Aquaman doesn’t seem to get any respect, but voice actor Phil LaMarr has a good idea of why that is.
LaMarr told Polygon at Comic-Con today that he’s spent a lot of time thinking about DC Comics’ ocean-based hero — which makes sense, given LaMarr’s previous work. He did voice work for Aquaman in the Young Justice cartoon series, and he’s stepped into the role of a darker version of the king of the ocean in the fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us and its upcoming sequel.
So after all that thinking, what conclusions has LaMarr come to? Well, it’s a matter of color.
"It goes back to the silver age comics, when they created the character," LaMarr told Polygon. "They had the Justice League. It’s a simple matter of color palette. Back then, they only had so many colors on newsprint. They had Superman in red and blue. They had Wonder Woman in red and blue. Batman, black and blue. Two guys in green and Flash in red. You can’t do anymore red, can’t do anymore green. What color do we have left? Orange."
"He got the last color left"
According to LaMarr, orange was a mismatch for the character and led to comic readers not really understanding or wanting to follow Aquaman.
"He got the last color left," LaMarr said. "From that point on, he was C-list. He was the guy who’s left over. It got imprinted into his superheroness, even though he’s the king of the ocean."
Between his work in Young Justice and the Injustice games, LaMarr believes he’s playing a role in slowly but surely rehabilitating the Aquaman image in popular culture. He points to things such as Aquaman’s supermove in Injustice, where he summons a shark to attack his opponent, as evidence that this character can be really cool. And he hopes other mediums will be taking notes from the game.
"Now we have a badass Aquaman," said LaMarr. "I think the Justice League movie people are going to bite a lot of what’s going on here. Like, oh, yeah, shoulder armor, where did you get that idea?"
LaMarr stars his badass version of Aquaman in Injustice 2, which is due out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next year.