Classification: Terrestrial (Japanese) technology (World War II)

Creator: Unrevealed

User/Possessors: Imperial Japanese navy

First Appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3 (June, 1942)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: A steel submarine watercraft built in the shape of a great white shark, the Shark-Sub had a periscope concealed within its dorsal fin, and it was driven by a single propeller at its stern. Its operating specifications (cruising-speed, range, etc.) were unrevealed, but it was transported long-range within the bulkhead of a mother submarine. The Shark-Sub was piloted by a crew of two, although its interior was roomy enough to accommodate at least four individuals. It was armed with an unspecified number of poison-gas torpedoes, which were fired from its snout.

History: (Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3 (fb) - BTS) - At some point during World War II, Imperial Japan built an unknown number (at least 5) of two-man submarines disguised as sharks. The Shark-Subs were loaded aboard a larger mother submarine and transported across the ocean for a raid against the United States.

(Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3) - Off the coast of California, the Shark-Subs launched an attack upon the busy seaport of Santa Cruz; torpedoes were launched from the snouts of the vessels toward loading U.S. freighters. The torpedoes smashed into the ships with a dull thud, then a cloud of poisonous gas was released. The sailors and dock-workers began to choke, but out of the deadly mist appeared the extradimensional Vision (Aarkus), who used his unearthly powers to force the poisonous gas to the ground, thus saving many lives. The Vision's attention was diverted to an unconscious woman laying on the dock. After reviving her with some smelling salts, the Vision learned the woman was Leila, a U.S. counter-espionage agent.

   The Vision accompanied Leila aboard her speedboat as they cruised off to contact the harbor patrol, but along the way they spotted a shark fin headed in their direction; realizing that sharks normally didn't swim in those waters, the Vision's suspicions were aroused, so he dived overboard and found that the "shark" was made of steel. Noticing a trickle of gas seeping out of the disguised submarine, the Vision used it as a medium to materialize himself inside the Shark-Sub. First subduing and restraining the two Japanese sailors, the Vision brought the Shark-Sub to the surface alongside Leila's boat and invited her aboard.

   After reading the Japanese sailing orders, the Vision piloted the Shark-Sub to rendezvous with the mother submarine. When the Shark-Sub was within the larger submarine's bulkhead and the water was pumped out of the airlock, Leila and the Vision climbed out of the Shark-Sub and captured the mother sub's crew, then they commandeered the mother submarine and used its explosive torpedoes and depth charges to destroy the remaining Shark-Sub raiders.

   The Vision radioed U.S. Navy ships to appraise them of the situation, then bid his farewell to Leila, telling her the ships would be by to pick her up in a few minutes. After climbing into the mother submarine's torpedo tube, the Vision vanished in the blast of misty air and returned to his home dimension.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Ramona Patenaude (artist).

In regards to the main image: The splash-page of this story depicted a gigantic Vision holding the Shark-Sub in his right hand (To paraphrase Roy Scheider in the movie Jaws: "We're gonna need a bigger Vision.")--this scene was only symbolic and it didn't actually happen in the story, but it was the best image of the Shark-Sub.

This story would not be the only instance that Imperial Japan would use unusual watercraft--earlier, there was the Dragon of Death (@ Captain America Comics I#5/2), and later, the Sea Dragon (@ Captain America Comics I#43/4).

In the same issue this story appeared in the Patriot encountered an Imperial Japanese Crab-Sub.

Atlanteans had Shark-Subs first in Sub-Mariner Comics#1 (September, 1941).

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

The Shark-Sub has no known connections to:

Shark-Sub crewmen

Two unidentified Japanese sailors, they piloted one of the Shark-Subs that were used for a raid on a Santa Cruz seaport during World War II.

They were captured by the Vision, who commandeered their Shark-Sub and used it to infiltrate the mother submarine.

--Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3

Mother submarine

An underwater vessel used by Imperial Japan during World War II, it transported the Shark-Subs to the coast of California for a raid on a Santa Cruz seaport.

Within its bulkhead airlock, the mother submarine had a large docking bay to transport the Shark-Subs long-range.

The mother submarine was eventually commandeered by the Vision and Leila, who used its torpedoes and depth charges to destroy the Shark-Subs. Later, the captured mother submarine was presumably impounded by the U.S. Navy.

--Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3


A U.S. counter-espionage agent during World War II (perhaps she was with the O.S.S.), she was at a Santa Cruz seaport for undisclosed reasons.  She was equipped with a speedboat, and armed with a handgun.

When Japanese Shark-Subs attacked the seaport with poisonous gas torpedoes, she was rendered unconscious, but she was revived with smelling salts by the extradimensional Vision.

Leila took the Vision out to sea in her speedboat, then joined him after he commandeered one of the Shark-Subs; they eventually used the mini-sub to get aboard the larger mother submarine.  Leila assisted the Vision when she launched the mother submarine's torpedoes and depth charges to destroy the remaining Shark-Subs.

--Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3

images: (without ads)
Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3, p1, pan1 (Shark-Sub held in gigantic Vision's right hand (see comments))
Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3, p2, pan2 (Shark-Sub launching two torpedoes)
Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3, p4, pan4 (Shark-Sub surfaces alongside Leila's speedboat, Vision at open hatch behind dorsal fin/periscope)
Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3, p3 pan6 (two Japanese sailors aboard Shark-Sub)
Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3, p4, pan6 (Shark-Sub rendezvouses with mother submarine)
Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3, p4, pan7 (Shark-Sub within bulkhead of mother submarine)
Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3, p2, pan8 (Leila laying unconscious on dock after poisonous gas attack, Vision rushes to her aid)
Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3, p3, pan2 (Leila invites Vision to join her)

Marvel Mystery Comics I#32/3 (June, 1942) - unidentified writer, Ramona Patenaude (artist)

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

First Posted: 08/21/2016
Last Updated: 05/18/2019

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