While the 1994 Aquaman series by Peter David deservedly gets credit for updating the hero for the 90s & beyond, the seeds for that successful run are firmly planted in some earlier, and as yet, uncollected issues. Released on the heels of 2 mini-series and 2 Specials, the 1991 Aquaman ongoing series, though short-lived, helped define the character for the remainder of the decade.
Written and drawn by then comics newcomers Shaun McLaughlin and Ken Hooper, inked by Bob Dvorak and colored by Tom McCraw, this series, especially in its 1st story arc from issue #s 1-7, did a few things very well. McLaughlin began to explore the character of Aquaman to some depth - at this point, the character was dealing with the grief of a lost child, and more recently, with the loss of his spouse - the hero, wracked with guilt & indecision, enters the story listless and in need of direction. Accustomed to being alone and having his own way, it's interesting to see the hero of a book almost burdened by needs of the community he 'serves.'
|Kevin Maguire (+ a variety of inkers) helped define the early look of the title with these outstanding covers|
This series also reintroduced Aquaman to the larger DC Universe - it was this version of the character that made guest appearances with Superman, the Flash and The Suicide Squad, among others, as well as joined (for a brief time) the Justice League.
The cities of Atlantis - the world which Aquaman inhabits - gain some definition in the early issues of this series. Never before had the Atlantean cities of Poseidonis and Tritonis seemed so real. McLaughlin & Hooper engaged in some real world-building, here - a war with the fictional surface country of Oumland provides the backdrop to the undersea people's relationship not only to the surface world, but also to each other. Families squabble, officials debate, and communities unite in facing adversity behind the symbol of their protector, Aquaman.
|Ken Hooper's Aquaman doesn't fly through the ocean, he swims - from issue #s 2 & 3|
|Sarcasm, Black Manta-style - from issue #5|
|One of many examples: Ken Hooper often put small figures on large splash pages - emphasizing the vastness of the ocean|