It took Aquaman nearly eight decades to star in his own movie, but over the last 50 years he's turned up on TV in many different forms.

The ocean-dwelling character made his first comic book appearance in 1941, and his TV debut 26 years later. Though Aquaman was one of the first superheroes to be embraced by the public, he has had to wait a long time for his big-screen moment in the sun. While his contemporaries Batman and Superman scored many hit films and TV shows over the years, the king of Atlantis remained mainly in the shadows, reduced to occasional cameos. Worse, the character was often the butt of jokes, usually related to his somewhat-limited powers and campy appearance.

But the new Aquaman film has proven to be a box office powerhouse, earning more than $800 million worldwide. Though it is the third live-action movie to feature Jason Mamoa's version of the character, following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017), it is the first full-length feature film centered around him.

When Aquaman finally hit the movie spotlight in December 2018, he was a far cry from the character first seen on TV more than 50 years ago. Gone was the orange and green spandex, clean-cut blonde hair and powder blue eyes. In their place, Momoa's version had long brown hair and beard, with armor-like attire and an intimidating scowl.

It's been a long transformation for Aquaman. As you'll see below, the character's journey has included stints as a buttoned-up do-gooder, a brooding college student and even a quirky kid's show host. Here's our look at Aquaman's TV and film evolution: