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If Aquaman Didn't Use a Trident For Decades, Why Do We Think He Did?

This is "How Can I Explain?", which is a feature spotlighting inexplicable comic book plots.

The other day, I wrote about when we first saw Aquaman use a trident in the comics. The interesting thing, though, is that in recent years, Aquaman has been ALL about the trident. Check out the first issues of his last THREE series!

It's ALL TRIDENT, ALL THE TIME. So, naturally, when Aquaman got his own blockbuster film, he rocked a trident a lot...

He used one in the Justice League film, as well.

That's totally fine, though, of course, as there are plenty of character bits that popped up late in the history of a character that happened to happen right before the character was then adapted into television and/or movies and so that recent idea suddenly becomes a major part of the character's status quo going forward. An example that I have used before was Barry Allen's mother dying and his father being framed for her murder. That did not exist until Flash: Rebirth in 2009 and yet it is now a part of all of the Flash television and movie adaptations. So that's not that unusual that something that Aquaman only really started using in 2011 would become such an accepted part of his repertoire (it did not hurt, of course, that the guy who launched Aquaman's 2011 comic book, Geoff Johns, also played a major role in the shaping of the DC Universe in television and film).

So that's it, right? "Oh, it wasn't really even a recurring bit until the 1990s and wasn't an every issue thing until 2011, but that's just how these things go."

However, here's a weird thing about Aquaman and his trident - he's totally known for using a trident. It just wasn't in the comics!

Oh, so maybe in the super-popular Superfriends cartoon series?

Nope (come on, they barely let heroes hit the villains, you really think they were going to be okay with Aquaman using a trident?). And yet, the image persists in our minds.

Alex Ross is one of the top comic book artists in the world and he is also someone that is very upfront about his cutoff point for what he views as his sort of "head canon" for the DC Comics superheroes and it mostly ends at 1980 and yet, Alex Ross' image of Aquaman rocks a trident...

So what gives?

I have some thoughts on the topic...

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