Panel by Panel: Gripping Aquaman

On this episode of Panel by Panel! Siskoid and special guest Chad Bokelman take a dive into a panel from Aquaman #57 (1977) by David Michelinie and Jim Aparo. What more do you need to know? This is one of the building blocks of our podcasting network!

A clean look at the image in the Panel by Panel Supplemental.

This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK

Subscribe via Apple Podcasts at or Spotify at

Leave us a comment, we'll read it between the panels!

7 responses to “Panel by Panel: Gripping Aquaman

  1. Not kink-shaming anyone, but I never get the whole tentacle hentai thing. It just never crosses my mind.

    Aparo’s Aquaman almost always had that tuft of hair free-flowing in motion. It was almost like Superman’s and Batman’s capes in a lot of ways. Or Firestorm’s puffy sleeves, if you will. Used to show kinetic action and motion. He seemed to be the first artist to really make it look kind of wavy, almost curly.

    Of course there’s a lot of tension and implied danger in this one. Aparo was just the total package. He tells a whole story in this one, thin isolated panel. The grip Aquaman has as Chad pointed out; the word balloon (which he probably lettered), the shock on Arthur’s face that his telepathy ain’t cuttin’ it here. Just wonderful stuff.

  2. Indeed a very good panel for the randomizer to fall upon. And grateful for the whole page in the gallery to help put it in context.

    I wonder if artists cringe at underwater books as they constantly have to convey that environment, either through hair or swirls of flow/algae, etc.

    For me, the thing that sells this is the eyes on Aquaman. Two circles, two dots and yet laden with fear. This is out hero afraid he is going to be killed, punctuated by the word balloon.

    I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of sexual innuendo here, even with Aquaman grabbing this. But hentai has made tentacles the understudy of penises.

  3. Hey stay on your side of the street, Randomizer!

    Jim Aparo doing his own lettering really helped him with composition of any given panel or page, he didn’t have to guess/hope where someone else was going to put the captions or balloons. I find that makes his pages enormously “smooth” to look at; the eye glides seamlessly from one part to the next, panel to panel, page to page. This panel is a great example of that–not to mention the marvelous inking (which he ALSO did himself), which features a nice variation of line weights to give the whole thing a nice sense of depth.

    Chad touched on the coloring as well; it had to be hard for anyone coloring an Aquaman comic not to get bogged down in nothing but browns and greens when he’s underwater. As mentioned, his blonde hair and orange tunic really POP.

    Fun listen!

    1. Good point about the lettering. Having come up through European comics, I find it strange that “letterer” is a separate job at all (well today, fine, since it’s done with fonts I guess).

  4. Great episode! Chad was a great guest with insightful comments. I also didn’t get the sexual innuendo until you guys talked about it and now I cannot not see it! But as you know I don’t get lots of things….
    The hair flowing motion really does it for me too – just a master class on how to convey motion.

  5. I’m another who never equates ‘tentacles’ with ‘willies’ and I was raised by the in-yer-end-oh! world of Carry On… films. Apparently it’s from Manga, something I’ve never bothered with.

    Top episode, great insights from you both, but that panel wasn’t half a gift!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *