Happy Comics Release Day and a belated Happy Third Anniversary to GeekDad!
I decided on this week’s spotlight after I had a discussion on a comic book forum about Aquaman. I never realized how much I enjoyed the character until I organized my collection a few years ago and discovered I had issues from every single Aquaman series printed since the mid-1970s.
This included a seven issue maxi-series called The Atlantis Chronicles by Peter David and Esteban Maroto that was published in 1990 and, sadly, has never been released in trade. But it’s well worth searching for.
This is a big, sprawling Shakespearean family saga that tells the history of the DC Universe Atlantis through the lives of its royal family.
It starts, of course, with strife between two brothers. That strife is passed down through the generations as the members of the royal family view not only to rule the underworld kingdom but also scheme to conquer the world above.
Every good family saga needs a great villain and this story has one in Kordax, who’s reviled for a mutation and returns for revenge on those who cast him out.
Love is won and lost, cities destroyed, and the series ends with a glimpse of Aquaman as the child destined to carry all this family history.
A longer plot summary can be found in this Comics Should be Good blog post.
What Kids Will Like About It:
This would be a great read for teenagers who are already interested in fantasy novels that create a fantastical world, along the lines of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The focus on the battle between brothers and rival cities reminds me of the politically-focused novels of some other fantasies, like George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series.
It’s not a slam-bang action comic. Kids looking for that won’t find it. But they will find complicated characters who make choices that are all shades of gray. No one’s completely wrong in this series but no one is completely right either.
What Parents Will Like About It:
“I don’t care if the story is awful, I would buy this just for the artwork,” was my original reasoning in purchasing the first issue many years ago. The Chronicles are like one big gorgeous painting. Maroto cannot receive enough credit.
But the writing is excellent and it’s a great journey to another world.
I really can’t pick just one. But here are all seven covers of the series and several panels where Maroto’s work really shines.
About the Creators:
Peter David is a prolific comics and prose author, probably best known outside the comic world as the co-creator and author of the Star Trek: The New Frontier series for Pocket Books.
Esteban Maroto, a native of Madrid, Spain, designed the infamous metal bikini for Marvel’s sword and sorcery character, Red Sonja. He did the bulk of his comics work with the now defunct Warren Publishing, most known for its Creepy and Eerie series.