Aqualad to Make a Splash in DC’s First LGBT YA Graphic Novel Next Summer

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Next summer, a splash-worthy coming-of-age tale about one of DC’s most popular characters —Aqualad— will hit shelves.

Debuting in June 2020, You Brought Me the Ocean is a new young adult graphic novel from DC that puts a fresh, contemporary twist on Aqualad’s classic origin story and tells an eloquent coming-out romance set against the backdrop of the DC Universe.

According to a statement from DC : “This timely and beautifully told story is brought to life by Lambda Award-winning author Alex Sanchez (Rainbow Boys) and New York Times bestselling illustrator Julie Maroh (Blue Is the Warmest Color), two voices that have been instrumental in shaping the LGBTQ+ experience in young adult literature. Their original tale follows a teenage Jake Hyde as he navigates his senior year of high school and learns to embrace his true self.”

“This story will allow readers to delve deep into the conflicts of being both a teen and super-powered—and what it’s like to be friends with a super-powered teen,” said Sanchez. “I believe it will be the type of book that fans will read twice—the first time, compelled to turn pages to find out what happens next, and the second time to linger over Julie’s spectacularly beautiful imagery. I hope the book will do what graphic novels do best—tell a story on two levels—through words and art.”

RELATED: Latest Episode of ‘Young Justice’ Reveals Aquaman is Queer

“I’m particularly excited and proud to see this book coming to life in a crucial decade for LGBTQ+ rights,” said Maroh. “Lives of gay, queer, and trans people of color are particularly at stake. I sincerely hope that this book will bring light and strength to the daily life of whoever suffers due to discrimination or just feels different.”

A variation of this version of Aqualad made his first appearance in the DC crossover Brightest Day #4 in August of 2010.  It coincided with the appearance of the same Aqualad in the 2010 Young Justice animated series. Brightest Day was the follow up to the Green Lantern centered Blackest Night crossover.

WikiWand describes him as “a teenager from Silver City, New Mexico, Jackson Hyde was taught by his parents to fear water since he was young; they do not want him near it because his true parents would be able to locate him, not to mention certain changes happen to Jackson when he gets in the water. Jackson has kept this secret hidden for years, lying to his girlfriend about being afraid of drowning, being unable to swim and being in the dark about the mysterious tattoos he’s had since birth. Aquaman is later contacted by the Entity, which tells him to locate Jackson before a second unidentified group, which is speculated to be Siren and her Death Squad.”

Jackson is eventually shown a recording from Mera, who explains that his father and mother had been kidnapped and tortured by the people of Xebel (an extra-dimensional Atlantean penal colony) while exploring the Bermuda Triangle, where the gateway to the colony is located. Xebel’s king had ordered that the child, the first “outsider” born there in centuries, be experimented on in order to serve as a key that would finally free them from their exile. Fearing for the child’s safety, Mera had stolen the infant and brought him to the surface world, where she subsequently gave him to the foster family that ended up raising him. She also reveals his true name; Kaldur’ahm.

Kaldur’ahm is revealed to be in a relationship with Garth aka Tempest (see below) in Season 3 of DCU’s Young Justice.

In the original DC Comics’ continuity, Garth was the original Aqualad and founding member of The Teen Titans.

You Brought Me the Ocean marks both Sanchez and Maroh’s first work with DC.

Below is the official synopsis and above are some first looks at the cover and interior images that have been revealed.

“Jake Hyde doesn’t swim––not since his father drowned. Luckily, he lives in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, which is in the middle of the desert, yet he yearns for the ocean and is determined to leave his hometown for a college on the coast. But his best friend, Maria, wants nothing more than to make a home in the desert, and Jake’s mother encourages him to always play it safe.”

There’s nothing “safe” about Jake’s future—not when he’s attracted to Kenny Liu, swim team captain and rebel against conformity. And certainly not when he secretly applies to Miami University. Jake’s life begins to outpace his small town’s namesake, which doesn’t make it any easier to come out to his mom, or Maria, or the world.

But Jake is full of secrets, including the strange blue markings on his skin that glow when in contact with water. What power will he find when he searches for his identity, and will he turn his back to the current or dive headfirst into the waves?

You Brought Me The Ocean will be wherever books are sold on June 9, 2020.

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