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Interview: Jeff Parker on AQUAMAN and Reestablishing Characters

Jeff Parker discusses the finer points of his current AQUAMAN run.

There's big things starting to happen in the current run of AQUAMAN! Hercules recently appeared, Swamp Thing is crossing over into this book, and Coombs is actually something monstrous! Writer Jeff Parker answered some of our questions about the series and the most recent issue.

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COMIC VINE: How does it feel to be working on this series?

JEFF PARKER: Very natural. I like that purely by setting and cast the book has a distinctive feel from the rest of the line, yet still a crucial part.

CV: What was your process in bringing Hercules into the New 52? Why go with Hercules?

JP: We were going to use the obscure Kirby creation Atlas, but then realized further in that Hercules hadn’t been brought into the New 52 yet, and that was too good to pass up. It worked out better than what I was going to do initially. So sorry Atlas, back into the holding zone with you! Also it was a little confusing that I’d worked on the Agents of Atlas book at Marvel, people were going to think I’m obsessed with the name.

CV: What changes did you make with this character?

JP: He’s the Herc of classic mythology, but in our history he suffered a horrible fate that wasn’t his end- while helping the ancient land-dwelling Atlanteans battle the beings called the Giant-Born, he went into the hellish realm where they banished enemies. The King of Atlantis was too afraid of the creatures getting back out, they had been destroying and tormenting his people for months… so he closed the gate and locked Hercules in there for ages. Centuries of living only among the worst beings of the world, fighting endlessly to survive, having to eat those things… he’s come out not as bright and shining as he went in. Whether his mind can ever heal from all this, as a demigod, is a hard question.

CV: How does Swamp Thing tie in to all of this?

JP: He doesn’t, but Aquaman has to fulfill his duty and go deal with him because of a worldwide phenomenon caused by the Swamp Thing. Aquaman doesn’t know that Swamp Thing has the world’s best interests in mind, he just knows the oceans were briefly choked by algae.

CV: Swamp Thing is the protector of the green and Aquaman is the protector of not only Atlantis but of the oceans as well. Since there are common threads between these characters, is writing both of them and exploring stories with them feel natural or has it been a bit of a challenge?

JP: Yes, they do have similar roles and it’s almost a political situation- where two ‘nations’ bump up against each other naturally and there’s conflict. Except in this case the rulers of both go head to head instead of making underlings do it.

Aquaman saving Coombs from sharks.

CV: Much like the high school reunion issue, will you be returning to explore elements of Arthur's past on land?

JP: Oh yeah, there’s plenty of that- in fact you’ll see some stuff that was brought up in that issue as it played out in Aquaman’s Secret Origins issue.

CV: In issue #27, we saw a gigantic sea creature and Jed Coombs, who was previously known as the Creature King. Is it safe to say fans will be seeing a lot more huge sea monsters?

JP: No you’re going to see a man-sized sea monster who is far worse.

CV: Coombs is a pretty obscure character. How did you come across him and what made you choose to bring him in this series?

JP: Looking back over early Aquaman stories, he struck me as one who could be reimagined in a modern context. He’ll have a different name—Chimera—but that title of Creature King still applies to him in many deadly ways. We’ve been giving you a bit of his development at a time- I like seeing an adversary develop in something that feels like real time rather than being sprung on a book all at once, it makes them more solid characters.

Thanks to Jeff Parker for answering our questions, and make sure to check out the debut of Hercules in AQUAMAN #29, which is currently available at local comic shops and in the digital format!