How King Shark went from DC's aquatic demigod to The Suicide Squad's goodest boy
King Shark, otherwise known as the demigod Nanaue, is having a moment, beyond even Gunn's new DC movie (out in theaters and on HBO Max this Friday). The character with his XXXXL hoodie, by way of voice actor Ron Funches, has become a mainstay of the popular Harley Quinn animated series. He'll also star in an upcoming Suicide Squad video game and headline a new comic series starting this September. The shark man is everywhere.
To those who have set the stage for King Shark's current pop culture spotlight, his popularity makes sense. "Imagine you went to a dull party, and you have a choice to bring along either an accountant friend from work, or a 7-foot-tall carnivorous fish who tells jokes and proclaims his shark-hood every few minutes… which one is going to be more popular?" Gail Simone, who penned a prominent King Shark story in her Secret Six comics, tells EW. "His dad is the god of sharks. I guess that makes him, basically, shark Jesus," says Tim Seeley, who's writing this year's Suicide Squad: King Shark.
Mairghread Scott, a writer on DC animated films like Justice League Dark: Apokolips War and Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, calls the character "a Rorschach test for how you feel about comics in general." "There's a man dressed as a bat and we're all going to pretend that's serious and not just weird," she says. "When you get to the level of King Shark, you really have to stare the weirdness right in the face."
Karl Kesel first created King Shark in the pages of his Superboy comic in 1994, but, according to writer Adam Glass, it's like everyone since has been building upon the character. And now, he's made it to the big screen with Sylvester Stallone voicing the aquatic royalty.
EW spoke with some of the creators behind key moments in King Shark's evolution to show just how far this guy has come.
Additional reporting by Clark Collis.