The Defender of the Depths was one of the original four World's Greatest Super Heroes produced. When the Museum asked Neal Kublan the former VP of Mego why Aquaman was chosen, his recollection was that Aquaman had a cartoon running with Superman, Batman and Robin. No doubt these were reruns of the Filmation cartoons of the 60's, so we have them to thank for this great character.
There is a lot of speculation as to the origins of the artwork on Mego packaging, while we have found much of it at the Mego Comic Book Connection The artwork for many remains shrouded in mystery. None more than Aquaman The Sea King's Mego artwork has only been seen on Mego packaging.
By the late 1960's DC had started using this image of Aquaman swimming in the corner of their books, and, as the attractive, dynamic image found it's way onto many liscensed products such as the 1976 Pepsi glass and the 1974 Our Way Studios Stickers. In fact, this image is the definitive Aquaman image of the era.
So why not on the Mego Aquaman box and Kresge card? Instead, the character is in a running pose. Say what you will about Aquaman, but "runner" isn't the first thing that comes to mind.
The image was most likely created because the stock circular design didn't fit the rectangular box. Popular theory holds that Mike Jamaician may simply have traced over this stock image of the Flash to solve the problem.
To be detailed later, major variations include: Sewn-on belt vs. late issue floating belt. Early issue Aquaman are prone to leyyowing in the tights similar to Robins. A webbed handed Aquaman has been found and needs to be deatiled on this page.
Leaping Lamprays! This web handed Aquaman figure was originally shown in the 1978 catalog yet no known examples have been found boxed. This sole figure unearthed by collector Roberto Ligotti is believed to possibly be the example from the catalog.
Just some of the many packaging variations and products Mego made for Aquaman, besides being in the World's Greatest Superheroes , the King of the Atlantis was also featured in other Mego lines such as Comic Action Heroes , Bend N Flex and the Pocket Super Heroes
An overview of the Mego Aquaman box variations courtesy of Tom.
Solid Boxed Aquaman was the first on the scene and was the short pack figure (Only 2 per case!) Note the yellow leggings, which are believed to be not a factory mistake but an effect of age..
Above is an early 4 panel Mego Aquaman box, Scott C. Adams collection.
To a Mego collector, Aquaman is a bit of a nightmare to find on a card. Due to his short pack nature, Aquaman cards almost always mean hard to find. Above is a nice example of Aquaman on a Kresge card, one of examples the toughest to find. Thanks to Tom for the great photo.
The Regular card Aquaman is on the top ten of hard to find carded figures. Below is a 1976 card
Above is a shot of Aquaman on his two known US cards, the 1976 (left) and the 1979 (right). A lot of speculation exists as to whether or not a 1977 Aquaman card exists. It's no small feat to own both of these and the photographer (our own Dumbldor) knows that all too well.
As they disposed of excess inventory and cancelled figures, Mego took left over Aquaman, Spiderman and sometimes Batman gloves, slapped them on a '79 Superman card and Voila! The Ultra Weird Franken-Aquaman, sometimes found with glow hands! Courtesy of Scott.
Another example of inventory clearance is the Red Card Aquaman. Red cards are believed to late releases and are quite desirable. Others in the red card series include The Riddler, Batgirl and The Green Arrow.
From South of the Border comes one the rarest pieces out there, a mint box Ledy Aquaman. Very different from his American counterpart, this Ledy Aquaman may be the only boxed specimen known to exist. Kudos to Mexican Super Collector Luis for these great pictures!