DeConnick, Daniel Henriques and Robson Rocha take over this December, but if we were to analyze the cover that has been revealed it looks like Arthur will be maintaining the long locks and at the very least the pants. Arthur’s shirtless again, and although there’s no telling if the costume may change within the pages, I can’t wait to see if a more drastic costume change is in the works.
After perusing the history of Aquaman’s costume can you say which is your favorite? How will the character change in the future when Kelly Sue DeConnick takes over, and will the character ever get a drastic costume change again, or will we see the faithful orange and green costume forever? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.