Photo via Facebook
Aquaman is a much-maligned figure in the broader comic community, but here in San Antonio he is a beloved hero. This far inland from his vast, watery realm, he is known to many by his alter ego Jonathan Vela, a prominent fixture in the local cosplay community who died August 8 due to complications from a stroke. He was laid rest today at San Jose Burial Park.
Vela, 38, billed himself as Aquaman-San Antonio. He channeled his passion for geek culture and the Atlantean superhero for the greater good. Clad in the comic book character’s signature green and orange costume, he entertained sick children at area hospitals and brought awareness to various causes, including autism, the Red Cross and the Special Olympics.
Family and friends filled the Angelus Funeral Home last night to say goodbye and pay their respects. Dozens of cosplayers attended in costume to celebrate his life and passion. Vela himself was buried in the costume that made him such a visible and admired figure in the community.
Vela was set to begin a career as a teacher before he suffered a stroke, his fifth, last month. Because he was uninsured, a GiveForward campaign has been set up to pay the medical expenses that were left behind. So far, nearly $7,000 has been raised toward the $25,000 goal. Friends are also throwing a fundraiser called Aquafest at the Korova on August 23 to benefit his family.