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Kenny Liu and Jake Hyde clasp hands and nearly kiss in the glow of Jake’s aquakinetic superpowers, on the cover of You Brought Me the Ocean, DC Comics (2020). Image: Julie Maroh/DC Comics

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Aquaman’s sidekick gets a coming-out story from the creator of Blue Is the Warmest Color

You Brought Me the Ocean is a queer YA graphic novel from DC Comics

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Polygon continues our look at the coolest comics coming out this summer with an exclusive preview of You Brought Me the Ocean, a new graphic novel inspired by the DC Comics character Aqualad, Aquaman’s sidekick.

Jake Hyde, the second Aqualad to grace DC continuity, grew up in a New Mexico desert town, with a mother who never told him much about his father but tried to keep him away from large sources of water as much as possible. Jake realized he was gay right around the time he realized he could control water with his mind — as if being a teenager wasn’t complicated enough.

It’s that nexus of self-discovery that writer Alex Sanchez and artist Julie Maroh focus on in You Brought Me the Ocean, and Sanchez and Maroh are well equipped for the job. Sanchez’s work in queer YA (Rainbow Boys, So Hard to Say) has earned a slew of awards, and Maroh has the similarly award-winning Blue Is the Warmest Color (adapted to film in 2013) under their belt.

In You Brought Me the Ocean, Sanchez and Maroh take Jake through a journey of struggling to tell his mom and best friend about his growing superpowers — and his growing relationship with the cute and outgoing captain of the swim team, Kenny Liu. It’s a lovely looking book, and, thanks to DC, you can read eight pages of it right below.

You Brought Me the Ocean hits digital and retail shelves on June 9.


In his favorite teacher’s history class, Jake Hyde observes as Kenny Liu raises his hand to ask if Eleanor Roosevelt was queer. He wishes he could be so outspoken, in You Brought Me the Ocean, DC Comics (2020). Image: Alex Sanchez, Julie Maroh/DC Comics
A history teacher explains that Eleanor Roosevelt may very well have experienced queer desire, saying “Love can take many forms,” while a bully readies a paper missile, muttering “Like gay freak forms,” in You Brought Me the Ocean, DC Comics (2020). Image: Alex Sanchez, Julie Maroh/DC Comics
“Kill the queer,” hisses a bully as he throws a balled up piece of paper at Kenny Liu. “Why don’t you go hang out in the cactus,” Kenny responds, “You’ll fight right in with the pricks,” and throws it back. The teacher ends class and asks the bully to stay after, in You Brought Me the Ocean, DC Comics (2020). Image: Alex Sanchez, Julie Maroh/DC Comics
Jake Hyde talks with his friend Maria about how Kenny can be so unafraid. She asks him if he wants to go work on their college applications, but he declines awkwardly, saying that he wants to talk to their history teacher alone,  in You Brought Me the Ocean, DC Comics (2020). Image: Alex Sanchez, Julie Maroh/DC Comics
Jake Hyde admits he lied to Maria about going to see his teacher, and instead he slips into the school pool area to peek in on the boys swim team. Kenny notices him and asks if he wants to join the team, as Jake tries to slip away,  in You Brought Me the Ocean, DC Comics (2020). Image: Alex Sanchez, Julie Maroh/DC Comics
Jake follows Kenny as he walks home, disliking himself for this stalkerish behavior but unable to figure out how to talk to Kenny,  in You Brought Me the Ocean, DC Comics (2020). Image: Alex Sanchez, Julie Maroh/DC Comics
Kenny confronts Jake about why he seems to be following him home. Jake says he admires Kenny, and asks him if he’s “really, you know...?” “Gay?” Kenny asks, “Sure, why? Are you?” Jake sweats bullets, in You Brought Me the Ocean, DC Comics (2020). Image: Alex Sanchez, Julie Maroh/DC Comics
Jake tries to leave, and Kenny apologizes for putting him on the spot about whether he’s gay or not. Jake says he just wanted to ask if Kenny wanted to hang out, “go on a hike or something...?” Puzzled, Kenny agrees, in You Brought Me the Ocean, DC Comics (2020). Image: Alex Sanchez, Julie Maroh/DC Comics

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