Namor the Sub-Mariner is a fictional character, featured in Marvel Comics. He was created by cartoonist Bill Everett in 1939.
A trademark character of Marvel during the 1940s, Namor is the son of a human sea captain and a princess of the mythical undersea kingdom of Atlantis. Possessing the super strength and aquatic abilities of an Atlantean, Namor was alternatively portrayed as a good-natured but short-fused superhero and hostile invader, seeking vengeance for wrongs misguided surface dwellers committed against his undersea kingdom. He was thus arguably the first comic book anti-hero.
Although his stature has lessened, the Sub-Mariner has remained a somewhat popular and important Marvel character.
A Sub-Mariner feature film is in development. Chris Columbus is slated to direct.
Namor the Sub-Mariner first appeared in 1939 in a giveaway called Motion Picture Funnies Weekly that was printed in black and white and handed out in movie theatres. When that idea fell through, creator Bill Everett turned to a fledgling Atlas Comics Group, later to become Marvel Comics, and pitched his idea.
Namor had been born of the pairing of the Atlantean Emperor Thakorr's daughter, Fen, and an American sea captain, Leonard McKenzie, of the icebreaker Oracle. When Fen did not return, Thakorr sent soldiers to attack the Oracle, thinking her captured. In truth, McKenzie had taken her as his bride. In the ensuing attack, McKenzie was believed killed, and Fen returned to her Antarctic kingdom. Nine months later, a pink-skinned child was born among the blue-skinned Atlanteans.
Namor was to be Atlas's first "hero". Everett's creation would, in time, go up against his friend Carl Burgos 's android superhero, the Human Torch, and eventually, as the US entered the Second World War, against Adolf Hitler and the Axis Powers.
Along with many other Marvel characters Namor disappeared following the end of WWII and the subsequent decline in popularity of super-hero comics. However, in the 1960s Namor re-surfaced in the pages of the Fantastic Four where the new Human Torch discovered him living as an amnesiac homeless man in Manhattan. During this period Namor first starred in his own title The Sub-Mariner, which ran for more than 80 issues. The character has been revived at various times over the years, most recently by John Byrne in the early 90s.
Namor has remained a constant for Atlas (now Marvel) Comics. Never really a hero or villain, he has matched himself against the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Doctor Doom, and many others, protecting his kingdom and seeking revenge on the surface world whenever it is threatened. Although he has served alongside, or even as a member of, several superhero teams – most notably The Defenders and The Avengers – he remains an outsider.