"OLD MAN OF THE SEA"
Real Name: Unknown
Identity/Class: Extra-dimensional (see comments)
Occupation: Deity of the "Fish-Men"
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: "Fish-Men" (followers), Namor, Picket, Sandra Rains, the sea
Enemies: humans (see comments)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Cave in the realm beneath Neptune's Eye
First Appearance: Marvel Comics Presents I#58/3 (September, 1990)
Powers/Abilities: longevity, connected to the sea, was able to control the Fish-Men, probably had other powers too (see comments)
History: Nothing particular is known about the past of the Old Man. He was very old, owned stuff from sunken ships and lived in a cave in the realm beneath Neptune's Eye where he mostly kept to himself and watched.
(Marvel Comics Presents I#58/3) - The Old Man met Namor in his realm walking on the beach and invited him to his cave. Namor thought him to be a god but the Old Man merely told him that he didn't like this word. He knew many things about Namor and told him that Neptune's Eye existed because the sea felt that he would die soon. He told Namor that the creatures were attacking the humans because they thought that they were responsible for his situation, but the Old Man wasn't so sure about them being guilty. He only knew that his life was soon to be over. He gave Namor an amulet and told him the phrase "Sthigr Noiotrba Ecicoh Snmeow" and told him that the creatures would understand the meaning of the words and stop their attack. The Old Man said goodbye to Namor and gave him the advice to think about his important role as the heir to the throne of Atlantis.
(Marvel Comics Presents I#59/3 - BTS) - It was presumed by Namor that the Old Man died, because the disturbance known as Neptune's Eye had vanished.
Comments: Created by Robert Denatale, Mike Collins and Mark Farmer
The name Old Man of the Sea was never given to him by Marvel. It was just a name made up by the Appendix crew for obvious reasons.
Who was the Old Man? Was he a god, a being of another dimension or just an ancient being of Earth who found a way to near immortality by connecting his life to the sea?
His look reminded me a lot of Garokk (without being petrified). Garokk was praised as god of the sun and the Old Man was praised by the "Fish-Men" probably as a god of the sea. The similar look could mean something or nothing.
There was also the possibility that he was indeed a god
(he didn't deny it when he spoke with Namor). Probably a very specific god
(and this was mainly the reason why he got his name on the Appendix). He
could be O-Wata-Tsu-Mi aka. Shio-Zuchi, the Old Man of the Tide (or Sea although
the translation given everywhere on the net was Tide instead of Sea). This
Japanese/Korean deity was the most important god of the sea, a known shape-shifter
and controlled the sea and the creatures within it. He also had a messenger
known as the Wani that
was wrecking havoc on his order in the Marvel Universe before. Although this
is a likely possibility he could've been any other god connected to the sea
too (with exceptions like Neptune).
O-Wata-Tsu-Mi-aka's names are Owatatsumi, Owadatsumi, Oowadatumi and Watatsumi-no-kami. He is god of the sea and its creatures and he appears in the story of the hero Ho-Ninigi where he returns a enchanted fish hook lost by the hero's brother. "Old Man of the Sea" is a nomenclature for both Nereus and Proteus, two sea-gods who preceded Poseidon. (It's mentioned when Hercules wrestled Nereus for the location of the Garden of the Hesperides), I've often wondered though if Nereus and the Titan Oceanus were meant to be one and the same. Both were water gods and sons of Gaea who fathered an excessive number of daughters, but Oceanus had a daughter who married Nereus so it would seem that the Titan existed before the old man, so Nereus would have just succeeded the Titan, ruled jointly with his brother and then both relinquished the seas to Poseidon--Will U.
Or this guy was Phorcys the legendary "Old Man of the Sea", the son of Gaea and Pontus. This would make him an ancestor of Nagala.
Although the possibility of him being a god would also explain his knowledge of Namor and everything he knew concerning Atlantis, he didn't have to be one. He could just have been informed by the creatures of the sea of everything happening in it as it seemed that he was able to communicate with them (I presume it because he was able to talk to the "Fish-Men" too).
The items in his cave were most likely sacrifices brought to him by the "Fish-Men" from sunken ships.
There was no real evidence for his death in the story. Neptune's Eye vanished, but that could've had other reasons. The "Fish-Men" left after Namor spoke the words that the Old Man told him to and most likely returned through Neptune's Eye to their home. It vanished afterwards probably because the Old Man wanted it. Probably he lied and was the creator of Neptune's Eye to send his followers through it to scare the humans off (I am always accusing nice helpful characters of being liars. I am bad!).
If he really did die the reasons for his death might have been either old age or from the pollution of the sea. He wasn't so sure about humans being responsible for his state either. He told Namor that they maybe were or maybe just came down because he was dying (which seemed to indicate that he was somehow protecting the sea from overly harmful interference from the outside.
The realm he lived in was another problem for me. Was it really another dimension or was it a place somewhere on earth?
The location where the Old Man lived in reminded me of "A Journey to the Center of the Earth" by Jules Verne (it looked like in the movies). Neptune's Eye could've been just what it appeared to be, a whirlpool that sucked water into the realm beneath it. Perhaps it was once a hidden portal to the realm which was protected by the powers of the Old Man, only to be filled with the water of the sea and now be just a whirlpool that brought doom to it as the protecting powers of the Old Man faded. Nobody checked if there was still a hole in the ground of the Atlantic Ocean to get through to the realm where Namor met the Old Man. They just said that the disturbance was gone.
If it wasn't reachable anymore it probably was a place in another dimension. For example it could've been a realm for gods. Like in Asgard this could've been just the home of this god and after a travel over the sea of this realm you could've arrived at the city of other gods or something like that.
There were no real answers given and so the truth will remain lost.
Since the "Old Man of the Sea" and Suma-Ket both have grey skin perhaps they are from the same species?
The Old Man of the Sea has no known connections to
The Fish-Men have no known connections to
Peter, Picket or Sandra Rains have no known connections to
Neptune's Eye has no known connections to
They were a race of creatures that lived in the realm beneath Neptune's Eye. They were the followers of the Old Man that lived there and lashed out against the humans because they thought that men were responsible for the impending death of their god. They were stopped during their first attack against the explorers at Neptune's Eye by Namor and fled back to their home. They once again lost against Namor when he entered their realm together with Sandra Rains. While Namor stayed with Sandra in the caves in their realm they returned to attack the explorers at Neptune's Eye and destroyed the hull of their base. They tried to kill all residents of the base who fled into their mini-sub, but Namor stopped them by showing them the amulet of the Old Man and repeating the words of their god. They broke off their attack and left.
--Marvel Comics Presents I#57/3 (58/3-59/3
He was the cameraman of Sandra Rains. He had to listen to her chatter all the time and was sick of it. He saw the fish-men attack the men of Picket and tried to get back to the base with Sandra, but failed. The plants grabbed Peter and destroyed visor of his helmet. Peter drowned.
--Marvel Comics Presents I#57/3
He was the leader of the international project to explore Neptune's Eye. Together with other scientists and a film crew he lived in a base on the ground of the ocean near the disturbance. He explained to Namor everything about their mission and told him that too much money was invested to leave because of some attacking creatures. Later when the base was attacked by the creatures he fled with the other residents into their mini-sub when water flooded the whole base. Picket informed Sandra and Namor that the mini-sub was damaged and asked Namor for help. Namor brought the mini-sub with Picket and the others to the surface. In safety Picket told Namor that there was no reason to return to the ground because the disturbance known as Neptune's Eye had vanished.
--Marvel Comics Presents I#57/3 (59/3
Sandra Rains was a reporter who got the chance to make a film about the exploration of Neptune's Eye. She lost her cameramen Peter when violent sea creatures attacked. She was able to free herself from the plants and Namor brought her back to the base. She tried to talk Namor into helping them to explore Neptune's Eye, but it didn't work. Sandra couldn't get any residents of the base to come with her into Neptune's Eye and went alone. When Namor saw her struggling while entering Neptune's Eye he helped her to get through it. On the other side they were attacked by the sea creatures and Sandra filmed the fight between Namor and them. Afterwards they swam through into a cave where the water was held back by a mysterious force. They found a world of its own behind it. Sandra filmed the hidden land and tried to seduce Namor who was infuriated by her behaviour. When he returned from a walk she learned that her friends at the base were still in danger. They returned to the base and found it flooded with water. Sandra was contacted by Picket who was in the mini-sub with the others. She told Namor that the mini-sub was damaged as well. He brought both the sub and Sandra to the surface. Afterwards she was angry that she lost her camera.
--Marvel Comics Presents I#57/3 (58/3-59/3
Amulet of the Old Man
The amulet was in the possession of the Old Man of the Sea for a very long time. He gave it to Namor so that he could show it to the Fish-Men to make them stop their actions. Namor took it with him and did what the Old Man asked him to do. Namor showed the Fish-Men the amulet and spoke the words the Old Man had told him. The amulet began to shine and the Fish-Men stopped their assault. Namor kept the amulet afterwards and probably owns it to this day.
--Marvel Comics Presents I#58/3 (59/3
Neptune's Eye was a whirlpool on the ground of the Atlantic Ocean which was avoided by nearly every being living there for the many years of its existence. Unbeknownst to all being it was also a portal to a realm beneath it where the Old Man and his followers the Fish-Men lived. Humans tried to explore Neptune's Eye, but were attacked by the Fish-Men. Later Namor went with Sandra Rains through the eye and found after another brawl with the Fish-Men the real secret of the Eye; a new world where even humans could live. The Old Man explained to Namor that the Eye existed because the sea felt that the Old Man would soon die. After Namor returned with Sandra to rescue her partners in the base, Neptune's Eye vanished.
--Marvel Comics Presents I#57/3 (58/3-59/3
Old Man of the Sea head shot: Marvel Comics Presents I#58, p22, pan8
Old Man of the Sea full body: Marvel Comics Presents I#58, p21, pan6
a Fish-Man head shot: Marvel Comics Presents I#58, p17, pan1
a Fish-Man full body: Marvel Comics Presents I#57, p19, pan1
Peter: Marvel Comics Presents I#57, p18, pan6
Picket: Marvel Comics Presents I#59, p19, pan2
Sandra Rains: Marvel Comics Presents I#57, p22, pan7
Amulet of the Old Man: Marvel Comics Presents I#59, p20, pan4
Neptune's Eye: Marvel Comics Presents I#57, p17, pan1
Marvel Comics Presents I#57 (August, 1990) - Robert Denatale (writer), Mike Collins (pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
Marvel Comics Presents I#58-59 (September, 1990) - Robert Denatale (writer), Mike Collins (pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Terry Kavanagh (editor)
First Posted: 06/22/2004
Last updated: 12/28/2004
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com/
Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Back to Characters