Black Manta is a supervillain appearing in DC Comics, primarily as the archenemy of Aquaman. The character debuted in Aquaman #35 (September 1967).
For most of his publishing history, Black Manta had no definitive origin story. The first was given in #6 of the 1993 Aquaman series. In this origin, the boy who would become Black Manta grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and loved to play by the sea. As a youth he was kidnapped and sexually abused on a ship for an unspecified amount of time. At one point he apparently saw Aquaman with his dolphin friends and tried to signal him for help but was not seen. Finally, he was forced to defend himself, killing one of his tormentors on the ship with a knife. Hating the emotionless sea (and Aquaman, whom he saw as its representative), the boy was determined to become its master.
A second origin was given in #8 of the 2003 Aquaman series. In this origin, the boy who would become Black Manta was an orphan who has autism and was placed in Gotham City's Arkham Asylum. He felt comfortable in freezing cold water, while cotton sheets were excruciatingly painful. Because the attendants at Arkham didn't know how to deal with autism, they would end up restraining him to the bed as he struggled and screamed whenever they tried putting him there. The boy was also fascinated when he saw Aquaman on television.
The boy would end up being subjected to experimental treatments. One treatment seemed to clear the boy's head, but left him violent as a result; he killed the scientist who had administered the treatment and escaped from Arkham.
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Official Site: DC Comics
Links: Wikipedia Entry Black Manta Profile DC Database Project