Issue 36 - Black Manta

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By Capes on the Couch LLC and Capes on the Couch: Where Comics Get Counseling. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Hot on the heels of the Aquaman movie, Anthony & Doc cover his archnemesis Black Manta! What sort of issues does an autistic black kid raised by pirates have? The kind that lead to Monty Python references - listen now!

SHOW NOTES:

  • Introduction

  • Background (5:31)

    • Black Manta – created by Bob Haney & Nick Cardey in Aquaman #35 (September 1967)

    • Original backstory was that a young black boy was kidnapped from his Baltimore home and forced to work on a ship, where he tried to get Aquaman to save him, but was unsuccessful – blamed Aquaman and the ocean for his troubles

    • A later backstory claimed he was an autistic orphan raised in Arkham Asylum who enjoyed freezing water but hated a bed – he was experimented on, killed the scientist responsible and escaped

    • He designed a helmet that allowed him to shoot energy rays from the eyes, and battled Aquaman on several occasions

    • Revealed at one point that his goal was to have black people control the oceans as reparations for being enslaved on land

    • Kills Arthur Curry Jr., Aquaman’s son, enraging Arthur

    • Sacrifices his soul in exchange for becoming a human/manta ray hybrid – later reversed by Aquaman

    • After Arthur dies, Black Manta retires and works in a fish market, until Arthur is resurrected, at which point he burns down the shop and kills the customers

    • Brightest Day – discover he was a treasure hunter whose pregnant wife was tortured by aliens – the child received powers, and was taken by Mera to Earth to be hidden from the aliens – the child eventually became Jackson Hyde, Aqualad

    • Manta battles Aquaman and cuts his hand off – almost succeeds in killing Jackson but is stopped by Aquagirl and Mera

    • New 52 – Manta gives Arthur’s father a heart attack, so Arthur attacks Manta’s father in retaliation (thinking it was Manta) and kills him, and Manta swears revenge on Arthur

    • Later goes after the Crime Syndicate after Ultraman creates massive tidal waves that wash away his father’s grave

  • Issues (15:41)

    • Autism is so inaccurately portrayed as to be ridiculous – claimed to be source of his anger/violence

    • “Cured” of his autism by serum that turned him into manta ray/human hybrid as a result of deal with devil (23:30)

    • Race angle used to previously justify his anger – also clumsy (31:28)

  • Treatment (40:05)

    • In-universe

    • Out of universe (43:41)

  • Skit (50:52)

  • Ending (57:40)

References:

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86 episodes