Issue 186 – Aquaman
Anthony: Hello and welcome to Capes on the Couch, where comics get counseling. I’m Anthony Sytko.
Doc Issues: And I’m Dr. Issues.
Anthony: This is issue 186 and surprise, we’re doing another one a week after we did Eobard Thawne. I know you’re thinking, oh, you guys are going back to weekly? Not entirely. Not entirely. We wanted to do Aquaman to tie in with the movie.
Unfortunately, due to scheduling and a whole host of other things, Thawne kind of took that spot, but we didn’t want to just ignore Aquaman, especially since we’ve been talking about doing this episode for a year, because we were going to do it last year when the episode, when the movie was originally supposed to come out, and then DC and all of their Wisdom and the geniuses over there at Warner Brothers who are now also apparently discussing a merger with Paramount.
Oh, well, that that’s going to be the next thing is Warner Brothers and Paramount Discovery. It’s just everything, everything that isn’t owned by Disney is going to end up being owned by by Warner Brothers at this point. And it’s just another giant corporation that’s going to continue to Cancel movies that are pretty much already made just so a bunch of billionaires can get a tax write off for another couple zeros.
Yay capitalism! On, on happier news though, shout out to our friends, Ray and Rebecca over at Into the Night podcast, which you should totally check out. They got a named thank you from Jed McKay in the last page of Moon Knight number 30. So I’m a little behind and even more so by the time this episode drops, but I didn’t really get an opportunity to go to my local comic shop and pick up Moon Knight number 30, literally got done reading it.
Like right before Doc and I jumped on this recording and I got to the last page and he’s like, Oh, you know, thank you to Tom Brevoort, the editor and this, that, and the other. Oh, and thank you to Lena and Doug of the Doug J. Vincent system for helping explain DID to me. I got in touch with them through Ray and Rebecca at the Into the Night podcast.
And I was like, Oh man, you just got thanked by Jed McKay in the pages. And I know they’ve interviewed Jed a couple of times on the show, but for it to be in the fricking comic book, that’s so like, that is, that is unreal. And so just major, major credit. To Ray and Rebecca and, and everybody over there over it into the night.
I’m happy to say, you know, I’ve made a handful of guest appearances as Ray likes to call me an Omega level Mooney, but all, all the, the credit and hard work for them. And I’m very excited to see what happens with vengeance of the Moon Knight coming in January, but enough about Moon Knight.
We’re here to talk possibly one of the most joked about. comic book characters, at least in terms of jokes relative to status. Like obviously there’s, there’s low level heroes. I mean, people make jokes about matter eater lad and stilt man and kite man, but they’re not really A listers. Aquaman is an A lister and he still gets the crappy end of the stick.
And I would say undeservedly so.
In order to understand why it’s undeservedly so, Let’s jump into the background.
Aquaman, AKA Arthur Curry or Orin, and we’ll explain some of that in a bit. Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger in More Fun Comics, number 73, November, 1941. More Fun, as opposed to just Fun Comics, as opposed to just Comics.
Doc Issues: As opposed to Boring Comics?
Anthony: As opposed to Boring Comics or Standard Comic. I don’t know. I don’t know. They named things, really? Just kind of plainly in back in the thirties and forties.
So here’s another thing I didn’t know about Aquaman before I really started researching. He’s had several origins. I was not aware of just how many times they’ve revamped Aquaman as a character. I, I dare say he’s up there with. Like power girl and Hawkman in terms of number of revisions, although far less confusing.
They’re still generally the same ish. It’s just a question of where are they going with it? So the golden age origin is he is the son of a human scientist who lived in the ocean and lived in Atlantis, which was a dead city. The scientist taught him how to breathe underwater and communicate with and control undersea life.
Then the Silver Age origin, which is around 1962, I forget exactly when, but he is named Arthur Curry. He is the son of human lighthouse keeper Tom Curry and exiled Atlantean queen Atlanna. And because of his mixed heritage, he has access to several Atlantean abilities, including How to breathe underwater and communicate with and control undersea life.
And this version introduces most of his supporting cast, his wife, Mara, his son, Arthur Jr. AKA AJ or Aqua Baby, his half brother and nemesis, Ocean Master, another nemesis, Black Manta. And you can go back and listen to the Black Manta episode that we did to tie in with the first Aquaman movie and a host of others.
So the Silver Age is where a lot of. The key things that we understand about Aquaman came from, and this is also the version that was the basis for the oft lampooned Super Friends version, which is, well, we’re going to fight on land, but Aquaman needs something to do, so maybe there’s a fish there that he can talk to and get some information.
And the orange and green costume, this again, this version is the corny one that A lot of people, for better or worse, think of when they think of Aquaman. Then, post Crisis on Infinite Earths, we’re talking 1985 1986, he is Orin, son of Queen Atlanna and the wizard Atlan. He was abandoned by Atlantis and discovered by Tom Curry, the lighthouse keeper, who eventually dies when he’s a teen, and he returns to Atlantis, where he is imprisoned before breaking out and joining the Justice League, where He joins the, the land dwellers and assists them with his abilities, like how to breathe underwater and communicate with and control undersea life.
Doc Issues: Oh, oh, come on, man. We’re, we’re really. We’re trying to build them up, please. Please.
Anthony: I got, I got to make the joke somewhere. I have to. So this is the version that loses his hand after it’s eaten by piranhas and he replaces it with the bad ass harpoon spear. This is the version where he’s the leader of sub Diego and undersea version of San Diego, because.
Hashtag because comics. He also becomes the dweller of the depths to assist the new Aquaman, Arthur Joseph Curry, before dying and then is later resurrected during Blackest Night, Brightest Day, when they said, you know what, we’re just going to create a brand new Aquaman, but we’re going to call him Arthur Curry.
And then he says, Oh, I have a lot to live up to. I don’t want to go by Arthur Curry anymore. You can call me Joseph. And then DC rebooted everything. And then Joseph just kind of. Got the Chuck Cunningham treatment where it’s just, we’re not going to acknowledge him anymore. Or what was the other, the Winslow daughter who just disappeared, you know, or or the, the daughter on Boy Meets World who was like missing for several seasons and then reappeared suddenly was like, Oh, I was in, I was sent to my room or whatever it was.
Anyway, we don’t talk about Joe. We don’t talk about Joseph, no, no. New 52, where Geoff Johns was once again asked to reinvent and re establish a character. He seems to have done this quite a lot over the past 15 years. He is once again the son of Tom Curry and Atlanta. He was raised on land, but aware of Atlantis.
And when he returns to the sea, he is crowned king, but he abdicates to be with Mera. Shades of like. UK and gosh, what was his name? And Edward and Wallace Simpson, et cetera, et cetera. So he joins the justice league until he’s forced to return to rule over Atlantis, despite about half the population hating him.
And he finally proposes to Mera at the start of DC rebirth. Again, a lot of stuff happens, a lot of revamps, a lot of origin reboots, this, that, and the other we’re going to. Kind of gloss over a lot of that to focus on the meat of it, which kind of the opposite of what we did last week with Thawne because we really went into the background for Thawne because I feel like we needed to establish where a lot of those issues came from.
Here, we’re gonna dial that back and just gonna dive, ha ha, right into the issues. The theme is fish out of water, then in the water, then out of water, then back in the water. It’s Kind of cyclical, dare I say, like the tides. A lot of these things that Aquaman slash Orin slash Arthur have to deal with.
So the first one is he is a reluctant ruler of Atlantis. It’s an oft told story, but numerous times he returns to the throne in times of trouble, or if Atlantis needs him, only to either vacate willingly because he has to help the Justice League or other heroes, or he’s forced to abdicate due to a variety of factors.
Someone conspiring against him, there’s an uprising, and they want someone full time. There’s, there’s any number of reasons why Aquaman is either on the throne or off, but rest assured, neither of those situations is going to last terribly long.
Doc Issues: Yeah, there’s a, there’s such a big problem with the idea that you can’t establish consistency in your life if the most foundational point of your identity isn’t established by a certain point.
You’re always going to change as you get older. Denying that and no, you shouldn’t pigeonhole yourself into one thing. And yet, if you say to someone, this is your responsibility, these are the people that you care about, these are the people that you are responsible for, these are the people you’re supposed to build relationships with, then in general, if you have.
The ability to verify that. By the way, we don’t usually have to do this consciously. You get born into a family. You go to a school, or even if you’re homeschooled, or whatever, you learn who the people are that are important because they’re there. And, usually, Either formally or informally, you’re going to learn this is what’s done on a day to day basis.
And you’re going to find where you fit in. And even if you don’t fit in, you’ll find out exactly what it is that leads you to be an outcast. And maybe you form your own niche. Maybe you’re, you know, just unique and have a click. Maybe you’re just in a minority group, but it’s a strong minority group and you kind of rebel or something.
What I’m getting at with all of this is you’re supposed to have all of these things happen and have it resolved and move on to the next thing. He doesn’t get that chance. It’s, it’s either thrown upon him because he found out new information and As you pointed out, at one point it was more like, He’s returned!
He’s, he’s here! I can’t believe we found it! Or, it’s, yeah, we knew your existence and you are here just for this short period of time, and we hope that we can resolve it so that you don’t come back. The idea of repeated acceptance and rejection leads to a level of ambiguity that can just shatter a person’s sense of self if you’re not careful.
anD not only that, it’s not just that he’s expected to do these things, both accepting a new role and leaving that role. It’s that. He’s supposed to do it well. I don’t want to shortchange this. Everybody’s heard the term lame duck. The reason that exists is because it’s supposed to allow for a smooth transition from one phase to another, but this isn’t lame duck.
This is true times of urgency, martial law commander that then is expected to be. Not just removed, but almost overthrown. So, people don’t like you when you’re in your job, people barely thank you when you’re doing a good job, and then people try to forget you when you leave. It’s the exact opposite of what everybody expects in their arcs in life, and that’s what he’s being thrown.
Anthony: Yeah, it’s definitely a no win situation, because if he does the job really, really well, then he feels like he’s abandoning the surface world, which he does have connections to. If he leaves them to focus on the Justice League, then understandably so, the Atlanteans are going, What the hell, man? Don’t you care about us?
And there’s a quote in one of the books, I forget exactly where it came from, something to the effect of, there are dozens of heroes covering your different land masses that have 30 percent of the planet. Water covers 70 percent of the ocean and there’s one of me.
And, and we’re going to kind of, you know what, I guess we’ll just go ahead, yeah, slide, slide right into the number three, which will bump up to number two then. He walks two worlds, but he’s not fully accepted in either. And this is played with or pushed to the forefront again, depending on the story where again, if he’s, if it’s Atlantis heavy, then there’s that whole undercurrent.
Pun half intended of yeah, but you’re not fully Atlantean because depending again on the story one of the reasons why he was abandoned is because of the the curse of Kordak because of the blonde hair or something else and yet on land when he’s with the Justice League it’s the whole thing yeah well I understand you’re in the Justice League but You know, Atlantis has tried to take over the planet on numerous occasions, and there’s all kinds of attacks coming from under seas, and you’re the king of Atlantis, or at the very least, you have a connection.
So we don’t really trust you. So where do you go if, to your point, and I know you were talking a little bit about it in the first issue, if no matter where you go, you can’t win?
Doc Issues: Yeah, and when I alluded to it, this is really where I was coming to. It can shatter sense of self. You need to have an enormous amount of resiliency.
First of all, to acknowledge that you cannot please everyone. That is something that’s true for all people, all human beings. You have to be aware of that. But how far does that stretch? Does it stretch far enough to say, may please no one. That is incredibly difficult and highly unlikely to happen. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen, at least for short periods of time.
Heaven forbid it’s because of negative things you do in life. I’m not talking specifically about Aquaman when it comes to that. If you need to apologize for things where you clearly have done something wrong, but what if you’re doing things that you consider to be the right thing? And there is an immense amount of disagreement with the people that are closest to you.
So maybe it’s not the idea that you’re two completely different worlds as dramatic as this sounds. It may be that your own convictions of what you believe are not matching your social environment, your, your small circle, let alone the larger circles around. So you could feel isolated or alienated, especially if it’s something that is very important to you, whether that’s something that’s spiritual, maybe it’s your career, maybe it’s who you decide to have a relationship with and who to marry, and it’s going to separate you from the rest of your family, whatever.
I’m just giving different examples that are more relatable. In those circumstances, you have to prioritize what is the thing that is going to lead to the greatest sense of purpose, to the ongoing sense of meaning for what you want to do with your life. And how productive is that going to be both for the people you decided that you care about and.
for yourself so that you don’t basically wither away or burn out or whatever you want to call it. I’m not even going as far as saying, you know, a full depression or anything like that. Just the exhaustion that you are draining your emotional and social battery because you can’t recharge with anybody else.
And I’m saying that for introverts too. We don’t get a pass on this. I don’t have an easy answer for it, except that if you recognize that. You have an inherent sense of value and self worth that is beyond what any other person thinks of you, then you can withstand this indefinitely, but it shouldn’t be the goal to withstand it indefinitely.
You want to find a way either to change your mindset about the situation, and maybe it’s not exactly how you do it, or you’re able to change parts of the situation so that you’re no longer Isolated on that island.
Anthony: Yeah. Finding a safe space. I know that term gets thrown around a lot in negative terms connotations these days, but we all need safe spaces just as, as people, we need to know that there are places we can go where we are accepted, we can relax. Where it is not stressful, where it is literally a safe space.
And again, that should be a very low bar. And frankly, I don’t understand why the notion of safe spaces became controversial in the first place, but that’s neither here nor there. Point being, we all need that. And if you can’t find it with a community of ostensibly like people, a community that you have grown up in, or a community of, of found family.
but it’s not a safe space for you, that’s really going to change how you interact with people inside and outside the community. It’s gonna, it’s gonna really have a deep impact on your worldview. And yeah, I just, I can’t imagine what that’s like to, to not have that. And by the way, I know I am fully privileged in making that statement, that there are lots of folks that do not have a safe space.
They, they don’t have it at home. They don’t have it at school. They don’t have it at work. And that’s, I really think that is one of the things that leads most people to what a lot of us would consider to be dangerous or illicit behavior is just looking for that safety and that security and that acceptance.
You know, one of the things my, my sister talks about as, a parenting teacher is this notion of radical acceptance of your child, but also of people in general. And just, We talk about this on the, all the time on the show, accepting people where they are and meeting people where they are, and then going from there.
And if Aquaman, who’s a king and, and a justice leaguer, et cetera, if he has trouble finding a safe space for himself,
then I really think we need to show real people who do not have all of those desirable skill sets and, and fictitious whatevers. We need to show them grace. We need to extend that acceptance and that freedom to those around us. So
Doc Issues: I, I want to draw an analogy because of just who I am, but I can’t help this and I, I think you’re gonna, you’re gonna get what I’m going for here.
So in wrestling, yes, I am going to the WWE originally ran a program. for Wrestlemania and it was headlined called Once in a Lifetime and it was The Rock and John Cena. So the build up for that was the idea that they would only have this match as the only time that they would wrestle and whoever won, you know, for bragging rights.
My point to this is the build up for the match was the fact that John Cena absolutely buried The Rock in terms of Mocking him for leaving wrestling full time and how he had gone so Hollywood and all of that. And he even said, you know, like you said, when you came back and you would never leave again until you left again.
And as much as John Cena was one of those guys where. You know, certainly would split a crowd 50 50 and all this stuff. He did get a lot of people say like, Hey, he’s got a point and all of that. And part of the reason why the buildup works so well is because he meant what he said. He, he felt like he was still doing a lot of hard work.
And here’s this guy that because he’s basically living and coasting at this point on things that he had done in the past. And yet he still gets. all this attention. And yet now in interviews, if you ask John Cena about it, he has a huge amount of respect for Dwayne because he’s now pretty much doing what Dwayne did.
And he’s saying, and I’m grateful that I’m able to give the rub, meaning I’m, I’m allowing other wrestlers to benefit from my experience and all that, even though I’m pretty much part time because I didn’t appreciate what he did then, but I do now, you know, but it took him actually having a similar experience.
So someone was mocking someone for being in a different space and, and, and traversing different spheres of influence and didn’t know what that meant until he started doing it for himself. And I think a lot of that is what we’re seeing, of course, in society in general, but when you think of someone like Aquaman, he often comes across very bitter, and originally I thought it was much more in the xenophobic, like, well, yeah, okay, because he has this kingdom in the sea, and he’s, he’s distrustful of land dwellers, and, and who wouldn’t be, but no, it’s not even that.
It’s more like, I am really, really trying, and every time I even try to put myself in another person’s shoes, they basically reject me outright. And that’s not fair. That’s, that’s injustice. And not, not even referencing the game or the comics. Just that type of irritability and aggression, That’s basically due to scarring.
That’s due to trauma. And if you put yourself out there and you’ve had that type of scar, I just want to say to anybody that needs to hear this, like, bravo, good for you. I’m glad that you’re willing to take that chance and, and please don’t let it be the only one because the world is better
Anthony: Yeah. One of the things that, that rankles me if, if I’m being perfectly honest is, and I see a lot of this with politicians and I’m going to use this because it’s. Without naming names or parties, okay, I’m just gonna take politicians in general, just because they are public figures, they come out strongly gung ho on one side of an issue, and then either through personal experience or a family member, something happens that changes their viewpoint, and then they begin Either sometimes it’s a slow pivot.
Sometimes it’s a complete 180. They take a much more humane and nuanced take on whatever the issue is. And it rankles me because my thing was, if you just kind of took a beat and didn’t go frothing at the mouth from jump, you’d have been a lot closer and I. I’m always appreciative of the, the change in heart, but I wish it didn’t come at me.
You know, to such a degree because all of a sudden, oh, now you only care because now it impacts you personally. It really kind of sticks in my craw when I see people that have very, very passionate feelings about something that doesn’t impact them directly whatsoever until it does.
And then all of a sudden, oh, well, you know, we have to be compassionate towards these people. Where was your compassion before it impacted you? Why couldn’t you just be compassionate beforehand? And I’m guilty of it as the next. I think we all are to some extent.
Doc Issues: That’s the default. The default of human existence is that nothing is as important to me as anything that’s happened, happened to me personally.
As soon as something happens to me personally, then it is more important than anything that has ever existed. I’m saying it in that exaggerated form because it gives the proper emotional weight to how we process the world. That is what we do. And just the fact that we are having this discussion right now allows for much better processing of other views in the future.
And that’s the part that’s been missing for a long time. Partly due to technology. We couldn’t do this at the scale that we do nowadays. That’s one thing. But the other part of course, is that, how do I, oh boy, this is going to sound rough, but the consequences are different now. The magnitude has always been dire.
It really is a matter of how, how we function as a society, but
let’s be, let’s be real about this. Depending on where we were in this country and depending on, you know, how far. And I’m only saying decades. I’m not even saying that long. How likely it is that are we having this conversation? Just, just as an example, just as an example. So, it’s still relatively new in human existence.
The reality of human existence in most of its forms has been, there is a sign that you are a potential threat to my life. Then I want to make sure that you are away from me one way or another so that I can survive. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. You take away that. And you recognize that people are no longer a threat, then magically they get acclimated, and they actually start to build things with one another.
And it’s a constant cycle, and it’s going to keep happening. They’re going to
Anthony: Well, I acknowledge that. That’s the animalistic part of our brain, and that’s something that we haven’t, dare I say, fully evolved past, but problem comes from what defines the threat. And I’m not arguing, by the way, against the idea that We shouldn’t care to avoid threats.
My comment is what constitutes a threat such to the degree that we should move away from it or protect from it or alter society to affect it in some way has been horrifically skewed for centuries. And it’s not perfect now, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it was. Oh yeah. And one can only hope that.
You know, if we can manage to survive another hundred years as, you know, mankind, humankind as a, as a species that we can continue to evolve.
Doc Issues: So, so here’s a, here’s a question that we’re not going to answer in this podcast episode, but I think is a larger question, maybe in the discord. So what would happen?
Let’s go ahead and play this out. So what would happen if we find out that At this point, let’s say sentient, but not human species underwater now has capability of communicating and interacting with us. We find that out like tomorrow, we find this out. What happened? Oh boy. Huh. Huh. Huh.
And, and I’ll admit my, my pessimistic brain says this doesn’t end well. At least what I mean is the next phase does not end well. And then at some point we have a different conversation and things get better until the next thing that we are unfamiliar with comes along,
Anthony: Well, that’s the point of The Abyss. I mean, that was one of the, the key things of that movie. Which I, as I understand it.
Doc Issues: Yeah, I was going to say, listen to some of the interviews with, with the actors.
Anthony: Well, no, what I was going to say, yes, I, I’m not going to get into Cameron’s filmmaking techniques and everything else. My point is just.
The film itself and hopefully getting a a 4K Blu-Ray released soon because that is as far as I’m concerned, one of his best movies and it’s so underrated. But that’s the whole point, is they’re in the depths of the ocean, which real talk, we don’t know what the hell is down there. We know more about the moon than we do about the depths of the ocean.
We know more about what’s going on on Mars than we do on our own planet. To your point, if something is down there, that’s really going to blow our minds. So yeah, so I’d be very curious to see what kind of discussions we could have and, you know, I’ll make social media posts to that end and so forth and so on.
Switching gears now and shifting to a very, very different topic thematically and in every other way loss of a son. Aquaman is unfortunately one of those heroes that has had to undergo the hardest loss and trigger warning. If anybody is uncomfortable with this topic of discussion, jump ahead probably about seven or so minutes just to be, just to be safe and, you know, and come back or skip the rest of the episode if it’s going to upset you that much.
But we do want to talk about it. Loss of a child created a strain on, on him and Mera. Mera wanted nothing to do with him because she blamed him for AJ’s death. And then eventually she came around to the idea that he was hurting just as much as she wasn’t, and that was her. Justifiable emotional response to, to lashing out.
But, we haven’t talked too much about characters that have, have lost, a child. I know roy Harper is probably one of the most famous examples that we’ve covered. You know, you mentioned earlier how Aquaman can be kind of bitter and jaded. nOt just by the way he’s treated by the people that he interacts with, but.
Because he has undergone the most horrific loss imaginable.
Doc Issues: tHat is the example I think that anyone could point to. When you come to the idea that the world is not just as a state, not even saying that the world should be different or any other conclusions that the root thought is that if the world were fair, then these things wouldn’t.
That’s, that’s one philosophical. There’s the layer of perceived innocence of sometimes, depending on, on what happened, if, especially when it comes to children, it’s often random chance. Heaven forbid, it’s something that is intentional, you know, a bad actor, meaning, you know, so like, let’s say someone broke into the house or something.
Robert, Dawn, whatever. Sometimes it’s purely medical. It’s, it’s, or it’s known ahead of time that this child is going to have a short life based on, let’s say a genetic condition or something like that. Once again, not to get timely.
Grief is something that is unique to every person, but is universal in the fact that it’s going to happen and it’s going to be experienced, but the stages of grief, which can happen in any order and can have. Any period of duration, something that I’ll admit I don’t talk about nearly as often is that you don’t have to progress either.
Some people can get stuck in one format or another. And especially when it comes to children, one of the more common ones besides the sadness itself is anger, just, just outright anger. And in that case, along with. Reasoning, it’s, it’s looking to place blame and trying to create a sense of justice in an unjust.
So if it’s, let’s, let’s go the different routes. If it’s medical, well, clearly it’s the hospital’s fault or the doctor’s fault. If it’s a bad actor’s thing, well, I told you that we needed to secure the house better. You never wanted to do anything to protect our family. It’s a random accident.
Well, I can’t believe our town never put up that stop sign. It’s clear that they really have just been trying to be money rubbing crooks that just, you know, are, are looking to, to debase all of us and, make our, our city a worse place every day. You can, you can spin it so many ways.
And in this case, you’re supposed to be this so called hero, this protector, and. Yet, you, you, you know, couldn’t even do that for our son. See the problem is I was going to say I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. Like these, these are things that people truly think about. And once again, I’m not saying it’s a matter of, of blame, you know, but there’s also another, another part to this.
And it’s something that there, there’s two terms here that, that are very important. There’s guilt and there’s shame. Guilt. Is the idea that you feel bad that either you made a mistake or something went wrong. Even if it wasn’t your fault. Like, just the idea that things didn’t happen the way they should have and it leads to negative feelings.
That’s guilt. Shame is the idea that because something negative happened, you are inherently a bad person or the people involved are bad people. There’s a huge difference. Because you can learn from guilt. You can, you can adapt with guilt.
Shame implies that you yourself are broken and you may even question the point of your existence, or if you’re placing it on other people, you’re questioning their existence. There is a huge difference and that level of pain is the type that usually
Anthony: Yeah. Thank you for clarifying the difference between. Guilt and shame. I think a lot of people tend to use the two interchangeably and they’re related, but certainly distinct phrases and, and terms. Also I was looking about Aquababy and it was, it was Arthur Curry Jr. AJ was actually a separate. Child.
Okay. So I just, I apologize, I wanted to clarify that. But yeah, so, I mean, Aquababy was unfortunately murdered by Black Manta. So I mean, you want to talk about the, the bad actor that obviously comes into play. And that is also part of why Mera had the response that she did, because Black Manta hates Aquaman and therefore took it out on their child.
And so Mera’s naturally going to blame Orin for that. Yeah, that’s, that’s some heavy stuff. And I hope with every fiber of my being that anybody listening to this doesn’t experience that I, I don’t even want to, like, Think about it in a academic sense about what that would be like to happen to me or, or you or, or anybody it is, it is an unfathomable loss.
And I am also, you know, to kind of bring it back full circle with some of the things we’ve been discussing. If that has happened to anyone, I am in no way shape or form going to ever shame them or begrudge them for whatever emotional response they have as a result of that. Because to, to be in that position is, it’s, it’s literally unimaginable.
I mean, I, again, I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that. That I do not ever want to think about that happening. And as a result, I’m not going to hold it against somebody if, for whatever method they choose to, to cope with that. And that is radical acceptance and that is compassion. And that is something that I don’t need to undergo personally to empathize with someone.
You know, it’s an extreme example, it’s an absolute extreme example, but I would hope that I’m not alone in that, in saying if that is something that you’ve gone through, that I will give you whatever grace and space you need, and I hope everybody else will. And if they don’t, let me know, and I’ll fuck them up.
On, on site.
Doc Issues: Alright well.
Anthony: There’s a Jersey in me coming out. That’s the overprotective, like, Oh, somebody’s giving you, giving you grief.
Doc Issues: So, so, so I don’t know if you recall this and, and look, I’m a book cause people like to use the phrase open book or whatever. I, I’m a book, like I don’t automatically say things, but if things come up, I will gladly provide the information similar to what a book is, you know?
So you already played that role. I don’t know if you remember this, but you were there. You, you drove me from the gravesite for my sister, for, for her long, and
that was definitely one of the saddest, up to that point, saddest moment in my life, and, and I couldn’t imagine what she would, so it’s, this is one of those, like, I know you just pointed out, you don’t have to, to experience it yourself. I’m letting you know, I know you already know this, but I’m saying you actually did do what you just said you would.
You didn’t have to, you didn’t have to beat anybody up, but you, you were there in a way that I would think any decent person would. And I just saying, thank you.
Anthony: Well, you, you are very welcome. And yeah, I, I, I didn’t want to talk about that cause it wasn’t my story.
Doc Issues: Well, no, I wouldn’t expect you to. Right. I wouldn’t expect you to. And, and. I’m only saying the part that is what I experienced. I can’t put that on anyone else. I’m not trying to, so I’m not getting into detail. I’m just saying anything related to any of these types of situations for anybody that’s gone through it and everything. And I’m saying to anybody else, you know, thank you. You are loved
and that’s it.
Anthony: So we’re going to take a break and a breath. And when we get back, we will get into treatment. So stick around.
And we’re back treatment.
And Arthur Orin does have the power to breathe underwater and talk to fish. All right. And a whole host of other stuff. And again, that’s just what he gets ripped on, but he is a bad ass dude.
Doc Issues: Yeah, see ya. And so what I would focus on is I would need him to show that he could adapt. So I would make sure that he’s in a very calm, controlled environment.
Just allow him, as you said, a safe space. I know he can be comfortable with water, things like that. So, you know, it’s fascinating because, yeah, he has the ability to communicate with these. undersea creatures and, and all of that. So I might make it an environment where he’s in the water, but maybe it’s with different exotic types of fish.
And, I know he wants to relate to humans better, so we could have, different people that could come by and just talk with him. And he could, interact with them, but it would be in the water. But because they can’t be in the water with him, you’d probably have to make it, like, an enclosure, and, you’d want to make sure that he’s able to stay in shape, so you have a few things, you probably have a beach ball, you have some recreational things maybe, you make sure he has a good regimented schedule, and, there’s an opportunity To make sure that he could protect those creatures in a nice, safe, temperature regulated environment.
Preferably between the hours of 9 a. m. and 5 p. m. With extended hours on weekends. aNd his name’s Aquaman, so I mean, he needs, because he needs so much activity, it has to be a gymnasium. So I’m thinking if you combine Aquaman with the gymnasium, you get aquarium. And
I’m sorry, this, this, I, I’m really trying. And I even did the same joke with Namor. I know, I know. And yet I can’t help it. I can’t help it. All right, fine. Call me an aquatic bigot. All right, you can do it. Doggone it. I just have a lot
of trouble with it. Boy, the anti SeaWorld folks are not going to be fans of this episode.
They are, they’re going to yell very loudly through that thick glass and protest outside our offices. Yeah.
Anthony: So out of universe, then.
Doc Issues: No, out of universe, you have a person who has a type of tumultuous background where it’s obvious they have a lot to contribute to different spheres and it’s not going the way they want. They’ve had their share of loss. Be it as personal as what we described before and just feel like they get pulled in so many different directions.
It truly is important, forget the jokes and all that stuff, it is truly important to create that safe space, create that environment where they feel like they can let, they can actually talk about things that they know they can’t talk about to anybody else because they are ostracized one way or another by their own social circle.
Like even the people that they think they’re close to, they know that there are certain topics that are off limits in that setting and they need someone else to vent and it’s not just venting. Okay. Therapy isn’t, isn’t really about venting. It’s just the idea of finding a person that is allowing you to process emotional information in a way that’s not going to be self destructive or harmful.
So that’s what it comes down to. If, if. For example, the person is struggling with the idea that they’re trying to make a transition from one social group to another social group because of previous negative experiences. You may have some knowledge about that other social group. It’s not your job to introduce it to them.
It’s your job to find out what they want to know about this other social group that they’re worried about. If it’s creating anxiety for them, or they have already had one negative experience and they’re catastrophizing about the idea that that’s permanently going to be the cycle that it’s always going to be negative and break them out of it, or.
It’s their anger about the idea that every time they have an interaction based on previous, previous events, they are going to lash out. And your job is to either mute that or transform it. So, or allow them to transform it so that maybe they sublimate it. Meaning, okay, maybe some of that resentment, some of that bitterness is still there, but you end up being the person that people go to because you’re pointing out how you survive.
Whatever, whatever format these things take, it’s not your job to pick the path. It’s just simply to show them, here are the potholes along the way. That’s what that, you know, that’s really what that type of interpersonal therapy is supposed to be about. Just letting them know, here is your, and, and, spoiler alert, kind of use this term in, in the skit, here is your roadmap.
Okay, whichever path you take, that’s fine, but let’s go ahead and let’s just lay it all out so that You’re going to have fewer emotional, you know, disasters along the way. You’re still going to have some down points. You’re still going to have some difficulties, but it doesn’t mean that everything has to fall apart.
Anthony: Yeah. I think what a lot of people I’m going, I’m going to take this to a realm that I’m a little more, I guess, comfortable and familiar with, and I’m going to talk about it in terms of parenting a child. It is not your responsibility as the parent. I don’t know. This flies in the face of a lot of. You know, a lot of older people and a lot of discourse out there.
It is not your responsibility to explain to your child what kind of emotional response to have to a particular issue. It is your job as a parent to explain, to, to give them the space to have that emotional response and then work with them to help them figure out a way to be safe with whatever that response is and to
them figure out the solution that works for them. What I mean by that is, and the example that I guess I’ll use is If you are watching your kid play with something and you see that they’re about to fail or they’re going to come to a less than ideal result with whatever the thing is, assuming of course that it’s not dangerous or life threatening, you could say, Hey, be careful there.
Or if you do that, you’re going to end up with whatever. Don’t. Say less. Let the kid figure it out. And be there for them when they have the emotional response. Say, yeah, that must have been really tough. You were trying to get this done and it didn’t work out. What are you trying to achieve here? And they’ll explain, I wanted to get this done.
Okay, so if you’re trying to get this done, clearly that didn’t work. What’s something else you think you could do to achieve that result? Because if you tell them, they might do it, but they’re not going to take the lesson away that they need to. It’s not going to stick because. We’ve all experienced this.
The lessons we learn the hard way or the lessons that we learn directly through personal experience, those are the ones that stay with us. You’ll remember something that somebody says to you and it, it will help, but the lessons that really stick are the ones you learn yourself. So as a parent, it is your job to Be there kind of behind the child, but not clearing the path.
You want to walk alongside or behind them, never in front. And so to your point, you know, what you were talking about with, with therapy is, it’s not about the roadmap. It’s, we’re about clearing the path for them. It’s helping make sure that they feel secure in their navigational decisions. That’s the important thing.
And that’s the, what a therapist should be doing. And that’s what a parent should be doing. So that’s just kind of my take on it. I’m sure someone may disagree.
You know, that’s, that’s why we have the podcast and that’s why we have the community that we have. So if you like what we say or you disagree, please, by all means, let me know. I am open. My ears and mind are open. As are my DMs.
So let’s see what happens when we get Aquaman on Dr. Issues’s fish tank couch. Maybe one of those little sunken ships with the treasure chest that the bubbles come out of. Let’s see what happens.
Doc Issues: Hello, Aquaman. I’m Dr. Issues. Wait, would you prefer, I’m sorry. Let me look at it. Arthur? Orin? Your, your chart has some conflicting information in my electronic health record, Burgess files, pretty haphazard.
Anthony: Doctor, you can just stick to Aquaman for now. Most land acquaintances do.
Doc Issues: Do they now?
So what can I do for you?
Anthony: Well, I’m in a state of flux. I’m trying to keep on course. And the problem is I don’t have a map.
Doc Issues: Are you speaking metaphorically or is this some sort of buried
Anthony: I don’t make puns and I need you to take this seriously.
Doc Issues: My, my apologies.
So how’d you get so lost?
Anthony: I’m not sure. I have a lot of people counting on me, but when they all ask for help at once, they’re like crabs in a barrel.
They’re too quick to lionize me as their savior and too quick to denigrate me as a fake.
Doc Issues: I’ll admit that sounds like injustice, and I don’t mean that from a dramatic perspective. The world hasn’t always been
fair to you, has it?
Anthony: Maybe not, but I suppose I can’t complain too much. It’s just there’s, there’s no breathing room, and I, Ahem, pardon, I just need to go drink some water.
Doc Issues: Sure, go
right ahead. Did you have to soak
the whole couch?
Anthony: No, my kingdom is good for it. You don’t mind barnacles, right?
Doc Issues: Barnacles? No, but the jellyfish.
Anthony: Anyway, my kingdom, it’s not always my kingdom. Sometimes I want to swim away and never see any of them again. but I won’t abandon my family.
Doc Issues: Priorities. Got it. Sound like you have a lot of triggers that could exacerbate anxiety and or depression. Have you experienced any of those symptoms? If you’re familiar with that?
Anthony: Well, I’m. Admittedly, not the one with the degree, but if you’re referencing eternal sadness, sleepless nights, the sense of dread that your society will be wiped out, and those who know of you before you know them are willing to kill everyone you love for the sake of power, so you let your own sense of pride burst forth into a fit of rage that only the mightiest of beings can come close to matching,
perhaps I have.
Doc Issues: I won’t snap the judgment on diagnosis, but you really don’t need any labels right now. Sounds like you’ve had stuff going on for a long time. So what led you to come to me now?
Anthony: I’m not really sure.
Doc Issues: You’ve said that
more than once.
Anthony: And I’ve meant it every time. This is the only place I can use a phrase like that and not die.
Doc Issues: Mostly right. Sometimes wrong. Never in doubt. Real type A minds.
Anthony: If that makes the most sense to you, then yes.
Doc Issues: All right. I’ve been in this spot before. I’m a buffer zone. That can work. Ultimately, you’re going to have to find a way to recreate that in other environments.
Anthony: That’s tricky to do when the natural state of those environments are hostile.
Doc Issues: Are they really? I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m just challenging the assumption.
Anthony: There’s a not insignificant portion of my kingdom who believes I was cursed the moment I was born. There’s also a large segment who wishes I would vacate the throne and never return.
Not surprisingly, those two segments share a healthy overlap. So when the very people I aim to lead don’t want me in the leadership role, I think it’s fair to say it’s a hostile environment. And that’s ignoring the numerous threats on my life, the never ending struggle with my half brother, various threats from the surface world.
Doc Issues: Then you need a huge amount of resiliency and that doesn’t get built in a vacuum. You mentioned family as your number one priority. Are they, like, integrated into how you process your life? Or are they, how do I put this, delicate figurines that you keep sheltered in your mind so you don’t lose them?
Anthony: I would never refer to them as delicate or sheltered.
But I don’t make my personal life a spectacle either. Mera is everything to me. Sometimes the only thing.
Doc Issues: It’s okay to
want more than that.
Anthony: I don’t need more.
Doc Issues: I specifically didn’t say need, I said want. You know, aspirations that are your own, even in the midst of external value.
Anthony: That is such a land dweller
thing to say.
Doc Issues: I confess my bias, yes, but I’m acknowledging your culture as well.
I’ll have to learn on the fly how to blend your understanding of how the world works with my own. You know what? I embrace that challenge.
Anthony: That’s encouraging, so how far are you willing to go?
Doc Issues: I don’t know,
that’s, that’s really vague, and I know that type of question is leading to some form of discomfort.
Anthony: No whining! You may be granted a privilege that will change your life, if you are a brave soul.
Doc Issues: See, I’m a coward, so
Anthony: Nonsense! You just need some basic skills. Can you swim?
Doc Issues: Yes.
Anthony: Good. Can you hold your breath for at least two minutes?
Doc Issues: What?
I don’t know. Probably? But wait, I see this. If you’re alluding to what I think you are, I don’t think my freediving skills are up to
Anthony: We’re not savages. We have equipment. You just need to be fit enough for the transition.
Doc Issues: And this benefits you how, exactly?
Anthony: If I can show you just how unique our ways are, then you would be able to not only assist me, but also those who question my position. Expand your practice. I’m actually doing
you a favor.
Doc Issues: Fair enough. Can you Give me some time to mull this over. You know, I’m not used to someone actually getting so gung ho about my sessions.
but I won’t wait forever. If you need to seek counsel from those who would put your mind at ease, then I understand. You will hear from me shortly.
Okay. Sounds like it went well.
Doc Issues: Yeah.
Like I said, I mean, it’s always encouraging for therapists when people really are pumped with the idea of continuing treatment. So yeah. Yeah.
Anthony: Okay, so recommended reading is the Peter David run, which would be I would say mid nineties late eighties to mid nineties with a focus on Time and Tide and the Atlantis Chronicles.
They really give a lot of the foundational depth for Orin is, and I’m specifically focusing on Orin, because as I said, I feel like that’s the, the version that. underwent a lot of the biggest stuff and is also one of the most three dimensional versions of the character. So recommend checking that out.
Next episodes, Echo, Speedball, and Deathstroke. Hopefully, I will add the caveat to Echo. We are working on getting guests because as I mentioned several times and I believe we tried to do Echo. Back when the Hawkeye series came out, we are working on trying to find guests to speak about the character from the indigenous perspective, as well as the deaf slash hard of hearing perspective.
Since Doc and I are neither deaf nor Native American and definitely don’t feel like talking about two very key aspects of who Maya Lopez is without the proper perspective. So. We will bring on guests. We’re working on scheduling guests. So the schedule for that may shift a little bit. It might not be exactly when the series drops.
We’re, we’re working on it. I’ll just kind of give that caveat. I don’t always do that around scheduling. It’s just tends to be more of a, Hey, I know we were supposed to do this, but something went askew. So I’m just giving, I’m giving us an out in, in the event that that that falls through. So All of our episodes are available on our website, capes on the couch.com.
We are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and threads at capes on the couch. I’ve been posting a little bit more onto TikTok as of late ’cause that’s where the audience supposedly is and threads as well. Since Twitter seems to be a walking zombified, hellscape at this point I don’t know how much longer that’s going to exist.
Twitter XI still refuse to call it X. And, as always, we are proud members of the Gonna Geek Network, so you can go to Gonna geek network.com and check out all of our sister shows. I know our friend Chris over at Play Comics just dropped an episode on wwf No Mercy for the N 64, and I commented in the Discord about how Doc and I played played that and, and WrestleMania 2000 in particular.
Yes, yes. All of those N 64. Yuki games. I’m pretty sure I still have the, the cartridge with our creator wrestlers on it that we made back in high school. Amazing. Yes. And we, we had a foam belt that we would use for the championship.
Doc Issues: Yes. I had that championship belt, which I, Oh my God. I got that as a kid.
yeah, it was an old foam intercontinental title. Yep.
Anthony: Gosh, the memories. Good stuff, good stuff. So well, I guess that’s gonna wrap it up for this episode, Doc.
Doc Issues: Okay, hold on, hold on. I don’t have any puns because that sound you heard, that’s a text. It’s from Aquaman. Okay, we’ve never had this happen before, so I’m just gonna read this out for you guys.
Confidentiality aside, I mean, like, this is fair game. Thanks for the introductory session. I know I told you I would contact you shortly, but I am so excited that I did a search on therapy techniques. Oh boy, Dr. Google. This is, this is potentially problematic, folks. Don’t always. I Think you’ll understand my world better if you engage in flooding.
Okay. Flooding, wait, wait, wait, people, you need to understand this. Flooding refers to the idea of in order to get over a fear or something, you just get exposed to it a lot. Oh, this is not a request. The hell does that mean? I mean, look, okay, I, we, we know what he wanted. I mean, do I just go to the beach or the, or the aquarium?
What the hell?
I guess I should try to keep my head
above water right now.
Anthony: I don’t think he needed to be quite so dramatic. So, for Drowning Doctor Issues, I’m Anthony Sytko, and we’ll see you next time.