Aquaman Wiki
Cal Durham
General Information
Real name: Calvin Durham
First Appearance: Adventure Comics #452 (July, 1977)
Created by: David Micheline
Jim Aparo
Affiliations: Aquaman
Black Manta
Abilities: Amphibian
Biological Adaptation
Enhanced Strenght
Enhanced Speed
Night Vision
Expert Combatant
Expert Swimmer
Portrayed by: None



The villain known as Black Manta and the hero Aquaman battled repeatedly for several years. During one of these confrontations, it was revealed that he was actually an African-American man who used the pretense that his objective was for Black people to be dominant in the oceans below, after having been oppressed for so long in the lands above. Most of Black Manta's henchmen were also black. Manta's activist claims, as stated by Manta himself, was not his true goal. His preoccupation was with the destruction on Aquaman. In a fit of deranged anger, Black Manta killed Aquaman's young son Arthur. This act not only forced Aquaman into a long depression, but it also made him become obsessed with bringing Manta to justice.

Aquaman goes in search of Black Manta, fighting his way through Manta's undersea henchmen. Meanwhile Black Manta is dealing with the potential rebellion of his lieutenant, Cal Durham, who believes that Manta has let thoughts of vengeance cloud his focus, and has put aside his pledge to make an underwater refuge for his people.

Manta forcefully squelches Durham's doubts just before they both go to confront a recently captured Aquaman. When Manta attempts to have Aquaman killed, Durham rebels but is knocked unconscious by a henchman. Durham is ejected out to sea in a torpedo tube, apparently to drown. Meanwhile Manta has Aquaman strapped to a missile.

Luckily, Durham's gill implants finally kick in, and he is able to shoot off Aquaman's restraints allowing him to escape Manta's deathtrap.

Later, Durham discovers that while he can easily breathe and speak underwater, his lungs cannot accept air. Aquaman vol. 1 #57 (August 1977).


While visiting New Venice, Aquaman is accosted by a little girl who asks him to come and see her cousin, Cal Durham. Cal tells Aquaman that he was released from prison a week ago and was staying with relatives in New Venice. Durham had apparently discovered that Black Manta was active again nearby. Both men are captured while attempting to uncover Manta's plans, and he informs them that he has built a new underwater army, with which he intends to invade Atlantis. His only apparent motivation for this plan is hatred of Aquaman.

Continuing the story from issue #477, Black Manta launches a brace of tactical nuclear missiles at New Venice, and he and his army attack Atlantis. Aquaman and Durham escape from their prison, and Aquaman has some dolphins use coordinated sound waves to knockout the missiles' guidance systems. Black Manta’s troops are halted by Aquaman and Vulko, who offer them a chance to become Atlantean citizens. The ragtag army lays down its arms. Mera shows up and places Black Manta in a hardwater shell, having been brought to the scene by Cal Durham.

Cal explains to Aquaman that Black Manta was in still in prison when he was released. Their captive Manta is revealed to be an android, and promptly explodes.

Sword of Atlantis[]

In November 2006, writer Tad Williams stated that he would be using Cal Durham in his run on Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis. Cal appears in issue #50 as the new Mayor of Sub Diego, Cal's people discover an amnesiac Tempest, who is brought to the ruins of Poseidonis, as seen in the following issues Cal retains some of the temperament, training and weapons from his time as a mercenary.

Powers and Abilities[]


  • Biological Adaptation:Cal Durham's body is adapted to existence at extreme undersea depths.
  • Enhanced Strength
  • Enhanced Speed
  • Night Vision:Cal Durham's eyes are capable of using the dim light available on the ocean floor.
  • Amphibian:Due to Black Manta's extensive gene modification surgery, his gills can separate oxygen from water allowing him to breathe. Unlike a normal human, his lungs are incapable of processing undiffused oxygen.


  • Expert Combatant:Cal Durham is an ex-mercenary trained in weapons and tactics.
  • Expert Swimmer

In other media[]

Young Justice[]

See: Calvin Durham (Young Justice)

See Also[]