While movies like The Little Mermaid and Splash certainly left pop culture fans dreaming about what it would be like to be a mermaid, in 1968 comics introduced a different aquatic dream to aspire to. Do you know who this was?
Dolphin, created by writer-artist Jay Scott Pike, made her debut into the DC Comics Universe in Showcase #79 (December 1968). As a very young girl, Dolphin fell off a cruise ship and narrowly escaped drowning thanks to a mysterious alien race. Unfortunately, this was less like a rescue and more like a convenient abduction. This race used Dolphin as an experimental prototype for a subaquatic humanoid race, giving her gills, webbed fingers and toes, shining white hair, superhuman strength, resilience to deep water pressures, and a slowed aging process.
Eventually, Dolphin escaped the underwater lab but was oblivious to her former humanity. While scavenging underwater, she later found what would become her trademark short blue jeans and white shirt inside a sunken ship. By the time she reached young womanhood, Dolphin was tired of living a lonely and isolated life. While searching for new shores, Dolphin found herself in a near lethal encounter with a dolphin-killing shark. Fortunately, the crew of an oceanology vessel saved her in the nick of time and officially named her Dolphin.
Although the crew tried to educate and care for her, her lack of contact with humans in her youth had left her mute. Though she quickly picked up the spoken language, she was unable to speak herself. Later on, a young female doctor on the crew instructed Dolphin in sign language to allow her to communicate with them. Dolphin was then able to explain her story and expressed her desire to rejoin the undersea world. In future stories, particularly with the superheroic community, Dolphin had mastered the spoken language. Despite now being able to speak, Dolphin remained shy and is often reluctant to speak.
During the Zero Hour event, Dolphin met Aquaman and briefly enjoyed a romantic relationship with him. However, following the return of his wife Mera, this courtship was cut short. Naturally. Much like a soap opera, Dolphin then entered into a relationship with Aqualad – who was going by Tempest at the time. The pair were later married in an Atlantean ceremony and gave birth to a son, Cerdian.