In "When We First Met", we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, "Avengers Assemble!" or the first appearance of Batman's giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man's face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.
Reader Joseph L. wrote in about this one, but I am pretty sure a couple of other people have asked me this in the past, but they're not in my e-mail. Perhaps over Twitter or Facebook? That's why e-mail is always the best way to contact me with questions, folks! I'll always have a record of your request if you e-mail me! In any event, Joseph (and the others) wanted to know when Aquaman first had a trident in the comics.
The fascinating thing is that the trident has only become a MAJOR part of the comic books in recent years, just in time for it to become an even bigger deal in the DC Extended Universe! It is funny how things like that could work out, where something could be added to the comic books, like, 60 years into the existence of a character, but if the change happens at the right point in time, then that change might make it into a major film adaptation. For instance, fans everywhere are going to know Barry Allen's mother was murdered and his father was framed for his mother's death. That's just flat out GOING to be part of Barry's origin going forward in all sorts of media, and it was only introduced more than FIFTY years into the existence of the character.
That's pretty much the same thing with Aquaman and his trident. Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis had Aquaman use a trident a lot in their New 52 incarnation of Aquaman and so it became an accepted part of the character just in time for the movie to be made about him...
First off, let's look at the literal first time that Aquaman had a trident in the comics. It was less than 20 issues into his run in More Fun Comics, in 1943's More Fun Comics #90, in the story titled "Somewhere in the Pacific" by writer Ruth Lyons Kaufman (going by the name Bunny Lyons at the time) and artist Louis Cazeneuve. In the early to mid 1940s, there were suddenly a lot of opportunities at the big comic book companies for female writers. Well, by "a lot of opportunities," I mostly mean that there was some fill-in work while there were less men around to write comics. Whatever the reason, it is cool to see more superhero comics written by female writers in those three-five years than there probably was in the next two decades combined!
In any event, in the first page of the story (which is a super-racist story that was very much of the era, as since the United States was at war with Japan, the Japanese were depicted pretty terribly in the comics of the era), we see Aquaman with a trident...
He doesn't use it in the story, but that IS the first time we see Aquaman with a trident nevertheless.