Wednesday Comics: Namor is having a bad day!
October 7, 2009
Wow, there’s sure a lot going on on this cover! Our hero, Prince Namor of Atlantis, aka the Sub-Mariner, is caught in the unwelcome embrace of a mostly off-panel cephalopod while simultaneously his undersea kingdom is being invaded by Soviet submarines, deep-sea divers, and bathyspheres (!). These brutish Communists appear to have the technology to allow them to fire a harpoon through a glass porthole, which perhaps isn’t that remarkable, but I imagine it would be rather hard to reload…I guess they are counting on that octopus (?) to hold Namor still? There’s also a shark, but it’s unclear where its loyalties lie…
Namor the Sub-Mariner was created by Bill Everett, and he debuted in Timely Comics’ Marvel Comics #1 (October, 1939). Sub-Mariner Comics ran for 44 issues between 1941 and 1955, and most, if not all, of those issues were written and drawn by Everett (including issue #35, seen here). Timely Comics would eventually become the company we know today as Marvel Comics, and Namor remains a prominent character in the Marvel Universe. He is a Human/Atlantian hybrid (Little-known fact: Namor’s last name is McKenzie!) and a mutant to boot—in fact, he was Marvel’s first mutant character. The Sub-Mariner was also Marvel’s first anti-hero, sometimes fighting alongside and sometimes against the likes of Captain America and the Human Torch. Over the decades he’s been associated with a number of superhero teams, including the Invaders, the Defenders, the Avengers, and the X-Men, but he once also tried to conquer the surface world with an army of sea monsters! (It seems Mr. Splashy-Pants has a bit of a temper.)
Perhaps not surprisingly, Namor has a lot in common with DC Comics’ Aquaman (who debuted in 1941, the same year Namor got his own title). They both had human fathers and are Atlantian royalty. The two aquatic heroes have a similar power set—under-water breathing, super-human strength, and the ability to communicate telepathically with sea life—but thanks to his cute little ankle wings, Namor also has the power of flight! The Sub-Mariner also had the moody asshole thing down decades before Aquaman adopted his shirtless Captain Hook look. Also, only one of them looks like Mr. Spock in a Speedo. I’m not saying that is necessarily a good thing…I’m just sayin’.
ICAD begins tomorrow, so get ready to appreciate the hell out of some cephalopods!