Supervillain Origins: King Shark

Written by Craig Butler There are a lot of reasons to be afraid of sharks – and he’s all of them. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origin of King Shark. As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginings and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen primarily to follow the storyline which unfolded in 1994’s Superboy #9 and which was expanded upon in 1999’s Superboy #67 and 2006’s Aquaman, Sword of Atlantis #45. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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There are a lot of reasons to be afraid of sharks – and he’s all of them. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origin of King Shark.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginings and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen primarily to follow the storyline which unfolded in 1994’s Superboy #9 and which was expanded upon in 1999’s Superboy #67 and 2006’s Aquaman, Sword of Atlantis #45.

The monstrous hybrid known as King Shark is not someone you want to meet in a dark alley – or in the murky depths of the ocean either. Standing 7’2” tall and weighing 380 pounds, his sheer size would be reason enough to avoid him. But add in those rows of razor-sharp teeth and it’s easy to see how he can give even the likes of Superboy or Aquaman a run for their money.

King Shark debuted in 1994 as an antagonist for the Boy of Steel. As the story began, Superboy and some friends were enjoying some free time in Hawaii. They were having a stereotypically 90’s afternoon by the ocean when suddenly a shark was sighted. Superboy flew into action, rescuing a child that the shark had dragged under. But there was something curious about this shark. Based on the glimpse Superboy got of him, he seemed to have arms.

A special government agent by the name Sam Makoa appeared on the scene. After examining the marks on the girl that had been attack, Makoa determined that the being in the water was not really a shark.

According to legend, long ago, in the Waipo Valley of Hawaii, a mysterious figure named Nanaue warned Islanders to stay out of the water. Those who didn’t heed his warning soon found themselves devoured by a gigantic shark – who turned out to be Nanaue himself. And Nanaue was the son of the Shark God.

In present-day Hawaii, there was a human who claimed to be Nanaue’s mother. And her son was the King Shark who had attacked this girl and had been responsible for a string of previous killings.

Makoa, however, didn’t believe that King Shark was a mystical creature tied into Hawaiian legend. Instead, he believed him to be a mutant of some sort. Makoa had captured him several years ago and sent him to prison – but the beast had been broken out of captivity the night before.

Superboy and Makoa located King Shark’s mother. She revealed her son had come to her - and she fed him her arm because he was hungry. But like any mother, she refused to rat out her child.


Fortunately, Superboy figured out where King Shark was hiding. After a pretty brutal fight during which Superboy discovered that his cool new goggles also came with some handy-dandy new powers, King Shark was captured.

While Makoa was convinced King Shark was nothing but a genetic anomaly, Nanaue’s mother continued to maintain he was the child of the Shark God.

So what was the truth? DC seemed to go back and forth on this. A few years later, Superboy made a casual passing reference to King Shark actually being a “wild man,” meaning an evolved animal of a type familiar in the DC Universe. That took him firmly out of the “son of the Shark God” mythos. But then when the character popped back up in a 2006 Aquaman storyline, he had conversations with his father - the Shark God. So although it hasn’t been definitively stated, our money is on King Shark really being the son of a Hawaiian deity. At least until DC continuity changes again.

For someone who’s not a household name, King Shark has spent a decent amount of time in other media. He may not have been able to parlay his role in the Suicide Squad comics into a part in the live action movie, but he has shown up on The Flash TV series and in several animated projects. Why he hasn’t shown up on “Shark Tank” yet is anybody’s guess.
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