Aquaman was, and is still is, one of my favorite bad asses of all time.
My first exposure to Aquaman was on the Saturday morning show, SuperFriends (1973). Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman & the Junior SuperFriends (lame) were also on the show - but my favorite was Aquaman. Most kids liked Superman or Batman best. And of course, girls thought Wonder Woman was cool - but not me. This tomboy was all about the blonde dude who could talk to fish, whales and dolphins. He could swim better than anyone AND he could breathe underwater. Total. Bad. Ass. I loved the design and lettering of his name, the colors of his uniform and I even accepted he had a wife (Mera, spoiler alert - she dies). I used to think it would be cool to be AquaLad - but decided it was best to pretend to be the king, himself. Besides, AquaLad was lame. I suppose my love of Aquaman was a precursor to my fondness of Disney's The Little Mermaid, Ariel. But let's face it, Ariel is cute - and Aquaman can beat up her dad, King Triton.
I remember playing Aquaman in the pool as I attempted to swim like him. I tried my best to hold my breathe as I sat at the bottom of the deep end, too. (I also pretended that the shark from Jaws would come out of the deep end filter if I swam over it) so it's safe to say I was prepared if he did so because I would send the shark my Aquaman rays to go away.
Years later, I found Aquaman comic books and bought some cheap ones in college. I still have them - all nicely, protected in their plastic sleeves. I recently tried to sell them and found they are worth some good cash - but "only to serious Aquaman collectors" and "good luck" was my feedback from the local comic book owners. So they're still in the basement. It seems I'm still the only one who thinks he's the coolest and a total bad ass.