Danielle Paige on That time She met Mera (and Aquaman) and a Few More Facts About the Journey to Mera: Tidebreaker

Earlier this month new graphic novel line D.C. Ink launched with Danielle Paige’s Mera: Tidebreaker, exploring the origin story and politicization of sea teen Mera—never again to be known simply as “Aquaman’s girlfriend.”

Here, Paige shares some fun facts about her (and Mera’s) journey to Tidebreaker

1. We based Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman, on a young Bay Watch–era Jason Momoa. Aquaman traditionally has blond hair and pale skin—but when I got to write him in Mera: Tidebreaker, I asked if it was at all possible for him to look more like Jason. There are lots of variant covers that resemble Momoa, but I believe our book is the only one that resembles him on every page.

I also got to show Jason the likeness at Comic Con, and to meet Amber Heard, aka Mera! Both seemed enthused about the art and were so lovely. I also got to go to the Aquaman movie premiere (there was a blue carpet!) where I met Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Black Manta) and Patrick Wilson (Orm).

2. Stephen and I created our book without seeing or knowing anything that was in the movie. Mera: Tidebreaker exists outside of continuity, so I got to tell the story my way—but I was thrilled to see how my vision lined up with the movie’s. With one big difference, my Mera begins with a mission to kill Arthur. She initially believes that taking out the heir to Atlantis is the key to securing her own throne and finding justice for her people. But when she meets him and discovers what a good man he is, she has a huge decision to make: follow what she she’s always believed, or follow her heart.

4. I got to draw a dress and Stephen actually incorporated it in the book!

I adore fashion, and I think it’s a quick way to tell you a little more about characters. Mera is a princess and a warrior by birth, but she rails against the princess part. The dress I drew appears in the latter half of the book, and is the first piece of clothing she chooses for herself on land and outside the influence of royal expectations. The dress is both a way of fitting in on land but also a choice that signifies a bit of the freedom Mera expresses on her rogue mission to kill Arthur!

5. Before choosing this watery palette, Stephen experimented with a more colorful, almost fairy tale-ish palette. But I love this one, which both evokes the sea and gives the book a more grownup sensibility.

6. I originally pitched Aquaman as a take on the Little Mermaid. But ultimately, I got to write Mera instead, and I’m so glad I did! Mera is as powerful as Wonder Woman and Aquaman and as complicated and clever as Batman. Outside of her obvious strengths, she shows us her ability to love and change, two things we need more of now than ever. I hope that those new to Mera will fall in love with her, and that those who are superfans will feel I did her justice!!

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