6024 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Quisp (Aquaman character)

Quisp

(Silver Age)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Quisp is a sort of water fairy. He chiefly appeared in the early issues of the 1962 run of Aquaman. He’s often considered to be Aquaman’s equivalent of Bat-Mite.

This profile covers Quisp’s Silver Age  appearances. When it was written, Grant Morrison had recently been doing interesting things with these “otherdimensional  fairy” characters, so it also gets discussed here.


Background

  • Real Name: Quisp.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Quink (Identical twin brother).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: The secret sea beneath the bed of Earth’s oceans.
  • Height: 2’ Weight: 25 lbs (?).
  • Eyes: Black Hair: Green


Powers and Abilities

Quisp is a water sprite, a magical denizen of the sea (well, the “secret sea” actually) allowing him to move and breathe underwater as easily as human beings do on land. He has no problem conversing with Aquaman and others while submerged, presumably through the same sort of telepathic communication that the Atlanteans have developed.

The water sprites appear to be amphibious; they have no difficulty breathing air.

Quisp also has the other abilities possessed by the water sprites. The most formidable among these is his “water magic”. Using water magic, Quisp can create powerful waterspouts strong enough to catapult two blue whales into the sky or send a loaded freighter skipping across the sea like a stone. By riding one of these waterspouts, Quisp can travel faster than Aquaman can swim.

He also can:

  • Walk on the surface of the ocean.
  • Form tidal waves hundreds of feet high.
  • Empty a flooded fishing village of water in a matter of moments.

Further powers

Quisp can also form water into solid objects. He is seen creating a “solid water” shield to protect Aquaman and hard water balls with which to pelt enemies. The strange, twisted minarets (honeycombed with numerous, large teardrop-shaped windows) that make up the water sprites’ city are actually solid water dwellings created by the sprites.

In addition, Quisp can move objects with his mind. While he can accomplish true telekinesis, he more often uses a form of Attraction / Repulsion which he calls his “Beam of Power” or “Repellor Beam”. This “Beam of Power” can also be a blast of mental force with which Quisp has disarmed opponents and knocked them unconscious.

While his agility and strength are not terribly impressive, Quisp is extremely resistant to damage. He once survived a point blank energy blast from an alien ray gun which hurled him a “sea-mile”.

The little water sprite is quite stealthy often assisting Aquaman by trailing and then spying on their mutual enemies.


History

One day early in their adventuring career, Aquaman and Aqualad along with some of their finny friends were tidying up the Aquacave. Suddenly, strange things began to occur. Topo the octopus’ tentacles tied themselves in knots, a ship’s wooden figurehead bounced around like a pogo stick, and the dinosaur fossil Aqualad was assembling danced and swam about.

Swimming from behind a large clamshell, a tiny man appeared giggling at the funny pranks he had played (Prank 1). Thus did Aquaman first meet the water sprite, Quisp.

Though pleased with his tricks, Quisp soon remembered his important mission ; to warn Aquaman of an invasion of Fire-Trolls. He explained how he and the other water sprites lived in a “secret sea” under the ocean’s bed. There, the sprites witnessed the eruption of a volcano and the emergence of the Fire-Trolls who live within its fiery world.

Even with their magic powers, the sprites were unable to stop the massive ogres and they all fled. All except Quisp, that is.

The coming of the Fire-Trolls

Quisp saw that the fissure that had released the Fire-Trolls also extended into the oceans of the world above his home. Therefore, he went to warn the inhabitants of that world of the coming danger. No sooner did Quisp finish with his story than the Fire-Trolls arrived.

Aquaman, Aqualad, and Quisp battled the monsters even getting an assist from a U.S. missile base. All was for naught, however : the creatures from the volcano were just too tough.

Just then, Aquaman and Aqualad remembered a scientist that they had read about who was working on a “freeze solution”. Quisp transported the trio to the mainland on a whirling waterspout (making Arthur and Garth quite dizzy – Prank 2).

The small amount of freeze solution that the scientist had ready was not strong enough to affect the giant Fire-Trolls but a curious fact was discovered. When the freeze solution reacted with Quisp’s Beam of Power it caused whatever it coated to shrink temporarily.

Unfortunately, this fact was discovered because it happened to Aquaman and Aqualad ! After the pair regained their proper size they accused Quisp of shrinking them as a joke. He didn’t and he seemed hurt that they believed he had.

An intelligent and resourceful hero, Aquaman decided to use the strange diminishing side effect of the freeze solution / Beam of Power combination to shrink the Fire-Trolls in size and make them more manageable. Then, Quisp employed his powers to help seal the shrunken Fire-Trolls back in their volcano home.

While saying good-bye, Quisp admitted that he had such fun on their adventure that he’d like to go on another one with Aquaman some time.

It’s all so much fun !

Quisp must have really enjoyed that adventure because he reentered the upper ocean only weeks later (First appearance – Aquaman #1; second appearance – Aquaman #4). He assisted Aquaman and Aqualad, turning back a tidal wave that threatened to further damage an already flooded fishing village.

Quisp then used his water magic to send all the water out of the partially submerged town in huge arcs of liquid. In moments, the town was dry. When the Aqua-Duo and the villagers sought to thank their diminutive savior, Quisp had already vanished.

He reappeared to save his friends when a strange alien had gotten the drop on them with a ray gun. The water sprite revealed that he had left the scene earlier because he had glimpsed the alien, a Suvian, and others like him and had gone to investigate. Quisp aided Aquaman and Aqualad in keeping the Suvians from gaining the alien super-weapon they sought on Earth.

This adventure is of note because it shows not only how deeply Quisp cares for his friends (he risked his life repeatedly to help Aquaman) but also how tough the little guy is. He took a point-blank blast from one Suvian’s ray gun that knocked him a “sea-mile” but he was not killed, merely shaken up.

Also, Quisp played no pranks on Aquaman or Aqualad during this story although he did take glee in using his Beam of Power on the Suvians to send them flying up into the air.

Quink

Quisp’s next visit to the surface world followed even quicker than the last (Aquaman #6). This adventure introduced Quink, Quisp’s curious and gullible identical twin brother. It seemed that Quink had learned that Quirk, a wanted criminal in the secret sea, was working with a raider from the outside world.

Upon reaching the upper oceans of Earth, Quink had been convinced by the notorious sea criminal Captain Slade that Aquaman was that raider – with predictable results. Quink attacked the Aqua-Duo thinking them pirates. Arthur and Garth fought back thinking their little friend had gone bad.

Quisp soon arrived and straightened out the mix-up, chastising Quink for being such a “bonehead”. Quisp and Quink then assisted Aquaman and Aqualad in stopping Captain Slade and his accomplice, yes, you guessed it, Quirk.

This story is important for it shows that although all water sprites possess the same water magic they don’t all look alike (they did in the Quisp’s first appearance). Quirk has a shaggy mop of fire engine red hair and a maroon tunic.

At the end of the adventure, Aquaman takes possession of a ray gun that Slade had chanced upon. This ray gun can temporarily rob water sprites of their magic powers. Again, Quisp played no pranks on Aquaman.

Water world

Several weeks later (Aquaman #10), Aquaman and Aqualad were on patrol and received an emergency message from Quisp. They followed the map that Quisp supplied in his summons and found themselves swimming deeper and deeper into an undersea cavern. Finally, they arrived in Quisp’s water world under the Earth’s ocean.

Once there, the Aqua-Duo rescued the imprisoned Quisp. The water sprite explained that Quirk was at it again. He had invented a weapon that could “take away and restore powers like that”.

Aquaman and Aqualad helped Quisp and the other good water sprites (who have all manner of hair colors presumably to accent their different colored tunics and trunks. Not surprisingly, they’re all Caucasian. The 1960s, go figure) in their fight against Quirk and his evil sprites. Recapturing Quirk’s power-neutralizing weapon, Quisp asked Aquaman to fire on him and restore his powers.

What Quisp failed to tell Aquaman was that the weapon first puts water sprites into a death- like sleep before restoring their powers (Prank 3 – an uncharacteristically cruel one at that. Aquaman is grief stricken at the loss of Quisp. When Aqualad insists that Quisp’s death is not his fault, Aquaman replies, “I know, Aqualad – but I’ll never forget him – never !”).

Thinking he killed his little friend, Aquaman rededicated himself to defeating the evil water sprites. He and Aqualad battled one of Quirk’s henchsprites named Quilp and were nearly killed until Quisp appeared, hale and hearty, to even the odds. Aquaman, Aqualad, Quisp, and the good sprites defeat Quirk and his evil comrades.

This adventure is important because it shows that Quisp’s secret sea is physically located under Earth’s oceans. No mention is made of any dimensional warp that Aquaman or Aqualad pass through on their journey down to his world. Furthermore, another sprite is named (Quilp) and we see a whole slew of other water sprites.

Regal

Quisp’s last adventure with Aquaman is, tellingly, also Mera’s first (Aquaman #11). In this tale, Quisp assisted Aquaman in fighting off Leron, the usurper to Mera’s throne in her home dimension. After being ambushed by Leron and spending most of the adventure out of the fight, Quisp arrived just as Mera was returning to her home dimension.

The water sprite wanted to say good-bye but was too late. Aquaman assured his little friend that they would surely see Mera again. Well, he was partly right ! Quisp never reappeared even for Arthur’s coronation, his wedding to Mera, or the birth of their son.

Recently, a 5th dimensional imp claiming to be Quisp (Qwsp) has appeared to bedevil Aquaman and his allies in the JLA. It is uncertain if this Qwsp is actually Arthur’s old friend.


Description

Darn cute ! Quisp is a small humanoid being with childlike features, a Caucasian skin tone, and webbed hands and feet. He has green hair swept up to a point on his head, large eyes with long lashes, and pointed ears.

He wears a simple, sleeveless yellow tunic with slightly pointed shoulders and trunks with a thick, black belt. His frame is very thin. Quisp’s overall appearance is very elfin and, yes, ’sprite’ly.


Personality

Somewhere between Mr. Mxyzptlk’s insensitive mischief-making and Bat-Mite’s bumbling hero worship lies the good-natured prankster named Quisp. Since their first encounter, the water sprite has considered Aquaman and Aqualad his friends and has always been ready to lend a helping hand during the pair’s adventures.

The pranks he plays are never as elaborate (or deliberately cruel) as those perpetrated by Mxy and he’s much more willing than that 5th dimensional imp to let his targets off the hook. Furthermore, his help is usually an actual help unlike Batman and Robin’s Silver Age pest, Bat-Mite.

Quisp is like a precocious, but basically decent, child. He genuinely enjoys Aquaman and Aqualad’s company and would do whatever they asked of him, never allowing his desire to make mischief to completely override his “mission”. On several occasions, Quisp risked his life to aid the Sea King and his young ally.

In the presence of his twin brother, Quink, Quisp becomes much more responsible. Quink, on the other hand, is not mischievous like Quisp. He is, however, both curious and gullible.


Quotes

“Zooks !” (Quisp’s all-purpose exclamation of surprise and delight.)

“-Tee hee- Sorry – but I couldn’t resist using my powers to play some pranks ! -Tee hee-”


Are Quisp and Qwsp the same individual ?

In 1999, a 5th Dimensional imp calling himself Qwsp created chaos on Earth by causing a war between two other imps, one of them Johnny Thunder’s magic lightning bolt.

While this being claimed to be the Quisp who had previously encountered Aquaman, there is some evidence that such is not the case. These differences between Quisp and Qwsp may be explained as sloppy writing and editing, or as the result of the Crisis or Zero Hour. Or… these discrepancies are deliberate ; Qwsp is not Quisp.

Evidence

The physical appearance of Qwsp looks absolutely nothing like Quisp. Qwsp has white hair, glowing red eyes, and a ragged green tunic. In addition, he is much larger and more muscular than Quisp, looking like a human of 12 or 13 years (albeit with otherworldly features).

Quisp, on the other hand has a thin, pixie-like body as well as an elfin face. When Qwsp uses his powers it looks like lightning crackling from his palms. Quisp’s Beam of Power looks like a flashlight’s beam fanning out from his hands.

Furthermore, Quisp never displays the variety of powers usually associated with Mr. Mxy or Bat-Mite. It is interesting to note that Aquaman, the one leaguer who might be able to confirm or deny the imp’s identity, never actually encounters Qwsp.

Counter-argument

He’s a 5th Dimensional imp ! He can appear whatever way he wants. Just because he never displayed the ability to adopt a different look in any of his previous appearances doesn’t mean he can’t.

Same goes for the rest of his powers. Qwsp even states that when he saw how much Aquaman had changed, “I thought what sport it would be to change like him.”

Evidence

Characters without Dimension travel can reach Quisp’s secret sea home beneath the Earth’s oceans. Quisp never mentions possessing any ability to travel between dimensions. From their volcano home the Fire-Trolls can enter the secret sea as easily as they do Earth’s oceans. Aquaman and Aqualad come to Quisp’s rescue when he is being held captive in his homeland.

They never encounter any sort of dimensional warp that might allow them to travel to the 5th Dimension ; they merely follow Quisp’s map and swim very deep into an undersea cavern.

Furthermore, Quisp’s undersea home looks nothing like the manic, cartoon-like 5th Dimension that is so chaotic that Green Lantern Kyle Raynor and Captain Marvel can’t even fathom it until Qwsp makes it less complex for them. Except for some strange gigantic sea creatures and the twirling minarets of Quisp’s city, the secret sea looks no different from the Atlantic or Pacific.

Counter-argument

Just because we didn’t see Aquaman and Aqualad travel through a dimensional rift doesn’t mean they didn’t. Perhaps their trip down through the undersea cavern that seemed to stretch on forever was really a swim through a rift in time and space.

The undersea cavern might be a fixed dimensional doorway that allowed the Fire-Trolls to invade both realities and permitted Quisp and Aquaman to aid each other on a more regular basis than Mxy’s 90 day banishments from Earth.

As for the differences between the appearance of the 5th Dimension and Quisp’s home. Both Aquaman and Aqualad are more powerful psychically than either GL or the Big Red Cheese. Maybe the Aqua-Duo’s superior mental powers created an image in their minds that they could grasp.

Evidence

Qwsp’s own words. From JLA #30, “Lately, I came visiting your world to see my old opponent Aquaman, once more.” Also from JLA #30, “I’m Aquaman’s greatest foe.”

Quisp never considered himself Aquaman’s enemy. Of Quisp’s five historical appearances, four involve Quisp aiding Aquaman and Aqualad against threats to the surface world (or, at least, the surface ocean) and one features the Aqua-duo rescuing their little water sprite friend.

Quisp doesn’t even play that many tricks on his buddy, the Sea King. Some adventures pass without a single prank. While not a hero- worshipping pest like Bat-Mite, Quisp is Aquaman’s friend and ally.

During the course of the JLA adventure, Aquaman keeps insisting that he is the only one that can “stop Quisp”. Not “fight Quisp” or “defeat Quisp”. “Stop Quisp”. Perhaps, Aquaman is suggesting that he is the only one who can reason with the water sprite, calling on their once friendship to make Quisp stop these games.

Counter-argument

Those 5th Dimensional imps ! Who can guess at their feelings and motivations ! Obviously, all those previous adventures together, if they actually occurred as depicted, were really extremely elaborate pranks that Qwsp played on his big, dumb “friends”. The Aqua-Dopes don’t even know when they’re getting their fins pulled !

Summary

Is Quisp really Qwsp ? I don’t believe so, mainly because I’m not convinced that Quisp is from the 5th Dimension. One possibility is that Qwsp is a 5th Dimensional admirer of Quisp ; a sort of Qwsp-Mite (™ Doc Sean MacDonald).

He hasn’t seen his little green-haired hero in some time and decides to play reality altering pranks on Aquaman and his friends to lure Quisp into the surface world. Perhaps, he made the study of Quisp his hobby and has become fixated on Quisp’s pal, Aquaman. A desire to play pranks like his hero unfettered by the water sprites’ good-nature would explain the malicious thing that attacked the JLA and JSA.

If Quisp is from the 5th Dimension, it is still possible that the being that attacked the JLA and JSA is not Quisp. After all, wouldn’t Quirk (Qwrk) or Quilp (Qwlp) enjoy driving a wedge between their enemy Quisp (Qwsp) and his loyal friend, Aquaman.

It might have even been Quink (Qwnk), who has become jealous and spiteful over his twin brother’s friendships in the Earth Dimension. When Quisp suggests revisiting his buddies Aquaman and Aqualad, Quink decides to destroy the Earth Dimension – “Now, you’ll have to stay and play with me !”


Sharing



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Quisp

Dex: 05 Str: 01 Bod: 10 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 03 Occupation: Water Sprite
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 01
Init: 13 [14] HP: 40

Powers:
Air Walking: 00, Attraction / Repulsion: 12, Fog: 07, Ice Production: 12, Mental Blast: 12, Neutralize: 12, Shrinking: 04, Swimming: 08, Telekinesis: 15, Telepathy: 03, Water Control: 15, Water Freedom: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Ice Production represents Quisp’s power to create “solid water” constructs, therefore, objects and constructs created using Ice Production are not subject to melting and will remain in existence until Quisp “reliquefies” them. Reliquefication requires the expenditure of an Automatic Action. As with most Automatic Powers, Quisp may not reliquefy a solid water construct within the same phase that he has created it.
  • Quisp’s Ice Production requires the presence of existing bodies of water; Quisp may not simply conjure solid water constructs out of thin air. If Quisp uses Ice Production on bodies of water with less APs of volume than his APs of Ice Production, the resulting objects are limited in volume and BODY to the APs of volume of the water that are actually being used.
  • Ice Production does not generate cold and may not be used to launch direct attacks (Ice Production as AV/EV) against a target ; Air Walking can only be used to allow Quisp to stand, walk, and run on the surface of a body of water ; Fog can only be used in conjunction with Neutralize (see below).
  • Neutralize may only be used to re-liquefy existing solid water constructs. This is a Dice Action with APs of Neutralize as the AV/EV and the APs of Power used to create the solid water construct as the OV/RV. If Quisp receives RAPs greater than or equal to the RV, the solid water construct reliquefies. If Quisp receives RAPs that are greater than or equal to twice the RV, then the solid water construct has become steam or mist represented by Quisp’s Fog Power.
  • Shrinking is Always On and represents Quisp’s small size. This reduces his land movement speed to 1 AP and his Swimming speed to 4 APs. He may still use Water Control to travel at the 8 APs maximum sited in the Water Control Power rules.
  • Quisp is never seen using his Telekinesis Power to fly or levitate. It is up to an individual GM’s discretion as to whether he can or not. If he can, his airspeed would, most likely, be unreduced by his small size. His light weight would be an asset, in fact, allowing him to travel as if he possessed Flight: 14.

Skills:
Thief (Stealth): 05

Connections:
Aquaman (High), Aqualad (High).

Drawbacks:
MIA (Playing pranks).

By Vincent Paul Bartilucci.

Helper(s): Dr. Sean MacDonald, John Colagioia, and Joshua D. Marquart.

Source of Character: Silver Age Aquaman Comics.

Writeups.org is a non-commercial, community site

You can learn more with the writeups.org FAQ.