Real Name: Namor

Identity/Class: Extradimensional/alternate reality (Earth-??) human/Atlantean hybrid (see comments)

Occupation: Adventurer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: None

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: None 

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unrevealed

First Appearance: (intended) Sub-Mariner TV show (c.1954);
   (publicly mentioned) Comic Book Artist#2 (1998)

Powers/Abilities: The Sub-Mariner was amphibious, able to survive equally well in both air and water. He was presumably superhumanly strong and durable, and may have been able to fly.

Height: 6'2" (see comments)
Weight: Unrevealed
Eyes: Gray
Hair: Black

(Alter Ego#46) - Namor the Sub-Mariner was an amphibious adventurer and crimefighter.

Comments: Created by Frank Saverstein (or perhaps Saperstein) and Bill Everett, based on the character created by Bill Everett.

   Getting the elephant in the room out the way immediately - the image used above right is not an actual official or even semi-official picture, but it is nevertheless the best and only available one of the character for this profile. Let me explain:
   In 1952 the TV adaptation of The Adventures of Superman was launched to great success, marking (afaik) the first U.S. comic book superhero to transition from the comics to the television, having previously only been adapted for cinematic serials or cartoons. In the comics superheroes had been in sharp decline, but this success in turn prompted Timely/Atlas Comics to revive in 1954 their three most popular superhero characters, Captain America, the Human Torch and Namor the Sub-Mariner, initially in the title Young Men and then in their own titles once more. None of the revivals proved big sellers, so both Cap and the Torch's titles were swiftly retired after only three and four issues respectively of their relaunched series. Namor on the other hand held out for a respectable ten issues and a whole year longer than his compatriots, but it wasn't because his title was selling better than theirs. So what, you might ask, was the real reason?

   In either 1969 or 1970 Roy Thomas interviewed Namor's creator Bill Everett for his magazine Alter Ego, and asked him that very question. Everett confirmed that at the time there had been interest in licensing the character out for a prospective Hollywood TV series, and that while the possibility of this coming to fruition remained on the table, the Sub-Mariner Comic got a reprieve from cancellation. For a variety of reasons transcribing the interview got put on the back burner, literally for decades, with the possibility of the TV series first getting mentioned by Roy when he interviewed Stan Lee for Comic Book Artist#2 in 1998, asking Stan if he knew any details about it (Stan didn't). Finally, in 2005, Roy published the long postponed Everett interview in TwoMorrows' Alter Ego#46, and that's where we finally got such details as we now have.

   Everett recalled that the success of The Adventures of Superman had prompted young TV producer Frank Saverstein (Roy thinks Everett might have slightly misrecalled this detail, and this might actually be Saperstein) to look for other superhero properties that could be turned into rival series. A long time fan of Namor, Frank had convinced fellow Sub-Mariner fan and successful Hoovier comedian Herb Shriner to join him in trying to get a Namor series going. They got financial backing from the highly successful broadcaster Arthur Godfrey, and opened negotiations with Timely Comics' owner Martin Goodman. Everett noted that in the comics Namor had lost many of his powers, notably his ankle-wings, power of flight and super-strength, but since the two Hollywood men were fans of the "original Sub-Mariner, as he was before the war" and needed him to be able to compete with Superman's TV show, suddenly the comics' version of Namor was restored to full power. Everett was included in discussion about the proposed direction of the show and was to be a story consultant, but was not privy to the business negotiations. He recalled that despite the deal not being completed with Goodman, the producers were so determined to make the pilot that they had already bought a PT boat and "all kinds of underwater equipment" in preparation for filming, and they informed him that Richard Egan, then a successful actor mostly relegated to secondary roles, had agreed to play Namor for the pilot. However, despite things initially going well with all parties eager to proceed, at some point during one of the negotiations that Everett was not present for something went wrong, and the entire deal abruptly died.

  Normally when it comes to covering characters or series who fall through, I'll only do so if we've got solid stuff to work off - character designs, concept art, publicity photos, or script information, for example. Without them, there's often not enough available to fill out a profile - for example, there was another proposal in the 1970s to make a Sub-Mariner TV show, but apart from it allegedly falling through because it was deemed too similar to The Man from Atlantis we don't know anything else about it. We similarly don't have any actual visuals or scripts for this series, since the 1970s production never got that far to the best of our knowledge. However, since the 1950s production did start purchasing equipment to film the show, and especially since the negotiations impacted back on the comic version, keeping his title in publication and boosting his abilities back to the higher levels they have maintained to this day, I figured it was worth making the exception here.

   In terms of details above - Namor wasn't considered a mutant until his encounters with Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Men, so this version would have simply been a human/Atlantean hybrid, ASSuming they kept that aspect of his backstory intact. I've used Richard Egan's physical statistics for Namor, since Egan was intended to portray him. And that image? After the Alter Ego interview was published, someone took a publicity shot of Egan and modified it, only very slightly, to show how Egan might have looked in the role, but I have no idea who, since it has been floating around the internet for a number of years now. For comparison, the original image is on the left; as you can see, all that was changed were the ear tips and design on the trunks; Egan looks very close to the character. I'll gladly attribute the photoshopper if anyone knows who it was; I've seen some mentions online suggesting it actually first showed up in Alter Ego, but if so it wasn't the same issue as the interview, and I've yet to track the correct issue down.

   This profile was completed 08/20/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

Sub-Mariner is an alternate reality counterpart to :

but has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
photoshopped Richard Egan publicity shot (main image)
Richard Egan publicity shot (second image, for comparison)


First Posted: 09/21/2021
Last updated:

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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