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Long ago, Atlan was one of three children born to Atlantis' King Honsu and his Queen Lorelei (the others were Haumond and Kraken). As he grew, Atlan's hair turned blonde, and many believed this meant he carried the curse of Kordax, the destroyer. For a while he was banished from the city of Poseidonis. When he returned home, Atlan told of life above the surface. His revelations led Honsu to invade the surface world.
Recently, Atlan's spirit visited Atlanna, queen of Atlantis, impregnating her. The child, Orin, was born with blonde hair and abandoned because of this. He grew to become Atlantis' king and the world's hero, Aquaman. Atlan then sired another child with an Eskimo woman. The child, Orm Marius was destined to battle Orin as the Ocean Master. Atlan has also gifted Aquaman's adopted son Garth, now known as Tempest, with formidable mystical abilities.
Atlan was created for use in DC Comics by Peter David and Esteban Maroto, and first appeared in The Atlantis Chronicles #5 which was released in July, 1990.