DC Comics' new Aquaman character has been turned into a North Korean defector. Comic blog The Beat said the change reflects "the place that North Korea currently occupies in the American public's consciousness."
Originally introduced in 1941, Aquaman is an aquatic superhero who has also made an appearance in the recent "Justice League" movie.
But in the new comic "New Super-Man and the Justice League of China" published by DC Comics on Feb. 14, he has turned into Ahn Kwang-jo, a talented student at the fictive Rajin University of Marine Transport in North Korea.
He is pulled out of class by security officials for having a TV modified to receive transmissions from overseas and is beaten mercilessly. He sweats profusely and two giant crab monsters emerge from the puddle of his sweat.
Calling him "Your Highness," the crab monsters dispose of the officials with their claws and carry him across the border to China amid a hail of bullets.
Founded in 1934, DC Comics is the cartoon factory behind Superman, Wonder Woman and vigilante avenger Batman.
Many of its superheroes have morphed through different phases down the decades according to the mood of the times and how the ideological wind is blowing.