The first teen hero to bear the name “Aqualad” at DC Comics was an Atlantean named Garth. His later flirtations with sorcery aside, Garth was a mostly unremarkable character (he didn’t even last one episode of DC Universe’s ongoing live-action Titans show). When the animated Young Justice premiered in 2010, it introduced a new version of Aqualad named Kaldur’ahm, who has evolved into one of the show’s most compelling characters. DC Comics created their own version of that Aqualad with the introduction of Jackson Hyde that same year. Now, Jackson Hyde will be the focus of DC’s latest YA graphic novel: You Brought Me the Ocean.
Written by novelist Alex Sanchez (the Rainbow trilogy) and illustrated by Julie Maroh (Blue Is the Warmest Colour), You Brought Me the Ocean is the story of Jake Hyde’s first love. Set during his senior year of high school in the middle of the New Mexico desert, the book finds Jake yearning for the ocean, determined to apply to a college on a coast. Maybe that’s part of why he’s so attracted to Kenny Liu, swim team captain and rebel against conformity. His closeted sexuality isn’t Jake’s only secret: He’s also got strange blue markings on his skin that glow when in contact with the water.
“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,” Sanchez said in a statement. “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.”
Maroh’s warm palette and humanistic art help distinguish the book from normal superhero comics.
“I’m particularly excited and proud to see this book coming to life in a crucial decade for LGBTQ+ rights,” Maroh said in a statement. “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.”
You Brought Me the Ocean is on sale June 9, 2020. Check out a preview below.