For me, the oddest thing about the current popularity of superhero movies is that obscure characters I have loved for years are suddenly household names. Mera, played by Amber Heard in the Aquaman movie, is the latest case-in-point.
Mera was the first mermaid I encountered in comics. In the Aquaman comic, she is a supporting character and love interest, much like in the movie.
She was a scarlet haired water nymph in a form-fitting green suit. In her first appearance, she was drawn at the bottom of the cover. In her second, the enterprising editor put her high up, next to the masthead, where she wouldn’t be hidden by the comics below on the rack. That was the first time I bought Aquaman, so maybe that’s why. But I was ten, so who knows?
I was confused by that suit. She was covered in scales and apparently had webbed feet so I figured those scales were part of her – that she was a two-legged (or two-tailed) melusine like the Starbucks logo. Yes, the scales ended abruptly in a collar at her neck, but I discounted that as artistic license. The first time I saw her in a different outfit, proving that she had boring, human-type feet, I was disappointed.
She was one of the earliest super-powered women (especially if you don’t count spinoff characters like Supergirl); in fact, she was more powerful than the hero (which was never mentioned in the stories). Despite that, Mera has not had a title of her own before now. That’s another benefit of the movie. Her first graphic novel, “Mera: Queen of Atlantis,” went on sale in December. The story is a subplot of a larger Aquaman storyline, and she has to share space with another character (male) but they do spell her name right. And there’s something called “Mera: Tidebreaker” coming out in April that looks promising.
Support your local mermaid!