Didja Know... Namor the Sub-Mariner
Didja Know digs into downright delightful details from across the merry Marvel Multiverse!
Didja Know digs into the fun facts, strange stories, and divine details that helped build the hallowed halls of the House of Ideas!
So, True Believers, you gotta know by now that when we here at Didja Know HQ say we’re gonna go back, we’re gonna go wayyyyy back…and in fact, this time right back to the very beginning to honor our very first hunky hero, that nutty nabob named Namor!
See, ol’ Subby’s been singled out for the first in a line of wondrous one-shots focusing on the House of Idea’s heroic history: SUB-MARINER: MARVELS SNAPSHOTS #1!
Personally, we can’t wait, so we’re diving right in now with a delightful dish of fish—and a few fantastic firsts with fins!
Didja Know… Namor’s the very first Marvel character ever?
Of course you’ve heard how Subby made his dashing debut with a coterie of other colorful characters in late 1939’s legendary MARVEL COMICS (1939) #1, the bountiful book that kicked off our entire line of likable landmarks, but didja know he actually bubbled up earlier that year all by his lonesome?
See, Motion Picture Funnies Weekly was a giveaway comic handed out in theaters in early 1939, and publisher Martin Goodman took the black-and-white eight-page Namor story found therein—courtesy of writer-artist Bill Everett—and expanded it by four pages, added color, and republished it in MARVEL COMICS #1 alongside another dynamite dude name of the Human Torch. The result? History, heroes! History!
Say, didja know “Namor” spelled backwards is “Roman”? Didja know Namor began as a baddie, dead-set on extracting revenge on the “Earth-men” who nearly killed off his aquatic race of “sub-mariners”? Didja know his mother was sent to spy on the surface-dwellers but instead fell in love with the man who’d become Subby’s dad? Now you do, ‘cause it’s all there in that first fabulous fable, friends!
Didja Know… Namor’s the first Marvel star to ever meet another Marvel star?
Meet? Did we say meet? More like smash, bash, and crash into another of our sensational superstars! Yep, Namor kicked off what we lovingly label the Marvel Universe, ‘cause he was so bad in the beginning that our other famous first featured character got all hot under the collar to take ‘im down!
It happened in MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS (1939) #8 when the Human Torch—actually an android!—joined the police force and burned up the skies on the look-out for the Sub-Mariner. Why? Well, it wasn’t to ask him to buy war bonds, chums! The creatively cool thing about that ish is that one big tale was told with two—the Torch story and the Namor story looked at their menacing meeting from their respective points-of-view. To say it ranks as history-in-the-making’s an understatement, Charlie!
Now, never fear ‘cause the two titans eventually teamed-up against a common cut-up—a few Nazis who at the time were goose-stepping their way across Europe. After another big battle of fire and water in HUMAN TORCH COMICS (1940) #5—which incidentally also included the Patriot and the Angel—the stunning stalwarts settled down to serious slam-bang as a team in MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS (1939) #17. And a good thing, too, whew! The planet couldn’t take much more pounding from those peerless punch-ups!
Didja Know… Namor first met his father in 1972?
It seems incredible now, but it took more than thirty years of published comic stories to bring Namor and his father, Leonard McKenzie, together for the very first time…and what a meeting it was! In fact, Subby would never be quite the same afterward.
Namor kicked off his quest in SUB-MARINER (1968) #43 with some help from pals Diane Arliss and Walt Newell, who you all know as the oceanologist-turned-Super Hero Stingray. Now, that sounds singularly straightforward on the surface, but when you kick in the kooks called Tiger Shark and Llyra, two of Namor’s nastiest ne’er-do-wells, then things get decidedly more dangerous.
After much hand-wringing and toe-tapping, along with some dastardly dust-ups, Namor finally found his father in SUB-MARINER (1968) #46, only to lose him almost immediately. A well-thrown iron pipe by Tiger Shark bonked Leonard on the bean and his life just slipped away—but not before a righteous reunion with his swimming son. Tearjerker? You bet, bunky, and one we’ll never, ever forget…and trust us on this one, neither will Namor.
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